Mums in business

There is no equity in housework

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If I’m going to go down fighting (and I plan to) the topic is most certainly not going to be housework.

I don’t know if it’s a forty-something thing or if I’ve just simply had my fill.  But the thing I do know for sure is that I couldn’t be bothered to have one more argument about dish washing, pet feeding or rubbish chucking.

Although admitting this makes every ounce of feminist spirit in my body cringe, it smacks of ‘soft touch’, ‘stepford wife’ and even bad parent for not laying down the law, the bottom line is this…

There are so many things to be angry about, WHY would I waste my time on the thing that is a daily fixture in my life, housework?

I’ve tried every sticker charted, kind worded, bribery laden con in the book and it always seems to end in frustration. (mine).  Still, the only strategy that I’ve applied that truly seems to work is just get on with the job and accept that if someone else chips in that’s a bonus.

My pursuit of equity in housework isn’t a new one.  I recall the days of flatting, in particular the house in Manly in Sydney’s northern beaches which housed anywhere between 5 and 12 people.  A house where a staunch Kiwi matriarch a few years my elder kept keen eye on the detail of equity.  Everyone was too frightened of her to blatantly ignore their instructions, so things just quietly slipped through the cracks…dirty plates being chucked out the kitchen window aka washing up to excess rubbish being secretly stashed underneath the house, sort of known as taking out the rubbish.  I knew this because I arranged to have it removed when everyone left the house, but me.  It’s fair to say it spurred my drive for equity around the house.

Fast forward numerous years to learning to live with my husband.  I still recall the early days where every single one of our plates would be stacked up next to the sink.  I certainly wasn’t going to do it because I was a modern woman.  And he wasn’t going to do it for his own reasons.  That gridlock didn’t serve us very well, except to exacerbate the stress of learning to live together.  Still, it didn’t stop me digging my heels about equity in housework for, oh, let’s say 16 years give or take a few moments.

So just a few months ago I just stopped the fight.  I just got on with it and did my bit to maintain the lifestyle that I want .  You see I like my house to be relatively clean (don’t get too carried away with the version of clean – I’m talking about a lack of vile odour and minimisation of things that crawl, not white glove kind of clean).

Oh, I’m sure there will be lapses in my new found domestic peace.  Just a few weeks ago my equity zen meter dinged into overdrive and I did share an ugly, angry rant with my unsuspecting family.  The result was a jobs chart drawn up by Ms 9.  We don’t all understand it but each person does seem to do something at the end of the day so something is working here.

I can’t say I’m all over this housework thing, I don’t even know where my iron is kept and I only understand the most basic functions of any of the household appliances.  But I can say one thing is for sure, equity is not to be gained through fighting over housework so do yourself a big favour and stop fighting about it.

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