Home Household chores Household chores: a list to discuss as a couple

Household chores: a list to discuss as a couple


Ah, the hell of Sisyphus’ housework. It will never be over; the house does not become dirty again until the last pass of the J-cloth. There is no escape. Those of us who have passed lockdown at home and up close with our soap scum, dust bunnies and inexplicable coffee splashes along the wall now realize the importance of staying on top of things more than ever. . But be honest with yourself: are you doing enough?

Men certainly do more than they do – doubling our production since the 1960s, apparently – but the bar was lower than a snake’s belly in the first place. Women still do an average of an additional hour of household chores per day. Maybe men think they are doing more than they actually are because we are used to doing so little. There is almost something heroic about a man going about the housework, as if he deserves some kind of kudos for breaking with stereotypes. But often, when he realizes that the balloons aren’t falling from the ceiling every time he vacuums, he starts doing very little again. Now, before we take this as a personal affront, let’s drop the warnings: there are plenty of men who do their part and get up with the roosters to begin relentless chores while their partners bask in baths of milk from the sea. ‘donkey and a lot of couples who call each other “a team” in dinner conversations and have a strict rotation, but, for the most part, the guys are not doing their weight.

Many men will say that they are happy to do anything in the house if asked, which is often the main gripe of women who love them – you have to ask them. You might think you’ve got your finger around the house, but there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes. Load sharing goes beyond the physical. There is also the emotional tension, the ‘worry work’, which is not just doing things, but remembering or noticing things need to be done, getting the tools to get the job done. , get the task done (or do it themselves) and stay on top. Think about when you are asked to change a light bulb. Who asked you? Where does the new bulb come from? Did you even notice he was out? Will you continue to check the bulb and find out when it needs fixing for the next time? If not, who does? There are also “secret tasks” that some men may not even notice. Isn’t it wonderful how the dishwasher seems to empty or the laundry you have very kindly, after a gentle reminder, put in the washing machine also managed to hang on the dryer and then hang on fold up and jump into the cabinet?

A lot of housework – in fact, the concept of housework itself – is gendered and there are many theories that men don’t see it as their problem, ranging from the wilderness such as a scientific inability to seeing dirt (nonsense), depressing, like the fact that women are judged more harshly because they have a messy house, so they are more likely to interfere and many men will not have saw their father doing a lot at home either. It’s not just about heterosexual couples, of course: Same-sex couples also have their imbalances and injustice, but same-sex couples might be less likely to assume a particular task is left to them and will discuss more openly or align tasks according to their skills. Recently, Twitter was in turmoil when a young mother simply stopped washing dishes and picking up after her family, waiting to see if her husband noticed. It took him several days to dodge mountains of precariously stacked dishes before he finally reached the tea towel uninvited – and even then he couldn’t remember washing everything. Commentators were horrified, claimed it was an aberration and grounds for immediate divorce – but the reality is that even perfectly happy couples can be engaged in an almost imperceptible battle of wills for tidying up. .

Even if your relationship is going well, it’s okay to assess how much you both contribute to the upkeep of your home and the emotional burden of maintaining a successful relationship. To ensure fairness, you may need to go down the path of clarifying responsibilities and assigning tasks to ensure fairness. Having this conversation can seem like a pain in the ass, and there may be some uncomfortable truths in your path, but it’s better than simmering resentment that, likely, makes your partner miserable. Remember: they know where the bleach is. You don’t want it in your tea.