Friday, December 20, 2013


The New York Times just reported the results of a study on housework.  The study had two major findings, both of which are fascinating.  I want to throw those ideas out to you for discussion.

The study examined changes in housework over the past fifty years.  It looked back at what your families were doing when your parents were young and compared that to what your generation is doing now.

First, researchers examined the extent of men's performance of housework in homes shared by a heterosexual couple.  What they learned is that young men today are doing no more housework than their fathers did.  This surprised researchers who were looking for and expecting an increase for men.  The common belief that men are becoming less sexist wasn't proven in this regard -- men remain largely unwilling to pitch in with housework.

Does this accord with your experience?

The second finding is equally interesting.  The hours per week women do housework has decreased by roughly one-half.  This isn't because men are doing more; it's because less work is being done.  What used to be considered essential housework is now left undone or thought of as optional.

I find this to be true.  When my mother cleaned our home, she would spend hours vacuuming drapes, ironing sheets and polishing "the silver".  Today, we rarely see anyone do these chores.

What do you think?


  1. So true! Very interesting study.


  2. I agree, and this is somewhat true in our place. But, we can only save chores until the weekend, as we really halve no time otherwise with our schedules. :-)

  3. My husband will chip in, but as I see things, if he's going to go out and bring home the money, then I don't expect him to do housework when he is home. I'd like it if he put a dirty dish somewhere near the sink mind you, as this often fails him!

  4. Well I used to be obsessed about getting in a weekly cleaning where together (I forced my husband to participate) we would clean the apartment very well. No vacuuming drapes, but floors were washed etc.

    Then we kept getting bigger places and I started working from home.

    Since my husband is often away on business I am the one left cleaning our house and it is a huge task on my own. I have cut back more and more as the years pass because when I am on my death bed I will not be thinking that I should have spent more of my life cleaning. Instead I will be wondering why I wasted so much time cleaning.


  5. Yep, same thing with my mom...she cleans things that I rarely bother with! I just have so many more important things to do than clean all day!

    The Tiny Heart
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  6. Yep. Lived with three boys and cleaning was a regular affair with me blowing up at some or all of them to help. I still did about 80% or more of all apartment housework while working full time and training 8 days a week, by my estimation.

    Current split is more equitable, because I had us sit down and write out a list of every weekly job and split it up. I still have to remind, nag, and remind again.

  7. I am lucky because I do get help with the housework from my other half - he will hoover, dust, clean the worktops and glass. I am "in charge" of the bathrooms (he will not clean the toilet!) and washing/ironing, changing the bed, and anything else that needs doing. I'm happy with this trade off, it works for us.

    I think they are definitely right about how much time is spent on the housework, though - it's a case of a quick rush around the house once a week for us - we're too busy to spend a day deep cleaning everything.

  8. I grew up in a filthy house. And I'm sorry to say that my house now isn't all that much better. Husband grew up in a spotlessly clean house. His expectations for how a house should be kept are shaped by his natal family, but his mother was (and still is, in her 80's) working at it ALL the time. That's so not gonna happen here. I clean very occasionally, but still more than my own mother did.

    So overall, much less cleaning is happening in our combined household, but it's still more than in my 1960's-'70's home. Also, I'd say that husband cleans a lot more than either of our fathers ever did...but even so, it isn't a whole lot of cleaning.

  9. In terms of men participating with housework, I'd say that my experience on this front would, by and large, correlate with the study's finding. Even with couples that I know where both work full time and have kids, the bulk of the housework (and child rearing) still falls on the woman's shoulders. Though there are certainly cases where the work is distrubuted evenly or even where the man may do more of the household chores, by and large, these still fall to the woman of the house far more often.

    Personally, though, sure, I like some jobs more than others, I've actually always rather enjoyed cleaning and organizing (in fact, I find it to be a great way to help tackle stress or anxiety, because it gives my mind something methodical and goal drive (a clean house!) to focus on for a little while). A tidy, presentable, spic and span house is a must for me, so I rarely mind having the task of housekeeping fall on my shoulders.

    ♥ Jessica

  10. Interesting. I have to admit that i loathe housework. I 'll cook but avoid doing dishes. I 'll do laundry and folding... but i won't make my bed or mop the floors...

  11. hm. interesting. my husband would do more household chores if i would let him - and if a had a 60h/week job like he. but in our situation i´m the homemaker. not that i like cleaning and washing, but my grannys were good teachers so i can do it with a minimum time and energy.
    on the other hand - i cant look at when hubby is doing something household, usually i leave the kitchen........ :-)

  12. My husband is a neat freak and so usually cleans more than I do and I know several other guys that are like this...

  13. I think I definitely consider far fewer household tasks mandatory than my mother did. She would dust furniture multiple times per week. If I do it twice a month that's a lot. ;-) I also think that if you're home less, there are fewer "messes" being made that have to be cleaned. My hubs doesn't do much housework, but he does pick up a lot of the childcare on the weekends. (We have a teenager with severe cognitive disabilities.)

  14. I like to think that we share the household least I hope so!

    Have a fantastic day,

  15. I remember my mum ironing sheets, towels. Who does that now? I just watched the old version of The Stepford Wives. Verrry creepy.

  16. My husband does quite a bit of house-cleaning (washes the bedding, vacuums, and does his share of the cooking). I attribute my good luck to his having immigrated to this country and having to spend years fending for himself with a mom or wife around. I don't mind cooking, washing dishes, and scrubbing tubs/sinks, but I do hate to dust furniture!

  17. My brother is the only guy in the family and he is a lazy bugger. Typical man. I can't stand it. It has never surprised me that housework is always left up to the woman and usually done far more by her even if she has a full time job and/or does more child rearing. And men wonder why their girlfriends and wives are too tired for sex at the end of the day. It isn't rocket science, men have to do more