A woman’s work is never done

Today, Siobhan talks about the aspects of building a life together that are considered ‘the woman’s job’.  It goes much deeper than the washing up.  I’m alternating between my hackles rising at the thought of me being the more “social” part of my marriage because I’m a woman,  and wondering whether that actually is the case. Reason tells me no.  My gut tells me…. maybe. And readers? That enrages me. 

Over to you,  Siobhan:


Recently I have found myself being befuddled by people telling me that certain things are “the woman’s job”.  These people have mostly been women, much to my consternation and confusion.

For example, we have recently moved to Edinburgh.  For the first three and a half months I was commuting between Edinburgh and London, but apparently as the wife, making friends in Edinburgh is down to me.  The woman’s job is to make friends for both her and her husband. Because I can make friends for Matthew.  I have slowly started making friends.  He is meeting people too through me, but you know what?  I think he feels the people he meets through me are my friends and not his, so that kind of puts a downer on the idea that I am making friends for him.  More to the point, should I be making friends for him?

If housework comes up (and what a riveting topic of conversation that is) and I say I have done all the housework apart from the bins and hoovering as those are Matthew’s jobs.  I get this wide eyed look, like I am a horrendous wife for having him do any housework, but those ARE his jobs.  While I am off at the moment I am putting the recycling out but he has jobs and I have jobs.  If life makes one of us too ill or busy to do our bit the other one picks up the slack for a bit but most of the time we are equally busy so we split the jobs fairly equally.

Maybe the reason they think I should do the housework is because Matthew will be “providing for me soon”.  I have NO doubts about his ability to move up and up within whatever company he joins as he is amazing but this assumes that I am not.  Now maybe we will be able to have children and *maybe* that will mean I have to step back from my career for a while; but I do not like people who do not know my career or family plans assuming that I will step back completely and will not want to pursue my career.  I also hate the assumption that he wont want to spend time at home with these hypothetical children.
The final thing I get confused by is the assumption that as a wife I am also social secretary.  That if we forget any birthdays (including on his side) that it reflects terribly on me.  I hate that this assumes I am more able to find the time to get the cards, stamps and so on.  I also do not understand why it is assumed that I am better at this than him.  I sent all my January birthday cards in February.  I sent no March birthday cards.  I missed my parents anniversary as I was finishing up at my old job and barely knew what day of the week it was let alone the date.  For three years I thought the birthday of my friend, my BRIDESMAID was in July not June. I am not automatically better at this than him but if we fail, it is seen as my failure.  

I seriously find it just so confusing that this is still the assumption, and that most of this has come to me from women.  It seems to be so pervasive though so now I am wondering if I am wrong?  I know growing up my Dad was the better cook and both him and my mum seemed to ENJOY ironing. I have never thought that was weird.  All of us did the hoovering.  All of us did the dishes. All of us made cups of tea.  Why then do I suddenly seem to assumed to be in charge of all of this?  I just do not get it.  Do you?  Do you think I should be in charge of the social and housekeeping aspects of the relationship because it is woman’s work? Or as I suspect, is this something that each relationship decides within the relationship? And if this is the case why do I still get judged for what WE do?
Categories: Marriage, Politics and Feminism
36 interesting thoughts on this

36 Comments

  1. Fee
    Posted May 19, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    I love this Siobhan. I have many many thoughts but will just say a couple! I fear this may be a long comment anyway….

    In our relationship/family we split things pretty equally. This has inspired shock in some parties as at the moment I am ‘just at home with the baby all day’. Don’t get me started on that. This post has made me realise though that I do actually send all of the birthday cards etc though. And I always do all of the supermarket shopping (and I did when I worked full time too). Thinking about it, this is because my husband says he would just mess both of these things up. You have inspired me to our a stop to it.

