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Chores: the truth about who does what in the modern family

We asked 1000 mothers who work outside the home who does what in their house - from cleaning and ironing to sorting out childcare and family finances. The results show that, even though they're employed, mothers are still picking up the vast majority of household tasks. Take a look at the key findings.

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Jun 1, 2021

Women undertake an average of 10 hours of chores a week - twice as many as men

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Vintage dad painting
  • Fathers are responsible for changing lightbulbs in 56% of households (mothers in 18%; 25% share)
  • Fathers are responsible for DIY in 69% of households (mums in 11%; 20% share)
  • Fathers are responsible for pest control in 41% of households (mums in 33%; 25% share)
woman in vintage kitchen

Cleaning, cooking and washing, on the other hand, mostly falls to mothers 

  • 71% of women are responsible for the weekly clean
  • 77% are responsible for washing
  • 70% of mums are responsible for cooking for the kids
  • 63% do more tidying up
  • 57% do all or most of the ironing
woman looking at watch

When it comes to household admin, women are doing the lion's share

  • 50% of working mums are responsible for managing the family budget (15% of dads; 35% share)
  • 43% are responsible for organising rent or mortgage payments (35% of dads; 22% share)
  • 49% are responsible for paying utility bills (30% of dads; 29% share)
  • 77% are responsible for buying family birthday presents
vintage family shopping

Mothers do most of the organising for children

  • • 82% of working mums are responsible for arranging childcare and/or school applications
  • • 88% manage routine health appointments (GP, optician, dentist etc)
  • • 91% are responsible for organising playdates
  • • 85% are responsible for organising birthday parties
  • • 80% are the first person the school calls if there's a problem

However, childcare activities are more likely to be shared equally

  • • 62% of parents both attend parents evenings
  • • 57% attend school plays equally
  • • 52% read bedtime stories equally
Woman in bed reading

So ... what if partners did take on more responsibility? How would women use the extra time?

  • 72% would spend more time enjoying family life
  • 72% would use the time to pursue other interests
  • 54% would do more around the house/garden
  • 42% agreed they'd have more time for sex if their partner took on more of the household burden
  • 75% think they'd have more time for each other and feel more appreciated

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vintage housewife talks to husband

Yet, despite this, most women claimed they wouldn't want their partner to take on more. 66% said they didn't want their partner to do more around the house, despite the unequal distribution of responsibilities, either because they’re comfortable with the current balance, because it suits them to do the chores themselves, or because they believe that their partner would not perform them to the requisite standard.