Equality In Housework?
Splitting Up the Household Chores Isn't Always the Best Idea for Couples
Dear April Masini,
I love my husband to death but I really want him to start helping out more around the house. We have a newborn baby and a toddler so the house is always a huge mess. My husband works a lot but he comes home and just sits around expecting me to do the typical "woman chores." I believe in equality between women and men, so I really don't think I should be stuck with these jobs. Ideally, I'd like to split the chores up, so he does certain chores one week and I do them the next. He completely disagrees with this idea. Don't you think it's the only fair way? Do you have any advice for how we can split the chores up and keep the calm in our relationship?
Sincerely, Equal Rights For All"
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Equal Rights For All,
Vive Le Difference isn't just a trite saying. It works because it's true.
Whenever equality between men and women becomes an issue, so does impending doom. Especially when children are involved -- because the difference between men and women becomes so blatant. Men can't get pregnant, they can't have babies, they can't nurse them, and the bond is different. Are they dispensable? No way! We love 'em. Just in their proper place!
Yes, men are doing more housework -- and more childcare as families attempt to attain equality between the sexes, and you don't have to be Einstein to see that it isn't working. One glance at the divorce rate and it's clear something's wrong.
Well, this is part of the problem.
The only time men doing housework on an equal basis with women works is when a couple lives together without children and both have equivalent jobs -- in which case they probably don't make that much of a mess, and can afford a regular housekeeper. It's when kids come, and the house is a wreck, no one's slept enough, had enough sex or gotten to the dishes on a regular basis -- let alone the laundry -- that equality in housework among other things flies out the window at rocket speed.
While it's still chivalrous for a spouse to do the dishes if the wife cooks up a sumptuous meal for two, the truth is the best marital aid any couple can have doesn't come with batteries -- it's a regular housekeeper.
If you insist on sharing the chores, at least delegate -- don't trade off the same chores weekly or split the same chores down the middle.
Here are some ideas:
- Let him do any physical work.
- Let her do any tedious work, detail oriented work.
- Leave balancing the checkbook to whomever is better at math.
- Let her do any work that requires small motor coordination and manual dexterity -- like folding laundry and mending clothes.
- Leave the food shopping to whoever cooks -- unless the other one is good at shopping from a list.
- Leave anything that resembles washing a car to him. This includes washing up in the kitchen, or hosing down the porch.
- Don't spend too much time worrying about how clean the house is. You and hubby need to have some fun too, so get out of the house and try out some of the date ideas you can find in my book, Romantic Date Ideas.