    I am much more of a going out person than my husband. He prefers to spend his non work time at home with me and our baby. Certain friends of his tell me I should ‘let’ him go out more. Because my husband is kind he doesn’t point out that the fact they want to spend all of their spare time away from their wives and children is quite sad. I loudly point out that I don’t ‘let’ him do anything, we have never had that sort of relationship. But it’s assumed we do.

    I guess the point is that ‘each to their own’ etc but the judging and assuming is unnecessary and to be frank, annoying.

    I really loved this post! x

    • Posted May 19, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      When Olive was first born Bren was going to take over all the meal planning and internet food shopping. It lasted all of a month because it was such a nightmare!! He’d plan big elaborate meals (great with a newborn hey?) and I’d have to supervise the doing of the shopping as he got so frustrated with the tesco website. Oh and of course the shopping would come without basics like milk and bread so I’d still have to go to the shops myself!!

  2. Katielase
    Posted May 19, 2014 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    I just wrote THE LONGEST comment and the internet ate it. Bah! I will be back when I have reliable internet.

    KL x

  3. Posted May 19, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Ahhh I have so many things I want to say about this, but mainly it’s a resounding YES. Everything you’ve said is completely true and it drives me potty!

    Even when I was a ‘housewife’ (urgh hate that word) thanks to relocating for Bren’s job he still did some of the cleaning. People were shocked at my refusal to iron his work clothes, put the bin out etc, but it is OUR home and OUR life together, and therefore we should both contribute to it. (Yes he was the one earning the money, but I was also facilitating him following his career dreams while putting mine on hold.)

    Bren’s family is huge so he has to write his half of the Christmas cards. If he decides not to do it then that’s fine, but if people ask he has to own up as to why! For some reasons remembering birthdays is down to me – including his own brother! – but I’m determined at some point to wean him off using me as his calendar. I seem to have fallen into the trap of thinking of all the present ideas too (and then all his bloomin’ family ask me what to buy him too, so I end up giving away my best ideas in desperation!)

    Come September I’m starting back at uni full time while Bren will still be working shifts so he’ll actually be at home during the day more than me. At the moment he’s all enthusiastic about cooking dinners, doing the shopping and general organisation, but I suspect the novelty will wear off VERY quickly. If nothing else it will make him appreciate everything that goes on ‘behind the scenes’. Oh and when I told him cleaning would be much more of his responsibility too, he was quick to hire us a cleaner!! haha.

    Great, thought provoking post Siobhan! xx

  4. Posted May 19, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    This is so true. So true. And actually, a bit rank invoking for me… so suffice to say I agree and it sucks.

    I forced G to write the thank you cards for his family and his best men following the wedding. Some of his family never got theirs and his best men got theirs about a year later. And somehow I still feel responsible for this.

  5. Carly
    Posted May 19, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    If Mark forgets a family birthday his Mum blames me!!! Ack!!

    • Fee
      Posted May 19, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      I get this from T’s family. It’s so irritating!

  6. Posted May 19, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Having read this and the comments has made me feel how lucky I am. In our house Rodney does the majority of the day to day housework and I deal with paper work and our social life. It plays to our strengths and seems to work well. I don’t really remember having any negative comments about not doing more housework or forgetting birthdays! Xox

  7. Posted May 19, 2014 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Wow this is crazy guys… D and I meet at uni and lived separately so we both learned to fend for ourselves. Now we both work full time and split household tasks fairly evenly. The closest I have got to what you’re describing is family members telling me I’m so lucky because he can cook or hoover. To which I go “yes, sure” rather than “why wouldn’t he?? *confused face*” as I want to, because it’s just easier.

  8. Posted May 19, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    We split everything really easily in terms of housework – we both cook, clean and tidy, he washes, i iron, he usually does all the food shopping, I generally do the bins. We get A LOT of comments that allude to this being strange, especially from his mum.

    Socially he is much better at meeting people than I am (or at least than i was before twitter). The calendars thing does annoy me though and I frequently remind him I’m not his PA but then I do remember these things easily and he doesn’t so it’s not a big deal.

