Shocker. Not.

Not only don’t men do housework, they create 7 hours more of it for their wives.

Based on 2005 data, which have been compared to those from national time diaries, the research shows women, of all ages with no children, on average do 10 hours of housework a week before marriage and 17 hours of housework a week after marriage. Men of all ages with no children, on the other hand, do eight hours before marriage and seven hours afterwards.

“The situation gets worse for women when they have children,” says Stafford.

Married women with more than three kids recorded an average of about 28 hours of housework a week, while married men with more than three kids logged only about 10 hours of housework a week.

Not that any woman living with a man will be surprised.

11 Replies to “Shocker. Not.”

  1. A good follow up question: Who cares more to have a clean house, and should someone who doesn’t care be expected to carry an equal load?

  2. I agree. I think women think cleanliness is way more important than it is. Like beauty.

    But how do you get there? I remember once, my MiL coming over for the first time, & her scraping something off a dish with her fingernail. I was humiliated, for a second – but I think these kinds of pressures women exert on other women are not to be under-estimated. (Another test of “performing woman” correctly I’ve failed many times over the years.)

    What I find interesting is how much people raised male don’t even clean up after themselves, much less clean up anyone else’s mess. That’s with the exception of the male neatfreaks out there – yes, they exist. So it’s one thing not to “clean house” and another to leave the house dirtier than you found it, imho.

  3. True true. I am CONSTANTLY forgetting to pick up after myself. It’s a chronic problem.

  4. As with anything, there’s always an exception and I would like to think my life-partner K. and I are that exception. I was raised male but growing up I was always expected to help out with housework. I was taught from pretty much my pre-teens to do dishes, do laundry, cook, sew, babysit my younger sisters (and as a result most of the kids in the neighborhood!), and in general do my share around the house. I wasn’t always good about it but I knew how to do it and did these things more than my father.

    K. grew up with a single mom and the house was always a mess. I’ve actually lived with her mother for a short time and can see where she gets her atrocious cleaning habits (or rather lack thereof). That’s part of loving her and living with her, though, is accepting her very chaotic nature and the havoc it wreaks in her wake. 😉

    I do all of the cooking. If she cooks, it’s usually because I’m out all day and she needs to eat. The trade-off was supposed to be that she does the dishes, but that doesn’t happen nearly as often as I would like, so at times I also have to pick that up. If any other cleaning is to be done, I generally have to do it or bug her several times until she does a partial job of it and then I finish.

    I think the reason I am more concerned about the housework and get bothered by her not doing as much as I do is that I grew up seeing this situation with the married woman doing the bulk of the housework in my parents. My mother was expected to do all the cooking, all the cleaning, take care of us kids and in general keep the house up, all on top of working full-time because my parents couldn’t afford for one of them to stay home. My father would come home and pretty much plunk his butt down on the couch, eat his meals there, fall asleep there and eventually they would go to bed. Once in a while he’d do a little housework but mostly if he did anything it was yard work, which wasn’t much since we rented places in a small city and were lucky if we had anything bigger than a postage stamp for a yard.

    I love my parents, but I think in all of my concern with not ending up like my father I forgot to not let myself end up like my mother.

  5. No surprise for you Helen. I am not surprised. Although, they left out outside chores. They assumed all women love to garden so much that it is not a chore. I like gardening, but not as much as all that. Ooooh, and I don’t even know how to describe my absolute love of washing outside windows and screens twice a year, pressure washing the house, and my absolute fav, cleaning up other peoples dog doo and trash in my front yard. Ecstacy, I’m telling you! 😉

    It’s not so much that I’m a neat freak, as it is my mind crazes organization. Disorganization makes it hard for me to focus on the task at hand. While it makes Chaos completely at ease. She can step over the same object 10 times and it doesn’t occur to her to pick it up and put it away. Whereas, I can’t move past it, it creates a roadblock for me, and so I have to pick it up to move forward.

    I would never do what your MIL did. It’s just rude anyway. If their house is a little messy or cluttered, I tend to envy them. That they have the ability to look past it since I can’t in my own home. I’ve often wondered if it’s a psychosis on my part.

  6. Jamie, your account is very resonant to me, both historically and currently! (And I’m the one with a two-hour commute, while spousey works from home (although at odd hours). If I don’t do the housework, it just doesn’t seem to get done.)

    But at the same time, growing up, I was madly suppressing anything I thought too feminine, so although I did laundry, cleaned, washed dishes and babysat, somehow I determined that cooking and sewing, among other endeavors, was tantamount to donning an invisible apron or frock and screamed TS. Totally irrational and ludicrous in hindsight.

  7. If one lives alone, no matter what gender (or blend), then cleanliness is something that comes just a matter of routine. The degree of cleanliness might be commensurate with the degree of pride one takes in the self.

    In my case, I learned early. My mother was a drug addict who was incapable of doing too much around the house. My Dad, although he always worked and made the mortgage, was a walking alcoholic and was never really home. So I learned to stay clean by myself and do the housework that affected me for my own dignity at a really early age.


  8. Pingback: What I've Noticed
  9. “What I’ve noticed”… are you comments directed at my past post? If so, I believe you did not understand what I was trying to convey.

    I certainly do not discount or refute the findings. It is axiomatic that men expect women to pick up after them. They are generally less fixated on cleanliness too.

    My point was a little different. The apparent need for cleanliness appears also to be a spectrum that affects both men and women (and all of us in between) 🙂 based on upbringing and culture.

    Some people, both male and female sometimes find it imperative to live a “spotless” life. Others less so. So some families in general spend more time cleaning than others. I would suspect though the ratio between male and female would be the same (women clean more in all degrees of the spectrum.)

    The other point pertained to living alone. When one lives alone no one but yourself picks up after you. Then pride in the self comes in determining how clean one seeks to have their own house.

    I can say, I have really focused even more on keeping my home, especially kitchen and bath clean (and clothes too) since HRT started adjusting chemistry. (and I am not even fully tranistioning!) I was clean before due to my upbringing and self discipline. But I am almost fastidious now on HRT.

    So there might, repeat might be something in the nature of “estrogen” that makes consciousness want to be more clean oriented.

  10. Hi Lady in Waiting:
    Sure I will be happy to describe “not fully transitioning”. However, this is Helen’s blog. I respect Helen too much to make her blog about my issues. I also don’t wan’t to bore others. Is there an private email address or a PM where I can send you some comments? It appears you do not have registration on MhB for PMs. I was unable to hit a email contact on your blog page either. 🙂


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