Roles and division of household duties

I have a confession… Since being married, I have an overwhelming feeling that I should become the perfect housewife. I’m not necessarily proud of this- feminists would shout at me I’m sure. It’s never been a role I’ve aspired to. Yes I’ve always been quite homely and ran my own household, but to take charge completely, cook my husband’s dinner for him to come home too, decorate the house and do the cleaning- this shocked me. I also have to confess that I have a sort of 1950’s romantic idea of running the household. I think for me this vision is about the fact that I like to manage my own time, pursue creative hobbies that I have, be organised (which I am) and have a project. I love anything vintage, and I spent time with my Gran too on school holidays, at her house. She always had a lovely home- so loved, clean and well-looked after. A 2014 Telegraph report concluded that women do twice as much housework as men (even after they have done a full day at work.) Maybe we are just better at it, or do men just not see things? Mr B will have mould growing in the bathroom before he cleans it and every inch of the dining table covered with paperwork.

In reality I am sure I wouldn’t be stimulated enough to a certain extent- the school run (as I know from personal experience of working as a nanny) is highly repetitive. I also think it’s because I just want a change, and want to be more in control of my own time. Also, I like the idea of keeping my career, perhaps this is why women nowadays end up trying to do it all, we want the best of both worlds/even more than just two worlds! I have always said that I hate ironing, I actually don’t think I do hate ironing- I think what I hate is not having the time to do it. I went through a phase where I thought I really didn’t like cleaning, so for a year I had a cleaner. In reality I don’t mind cleaning, and on reflection I employed her because I didn’t feel I had time to clean my flat.

A Daily Mail report on a survey said that couples are happier and marriages last longer when men pull their weight in housework and childcare. This sharing means different things to different couples, eg taking it in turns to do a task or having completely different duties.
Mr B runs all our joint and household accounts, it’s not that I’m not capable it’s just that I’m not as interested as him, and since I work away majority of the time I’m not there to open bills. He also does a much better job, he’s the only person that I know that still keeps an old-fashioned written account book- every single penny is accounted for.

“Wives are usually better at saving than husbands..” (How to be a good wife.) Well, in our household this is definitely the other way around! One thing I took away from our marriage preparation course was that in a relationship, the person most suited to doing a particular task should be the one to carry it out. For example if the woman is better at managing the finances or if the man is a better cook then these are the roles they should take on. I like the bathroom cleaned to a certain standard, Mr B has admitted on more than one occasion to cleaning it badly in the hope that I never ask him again. However, if I want it immaculate then I don’t have a problem doing it myself. I hate gardening, Mr B loves it- he gets full custody of the garden!

Mr B and I are currently having debates about who should stay at home if and when we have children, it’s an interesting scenario and I can fully see why people employ an Au Pair or nanny. We have concluded that at the end of the day, the person with the higher salary should go out to work. We obviously may change this plan, and I’m only saying this is what we think will work for us not everyone. Perhaps if we were both in very high earning brackets then this would not be a factor. I read an article once about a lady who lived a vintage life right down to all her clothes, didn’t work, did not pay attention to politics, spent the day baking cakes and lived a relatively isolated life; on one hand I admired the simplicity of her world yet at what point does it border on ignorant. She couldn’t tell you who was prime minister- she had not taken an interest in this for at least seven years. This, for me, is not the life I want. Perhaps in conclusion, a middle ground is not a bad way to live.

So I’m off to sew some buttons, clean my flat and bake a cake now!!!


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