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To think it's wrong, or is it ok if everyone's happy?

(41 Posts)
Sockstealer Fri 07-Nov-14 17:11:27

I'm think of my dps parents here, but I'm sure that there are lots of couples in this situation.

The mum works 40 hours a week, the dad works roughly the same but in a higher paid job.

The mum does everything house related, all of the cooking, cleaning, gardening, decorating, sorting of presents in her free time. It has also been suggested that the dad complains if the mum looks 'scruffy' and expects her to be dressed and keep herself smart. You get the picture, the dad enjoys his hobbies, goes to the pub, goes on weekends away with his free time.

They seem very happy though and have a comfortable lifestyle and an active social life together. So it obviously works for them.

But even though it's non of my business it bothers me slightly.

One reason it bothers me is because it's rubbed off on my 'd'p, who never had to lift a finger when he lived at home, and thinks the cleaning fairy goes round picking things up. Having said that he has got a lot better and does a lot more after many discussions and battles, but I still feel that there's something inside him that thinks certain things are women's work. And that if he works hard during the week then his free time should be for him and housework should not impose on it. So basically I feel that it's not a great message to pass on to your children.

The other reason it bothers me is because I can't get my head around a grown adult just allowing someone to wait on them hand and foot, when they've both worked a long week at work. The expectation that you'll have a cooked meal and a clean house all provided by someone else. I don't think I could happily just leave all domestic chores to my partner unless I was ill, I'd feel lazy and unhelpful.

Do I have a point or is it each to their own?

Boomtownsurprise Fri 07-Nov-14 17:15:53

yes you have a point and a decent one.

But you don't seem to believe it?

Yarp Fri 07-Nov-14 17:17:42

It may be OK for them - maybe it never occurred to your MIL that it could be any different for her, maybe she is seething with resentment underneath - but it isn't right for you, and it wouldn't be for me.

Although your FIl sounds more controlling of her than many of his generation.

Many people pf my generation had fathers who did not do housework or childcare, but they have produced men and women who don't operate along those lines, so why doesn't your DP? It is his responsibility.

Tiptops Fri 07-Nov-14 17:18:33

Yes, you absolutely have a point. My parent's relationship is like this and it infuriates me.

Thrif Fri 07-Nov-14 17:22:28

My parents are just like this and the main reason is because that's the way my mum wants it. She likes to feel needed and she hates anyone (especially dad) to interfere with her systems.

They have an incredibly supportive relationship. Dad supported her 100% when we were small and she was working FT, which all her family thought was terrible and he was a proper feminist in the way he/they brought up me and DSis. We were taught how to change the oil etc, as well as to cook and that they sky was the limit in terms of career aspirations but he doesn't lift a finger in the house. Because mum won't let him.

My DP's parents are similar but maybe a bit less so. DP still absolutely does his share around the house though and I am on a mission not to raise useless husbands in my DSs.

AnyFucker Fri 07-Nov-14 17:23:14

Have you read Wifework OP ?

Sockstealer Fri 07-Nov-14 17:24:35

I do genuinely believe it's wrong for the reasons I said. But there's reasons I've been thinking about it all.

As I say dp does a lot more these days, he knows how I feel about things, but it's little things. Like if he makes a coffee they'll say "oh aren't you good doing the coffees". And it riles me, he doesn't deserve a pat on the back just for doing something normal. My own df was like this too although he's changing, and that's why I redeem these gender roles so much.

But they really are nice people, and they do seem so happy, so is it fair to judge?

MrsPiggie Fri 07-Nov-14 17:25:23

You have got a point, but so what? Do you intend to do anything about it? It's their set-up and whether you like it or not changes nothing.

Fabulous46 Fri 07-Nov-14 17:56:25

My DH does nothing around the house (cooking, cleaning, bill sorting etc). I do most of it and it doesn't bother me. I'd hate for anyone to judge my DH because I choose to do everything about the house. I think YABU I'm judging them.

AnyFucker Fri 07-Nov-14 18:04:14

Fab, why do you think it's ok for your H to do nothing around the house ? Is housework only for women ? It may be your choice but it's a terrible example to growing minds.

Fabulous46 Fri 07-Nov-14 18:09:42

He works 70+ hours a week. I only work 20 so i'm in the house much more. Kids have all flown the nest so it's just the two of us. grin

AnyFucker Fri 07-Nov-14 18:11:11

The OP though is about a relationship where the two people do roughly the same work outside of the home.

pictish Fri 07-Nov-14 18:11:42

Well of course it's wrong. Some women take a perverse pleasure in being 'her indoors' though. Of course it's each to their own, but they're passing a shitty legacy on to their kids.

I would be horrified to set loose a lazy, unhelpful, sexist son on the world to be snapped up by some poor unsuspecting girl who then spends her free time doing the donkey work, while he contributes fuck all to the running of the house.
Similarly, I'd be doing my daughter a disservice to let her go out there thinking her role is to clean and cook while her dh relaxes. I'd like to think my dd will have far more interesting stuff to do that fetch and carry for a man.

flapjackattack Fri 07-Nov-14 18:17:01

I used to pick my parents (now NC) up EVERY time my dad sugested how 'helpful' he was to my mum at home. They both worked full time. They both lived there FFS.

