Monday, January 11, 2010

Who's The Man Around Here

Topic: How about household roles of men and women and how it is changing with working at home, and the concept in our modern world of being equals.

When I decided to take on the above topic, I hesitated. I said to myself… "I don't work at home, so this doesn't apply to me". But the rest of the topic was very appealing, so I had to run with it.

I must admit that I adore domesticity. Be it from parenting to cooking— I love it. I do not know how many men share this (even if it is secretly), but I am not ashamed of it at all. I think that we tend to place household roles into stereotypical roles and are embarrassed to "cross the line".

You used to hear statements like "A woman's place is in the home"— but this is no longer the case. Probably starting with Rosy the Riveter women started to work outside the home and became more empowered. With the advent of Women's Liberation in the 70's women started to demand equality. Is this equality changing women into men, and vice versa?

When I was a teenager, my mother insisted that I do my own laundry. I find it interesting to hear about women who do all the laundry for the men in the house. I wonder if those men were told to do their own laundry that they wouldn't mind doing it once and a while.

I love to cook. Perhaps it is the satisfaction of being able to give something to somebody and seeing them enjoy it that makes me love it so much. I have spoken to several women who admit to me that they do not cook. I have even heard them exclaim that they would like to find a man who loves to cook so that they do not have to.

My wife does cook. In fact, I feel that she cooks a lot better than I do. She allows me to cook because it gives her a break from cooking. She used to joke that she did all the cooking for years before she met me and welcomes the break. Perhaps the roles have reversed in this sense. I now find that I come home and my wife asks me what we are having for dinner.

I learned early on that dishes are part of cooking. You can't just cook and leave a dirty sink. So I wind up making dinner and doing the dishes after I am done serving. As I am doing the dishes, my wife is in the living room watching TV. Now I understand the frustration that women have when the man is in the other room and they are stuck in the kitchen. This does not mean that she refuses to do the dishes. In fact there have been many times that she has done the dishes and not after any prompting either.

My wife and I do not mind sharing the household chores. I believe that because I am comfortable doing those chores, that I can take on any of the chores without complaint. This makes our home more equal and allows each of us to be able to take on other tasks because our partner can do any of the chores that need to be done.

Do you and your partner share the responsibilities of the house? Are there some chores that you refuse to do? Do you take on those chores that are stereotypically associated with the opposite sex? Do you teach your children that they can do any chore— even if it is typically done by someone of the opposite sex?



Hubman said...

For Veronica & I household chores are gender neutral- our kids won't learn that there are "men's" jobs and "women's" jobs from us. Sure, there are certain tasks that she takes the bulk of the responsibility for, such as food shopping and cooking, while there are others, such as yard work, that I take care of. But it's not because of our genders, it's what we each enjoy doing. I *like* spending a summer Saturday afternoon working in the yard. There are many other examples where we share responsibility.

SciFi Dad said...

Like you, I did my own laundry as a teenager. I also cooked (REAL cooking, like roast beef dinners and stuff) and cleaned (REAL cleaning, like bathrooms and dusting and vacuuming).

Now, my wife does most of that stuff because she is at home with the kids and has time during the day to take care of a lot of it. If she decided to pass some along to me, I would be willing and able to do it.

MommyLovesStilettos said...

I don't cook. My boyfriend is ok at it, so I leave most of the cooking up to him. I handle all of the laundry and cleaning. BUT - if I asked him to do it, he would. I just prefer to do the cleaning myself because I'm OCD about it and I'll just go right behind him and clean again. LOL

Shirley said...

