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Chores At Home: Why You Should Do Your Own Damn Laundry

By Eleanor Dennis, www.maidstr.com

marriage, division of labour,

Sound the alarm! It’s 2016 and Hillary Clinton is running for President of the United States, Kathleen Wynne is the Premier of Ontario and the word “house husband” has (sort of) become a socially acceptable thing. On the other hand from the home to the work force, the battle for gender equality is obviously far from over. Women who work full-time in Canada still earn 73.5 cents on the dollar, but who’s counting? (A new report from Statistics Canada for the Globe and Mail is, check it out here). As opposed to criticizing the unfortunately ever-present gender pay gap in Canada, let’s keep it simple and talk about the home. Sure, women have made huge strides away from the 1970’s archetypal housewife with the great hair, but when we look a bit closer at what really goes on at home we find that these gender chore divisions still exist to a certain extent. Sound unsurprising? Let’s see.

What’s the Same

We consulted the Bureau of Labour Statistics data and a survey by Working Mother Research Institute to answer this question: beyond the age-old division about time spent in the shower, what gender divisions still occur with regards to household chores and why?

  1. Women are still statistically more likely to be relegated to handling indoor chores whereas working dads tend to pick up outdoor chores. For better or worse, no big surprise there. Not only that but the chores that men tend to pick up, like mowing the lawn, landscaping, general handyman duties and doing taxes are among the chores families are MOST LIKELY to outsource. Isn’t that an interesting data point? Men prioritize their time and thus don’t hesitate to outsource time- and energy- intensive household chores.

On the other hand, due to tradition and the conflicting messages women receive about their roles, there is still some residual angst about outsourcing household chores that tend to fall under their purview like child care and house cleaning.

2) Moms are twice as likely to handle the cooking as Dads are. Again, we roll our eyes but are mainly unsurprised.

3) 79% of working mothers today say they are responsible for doing the laundry. Wait, hold up. 80% of working moms are still separating the white clothes from the colours? It’s more common, but not all men are colour blind. How is this still a thing?

With the millennials scarily becoming real “adults” and the boomers starting to boom a bit more slowly, let’s find out if any real changes are on the horizon for the next generation of working couples who fight over the hot water in the morning.

What’s Different?

“35% of Millennial men handle laundry compared to 22% of Boomer men”

1) Moms and Dads share bill-paying responsibilities. That’s more like it! Partner up, parents, because it’s been smooth sailing for too many years now and our interest rates are about to blow up.

2) Millennial men are more likely to take on housework, including housework and child-car duties. Ah, millennials, the generation that we all love to hate but that has seen the fullest participation of both sexes in all aspects of family life. According to an article by the Atlantic, millennials care more about gender equality than any other cause and have been re-inventing the concept of what it means to be a man or a woman.

3) 35% of Millennial men handle laundry compared to 22% of Boomer men. There it is again, laundry: the great human equalizer but household divider. It seems as though even being the family’s primary earner doesn’t lighten the load for women (pardon the pun).

What’s the Fuss About?

The household still acts as a bit of a mirror for the gender divisions in our society, and working moms still get the bulk of the chores around the house. Women spend on average 2 hours and 13 minutes on chores daily while men spend almost an hour less according to the BLS. Even in households with two working parents contributing, sharing the burden only eliminates an average of 15 minutes of chores per day, keeping working mom’s household activity still around 2 hours per day.

However, families are deciding to focus on quality of life and prioritizing the hours spent with one another in an increasingly hectic and 24/7 work connected world and are employing various strategies to so such as downsizing from large homes to smaller homes and condos or outsourcing time intensive household chores such as handyman duties and home cleaning services.

Either way the message is the same…you’re not the primary breadwinner any more, Dad, and that trail of bread crumbs had better not lead back to the laundry room.

Is the division of household chores divided equally in your home? Share with us in the comments.

 

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