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Housework and why men not doing it is contributing to inequality

(52 Posts)
AskBasil Wed 24-Aug-16 23:06:54

The chore wars

Someone posted this on my FB earlier on and I think it's the best articles I've read about domestic labour and equality.

paddypants13 Thu 25-Aug-16 10:44:27

Very interesting article.

I recently became a SAHM because the cost and faff of childcare made my working impossible and worthless (purely in terms of money.). Dh works a mixture of day and night shifts so it is not realistic to arrange childcare around his working pattern.

My being at home means I do the bulk of the house and garden work. I don't have a particular issue with this, I have more time to do it.

However, when dh does do some housework he will say "I've cleaned the bathroom for you or I'll wash up for you.". I've started to pull him up on this. It's not for me, we all live here so any housework done benefits us all. My reason for not working is purely down to the need to care for two very young children.

cadnowyllt Fri 26-Aug-16 17:16:22

I knew several men that live on their own - to a man, their gaffs are in shocking mess - when I've asked them about it, they mostly don't much care.

cadnowyllt Fri 26-Aug-16 17:18:57

Know not Knew grin

HapShawl Fri 26-Aug-16 17:58:31

Don't much care about what?

cadnowyllt Fri 26-Aug-16 18:39:14

about contributing to inequality.

Stevefromstevenage Fri 26-Aug-16 18:42:59

I knew several men that live on their own - to a man, their gaffs are in shocking mess - when I've asked them about it, they mostly don't much care.

When I had no kids my house was a tip too. I felt that we as parents owed our children a nice environment so DH and I got off our arses and did it. I wince when I see situations where posters DHs do absolutely nothing around the house because I just think it sets the next generation up for a fall too. I know different things work for different families but their are wider consequences to decisions we take and they are worth at least considering.

AskBasil Fri 26-Aug-16 20:22:11

I think as well when you have children, you simply have to be more organised because you have less time and so things need to be easily findable. As well as the safety issues around being in clutter, not baby-proofed etc.

Madinche1sea Fri 26-Aug-16 22:04:48

Thanks for the article AskBasil - it certainly struck a nerve with me!

Steve, I'm afraid I'm going to have to make you wince because I do have a DH who doesn't really participate in housework at all. There are some cultural factors here, but mainly it's the fact he travels a lot with work (on average 2 night a week, but often longer stints) and his work pattern is pretty relentless so that there's not really a regularity to when he's actually home. We've 4 DC and I'm a SAHM, so I'm the one who knows where things are up to. He's not in the rhythm of housework on s day-to-day basis if you see what I mean - therefore, he's not in the mindset of it either.

It's interesting that the article mentions that the jobs men seem to do are the finite or more "physical" ones - eg. mowing the lawn, the bins. DH will always take the bin bags off me, but would never join in with any ongoing cooking or cleaning task, even if he sees me doing it. Yet when disaster strikes, like the basement flooding with sewage, he will assume that he will deal with that. His jobs are things that can be fixed and finished.

I'm 39 and he's 42. I feel like I can't complain that he does no housework because his stock response will be that I should just get a cleaner in more often. Also I'm obviously aware that he works extremely hard in a different way. He is certainly not lazy - in fact, he's probably the least lazy person I know! It's more that he seems to have no sense that cleaning / tidying isn't just something that you do and then it's done. As the article says, the nature of most housework is incessant. I don't want to be giving him jobs, but just for him to be in the mindset to "join in" a bit more when he's home - eg. help me clear the plates off the table simply because that's obviously what I'm doing at that given moment.

He comes from a background where gender roles were very rigid (as do I) and I do worry about the model we are passing on to our DC (I don't think DH would be concerned about this though confused). I know I need to make some changes and I am trying. It's so easy to say, "Oh just tell him to do this or that", but the reality is that this kind of situation is often far more complex and intransigent than that.

SciFiFan2015 Fri 26-Aug-16 22:34:03

My DH is brilliant, in fact I's say we've worked it out and have a fair split of all household tasks. I've had to work hard to get there though! (So he can't take all the credit)
He used to say "I've done xxx for you' I'd explain he wasn't doing it for me and if I wasn't here he'd still need to do xxx! He rarely makes that sort of comment now. We're a team. We muck in on all tasks together.

phoenix1973 Fri 26-Aug-16 22:48:24

God it's like training puppies.
My partner used to expect:
Me to do dishes
Me to pick up his dirty stuff from all over the house.
Wash that crap
Iron it
Sort the pile of dirty crap at the foot of his wardrobe, distinguishing dirty from clean by sniffing it.
Sort his wardrobe as its too much for him.
There must be more..... All before we had a child and we both worked f.t.

I spent from age 11 with a single mum doing my own shit with no dad present. So my oh ideals were well at odds with mine.

Lots of arguing and with my renowned stubborn streak later, he understands and accepts I will not and do not pick up his crap. Never have I done any sniff testing or sorting his wardrobe.
If he wants washing done, fine, it goes in the laundry basket. Not in basket, not washed and ready for work. It's tough shit and I don't get involved in debates about it now.
He now knows to load his stuff in the d washer when he's eaten. Because I don't.
He sometimes moans about the house, I remind him of the location of the Hoover so he can do it.
He is filthy with the toothpaste, so he brushes his teeth in another bathroom. I clean them all once a week and his is filthy the next day and mine is immaculate.

It's taken 20 fucking years.

AskBasil Sat 27-Aug-16 09:40:13

I wouldn't clean his bathroom


AskBasil Sat 27-Aug-16 09:42:42

"His jobs are things that can be fixed and finished."

That is exactly how domestic tasks have been set up. Men get the ones which show a result. And they also don't happen very often.

Putting up shelves, fixing the washing machine, clearing out a flood in the cellar -these are things that happen once in a blue moon, if ever.

