Whose Job is the Housework?

“The guys just don’t feel the same way we do about the house. They don’t have the guilt that eats away at them.” Flylady in an answer to a letter about the Husband’s clutter.

Oh boy…

Here’s the problem.  Do you know why men don’t feel guilty if the house looks like shit?  It’s because quite often they feel it’s the woman’s job to clean the house.  You can’t feel guilty about something you feel isn’t your responsibility!

Now, as it happens, I am the one who takes charge of how the house looks.  There are several reasons, and yes, one of the reasons is that I’m the one who cares the most about it and I’ve made some life choices that give me the time.  But you know what?  If I had something else I was doing that I considered important[1], I would consider that the important thing to do.  I will, have and do react incredibly badly to the automatic assumption that having a uterus means that I’m the one who should automagically be in charge of how the house looks.  Lack of help cleaning up after dinner would have me quite disinclined to cook another single meal.   I haven’t the slightest problem with asking people to pick up after themselves, and consistent refusal to do so is definitely a relationship-killer with me.

But the guilt thing?  Friends, that’s some sexist socialization there.  Partnerships and equitability are one thing, but you wouldn’t establish a business partnership with the relationship  and responsibilities unexamined.  Why shoot yourself in the foot with your life partners?

[1] A book deadline, for instance, would mean that instead of me doing the lion’s share of the household chores, we’d be splitting housework up in thirds Or There Would Be Serious Trouble.


One Reply to “Whose Job is the Housework?”

  1. “Do you know why men don’t feel guilty if the house looks like shit? It’s because quite often they feel it’s the woman’s job to clean the house.”

    I call sexist BS. I don’t feel guilt, and it’s got nothing to do with whose “job it is”. It’s got everything to do with personal comfort levels and personal standards. When I feel the house needs cleaning, I clean it. That doesn’t come as quickly as the female residents of the house would like it to, but does that make them right and me wrong? I certainly don’t think so. It’s a matter of personal preference. That’s all.

    If you feel guilt, it’s for one of two reasons:
    1) You choose to do so.
    2) You were socially programmed to do so.
    So you might get by with saying I don’t feel guilt because *my father and mother* felt it was the woman’s job, but don’t lay that on me. I ain’t taking it.

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