    • Posted May 19, 2014 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      I frequently remind G that I’m not his mother and if he wants to make a doctors appointment he can frigging well do it himself!

  9. Caroline
    Posted May 19, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Me and A tend to split things evenly. He hoovers and irons and we both do the rest of the housework together in a blitz on a Saturday morning taking it in turns to do different jobs.
    He also does all the cooking but he enjoys doing it or I would do more.
    Saying all this there are jobs which I don’t tend to get involved in – taking out the bins and filling the car with petrol being the main things.
    Also I saw my mum doing the whole birthday card and Xmas gift thing when I was growing up. So im quite strict about making sure that I do my friends and family and he does his.
    He also deals with all the bills and financial bits.
    Crikey I’ve just read this back. I don’t really do anything do I?
    Regardless of what I’ve just said we don’t have thing in a man/woman job box as such. We just both do whatever we can whenever we can including supermarket shopping. But I haven’t even felt judged for who does what in our relationship.

    • Posted May 19, 2014 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Yes this! We have never assigned jobs because of gender we do what we are better at or what fits best with everything else going on.

  10. Becca
    Posted May 19, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Ummmm (guilty face). I do everything in our house. Despite working much longer hours than Rob, I do the following:
    1. Cooking all meals
    2. Cleaning – although he will take out the bins.
    3. Food shopping – he came with me for the first time this weekend because I was moaning about carrying anything back and it didn’t warrant a big Tesco online delivery and it was hell.on.earth.
    4. Card and present buying (to the point where this weekend, I couldn’t find anything in our little area of London and said we’d pick something up en route to a party – Rob moaned (and moaned and moaned and moaned about my lack of organisation) and ended up sulking for half an hour before going out to buy something himself.
    5. Pack lunches every morning (and listen to feedback on the contents i.e. “ham doesn’t need tomato as it gets soggy”).
    6. Deal with all house related admin – bills, holiday booking (OK so this isn’t exactly a problem), dealing with the landlord, arranging meals with friends etc etc

    I must say that we did at least write our thank you cards together. Although it was only after I saw his at several people’s houses that I realised either written “the insincerity of the message within this thank you card has no bearing on the sincerity meant by the card itself” or (2) “please feel free to scan in our wedding picture and use it as your screensaver” or (3) to his MUM a simple “Cheers…love Rob and Becca”. GAGAGAGAGAAAAA. Needless to say he won’t be allowed anywhere near any thank you cards we ever send again.

    I actually blame myself for being such a pushover when we started going out (I actually wanted to do things for him then). Now….we’re in this cycle and I just cannot break it.

    • Becca
      Posted May 19, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      I should also add that he doesn’t just sit on his ass. He does do the ironing and all the jobs I hate like hanging out the wet laundry. It just feels like, when you write it down like a list, that I do more (which I do).

      Getting a cleaner for a three room flat (bedroom, bathroom and living room) just seems a bit excessive. However, having not dusted…umm…ever….we are going to have the place deep cleaned and the carpets and curtains done etc over the summer. Cannot wait. We’re just in the clearing out phase at the moment.

      • deltafoxtrotcharlie
        Posted May 20, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Three words

        Get
        A
        Cleaner

        You will never ever regret it

  11. Posted May 19, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I think I’m lucky – I can’t recall anyone ever commenting or asking about how we manage the household chores!

    We don’t really split chores/social life planning per se – we pick up pieces where the other left off. I do most of the cooking because it’s like a hobby for me and I enjoy it – likewise A does more DIY/organising things to be fixed because he enjoys it. He tends to put out the bins because he remembers to and I don’t. We do our own laundry while checking if the other needs anything washed at that moment. Tidying and washing up – gets done by whoever is nearest (usually A because I’m in the middle of cooking). Food shopping – I tend to organise at the moment because I’m at home, but we both contribute to the shopping list, help meal plan and A used to organise the shopping when I was working.

