There are different ways to deal with the never-ending range of tasks that fall into the category of housework and in many ways it’s a dull subject to talk about. Single people just have to get on and do all the stuff that needs to be done. Many parents with small children are able for one of them to stay at home to look after the children and do the housework, while the other earns the money to keep them all going – and ideally both of them are happy with those roles and responsibilities.
But what about those marriages where both partners work, and yet the woman does all the housework on top of paid employment and takes responsibility for everything to do with caring for children – the second shift? Some women expect this of themselves and don’t want to let go; some men expect it of their wives and don’t want to get involved! I’ve ranted about housework on this blog before, so I won’t go on too much here. Again, if that’s what people want to do then it’s up to them, but often that pattern begins through assumptions and expectations rather than deliberate intent. And it does make a difference to the amount of time women have to study, play, dream or create; it does limit their ability to travel, attend conferences or go on retreat. So it’s worth a frank conversation every so often, on who does what and why, and what impact that has on your lives.