LeapingOverTheWall Fri 07-Nov-14 18:18:19

reminds me of some grandparents I used to watch in the school car park. For various irrelevant reasons I used to get there really early, and watched each week as they drove in, parked, she got out, went into the boot and brought out a flask and a cup. He got out of the drivers seat, and moved to the back seat, while his wife poured him a cup of tea, then went and sat back in the front passengers seat. When he was finished, she got out, went round and collected his cup and the flask, and put it all back in the boot, while he got out and moved back to the drivers seat.

Now presumably it worked for them as a couple, but interestingly, their daughter was married to a very "traditional" I go out to work, you do everything in the house type, who also encouraged his DDs to behave the same way with their mother, which certainly with one DD, caused lots of problems at school and socially sad.

Sockstealer Fri 07-Nov-14 18:18:33

Anyfucker I haven't read it, is it likely to make me steaming mad?

Piggie of course I'm not going to do anything to change it, I try to keep my unwanted opinions to myself unless I think someone's in danger. But I'm allowed to talk about it aren't I? I wondered whether other people agreed that it's a bad example/unfair.

AnyFucker Fri 07-Nov-14 18:20:12

It's one of those books that everyone should read smile

Sockstealer Fri 07-Nov-14 18:20:58

Fabulous46 I find that slightly different as you're saying you work part time, he 70 hours, if one person doing the lions share makes sense then fair enough. But I'm really talking about equal split where both are full time but one still spends free time picking up the domestic stuff, while the other gets more free time for hobbies, without a care in the world.

Sockstealer Fri 07-Nov-14 18:25:16

I just read the description.

'Trivialising the importance of cleaning', dp does this. He says it's doesn't need doing/it's not that bad/he could do it in 10 minutes.

Fabulous46 Fri 07-Nov-14 18:31:56

The OP though is about a relationship where the two people do roughly the same work outside of the home

I've always done everything. Even when the kids were small (newborn twins, a 3 year old and a 5 year old). His job is 24/7 and relentless in winter which was a blessing as he always did the nightshift with the kids so I always got a full nights sleep I went back to work full time for years and still did it all, habit I suppose! Apart from that he's shit at housework and never did it to my standards so I redone it all anyway.

Oddly enough, my boys are the ones that do most of the housework now in their own houses and my girl's DP does most of it in their house.

My boys

BuggersMuddle Fri 07-Nov-14 18:33:31

I think it's wrong, but as you say they seem content, albeit it's a terrible example to their children and any grandchildren if they have them. Hopefully your DP can now see the inequality of it.

I occasionally have to prod DP because MIL tends to do far more of the domestic work, but their situation is far more like the one Fab describes above and to be fair she's getting a lot more assertive about handing over the pinny and the dishcloth now FIL is winding down a bit at work grin

One thing my own DM bangs on about is that people will think badly of me if the house is untidy / messy (which to be fair, it often is). Winds me up no end that extended family assume it's my failing if the housekeeping is poor, but I'm 'so lucky' to have a DP who earns a good wage and we have a nice house he does, I earn a better one I suppose that's everyday sexism, but I know from speaking with friends that other women feel that pressure to 'keep house' and so will end up picking up more than their fair share, sometime to the extent of martyrdom making it a point of pride that they do so much.

Much to my DM's chagrin, I'm largely immune to the value judgment of random relatives.

HairStylistToBoris Fri 07-Nov-14 18:39:28

My 7 year old step daughter has a similar attitude to gender roles from her SAHmum and working step dad. She doesn't get why DH is equally responsible for (albeit he is crap at it) housework at our house. She gets similar attitudes as third you describe from my PIL. I struggle that a 7 year old is growing up with no one gently challenging her gender stereo types except me.

Sockstealer Fri 07-Nov-14 18:41:53

I'm not sure i buy the long hours/bring at work all day = incapable/unable to do housework.

A full time job isn't a disability, yet people seem to have this strange sympathy towards men who work all day.

Plenty of single parents have full time jobs, children and keep house all by themselves. If you live by yourself you'd still have to eat, wash your clothes, tidy up, so I don't see any reason why everyone can't contribute to the chores.

Sockstealer Fri 07-Nov-14 18:44:13

I don't buy the 'he's crap at it' either. Would all these men live in hovels if their wives suddenly died/left them.

Keeping a house going and cooking are very basic life skills that everyone should have.

Yama Fri 07-Nov-14 18:50:09

Not everyone is happy though.

It has created problems for their son as this example has turned him into an entitled man who will have unsatisfactory relationships because of this attitude.

And perhaps neither parent is actually happy either to be treated like shit or to ... well I can't actually put myself in the Dad's shoes and imagine why he would treat someone like shit.

So, in summary - premise of the original question is wrong.

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