No matter how long you’ve been married, it’s important that the division of household chores and responsibilities doesn’t get neglected. Otherwise, the burden of it all is usually dumped on one person. This cannot be a permanent arrangement because eventually the person doing it all will burn out and stop contributing to the household altogether or live miserably in silence.
Spouses sharing housework equally shows that there is a certain amount of respect in the relationship. In the absence of a detailed arrangement that both sides honor, the equation can become lop-sided. For instance, if the husband brushes off his household responsibilities, it falls upon the woman to balance her career and commitments at home. Husbands should be equally involved in what goes on at home, it’s honestly the bare minimum.
Husbands Sharing Household Chores And Responsibilities Equally
Sharing household chores also sets a good example for the kids. It shows that men are not ‘above’ any household work. The ‘male ego’ should hold no importance in this context. In fact, there have been some studies suggesting that even when women are the primary breadwinners in the house, their partners don’t contribute to keeping the household up and running. The concept of division of household chores is completely absent in such marriages.
That being said, it would be wrong not to acknowledge that in this aspect of gender equality, things are definitely changing. As women progress in the professional realms, men have become more hands-on in sharing household responsibilities. Quite a sizeable cross-section of women don’t have to constantly find ways to get husbands to do household chores.
How we fell in love
We’ve known each other for more than 12 years now and have been living together for the last 4 years. From English literature to rock bands, we explored everything together on magical afternoons as kids. We were in our late teens, studying in the same engineering college. Rather than falling in love from the get-go, we enjoyed each other’s company.
Since then, many things have changed. Bailey, the more practical one, took a well-trodden path and is now working in a reputed software firm, while I, the more fanciful idiot, followed the crooked lane to become a freelance writer.
We took separate paths and yet remained close enough to bring in the flavor of the two different worlds into our relationship. Sometimes I would get jealous of her luxurious workplace and the team lunches they had, while I sat alone at my dingy writing desk. Sometimes she’d envy my freedom to accept and reject work on my own terms.
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Our parents’ expectations set in
Gradually, we developed completely different tastes. While she always had a weakness for ancient literature, I submerged myself in folk songs and James Joyce. While she was happy to tune into these rhythmic numbers, I sought solace in British sitcoms. Even as our tastes and personalities evolved, we never grew apart.
However, things became complicated after we got married. The expectations of our parents clashed with our individualistic lifestyles and naturally made us doubt the way we were managing expectations in the relationship. Bailey naturally earned more, since my income fluctuated. This was a situation of great awkwardness for her parents.
They were not happy with my job
My father died when I was 19 and I’ve been a freelance writer since 2009, much to my mother’s discomfiture, as she always insisted that I take a regular job after completing both my bachelor’s degree and MBA. Even now she approaches the situation with nervous laughter.
I never saw my father entering the kitchen. Though my mother went out to work (she still does) every day, she was the one who did the messy work and got her hands dirty. That’s how things were. The husband should earn more (as my father did) while his wife should take care of the household chores and the kids.
Once I asked my mother why dad never helped around the house, and all she gave me was a scoff and a cold reply, “Why should a husband help with housework?”
As far as Bailey’s parents are concerned, they were strictly against the marriage and with our 4th anniversary round the corner, her father still asks me, “What do you write?” “Whom do you write for?” “Do they pay?”
My lifestyle wasn’t acceptable to society
Once we had a baby boy, an entirely new set of problems popped out of Pandora’s box. I like to cook and spend time with our son. I sing Irish folk songs as lullabies and Tate (our son) loves them. Bailey is more career-oriented, while I’m happy-go-lucky.
I write. I drink. I feed my son, drop him at school, bathe him on occasion and so does she! When she has to leave early, I manage the chores. While on the days I have to write more, she takes care of them. The way we have been dividing household chores has kept us grounded and made us more efficient as a couple.
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Our ideologies kept us stronger than ever
The thing that glued us together was mutual trust and a common ideology. The ideology that I developed from my exploration of modern European movies and books and the one she gathered from a thorough reading of eminent feminist writers were the same. The concept of equality inspired us both. But it was not easy to carry on sharing household chores equally with my mother living in the vicinity and actively involved in our everyday lives.
So we moved to a rented and airy apartment a few miles. Here we enjoy the freedom to exercise our concept of equality. Above all, we enjoy our freedom to shout at each other and fight. Yes! Since the roles are not defined, we blame each other for anything and everything.
Things fell into place
Just like on a football pitch! Starting from a low earning month to the piles of undone dishes in the kitchen sink, we screech and shout, pointing fingers at each other. But this is because we share household responsibilities equally. We don’t always shout and screech, as most days things fall into place.
On some days, she is tired, and some days, I am. However, on those long nights, after I’ve done the dishes, boiled milk for our son, cleared the table, and stowed away the food in the refrigerator, sipping a drink standing alone in the balcony, I feel alive. We have learned to deal with the power struggle in relationships.
After all, I am a writer and I need to get my hands dirty gathering experiences. We are friends and friends don’t delegate work to each other but share it. Times have changed for the better, and so have we. If the division of household chores reduces a woman’s workload even just by a little bit, it’s the least we can do to help them reach their professional and other goals in life.
Map out a plan and check your schedules. The day you are busy is the day your husband should manage the household responsibilities and vice versa.
You communicate and divide work based on the workload for that day/week. Marriage is all about adjusting and co-dependence.