Thursday, 27 January 2011

Who does what in your home?

I have a feeling that although I complain a lot about my other half NOT doing anything round the house; I might have been exaggerating a bit. Why should I confess that? Well I have been watching the wonderful Who Does What? programme on BBC2 this evening as you do when you are waiting for Emmerdale to get going again after its dun dun dun break when it then tells you it will be back in half an hour.
Most sane people of course would be getting on with the laundry or else cooking their other half a three course cordon bleu feast. Not me I laze back in my chair pretend I haven’t seen the dog do by the fire in the other room and grab another glass of the good old Vino Plonko to accompany my mindless foray into mid-evening TV: the bit after the soaps but before the real drama of the night.
So there I am mindlessly zapping when I see it: A woman sitting on her bed laughingly with gritted teeth shrugging off the fact that HE seems to be enjoying chopping wood to keep the house heated at a balmy 13.5 degrees while she has to do everything else. And it struck a chord so I stopped zapping.
There he was pootling about in blissful ignorance of the fact that is long suffering wife was miserable and so would I be if I was kept that cold and had to do all the crappy jobs. Then it dawned on me, as it did on him, that if you land up doing all the crappy jobs in a marriage then you ain’t going to be that happy about it and may be a tad resentful.
Mostly I land up doing the boring crappy jobs because if I didn’t then they would never get done. So I do all the washing, cleaning, tidying up, letter writing, organisation, finance and weeding while he gets to play bonfires, driving the ride on mower, cooking and doing all the cool thing with eh boys like tennis, swimming, computer games and the like…
Not good.
One of the pundits on the show blamed this on further education for women which meant they were less likely to aspire to keeping their homes tidy. I put it down to the fact that blokes are better at ignoring everything they don’t like doing knowing that females will crack long before they do.
Before I got married Dear Charlie was a very house-proud man, he was also a very good ironer. When we got back from our honeymoon something changed and he became incapable of functioning on this level. He woke one mooring to ask me where his shirts were, I said I had no idea. He said where had I put his clean ones?
Me: “What clean ones?”
Him: “The ones you washed?”
Me, disliking his accusatory tone: “I haven’t washed any of your shirts, Darling
Him, glaring: “What do you mean you haven’t washed my shirts?”
“Well,” says I getting just a tad annoyed, “why should I wash your clothes? I send mine to the dry cleaners*….”
I think it was something we should have discussed before we got married.
Since that little fracas things have changed due to financial circumstances and the fact that there isn’t a decent pick up and return laundry and dry cleaning service in the outer reaches of East Anglia so I do all the laundry and farm out the ironing to the redoubtable Therese, I mean there is only so far I will go on this course of enforced drudgery. For the fact is although he does help out HE always gets to do what he likes while I do all the stuff I don’t like a bit like the couple in the programme.
I had to turn over before the end of the programme to carryon watching Emmerdale but it got me thinking perhaps if I cut down on the stuff I don’t like and delegated some of it perhaps I may get to do some things I do like and perhaps life would be a little more enjoyable?
Do you think you do all the crap jobs at home or are they more evenly divided?

*Please note at the time we both had full time jobs


Expat mum said...

If I'm being hinest, the Ball & Chain does a lot but it's when he wants to. He will cook quite often at the weekends, but it's if he wants to, otherwise I'm the default. If I left my chores till I felt like them, he would never notice because he takes his work stuff to the cleaners. The kids would probably have to be walking around naked before he did anything - and then he'd tell them to do it themselves.
It's the lack of choice that gets to me. Oh, and the sheer boredom of it all.

diney said...

My hubby does the dirty job like emptying the bins and picking up the dog pooh so I can't complain, even though I do feel I never stop (a woman's work and all that jazz!).

Tattie Weasle said...

Expat Mum - Exactly it's when they want to, they have so much freedom! Oooohh it makes me wnat to punch another hole in teh wall!!!!!
Diney - I often feel like Sisyphus! That or a hamster....

Miss Sadie said...

Hmmmm. Bear does washing, cleaning, tidying up, cooking, dishes, and bonfires. In the summer, he's walking the front and back yards with the mower, weeding the garden, and trying to encourage his vegetables to grow.
J does washing, cleaning, tidying up, organisation, cooking, dishes and finance. (She wants to know where the money is!)
I eat, and sleep, chase toys in the yard, and go for walks.
Overall, I think that's a reasonably equitable division of household work amongst the three of us.

Von said...

I get to do fun things, hell I'd be silly not to in retirement.I cook at home and get taken out for as many coffees and meals as I want, can't say fairer than that.

Jude said...

It's pretty much the same in our household, I accept it because I'm not working full-time, so you could say it's a 'fair' division of labour - it's my 'job', even if it's a very boring one. My husband tells me to get a cleaner if I dislike it so much (I think he fails to understand that it's not just cleaning I do)but then I'd just feel guilty for not doing it myself. If I start working full-time again, things will change.....

I'm So Fancy said...

H pays others to do his share. Because I'm not his slave. It's an ongoing discussion.

Little Red Hen said...

I'm at home full time so all the jobs, crap or otherwise are mine. Except the outside work - Himself cuts the grass and shovels snow. A few years ago, I made him cook on week-ends which gives me a bit of a break because I hate cooking. I actually don't like him doing the wash - he doesn't do it right and ruins my system.

Anonymous said...

I think women put themselves in these situations even though they don't want to. It's just something we do when we live with someone - no matter how independent and feminist we are, we always take on the gender roles. As soon as my husband comes through the back door he does nothing, unless I nag him. He can't even tell the difference between the washing machine and tumble dryer and wouldn't know where the mop and bucket were if I threw them at him. I'm not domesticated and have a cleaner but recently I've been doing it myself. If I left it to husband however, we would live in absolute squalor. And that's no exaggeration!

Very interesting post!
CJ xx

legend in his own lunchtime said...

This is late, I know, but I've been catching up on all the chores I get left to do around the house. My dear wife likes to play tennis and read her self magazines. I have to fit my fun stuff in between cooking, cleaning, washing tidying, picking up and dropping off our son, getting him ready for bed, getting him up in the morning, looking after the chickens, weeding and multitudes of other garden work and house maintenance. Oh, I also have a job. Things will get left at the top of the stairs to bring down, or more frequently, the other way round. She would rather step over something than pick it up and put away. She did warn me before we got married that she didn't "do cleaning" so I have no one to blame except myself. What gets me is the total lack of awareness of what I do around the house. For all she knows, we might have fairies at the bottom of the garden.
Sorry for the rant, but you did ask:)

Iota said...

We are fairly traditional. Husband does the heavy jobs, and the car-related jobs, and the DIY jobs. I do the kitcheny things.

Having said that, there's quite a bit of crossover. Husband often does the ironing (his tolerance for a huge ironing pile is lower than mine), and he likes to cook so we often end up cooking together, which is companionable. He washes up and generally potters in the kitchen. I try to do occasional DIY and car things, just so I don't get helplessly dependent. I'm 100% responsible for the household blogging.

Go on you know you want to...


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