    Social life and birthdays – that’s up to the person whose family/friend it is. And why on earth would I be trying to make friends for my husband? (although I do know he wishes there was an AOW men’s branch!)

    • Posted May 19, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      I should say that we’re also very lucky to have a cleaner – if we didn’t I know I would end up doing more of it as A just sees things differently (he is much better at tidying things!) – it’s worth the money just to avoid the issue!

  12. Katielase
    Posted May 19, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    We split our household according to ability, inclination and time rather than gender. For example, he irons (because I am awful at it), washes up and takes the bins out (because I hate these jobs), and makes me breakfast every day (because he is a morning person and needs something to do so he doesn’t chirp annoyingly at me while I grumpily gain conciousness). I, on the other hand, clean the bathrooms (because I love bleach), make dinners (because I’m home first), and manage all our finances and diaries (because I’m much MUCH more organised). We pretty much share the rest of the jobs, and we supermarket shop together, usually.

    It doesn’t bother me that he has some ‘man’ roles while I have some ‘woman’ roles, because I have some ‘man’ roles too, and he has some ‘woman’ ones. I do have to remind him to post birthday cards, but he has to pick up the five million half-empty glasses of various drinks that I leave around the house and wash them up, we’re both just people with flaws that we work around. I have found people are surprised that I manage the money, and that he irons, but we both know that we’re playing to our strengths on this.

    I have definitely noticed that while pregnant people have told me very often that I’m lucky that G has picked up the slack and now does the majority of household stuff while I gather my energy to climb the stairs. This makes no sense to me, or him, I’m growing us a family, he’s supporting me. No brainer.

    The social thing does surprise me as it absolutely doesn’t apply to us: G is far more social than me, he’ll talk to anyone and will make friends with strangers in pubs all the time. I’m a friendly person but I’m far less forward, and far more likely to want to stay in with a book. I can see that this is a social construct that exists, so some people might expect the woman to do the friend-making, it’s just that for us this is blown out of the water by my husband’s ridiculously social nature, so I’d never even considered it, and no-one who knows him would ever consider it either!

    I think this comment was even longer than the one the internet ate. Wow.

    KL x

    • Katielase
      Posted May 19, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      In summary: we do jobs we’re good at, not gender-assigned ones. Just to save anyone having to read that ESSAY.

      KL x

      • Posted May 19, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        We’re kind of the same. He cooks, I do the washing. He does have a habit of overlooking all the little things I do when it’s 1 hour before we have guests arriving and he’s rushing maniacally round the house trying to clean while I look after H&C and that grates on me but we’re fairly well rounded. It’s the “admin” stuff that gets me, things like birthdays and thank you cards and sending that complaint email we’ve been talking about for months because eventually I just get fed up and do it myself and THAT bugs me. My own fault really I guess… maybe?

  13. mysparethoughts
    Posted May 19, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Well I suppose we contradict all these stereotypes because my husband stays home and looks after our child while I go out to work! I’m not denying we have blue jobs and pink jobs. He deals with the bins and the cat litter. I clean the bathroom. He does all the cooking as he enjoys it and I don’t. We shop together.

  14. Posted May 19, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Great piece Siobhan. When I was married, I used to get insanely stressed about things like thankyou cards and important family dates. In fact one of our biggest fights was about the fact that he made us late for his mum’s birthday lunch and I couldn’t deal with the fact we were late. I have made a promise to myself that should I ever be in a serious relationship in the future, I am not going to stress about the stuff I can do nothing about which is mainly his responsibility.

    Making friends for someone else I think is frankly odd. My boyfriend likes talking about sport of all kind, particularly football, and about obscure rock/metal music and films. I like talking about theatre, food, cool exhibitions and places to go. I wouldn’t have a clue how to find the kind of friends he’d enjoy talking to and wouldn’t want to try!!

