Who does what around the house in your relationship?
Nearly all men and women say that when you both work full-time, you should both share household chores between each other as this helps in avoiding relationship issues and can help in achieving your ‘domestic bliss’. However, research shows that even when women work the same hours as their partners, they do nine hours more housework per week than their partner.
But things are changing; in 1989 32% of men and 26% of women thought that it was a man’s job to earn the money and a woman’s’ job to look after the home and family – but in 2006 only 17% of men and 15% of women agreed with this(1).
Furthermore research has shown that when men are more involved in housework and childcare, their partners are less depressed and happier with their relationship.
But it can be difficult – your attitude to what’s okay may be really different from your partner’s – each of you will have been brought up with a different view of who should do what; what means tidy and what means mess.
One of you might feel a bit of mess makes a home feel lived in. One of you might feel they cannot relax until all the household chores have been done and everything is in order. There is no right or wrong – often, you just have to try and agree about what you both feel okay with.
Everyone agrees arguments about housework are boring so why do we spend so much time bickering over who does what?
Part of showing you care for someone is by looking after their practical and physical needs. For example one of the ways you might show affection for your partner after a hard day’s work is to cook them a nice meal – showing you care for them in a practical way.
So when we fall out about housework, sometimes it is about not feeling cared for.
Often underneath a row about chores there’s a much deeper fear that our partner doesn’t care and so housework becomes the battleground where we fight for these needs, leading to relationship problems.
- Crompton, R. & Lyonette, C., 2008. Who does the housework? The division of labour within the house. In Park, A. etal., British Social Attitudes: The 24th Report 2007/2008. London: Sage