According to an article in London’s Telegraph it will 2050 before men and women do equal amounts of housework. Women still do 70% of housework.
I’m doing my own house cleaning for the first time in thirty years. I’ve always been a full-time teacher and initially I managed to do that job as well as maintain some semblance of order in my house. However once my children arrived, I just couldn’t keep up with everything. Unlike the man in the photo above, I was on my own when it came to things like washing and folding diapers. After one particularly frustrating week when the demands of a toddler, teaching and toilet cleaning had me in tears, my husband Dave volunteered to help out with my routine Saturday clean up of our home. I ‘d suggested previously that we hire a housekeeper but he thought it was too expensive. One Saturday of vacuuming, dusting and scrubbing shower tiles had him singing a different tune. “Let’s hire a housekeeper,” he said.
So we found someone to come in once a week and spend four hours cleaning our home. It was so nice to open the front door after work and find everything looking pristine and orderly. I’d just stand there for a minute inhaling deep whiffs of the fresh, clean smell of our house. I got an extra job writing a newspaper column and that kept me in enough money to pay for my housekeeper. I always said I’d rather spend a couple of hours Saturday morning writing a column, than cleaning my stove or washing floors.
The downside of having someone do your housework is that you get out of practice doing it yourself. My husband Dave and I both retired this year and as we planned for living on a pension, at a substantially reduced income, we discussed ways to economize. I suggested we do our own housework. So for three months now, I’ve been doing my own house cleaning. The 70% statistic about male/female involvement in housework would hold true for our household. This is not to say that Dave doesn’t do any work for our family. He handles all our finances, does our income tax returns and pays all our bills. He takes care of car maintenance and does all the driving on long distance trips. He fixes things around the house. He does lots of grocery shopping and his fair share of cooking. He is our travel agent, and in the last six years that’s been lots of work, because we’ve usually made at least a half a dozen major trips a year. He books flights, car rentals, accommodations and tours. He is our social coordinator, planning most of our movie dates, supper outings, dinner parties and get togethers with friends. He helps shop for furniture and other household goods and buys presents for our children. He just doesn’t clean toilets, do laundry or wash floors.
Last Saturday we were expecting guests and so I spent five hours scrubbing, dusting, and cleaning glass. I only got through it by playing loud lively music to keep me motivated. Frankly, it wasn’t much fun.
They say by 2050 men will do an equal share of housework. That may help my granddaughters but it’s not going to ease my housecleaning burden. I think I might need to find a part-time job, so I can afford a housekeeper again.
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