  15. Posted May 19, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Really interesting responses to this one. It is something I will completely put my hands up and say I am guilty of causing spats with J about. I think the main think I struggle with is that I spend most of my day at work chasing and persuading and nagging people, so don’t want to do it when I get home, so then I have to remind myself that J generally does his share too.
    I do the food shopping and cooking, and the meal planning. That’s mostly because I am a better cook and to an extent quite enjoy that side of things. He hangs up the washing, stacks the dishwasher and tidies up after the cat. He’ll clean the bathroom while I make the lunches and batch cook dinners. To be honest, he probably does more actual cleaning than I do. He’s pretty good with everything except paperwork and a lot of that I have to deal with purely because it’s in my name from before we lived together.
    We have talked about it though and I think some of it comes down to personality. I like the flat to be tidier than he does and by nature am better at arranging things – he is hugely disorganised but happy to be asked to do things or be reminded. While that drives me mad sometimes, it does mean that I know if I am ill or tired he will happily have things assigned and crack on with them. I just need to learn to be better at asking!

  16. Emily
    Posted May 19, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    This is a great post and one that got me thinking. I agree completely with Katielase in that we split everything based on ability, inclination and time. R does most of the cooking and I clean up after him. I am useless in the kitchen unless I’m putting a pizza in the oven or heating up soup and he’s amazing at looking at what we have available and making things up. I always get told how lucky I am but it’s just the way things have worked out for us personally and is the case for so many couples.
    We mainly do online shopping and meal planning at home together as trips to the supermarket often end in argument as he hates shopping but we split any necessary smaller trips between us.
    On the diary front it is just easier all round if I am his personal calendar as he has the most terrible memory of anyone I’ve ever met!

    I think I look to my parents on a lot of this as they also split things according to what they are happy to do and what they are good at. My dad, for example, is happy spending hours on the garden, whereas my mum prefers to supervise from a distance! She is brilliant in the kitchen and they take it in turns to clean and look after their finances together. R’s parents are a mystery to me. His mum does everything and won’t let anyone else help which is why I think his dad does nothing and doesn’t bother to offer!

    I find it odd that people would suggest you should be finding friends for someone else. R is far more sociable than me and, due to the nature of his job, I have always had a bigger commute and therefore it’s easier to socialise locally with his colleagues. I spend my life surrounded by scientists which couldn’t be further than what I do for a job but they’re all so lovely and such a diverse bunch I don’t mind at all. And we put plenty of effort into seeing my friends and other mutual friends who are scattered far and wide around the country.

    Writing this all down and seeing what others have said makes me realise that we make a pretty good team, despite my frustration at his inability to put socks away!

  17. Linsey
    Posted May 19, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Weird, I have never really sat down and thought about what we do in our house until now. I do most of the cooking during the week, but that’s because Ross commutes so dinner wouldn’t be started until much later if he did it. We both do the rest depending on who’s in/has the time, the only thing I really don’t like doing is taking down the bins as our wee shared bin shed creeps me out a bit! And Ross will sometimes take the notion to clean the windows, something I would probably never get round to doing.

    We both hate ironing so I pay a very nice man to do ours – it’s not expensive, he does a better job than we do and there are sweeties in the shop that I get to pinch every time I collect it! Plus I’m supporting a local business – win, win, win situation :)

    Socially we tend to do our own thing a lot of the time. I’d like to have more friends where we live as a lot have moved on since uni etc, but that’s more for me. Saying that, most of the couples we are friends with are through me as most of his friends are still single.

  18. Ro
    Posted May 19, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    We’ve evolved into a split that I think plays to our strengths but pregnancy has totally messed with our balance which I’ve found really difficult – even though like KL I’m thoroughly occupied growing the newest addition to our family I’ve found it hard to rely more on D to help with tasks I’d usually do and feel guilty for not being able to do everything.

    Pre-pregnancy, D does most of the cooking (he enjoys it more than I do and left to my own devices I’d just forget to eat) and deals with most admin (though I’m the one that remembers what needs dealing with and when), I tend to be better at arranging to meet up with friends/make friends/stay in touch with people. We both do the shopping depending on who’s on the way home past a shop. Birthdays have increasingly fallen to me to remember.

