I’m terrible at washing dishes. Ok, maybe not terrible, but no matter how good I think I do, my wife finds something that I didn’t get quite right.
Makes you glad I no longer work in food service!
Modern husbands are supposed to help with the housework, aren’t they? Everything is supposed to be 50/50 and that makes the house run smoother and helps the husband and wife have more time and energy for each other—or so the thought goes.
What if this is wrong?
The Daily Telegraph out of London announces that couples who share the housework are more likely to divorce, based on a recent study. This ran counter to what the researchers expected to find, since recent studies said that men who did more housework had a better sense of well being.
How Invested Are You In The Home?
What they failed to take into account is how invested men are in their homes:
If you’re going to end up doing it one way or the other, it’s a lot more annoying to have to do it when you thought – however unreasonable the expectation – that someone was going to do it to your liking for you.
If the homemaking isn’t left to the homemaker, it shouldn’t be a tremendous surprise that things don’t go well. The household is hardly the only place where it is a terrible idea to assign the job to the individual who cares least about it.
[Vox Day: Kick Back, Have a Beer]
Vox’s analysis is what I find to be true, having worked at a restaurant and knowing that you have to get so much cleaned so fast you adopt the philosophy of “good enough” when it comes to clean dishes. So, when you get something “clean enough” and you aren’t invested in that, you will not do as good of a job.
My wife has very high standards—and it’s part of the reason that I married her!—and that doesn’t mean that I don’t have high standards in other places, it’s just that you should give the job to the person that cares the most about it.
However, there are other reasons that this should have been the obvious conclusion.
For one thing, if you have to have equal duty, that means there has to be a level of management and assignment—otherwise, it might not be a fair split. There’s also the fact that women don’t necessarily like servile husbands, children need to see an authority structure, and if mom and dad are equals as far as roles go, they do not see this, and some are suited and are interested in different things to a different degree.
To me, the takeaway here is that the husband and wife are supposed to be a team. I don’t care who is assigned what task, only that the task is done in a thorough and efficient manner, preferably by someone that cares enough to do it well.
This is also the feeling I have for chores. Children should know how to do all of them, and should learn to see a chore and do it, not to just simply throw up their hands and say “that’s not my job.” This is something that has taken me a while to master, but typically comes natural to my wife, and I think this has much to do with how we were raised. I want my kids to be more like her in this aspect, and less like I was.