My husband works long hours outside the home. I have spent most of my time being home so the household chores are mine. Why should my husband work 50+ hours a week and then have to come home and do things I have plenty of time to do during the day. We used to split yardwork. For the last nine years, we've hired someone else to do it. That doesn't mean he does nothing around the home. He and the kids always cleaned up after dinner while I relaxed in another room. It gave me a small break and it gave him precious time to talk with the kids. They're grown now so it's just the two of us putting our dishes in the dishwasher. Works for us. : )

Years ago we lived in Richmond, Virginia. The southern belle across the street complained several times about me mowing the lawn or shoveling snow. Her husband was asking her why she couldn't do those things. LOL

All of my children are capable and willing to do whatever needs to be done.

"Cookie" said...

My husband and I share the chores....except the outside ones. He is in charge of cutting the grass. :) Because he wants it a very specific way. I'll help when it's shrub trimming time but that's about it. One area he doesn't touch is the cooking but he does the dishes and cleans the kitchen after I cook. And if I'm just pooped and have not desire to cook (which isn't often), his response "let's go grab a bite." As for laundry, he does his and I do mine with both of us sharing with our child's. I am thankful to his mom for this!! We both work outside the home so if one of us has a crazy week the other will pitch in and do all the laundry.

We had a cleaning person up until several months ago because I hate hate hate to do the actual cleaning. We've both stepped up and are sharing this responsibility. And I still hate it!

I have to say I'm lucky in that I have a husband who is willing and doesn't mind at all to chip in....and I know it!

Anonymous said...

Equality and Sharing Housework

It is all very well being equal and sharing the work, but who is to decide who does what? This is an area where disagreements and quarrels can all too easily occur and develop into serious problems. Human’s are a quarrelsome enough species as it is without creating confrontational situations and where there are no clear guidelines there is inevitable disputes and bad feeling.

Feminism is well known for this and is constantly disputing and dismantling guidelines and previously stable relationships - often by lying about history and social circumstances.

In the pre-feminist golden era - when men and women got on much better than they do now - house work, with few labour saving machines, was a full time occupation. Paid employment, often involving very heavy manual labour, was also a full time occupation. Hence there was a clear division of tasks between men and women which reduced disputes; and husband and wife usually got on together in an amicable way as partners who depended on, and needed one another in the fullest sense of the word.

But with the invention of domestic labour saving devices - making the ‘housewife’ redundant, and the invention of mechanised work equipment - making the ‘male upper body strength’ requirement redundant in the workplace, this clear division and general agreement has been lost - leading to a lot of argument and dissention, and unstable relationships and marriages.

It would be useful if there was some guide to this, and I would like to put forward the system my wife and I had. As we were only separated by death our relationship should be considered a successful one.

When we both worked we looked after our own domestic chores, helping the other when needed.
When I worked and she was at home, she had all the domestic chores. For me, the home was a place of relaxation and rest. I did not expect her to share my paid employment work and she did not expect me to share the domestic work.
When we were both at home, we shared the domestic chores, with my tending to do the outside chores, and heavy ones inside. This was not a rigid arrangement, and if one had problems, the other would help or take over.

The wife who is dependent on a working husband and yet expects him to assist her in the home chores is, in my opinion, a lazy skiver, and should either get a job of equal pay and share the home chores, or get on with the home chores and stop moaning!

As Hubman is, according to him, a kept man, dependent of Veronica, I think he should be doing a lot more that he appears to be doing, and seems to be a bit of a slacker.

There! I’ve said it! : )

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Ok first David... Sweet sarcastic can't let anything go David.

Layoff Hubman. I like him and enough's enough ya know?

But I do like how you and your wife divided things up (which doesn't seem to far off of what Hubman and his wife do).

I think a marriage is a partnership. Pitch in when you see something needs to be done or your partner needs a break! :)

I agree that if one stays home then they should keep the home "office" organized and kept up.

But like Cajoh says, he enjoys cooking so he ends up cooking, what's wrong with that?

My Husband does anything outdoors... I don't enjoy it and so he does it-but I will pitch in if help is needed or he needs a break...which is almost never so I count my lucky stars.