    We have a cleaner who also does our washing and ironing. We both love her. I am in charge of keeping her happy with chocolate and overpayment!

    I feel lucky as I love having a partner who cooks but we value the equality in our relationship really highly and would both hate it if one of us was shouldering all the work of making our life as a couple work.

  19. Posted May 19, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I think, like others, we play to our strengths. So I do the supermarket shopping (now internet shopping, post-baby) because I enjoy it and Mr W HATES doing it; he sorts out most of the washing because he likes doing laundry. I forget about it and leave it outside/in the washing machine for days. I do most of the cooking, he washes up. I do the bathrooms, he does the bins. Neither of us tidy up and then we both get annoyed because the house is messy. (He used to be tidy before he met me and I have been a bad influence on him). I do the admin and bills etc and make sure we have enough money in the joint account.

    This makes it sound more equitable than it is – really, I think he does quite a bit more than me, even though I am now home all day with said baby. As soon as I get a new job we are getting a cleaner – I just don’t really enjoy cleaning and tidying and if we can afford it I would rather spend my spare time with Mr W and baby W doing nice things rather than hoovering.

    We met when we were in our late 20s and both had our own flats so we were quite used to looking after ourselves (mine was quite a bit messier). We also had our own groups of friends so while each of us has integrated into the other’s friendship groups, I’ve never felt pressure to make friends for him – although I tend to be the one who makes arrangements and knows when we are doing different things, but that’s because I like having lots of nice things in the diary to look forward to. I don’t sort birthday cards or gifts for him although I do have to remember how old his niece and nephew are for him as that information just does not seem to stick.

    I think we must have been lucky in that we haven’t had many (any?) comments about who does what around the house or who is expected to remember birthdays. Now that we are in the realm of babies and NCT friends etc I think there are going to be loads more birthdays to remember, too. I think I might need a PA…

  20. Posted May 19, 2014 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    This is an excellent post and some really very revealing comments.

    I had a total meltdown at 35 weeks pregnant when I was still in full time work (in a stressful job) and still having to do all the housework: cooking, cleaning, tidying, bins etc, plus all the house admin stuff like bill paying and organising our calendars, in spite of repeatedly asking for my husband’s help. I had hoped after that things would get better but in spite of his best intentions it seems not. Essentially I married a very lovely but very absent-minded man who has no interest in cleanliness or order – and there’s no changing him! I suspect that for us it’s nothing to do with gender and everything to do with personality.

    I don’t think it’s helped by gender stereotypes though, and I definitely feel when friends and family come round that it’s me it reflects badly on rather than him- that’s annoying. And I often wonder if his outlook has grown from being picked up after by his own mum, so maybe the personality thing has grown out of assumptions made by an older generation. He is certainly happy to do “boy” jobs and things that interest him like bits of DIY and car fixing, which admittedly are very useful (when he remembers to do them!)

    Px

    • Posted May 19, 2014 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Also adding that I very much enjoyed setting up our nursery standing order last week and taking it out of our joint account (rather than my own account where he had expected it to come out of), and informing him of the figure….

  21. Molly
    Posted May 20, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    In our house, we too play to our strengths. My husband handles all the paper work/bills, puts out the bins, does all washing up at the weekends and orders the online food shop. I do everything else, including all the ironing, cooking, cleaning, gardening, DIY etc.

    Our friends share the cooking and cleaning in their households and I’ve never commented that the female should be doing more. A few of them however have joked that I’m a 1950s housewife and my husband gets away with doing very little. I find they seem to have more of a problem with our set up than I ever would with theirs.

    I don’t see the point in making my husband do the cleaning which he doesn’t like, when I (Monica from Friends style) love cleaning. I’d probably end up doing it my own way anyway. Equally I hate paper work and am very grateful that he quite happily manages all of it. Surely it should just be about what you enjoy/don’t mind doing and splitting it up that way?

