Friday, November 18, 2011

Five Minute Blogging: Housework and Gender

I have five minutes with two hands!  GO!!

Inspired by Alyssa and others: Housework with a working partner and a housewife!!

Before we had children, Dr. S and I split everything pretty much evenly, according to time, talent, and inclination.  We grocery shopped together; we traded off laundry; we both cooked and swept. 

Now that I'm a housewife, it's a little more uneven, partly because, hey!  This is my job now, and partly because there are a lot of stereotypically gendered things I hate.  Like taking out the trash.  Also, because when the spouse gets home, I'd rather cook than play with the toddler for another hour (I love him, but I've already played all day!). 

So Dr. S does: dishes, laundry folding, sweeping, trash, compost, mowing, most of snow shoveling, part of bill paying, all the investments, midnight baby-walking, and anything involving an electric saw.  Plus he has a full-time job and all. 

I do: meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, procurement of clothing and other items (mainly via the Internet), laundry washing, the rest of the bill paying, mending/sewing, repairs not involving large sharp pointy fast-rotating things, scheduling appointments, midnight baby-nursing*, and a whole lot of child-wrangling. 

I think it's still fairly even despite our traditionally-gendered roles, and a lot of the stereotyping really is just our personal preferences.  I hate hate hate sweeping, and he doesn't care; he hates shopping, and I hate it less.  And although I spend more time per day doing house-related things, I think it's still split fairly evenly for such an asymmetric out-of-home workload.

Five minutes are up: DING!

*Because he lacks the relevant equipment.


  1. dr. s sounds like a good egg. (you, too.) i do think that gender "stuff" does influence preferences -- it's hard to be utterly pure in the face of insidious cultural messages. i'm not sure that's a huge problem, as long as the cultural message that men don't need to do work in the home is firmly rejected.

    it's amazing how often even lesbian couples are assumed to divide housework along gendered lines -- and i mean by other lesbians, not just spacey straight people. people ask who is the butch one and the femme one, regarding task division. (sugar is the butch one and the femme one; i am the lazy one.... i think things are pretty fairly divided now, but i admit that was not always the case.)

  2. I forgot: he also does spider-killing. A childhood in the South, with black widows everywhere, has given me a lasting horror of spiders.

    I wonder to what extent our preferences are culturally influenced: I suppose it's more socially acceptable for men to hate shopping...

  3. "I'd rather cook than play with the toddler for another hour (I love him, but I've already played all day!)."

    Oh boy, do I hear that! While I was on maternity leave, I LOVED when DH got home so I could be in the kitchen by myself.

    It is very interesting how roles tend to divide along gender lines. Sometimes stereotypes are there because of the truth behind it, I suppose!

  4. I think our distribution now is much like yours, only minus the kids, as that still hasn't happened, and that we both have full-time jobs. Sigh. And once you're in a pattern it seems hard to break, without "external motivation"...
    The spider (or cockroach) killing question is a tough one... we both hate it. Fortunately it isn't necessary all that often.

  5. It does sound like he's more egalitarian than the average fellow with a partner at home. I have a post in draft about this topic, with an ALARMING FIGURE. Just to build suspense.


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