When I was at home I tended to all things domestic and even though it wasn't my favorite it kept me busy and gave me a sense of accomplishment. I'd much rather be doing that then working full-time at the career I am now, Careers in the WorkForce are completely overrated.

The only thing my hubs does for me inside is take out the trash...cause YUCK.

Now that I work he helps with everything so I pretty much can't complain :)

Anonymous said...

I am your stereotypical old-fashioned housewife/mom and I love it. I have an infant at home and an grade-schooler. It is a strain on our budget for me to be home, but until the baby is also in school this is the best for us. At most, I may take on a part time evening job in the next couple years, but we'll see.

As for chores, I do most of the housework. I don't ask him for help since I consider this my job and he has his job. At most, I may ask him to help pick up the baby's toys from the living room floor, but not actual housework like cleaing the tub, etc. Last year, pre-baby, I worked full time and we shared duties more, but I still did most of the housework. I didn't mind, though, because I had a desk job and his job is physically demanding and he's out in the heat/cold.

My husband does wash his own work clothes (I think he just likes to know they are done and not worry that I may forget to do them) and he takes out the trash and does all the yard work. He usually makes our bed, too.

I do all the cooking/dishes, but we grocery shop together on weekends.

I do most of the diaper changing, but at night when he's home he will (but I usually have to mention it).

We don't make our older son do too much around the house yet. He does empty the bathroom trash when asked, make his bed (or attempt to when we remind him), tidies his own room, and will sort out his colors and whites when it's time for me to do laundry. He also clears his own dishes and rinses them off in the sink. I think that's a pretty good start. Not making him into a maid, but at least he'll be somewhat self sufficient. I don't want him to think he is to be waited on.

Chief said...

When I decided I need to get out and work outside the home 4 years ago, Duke and I split duties. He doesn't mind doing chores around the house although it pisses me off sometimes that I have to bee the one to assign the chores out. He doesn't see the dirt or the need to do the laundry until he is out of clean underwear.

He also does the cooking unless he is lazy and then we get a subway sandwich.

He is home most of the day for work and therefore it made sense for him to be the one to start dinner and rotate laundry.

We really try to show our two boys that there are no gender specific roles.

My 13 year old does his own laundry BTW.

Cajoh said...

I would hope that being equal when it comes to household chores does not put a wedge in the relationship because of undesired chores to be done.

If anything, being in a relationship requires you to make compromises. It appears that many of you do compromise when it comes to the chores and there is not any over resentment of what chores you do.

Thank you all for reaffirming my thoughts on the matter.

Anonymous said...

@ Shelle

'Sweet' yuk
'sarcastic' where?
'can't let anything go' like what?

All right - I'm going, I know when I'm not wanted.

Bloody feminists.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

@ David- do whatever you want.

But email me because I'd hate for you to get offended over the wrong thing.

I like you also, which I did forget to mention.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read through the other comments, but did read the whole post.

I think I may be one of the few women (and that's just an assumption) who still believes that the woman belongs in the home. HOWEVER, before I get yelled at here, I think it takes a strong woman to work outside the home and a strong woman to remain at home. I don't look down or judge anyone.

My husband and I talked, in length, before we got married. We agreed that I would stay at home. It is MY belief that because I am a sahm that it is MY responsability to do the majority of the house work, the majority of the child rearing. It is HIS responsability to provide financially (as well as emotionally and mentally of course) for our family, make sure bills are paid and we are safe.

My husband was alone for 8 years before me, so knows very well how to do everything in the house. But, again, it's my job. The only thing I do not do is cook. My husband loves to cook and so this is his area. I only cook when he is away on business.

As for switching roles every once in a while? Heck no. I can't do it. I have some very lovely OCD (note the sarcasm) and cannot function if the housework is not done a very specific way. On the rare occasion, my husband will sneak around and throw his laundry on (he thinks he's helping me, but he's not really lol).

