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Feminist approach to housework chat/support thread

(172 Posts)
BertieBotts Sat 24-Sep-11 15:45:05

We were talking about this ages ago and it never materialised, so I decided to start one. Kind of a space for discussing how to split housework, how to get DPs/DHs/DCs doing more, how to foster a good attitude in sons, and indeed daughters. How to tell if your standards are actually your standards or some arbitrary level of "clean" you think you need to maintain in order to not be judged. Whether you can lower those standards to get away with less work. Whether you are in fact doing more than your DP without realising due to hidden "wifework" etc. Whether you have ended up with the shitty jobs while he cherry picks the nicer ones, and how to change this. Shortcuts are encouraged - you're no more of a woman by cleaning the entire house with one lemon and an old toothbrush than by using an expensive but effective cleaning product. And any possible other thing you can think of, but with a feminist slant.

The first assumption on this thread is that housework is not the job of the woman, or even the job of the unemployed partner or stay-at-home parent, but that it is the responsibility of everyone who lives in the house. Whether some family members do less at some times because of age, ability, illness, or other pressures is fair enough, but overall it should be a fair split, taking these criteria into account and recognising that they are going to change over time. It might require a shift in your thinking/vocabulary. Your husband and children, if you have them, don't "help" with the housework, they have their own share. If you are doing their share, or even part of it, you are in fact the one who is helping them, so get that recognised and appreciated. And of course support/moaning room here too (and no assumptions that you have a partner or your partner is male - just mentioned a lot because of the bias a lot of other threads have towards "Men are just wired differently and can't see dirt, lol, what are they like!")

Anyone in? smile

AlysWorld Sat 24-Sep-11 17:36:15

Well, yeh, except you've just reminded me that I really should be doing some housework, rather than MNing, when my partner is downstairs doing such grin

Totally agree with your second para tho. The idea that housework is mine and everyone else helps on my direction does not compute at all.

mummy2munchkin Sat 24-Sep-11 17:49:04

I am a sahm and my husband does f-all. When we met he did so much more, then he found out I could cook and now I cook everything from scratch every night and clean and tidy as much as I can and if I don't do his washing it doesn't get done. He hasn't once ever cleaned his 3y/o daughters room or washed any of her clothes. I tell him he does f-all and he gets in a sulk. I am so pissed off with having to be mother to him and our daughter just because I am a sahm. He has a great job and we get lots of luxuries from it and so I also feel guilty for feeling this way, like I should contribute as much in a housewife manner. So I don't know about cherry picking any jobs I just do them all and I now look pale and tired and feel angry with him 99% of the time.

All I really want to do is spend most of my time having fun with (and educating) dd or maybe go to a spa and as much as I feel ridiculously self indulgent saying that it is the truth.

Catitainahatita Sat 24-Sep-11 18:34:03

Sorry to hear this Mummytomunchkin: I think the key term to remember in discussions with your H is that you are a stay at home mum. Your job -which you do so your husband can do his job outside the home- is to look after your dd. As such your job doesn't work on a 9-5 or shift basis as he does, but it is as much as valuable job than his. How much would the full-time childcare cost? Think about it, this is the equilvalent of your salary.
The housework is not your exclusive responsability: it is not part of being a fulltime childcarer. Both of you live in the house, and thus should contribute fairly. If he doesn't want to do his share, you might suggest he pays for someone to do it for him. It's his responsability after all, as a someone who lives in the house with you. It's not fair or reasonable of him to expect you do it for him. You are not his skivvy.
I don't know if that helps at all. I just don't think you have any reason to feel guilty at all.

AuntieMonica Sat 24-Sep-11 18:59:45

I'm in!

Although i slightly disagree about the lemon - as long as everyone else uses the same method eh? wink
<eco warrior emoticon>

I'm a SAHM and take the stance that whilst DH is out of the house, at work, I am responsible for cleaning up after DD.

When he's in, we share 50/50.

I also have adult DS living with us, he does his own washing etc.

It does slip to an uneven balance from time to time, all ways i might add

mummy2munchkin Sat 24-Sep-11 19:39:01

Thanks Cat, you know what he just cooked me a spag bol and cleared up after himself and now I feel guilty I didn't do anything again, arghh! I'm thinking that my own guilt is more of a problem than him. Saying that he only cooked because I told him in the middle of tesco (oh the shame) when he said 'thanks for taking munchkin to docs this morning' I replied 'thanks for doing f-all this morning' perhaps I should have phrased that better?

I don't want to walk out on him and tbh the only things that are stopping me are the hope it'll get better and the fact that I couldn't bear to upset dd. Thanks for the points, I really need to reassure myself more that I don't have to do everything, I used to have the house perfect for him when he got home with candles on and all toys cleared and wine uncorked!! I have taken it a step down now - I think - but often I don't manage to do all the washing because I don't have the energy and he just piles it all up in one of the spare bedrooms and I see it and think's just hanging over my head. I am going to have a look at getting a cleaner right now. It doesn't help the fact that his mother thinks I should basically be wiping his bum - and the rest of her sons have wives who seem to be doing just that for their husbands.