    We’ve managed this happily for the past 7 years, including my varying shift work hours as a Midwife. When I moved to another country to look after my terminally ill Mum for 6 months, my husband was able to fend for himself. Now that I’ve recently returned and haven’t yet resumed work full time, I take pleasure in looking after us both and our little home. This after all is the man who supported me throughout my Mum’s illness and my dark days after. I honestly couldn’t care if he never cooked another meal in his life.

    If your situation works for you both, then people really don’t have the right to comment on how you run your household.

    As for the card situation, we look after our own sides. I wrote all our wedding Thank You cards because my husbands writing is illegible. We’re both very lucky in that we make friends easily and have a great bunch of life long friends too.

  22. Merida / Hobo Mummy
    Posted May 20, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    I cannot take my Husband food shopping with me….he drives me insane, adds £30-£50 to the shop and chucks in various things we do not need. Although better than he used to be. Pick a packet of biscuits, open them, chuck them in trolley….munches a couple, pulls a face and cried URGHH, gets them out the trolley and puts them back on the shelf. No, he isn’t 6. (He will do the shopping for BBQ though….ribs and sausages…..done!)

  23. Merida / Hobo Mummy
    Posted May 20, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    …..but I do everything. If I need a hand, then he will jump to, but would never think of doing it himself. We fell into these roles very quickly after our Daughter was born and nearly 8 years on, it works.

    We have a cleaner once a week, and the house is tidy for 1 evening….it is then a plastic you hell hole once again! Husband works very long hours, and I’m at home (whilst juggling a terminally ill relative, 2 children, a dog, a house and the online business the Husband set up a couple of years ago, oh and I’m on the board of the PTA…..) so it makes sense I do the lions share. But I totally agree, a woman’s work is never done and I wouldn’t have it any other way x

  24. Lucy S
    Posted May 20, 2014 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Phewee! Awesome post Siobhan. I had to wonder, who is it that seems to have these expectations for you? In laws? Friends? It’s just plain weird that people keep on perpetuating these stereotypes that are quite frankly boring!

    I have to admit that housework remains an issue with us at times. P will tidy til the cows come home- filing paper, pairing socks, folding towels. But he has never knowingly cleaned the bathroom, and happily leaves his smelly rugby kit on the utility room floor for days. Is it going to magically hop in the machine? Don’t think so. The other thing that drives me nuts is an unmade bed, as I get up earlier. It takes 10 seconds to do. Just do it!!! It’s bizarre but it makes me feel like he doesn’t respect my opinion on how our most intimate space should be.

    That said, he irons all my clothes. I guess you can’t have everything…..glad we aren’t alone in all of this x

  25. Lucy S
    Posted May 20, 2014 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Can you edit posts? Just realise reading it back that “boring” sounds dismissive- what I meant was restrictive, saddening, out of place, tiresome, like any inappropriate stereotype anywhere. No offence meant to any of you lovely people!

  26. Posted May 20, 2014 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Sadly missed a lot of this due to work and dental appointments (yay?!) but now I am back in the land of the internet it makes for interesting reading. I actually have no issue 90%+ of the time with the distribution of housework (on Monday when this was published Matthew was off work and cleaned the flat, did two loads of laundry and prepared dinner – great!) and instead am annoyed at the perception from outside our relationship about who does what. And as for people asking me why I “let” him out or “let”him got and get drunk (ugh!). I only recently heard of so called pink and blue jobs and I don’t get it.

    I am quite glad to see so many other people see it as being best to play to their strengths within a relationship and not just do things based on supposed gender strengths. It makes far more sense that way.

    Relatedly as an update: we are *both* making friends and it takes time and is for both of us involving a lot more jumping in and putting ourselves out there than we feel comfortable with but is amazing. The thing that makes it work though is that we are *both* doing it. Because that is how it works for us, and how it works for us is the most important thing for us as a couple, right?

    Thanks for the interesting discussion and sorry I missed it x

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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