Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You Know What Makes Me Sad?

That at least once a day somebody alights on my post My Husband Doesn't Help Me Around the House after entering something similar to the post's title into a search engine. I truly hope that after reading the post these women at least begin to consider how their way of thinking about household chores infantilizes their male partners and ensures that being female transforms them into permanent domestic slaves.

Dear female reader! Please remember that it isn't "my dirty dishes." It's "our dirty dishes." You male partner is not supposed to "help" you take care of your shared space, meals, laundry and groceries. He is supposed to take care of his own shit like an adult that he is. 

Please also remember that there is no better way to bury the sexual passion in your relationship than to be the person who always runs around with a mop while the other partner snoozes on the couch. Slaving permanently over housework will not benefit you in any way whatsoever. So instead of trying to figure out why he doesn't "help," simply stop doing more than your fair share. Just stop. 


Anonymous said...

For me, stopping would also entail moving out -- I won't live in filth. I wouldn't move in in the first place with someone who couldn't or wouldn't do housework, but if I were to find I'd erred that would be it.

Clarissa said...

Alternatively, a clean, order-loving person could do all the cleaning while the messy one could do all the cooking in return. That's how we do it because I'm a total pig. :-) :-)

el said...

Imo in many cases it's or breaking up or doing lion's share yourself. Unlike a woman, he may be content to live in a house after she does her half of work.

Doing 1/2 of total work is impossible in case of children: preparing them food, taking to after-school activities, not being ashamed to invite friends to too dirty house, etc. Children aren't supposed to suffer even if their father is unhelpful.

The only realistic choice is not living with such a person in the 1st place.

Clarissa said...

I have no idea why anybody would want to have children with a jerk who considers you his cleaning lady in the first place.

Nothing is easier than to reach an agreement as to a fair division of household labor. Many women don't do it for reasons I described in my posts on infantilization of men and gender and housework.

Rimi said...

"So instead of trying to figure out why he doesn't "help," simply stop doing more than your fair share. Just stop."

And after you manage to do that, remember it took someone else's direct orders for you to make a decision about your own life.

Then do some long-overdue soul-searching.

Clarissa said...

I don't think bloggers can give "direct orders" to readers they don't know. If they could, they'd all be millionaires. :-)

J. said...

"Nothing is easier than to reach an agreement as to a fair division of household labor..."

In my opinion, nothing is HARDER, except perhaps figuring out how you're going to work family finances.

On the other hand--it's a process that is TOTALLY worth the effort. When two people have grown up in completely different family-cultures, it takes more than a conversation and a checklist to get those cultures to shift--it takes a lot of time, and a lot more conversations. It takes patience on the part of the one who is NOT comfortable living in a pigsty, but in this case patience need not equal silent yielding nor passive-aggressive I'm-not-doing-it-I'll-just-wait-till-he-figures-out-why-I'm-being-so-pissy modes of behavior. (Trust me, I tried that one, it totally didn't work.) But the occasional, or not so occasional, "Hey, honey, remember, we talked about this, and the bathroom is getting gross" conversation can work wonders. (It can also inspire more pissiness. But if you agreed and he's--or you're--not holding up one side of the bargain...) It's a process.

I grew up in a household where the men washed the bathrooms (since, let's face it, guys, we women do NOT MISS when we use the toilet, it's physiologically very difficult for us to not hit the target*) and the kids of both genders washed the dishes and Mom cooked and Dad cleared the table and unloaded the dishwasher every day. And everyone was responsible for his or her own laundry. I married a guy whose mom did all the cooking and cleaning while his dad sat on his butt and watched TV and munched on cheese corn. My husband's not a "jerk" who thinks I should be his cleaning lady, but he grew up in a household where the only woman in the house WAS the cleaning lady. He was 32 before he encountered a living situation where that was not the case, which meant a bit of a learning curve.

We talked, we agreed upon things, we negotiated, and we still have to renegotiate weekly if not daily. We play to strengths--he's way better at the deep-cleanings than I am, and I suck at vacuuming; however, he sucks at the daily keep-the-clutter-managed thing, which is my job. I cook. He empties the dishwasher. I do counters, he does floors. I don't let him assume that getting sitters and RSVP-ing to parties and stuff for the kids is my job.

If people complain that "my husband doesn't help me around the house," but don't actually address their ACTUAL PARTNER, that ain't gonna go anywhere. I mean, he may be a loser who just isn't going to do it, but he may just not have any idea what to do or how to do it. I don't mean to approach this as "look! we thought they were just dumb lumps but the males of the species are TEACHABLE!"--I've had a lot to learn too, and we kind of teach each other. But to assume both parties know everything about living together before actually talking about it and realizing that both need to change a bit to find a condition of contentment on both sides is a recipe for disaster. Or for having a resentful unpaid live-in housekeeper/nanny.

My random thoughts, much longer than intended...

*public women's rooms are the exception, a rant for another day

Rimi said...

My comment was an excellent piece of sarcasm, just like this one is a terrible piece of modesty. The entire point of sarcasm, of course, is that you do not take it at face value :-)

Clarissa said...

We, the autistics, have no sense of humor. :-(