Catitainahatita Sat 24-Sep-11 21:04:40

M2M: I think you have to get your head round the idea that the housework is not your personal responsability; and also make sure that H is also made to realise the same thing. This will involve confrontation with him as you explain this; and will only have an effect if you stop doing everything for him. This is the hard bit ( and I know) becasue it involves letting (his) washing and (his) washing-up pile up and the house being dirty.
Getting a cleaner might help you have an easier time and be less annoyed with him; but it won't change any of his attitudes if he thinks the need for a cleaner is "to help you". What I was trying to say before is that he needs to realise that the housework is part of his responsability too; the suggestion of the cleaner arises in this context; ie. if HE isn't willing to pull his weight in the house, HE should find a cleaner because it is not your responsabilty to do HIS share of the housework.
And the guilt: I think it's the entrenched culture we have that makes us think that housework is our responsability and the the H "helps" and we should be grateful for the help. If you stop assuming responsability for him, he nolonger is "helping" you, but rather taking responsabiltiy for himself. You have nothing to be grateful for, nor to feel bad about putting your feet up while he makes tea.

MrsKarbonara Sat 24-Sep-11 22:41:35

Oh I really really struggle with this one. Will be reading, and possibly even finding the time/energy to join in, but bed time is nigh. Good OP Bertie.

ThereBeBolloX Sat 24-Sep-11 23:09:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

scottishmummy Sat 24-Sep-11 23:21:25

if you dont work and partner goes out works 37+hr week then housework is largely your remit. if at home not working and a partner solely earns then yes clean and do housework,in fact snap to it.pronto.less mn. more domestics

so whilst you may have your 1st assumption,its not a shared assumption of mine

and if a woman posted role reversal here.she works man sahd,but housework not his role peopel would be apoplectic.the cock lodger and male entitlement speeches would get a dust down from some,ready for use

Laugs Sat 24-Sep-11 23:30:07

'The first assumption on this thread...' You lost me there. You might be the OP but you can't be in charge of who joins in or where the thread goes.

Actually your idea that you can tell posters how to feel about/ act on anything ('taking these criteria into account and recognising that they are going to change over time') has really pissed me off.

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Sat 24-Sep-11 23:32:37

I've told DS that I'm waiting for my DH to do it...

I'm a single mother... grin

Serious note, I get DS involved with everything, except pegging the laundry out (because he can't reach) and ironing... For obvious reasons. He had an almighty row with two children who told him he couldn't play with the hoover at nursery, because it's "Mummy's work and he can't be a mummy!"... He told them it's everyone's work.

scottishmummy Sat 24-Sep-11 23:33:23

its horrendous op.stand up,free yourselves,so as i say
assumption No1...oh dont get me laughing

Laugs Sat 24-Sep-11 23:36:44

Maybe OP thinks feminism is women telling other women how to behave.

scottishmummy Sat 24-Sep-11 23:40:29

clearly, dont be oppressed by men telling you what to sista
come over here and be tolfd by a woman what to are your instructions
assumption Number you couldnt make that up

Catitainahatita Sun 25-Sep-11 00:07:59

My two are still at the age where helping is fun. They prefer the jobs which involve water most of all. In fact as regards, DD I am fighting a loosing battle with her deliberately making a mess so as she can clean it up after! I'm pretty sure it won't last, mind.

BertieBotts Sun 25-Sep-11 00:17:31

Sorry, was just outlining what was discussed on the previous thread for those who missed it.

Catitainahatita Sun 25-Sep-11 00:24:50

Bertie: can you link to the previous thread so anyone interested can have a read?

SheCutOffTheirTails Sun 25-Sep-11 00:30:41

Maybe Laugs thinks feminism is about women choosing to do whatever they want. hmm

I think it was a grand OP, Bertie.

"if you dont work and partner goes out works 37+hr week then housework is largely your remit."

who are you talking to? Do you actually think there is a woman on earth who thinks that her remit is set by you?

scottishmummy Sun 25-Sep-11 00:44:10

it was grand op .yes grand scale indignant bossy ire
The first assumption on this thread - thats priceless
and scott jumping in to try redeem a doozey post by op by having go at others is bit unnecessary.really

BertieBotts Sun 25-Sep-11 00:47:22

I might be able to tomorrow, but it was ages ago and I can't remember what it was called. I'll do a search later and see if I can find it.

scottishmummy Sun 25-Sep-11 00:48:10

i am responding directly to op.her assumptive premise,its called online doscussion

here how it goes

op writes post.invites comment

respondents respond,and the your is a global your to the assumed others who maybe be reading. if it were a directive you or your id prefix with a name

Catitainahatita Sun 25-Sep-11 00:51:47

Thank you Bertie.

SheCutOffTheirTails Sun 25-Sep-11 01:05:04

So you are telling the "global you" what their remit is?

And you call Bertie bossy? grin

I love that you are trying to patronise me on a thread where all you've done is make yourself look like a shrewish fool.

scottishmummy Sun 25-Sep-11 01:10:53

your name calling makes you look unreasonable
still shrewish fool is a new one as opposed to troll
why are you earnestly trying to turn around a doozey op

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