My Family Care asks Amanda: How do you and your partner address the workload at home? Is the split even? Do you re-visit the conversation or does it end up a taboo subject?
An even domestic split? Please...
"Honey, I've been asked to write an article about how much we share the household chores. What percentage do you think you do?" I asked my husband last Sunday morning, whilst cooking breakfast for the boys, feeding the cats, putting on a wash, and emptying the dishwasher.
"Ask me later. I'm busy reading the papers" was his reply.
I think that says it all really.
So in answer to the question 'Is the split even?' is a categorical 'no' in our house.
Women just do more - well, in this house they do
Across the UK, I believe that if you asked this question in the average household, you would get a similar response. The fact is, the majority of women take on more chores at home than men. The feminists out there will shoot me for saying this, but I think it is something that is inbred in us. Studies still continue to show that women do more than men at home, and this is particularly true when children are added to the equation.
When I look back to when I was growing up, my dad left for work at the crack of dawn and wasn't home until late at night. My mum didn't work, and therefore she did nearly all of the household chores. My dad would mow the grass on the weekend, sort out the cars, and help with any heavy duty gardening. But it was my mum that kept the house ticking along.
As a result I've seen what she did as the traditional role of the woman in the household. Which meant, when I got married, I did the same.
Control freak, but for a good reason
The difference between my mum and me is that I work. And my husband is around a lot more than my dad was, choosing to work from home most of the week. So why am I still doing more of the jobs?
Well, one of the reasons (actually probably the main reason) is that I'm a wee bit of a control freak. That means I tend to do the lion's share of the work, simply because:
- I want it done my way
- I want it done quickly.
My husband will leave everything to the last minute. Probably because he knows that the longer he leaves it, the more likely I am to do it. Quite a cunning plan by him.
A "man's job", or is it?
An example of this is our shower door that kept sticking. I've been moaning about it for a few months now. It's a fairly new door which means it doesn't need replacing. Weeks went by until one day I got a ladder, had a look at the problem, went to the shop, got the parts needed and fixed it. He hasn't even noticed.
The one time when I didn't give in was hanging some pictures on the wall. He ended up doing such a bad job that we need to get a plasterer and a decorator in to repair the holes.
Full time carer needed for house-trained husband
I do worry how my husband would cope if anything happened to me. We had a chat about it recently. I told him that if something was to happen to me, he would need to hire a cook, cleaner, nanny, chauffeur and a bookkeeper (have I mentioned that I pay all the bills and balance the bank account?). Plus someone to love him, care for him, laugh at his bad jokes and listen when he's having a bad day.
"Not a problem" he replied. "I'll ship my mum in."
Amanda Coxen, Director, Tinies Childcare