So I guess, in point form;
1. I believe the MY place is in the home.
2. I do not judge or even disagree with women who work outside the home.
3. I believe if the father is a sahd, than his responsabilities would the the same as if it were his wife at home.
4. I believe if the mother (or father) has an At Home Job (one that brings in a paycheque) then it is the same thing as working outside the home and the housework and child rearing should be spilt 50/50.

Anonymous said...

Even though I was raised in a traditional environment w/ a SAHM and a Father who was the primary breadwinner, they didn't assign gender roles to household work. We all worked together to get the work done, regardless of what it was. My father was the one to teach me how to properly iron a shirt (and change oil, garden, etc).

There are no gender roles for chores at our house, but my spouse & I each have chores that we like more than others. I enjoy cooking, but he does it reluctantly. I don't enjoy laundry, so he does it 95% of the time. The kids are expected to pull their weight too, with their responsibilities increasing as they have gotten older & more capable. It's not unusual for them to produce the occasional meal or do the laundry as well. We're all busy and working around unusual schedules, so it takes us all to keep things clean & moving along as they should. We did have a housecleaner once a month for deep cleaning, but in many ways I didn't like it because I thought it sent the wrong message to our kids.

Bookworm said...

Ha...this is interesting. My husband feels that the division of household chores is the old fashioned way....the man does the outside chores the woman does the inside chores. Which is fine with me, because I hate gardening, raking, weeding, grass cutting etc. Mind you, I don't particularly care for vacuuming, bathroom cleaning etc., but given the choice I'll take the inside ones, thankyouverymuch. But the problem is, we live in an apartment. There ARE no outside chores for hubby. So... I cook, and do the dishes. I clean the bathrooms, dust, vacuum, etc. I do my laundry; he does his. However, I do the laundry on all the household stuff -- sheets and towels, etc. To me, this is completely unbalanced. He does a lot of sitting around relaxing while I'm running around doing all the household chores. We both work outside the home 40 hours a week. It pisses me off to no end. But what to do? I can't MAKE him do them. I've tried asking nicely. I've tried nagging. I've tried bitching. I've tried the silent treatment. I've tried the passive-aggressive approach (stomping around doing the chores, slamming things around while glaring at him). I've tried not doing them until the house got so absolutely filthy that I couldn't stand it anymore. So, it's either live in the filth or just do it myself. Or leave him. I can just see the divorce papers now. "Reason for divorce: Didn't clean the bathroom." Hmmmph. I dunno what to do at this point.

Bookworm said...

p.s. Oh and I also do all the shopping too. Grocery shopping, Costco runs, Target, etc. I've tried letting him do the grocery shopping once....and it wasn't pretty. He came home with bags full of chips, dip, salsa, ice cream in addition to most of the stuff on the list. *sigh*

Anjeny said...

Great post and all the comments are insightful. Cajoh, it's very admirable of you to admit that you adore domesticity, a very good trait in a man. I love that you love cooking, if I live close, I'd be knocking on your door and inviting myself in for lunch or dinner, whichever meal you are preparing. I love eating home-made food and other's cooking...LOL.

To answer your questions..I am a SAHM so all the household chores are my responsibility. My hub is the bread winner so that is his responsibility. He likes outdoors so he does the yardwork and I help out sometimes when needed.

I couldn't say if there are chores that I refuse to do...I do whatever needs to be done...I mean I loathe housekeeping but it's something I have to do so I do it. I am making sure that my kids are doing any chores that needed to be boys do the dishes, laundry, taking trash out, help with the dinner and whatever else needs to be done in the house and they also help with the yardwork...the same goes for my girls. I try not to do the stereotype thing when it comes to household chores. I want my kids grow up knowing how to be able to take care of a home and provide for a family so whoever marry them would actually be happy about their choice..does that make sense.

DGB said...

As I settle more and more into my domestic coma, I find that our roles in the house are more stereotypically gender based...though not by design.

Simple fact, I hate doing laundry. She hates scooping cat litter. So it ends up working out.