Unlike the ongoing everyday while you're going upstairs/ leaving the room take this with you tasks which are allocated to women's ownership.

RitchyBestingFace Sat 27-Aug-16 09:47:53

It's all one vicious circle though isn't it.

Men don't do housework because they 'have more stressful jobs', 'travel a lot', 'earn more money', 'work shifts' it makes sense to have a SAH or P/T partners.

Is it true that pre-kids men have more stressful, less flexible, better paid jobs than women? Or are they less capable of managing them with housework?

scratchypoopants Sat 27-Aug-16 10:14:26

My DH is crap at housework. I'm fairly crap at housework too. The bit in the article about lowering standards certainly struck a cord....l used to do alot more cleaning, but after we moved in together (17 years ago) I got pissed off with him not pulling his weight, and gradually stopped doing it. Now we live in semi-squalor and one of us does some cleaning when we can't stand it anymore, or we're expecting visitors. ..speaking of which, my folks are coming over tomorrow ...must dig out the mop!grin

BertrandRussell Sat 27-Aug-16 10:19:18

"My DH is brilliant, in fact I's say we've worked it out and have a fair split of all household tasks. "

Does he do daily cooking, make packed lunches, do nit combing, wash up, change loo roll?

NameChanger22 Sat 27-Aug-16 10:23:21

I think men are generally lazier than women and women have higher standards and value the home more. I could never live with a man again for this reason alone; I always felt like a complete muggins doing everything. Living alone I still do everything but there is a lot less to do, I feel good about it doing it and there is less resentment.

RitchyBestingFace Sat 27-Aug-16 10:49:41

Men are raised to think housework is not their role. Women are raised to think they must have a Perfect! Amazing! home. No wonder we can't live together.

Men need to learn to pick up their pants off the floor. Women need to learn to stop re-pinning images of '100 Tips to Get the Perfect Utility Room'

AskBasil Sat 27-Aug-16 10:55:56

""My DH is brilliant, in fact I's say we've worked it out and have a fair split of all household tasks. "

Does he do daily cooking, make packed lunches, do nit combing, wash up, change loo roll?"

Does he also remember that the washing up liquid/ bleach/ milk/ food is running out and he needs to find time to shop for them? Does he organise the play dates, remember family birthdays, buy the cards and put them in the post? Does he sort the childcare for school holidays out? Does he take time off work if your child needs to be collected from school because of illness? Does he do the mental work of preparation for things, the preparation for the cooking, the preparation for the family visits etc.?

This isn't meant as a hole picking exercise, btw, just a prompt to think about all the tasks which women don't even notice we're doing, which don't even flit across men's radar. Lots of women think they have a 50 50 balance and when they are independently observed, the ratio is more like 30 70 (guess whose doing the 70? grin)

Madinche1sea Sat 27-Aug-16 11:06:00

Ritchy - yes it's absolutely a vicious circle.

I'm currently looking into returning to work part- time. DH not particularly keen on this idea to say the least (wonder why)? but I'm still pursuing it anyway. To be honest, my niggling worry in doing this is about all the very kind of stuff that DH and the kids probably don't even notice. As Bertrand says, its the details that make everything tick over - loo roll, food in the cupboards, have they all got socks / the right sports kits / packed lunches etc. Also, I can't really envisage that DH will suddenly change his mindset, just because I'm working part- time, so I will still end up responsible for all this stuff anyway.

I know what it is like to work outside the home because that's obviously what I did before the DC. But DH has never been at home with the kids on a day to day basis or had to run the house so he has no concept of what's actually involved. If I'm honest, I really can't see him having the patience to do the mundane but essential stuff that goes unnoticed.

What I can't imagine is walking out the door and being able to totally switch off from everything related to the house and the kids. This is something DH has always taken for granted. This is the difference, I think - even in relationships where, on the surface, house chores appear to be more equitably allocated.

AskBasil Sat 27-Aug-16 11:09:00

Madinche1sea - your DH will probably do even less housework when you go out to work.

I think that article said (and I've come across the stat before) that men whose partners work outside the home actually do less housework.

Because they feel emasculated or some such crap. So they counterbalance it by being lazy entitled slobs at home.


Chchchchangeabout Sat 27-Aug-16 12:14:24

What I would find really useful would be a massive checklist of all these tasks to go through with OH to check we are doing things fairly.

RitchyBestingFace Sat 27-Aug-16 12:42:12

What I would find really useful would be a massive checklist of all these tasks to go through with OH to check we are doing things fairly.
Get your OH to write it? [facetious]

My DH is better than about 95% of men but he genuinely thinks that we have equal sharing of tasks - we both work FT. In truth he does hardly any of the life admin - buying birthday presents, booking after school clubs, planning holidays, changing energy suppliers. He really thinks mowing the lawn 3 times a year is an equal allocation of resources. And what is with the weird proprietorial attitude to taking bins out? It takes about 5 seconds - you are not doing a massive Man Job!

Mad there is a study that women who work P/T have the worst of all worlds because men think that their working FT while their partner is PT think that therefore she should do all housework.

KanyesVest Sat 27-Aug-16 13:06:50

Dh is all about buying in any help/expertise he has no interest in. The problem being unless we had a live in, 18 hour a day service, there's still all the fridge he doesn't see. On top of that is all the wife work which he is oblivious to. He's just been away for a week and in spite of me doing some major diy in his absense (including dismantling, moving and reassembling kitchen cupboards) because I have the children well trained, it was overall easier without his cups on the coffee table, socks on the floor, etc.

He does work hard and does have other good qualities but it is the one massive frustration in our marriage.

KanyesVest Sat 27-Aug-16 13:07:29

Drudge, he sees the fridge very well.

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