I know that I always said I would try and be the "typical" housewife, with dinner on the table every night and a house that always shines. But here's the thing...science says that it's bad for me!!
Let's start off with some statistics. Did you know that 74% of men think that the housework is split evenly among the spouses, while only 51% of women think the same? Someone here is lying...and I think we both know that it's not the women.
But I'll be honest, sometimes I enjoy cleaning. I like spending an afternoon with the windows open and the music blaring while I dust, mop, and vacuum. It's a mini escape and it can be fun.
But the second it's forced upon me, whether it's because we have people coming over or because you've made a snide comment that "too bad I didn't marry a maid," that enjoyment turns to disdain pretty darn quick.
I'm not asking for a lot, or at least I don't think so, when I ask you to pitch in and give me a hand. And researchers from Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology in Germany don't think so either.
You see, according to what they've found, women who do the majority of the chores on a daily basis can actually suffer in terms of health.
DO YOU HEAR THAT? CHORES ARE KILLING ME.
Since we've retired, I've taken on a lot more chores around the house because it gives me something to do, but the new study shows that maybe I should slow down.
Dr. Tilman Brand, who co-authored the study, says that chores like cooking, cleaning, and other repetitive tasks can be harmful.
"While this probably has some limited health benefits, it is not very physically active, is not really exercise and is not very stimulating mentally, which relates to physical health," Dr. Brand said.
"Men did much more active household chores, such as gardening and maintenance," he continued. "The physical exertion is good for the health, with gardening involving digging, mowing and carrying soil. We think gardening and fixing things may also be more enjoyable than cleaning."
What surprised me even more is to hear how long women spend doing chores. The study found that American women spend, on average, three hours and 40 minutes cooking, cleaning, and shopping for the home DAILY.
Men, apparently, only spend 88 minutes a day doing gardening or maintenance.
"Gardening and maintenance activities may increase fitness level and muscle strength because they require some form of physical exertion such as carrying equipment for repair works, lawn mowing, shoveling, digging holes and carrying soil," the study says.
When we first got married, I felt like it was my job to provide these services for the house. Cooking and cleaning is what my mom spent her time doing, so naturally I assumed I had to as well. But then I started working a job I loved, and I felt overrun.
But how could I tell you that I wanted you to help out? To me, that's not what a good wife did. But another study shows that my guilt actually makes me unhappy, which makes me unhealthy.
“This guilt is linked to some expectations of what women are ‘supposed’ to do, even if they don’t agree with it,” says Melissa Milkie, a sociologist specializing in gender at the University of Toronto.
“Although women and men’s roles are much more similar than they used to be, the expectations lag to some degree – we’re still stuck culturally," she continued. "This may be true for men too, in that they still have to be breadwinners.”
But we would both benefit from you pitching in a little more, because it makes you even more attractive.
"The degree to which housework is shared is now one of the two most important predictors of a woman’s marital satisfaction," writes Stephanie Coontz in the New York Times. "And husbands benefit too, since studies show that women feel more sexually attracted to partners who pitch in."
And who doesn't want that, right?
No, not our split. The split of chores. If we're going to be a partnership, we need to be equals. I need you to help me out when it comes to things around the house. These are some ways we can make sure that BOTH of us feel valued and satisfied with the way we split things:
- Set Priorities: What chores are most important? What needs to get done daily and what can be once a week? How many times a week do we want to eat out? Figuring out where we both lie on these topics will make it easier to see what needs to be done.
- Hate Lists: I absolutely hate cleaning the kitchen, you absolutely hate cleaning the bathroom. You don't have to do what you hate, but I need to know what that is so we can split it all evenly. If we both hate something, then we'll alternate.
- Timing: I like cleaning late at night, but that doesn't always work for you. We don't have to clean at the same time, but it's important that we set timelines for when things need to get done. I refuse to live in a household where the bathroom is only cleaned once a month.
- Schedule: Every week brings new meetings, commitments, and who knows what else. At the beginning of each week if we take five minutes to figure out what the coming days look like, we can set realistic expectations for who is doing what. If I have a meeting on Wednesday, I don't want to have to rush and cook dinner.
- Be Open: If either one of us doesn't get our stuff done on time, it's okay for the other to point it out. Marriage is a contract, a commitment, and a compromise. If someone doesn't hold up their end of the bargain, then it won't work.
- Make It Fun: We fell in love because we're competitive. Making a small contest or game out of getting chores done is a great way to make things fun and also get the work done. Winner gets to choose the next takeout meal, and we all know I don't mess around with takeout.
So you see, my dear hubby, I can't be the only one doing chores around the house anymore...not if we want to live a happy, health, long life together! I need you to step up, and I need both of us to work together to make this work.