Another Suburban Mom said...

Since Hubman and I both work full time jobs, we share the household responsibilities based on schedules, talents and preferences.

I really enjoy grocery shopping, food prep, and laundry. I am not a big fan of the outdoor stuff or anything to do with the vehicles.

I do not consider child care to be a chore, but the child hauling is.

Some weeks I have more going on at work and Hubman picks up the slack for me. Some weeks Hubman is insane so I do a little extra.

We are both happy and it all evens out in the end.

Best of all, we have a cleaning service come in once a month and do the serious cleaning that neither of us enjoys.

I also think that if you are the stay at home spouse that your household contribution should be equal to the spouse's work week.

If your spouse puts in a 40 hour work week, than you do 40 hours of chores. Anything that takes more than 40 hours is split between the two of you depending on preferences.

And Midlife Mama: Make a list of weekly chores each week and ask him to pick his half. If he does not do it, then it does not get done. However if he picks laundry it is ok to just do yours if he neglects it.

Anonymous said...

For the love of all small things brown - "a lazy skiver" - David, don't make me go Arlie Russell Hochschild on yah!

I am not even touching the other comments.

As far as I can remember I have always worked and the men that I happen to meet and end up having a relationship with were all gainfully employed. So we both did the housework. I think it is a choice between two people what will suit them or enjoy doing when it comes to housework and I use the term "enjoy" loosely. Let's face it who enjoys doing housework. I believe that if both people work outside the home, they should both pitch in to get things done around the home. The chores in the home should not be divided in terms of gender. If one choses to stay home, male or female then that person should carry the brunt of what has to be done in the home.

I for one am lucky as such that I live in my own home (my space) and my partner has his own, although we are in a long term relationship, for now we chose to live apart (it works really well for both of us!) So I do my own housework and he does his own. I guess, we shall see what happens when we decide to move in together.

Becky Andrews said...

We are a partnership working towards the same goal of house/life running smooth so agree with all that have said -- we share the tasks. Right now, my husband is working from home so he does more of the household chores - we are empty nesters so they are minimal also. Its too tiring to keep track of who does what - I know I would be way behind if we did, too.

OneZenMom said...

I think we have a fair split of our household chores.

We, to, tend to go with out strengths. My husband is a better cook than I am, for example - and enjoys it more. So he does most of the cooking and I usually do the dishes.

He's also home more hours in the week than I am, so he washes the laundry and then leaves it for me to fold and put away.

We've never made any "rules" about such things. Our patterns and habits have just sort of evolved based on need and personal preference.

I think it's a good thing, though, that we do not have rigid "his and hers" lists. Because neither of us is afraid to pick up the slack when necessary, either.

If one of "his" chores needs doing and he's extra busy this week, I just do it. And vice versa.

We don't look at it so much as "his and hers" jobs. We're a team. A unit. Us against the clutter! :)

Because of this attitude/approach, We rarely, if ever, harbor any resentment or feel the other is not pulling his/her weight.

Anonymous said...

i feel pretty certain I could do the laundry but I never have. I can't cook either, not even BBQ. I can fix a car though!
Well sometimes anyway.

I am slightly more domesticated than a poorly trained house dog.

TheOneTrueSue said...

I work full-time from home (4 hours in the morning, 4 hours at night) AND take care of the kids and all of their activities. My husband works outside of the home and is gone from 7AM to 6PM every day. I make substantially more money. Division of labor just can't be based on who makes money.

My husband does the laundry, I do the dishes and daily picking up and vaccuuming and such. We split the cooking, and on the weekends we split the bathrooms and other more thorough cleaning. We both hate it, but are not willing to live in filth.

landscape gold coast said...

Whoever was "kind" enough to distort your thinking with cruel and ignorant thoughts that all men are scum (that's what it sounds like you may have been told, some version of that at least), needs to realize they have their head on backwards and are seriously twisted.