Friday, June 02, 2006

Domestic Bliss or How to Get Out of Doing Any Housework

Today, whilst ironing some napkins I told FishBoy that dinner would be ready soon.

There are so many things wrong with that sentence. I absolutely loathe housework, but I do it anyway because the alternative is worse. But ironing napkins? Good grief. Life’s too short. I suppose I should explain. My mother or The Chairman as she is sometimes referred to by her daughters came to dinner last week. As it was the first time I had had her to a formal dinner in at my flat I was anxious to make a good impression, hence the purchase, use, and subsequent washing and ironing of said napkins. I could have left them un-ironed, but the unfortunate fact is, I derive great aesthetic pleasure from stacks of pressed cloth. Yes it’s very sad. And I was also making supper which is how I came to be in the above situation whilst my inner feminist died a little more.

In my household which at present consists of me, the FishBoy and a lot of house plants it is me who does most of the housework. As I am currently not working and the FishBoy is you might think this is only fair. And you would be right, up to a point. But this was true when we were both working and in fact my day was significantly longer as I had the bigger commute. I don’t do any more housework now than I did before. But I still do most of it.

I
• Hoover the carpets
• Mop the kitchen floor
• Clean the kitchen
• Tidy the living room
• Make the bed
• Clean the bathroom
• Wash the sheets and towels
• Buy most of the groceries
• Wash my clothes
• Do most of the washing up
• Do about half the cooking

Dave
• Waters the plants
• Administers the bills account
• Does the washing up if I nag him enough
• Does about half the cooking
• Washes his own clothes
• Tidies
• Buys some groceries

How did we end up in this situation? I always thought that as equals, all household chores should be split evenly. And in theory, FishBoy believes this too. But getting him to do any household chore is so painful, it usually involves me doing a lot of nagging, and I really hate nagging. I don’t want to be a nag.

I think I just have a much lower tolerance level for dirt and disorder than the Boy does. I If left to his own devices the Boy would simply live in an increasingly dirty although tidy flat and sleep on unwashed sheets for months at a time. And I can’t live like that. So, as I don’t like to nag, I do most of the work and the Boy does the minimum that I ask him to (mostly doing the washing up and driving to the supermarket).

This is not meant to be a lengthy complaint about the Boy’s lack of domesticity, I wanted to examine how I, lifelong feminist came to be in this situation. It’s not the Boy’s fault exactly, nor is it mine. Or rather it is both of ours. I am not expected to clean, the Boy wouldn’t mind if I didn’t.

I suppose it is simple really – I am not expected to do all the cleaning and cooking and indeed I would be horrified if I were. But if I want to live in a clean house, then I’ve got to bust out the Marigolds and Mr Sheen on my own. I really, really hate this. As I’ve said before housework is my least favourite activity and it is so tied up in my head with ‘women’s work’ that it creates extra mental resentment.

The only workable answer I can think of is to hire a cleaning lady and buy a dishwasher. Hardly feasible at the moment. So I suppose I’m going to go on cleaning, and the Boy will go on doing what I ask him to, but not without grumpiness and procrastination.

How does it work in your house?

7 Comments:

Blogger Amanda said...

the whole gender split is weird. Back when i was working it was pretty much a 50/50 thing except he did all the vacuuming and taking out of the rubbish. He even puts a new toilet roll in the holder(unheard of in most homes apparently).
when i shared a flat with 2 other girls they never once brought the rubbish out.they must be up to their eyebrows by now.

7:18 AM  
Anonymous owlover said...

yeah...I used to want to clean clean clean, but now I like to just make dirt dirt dirt and wory about the cleaning the cleaning and the cleaning!

10:37 PM  
Anonymous French Fancy said...

Yeah, I used to be the messy one, and owlover used to nagg me to do the housework. But we always used to do it together.

Slowly but surely, he's become the careless one, and I'm becoming more and more like my mother!

Why is this? Are we getting old? Do men pretend to be good at housework to make you think you've got the right number, and then go back into their natural self?

Thankfully, it's still not too bad in our flat, and owlover still does a lot.
I just don't understand the shift in both our behaviours!

6:01 PM  
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Blogger Stephen said...

Are things any better now?

6:22 PM  

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