I was doing my laundry this morning and watching it rain outside and it got me thinking: is housework really the domain of only women? No. Okay, back in the 1960's, advertising aimed appliances towards us women and how much we'd love to have a blender, a vacuum cleaner or a new stove, but really guys have used those things at some time in their lives - haven't they? And if not, why not?
Life hasn't become so busy that when we head off home, the men still walk in the door, grumble about their day, expect their slippers and glass of scotch and slump into their recliner and switch on the television, bellowing out: 'Hey, honey, I'm home... what's for dinner?'... has it? Because if there's the wife in the kitchen - who has also come home from the office, in the other car, tired as hell and she's kicked off her shoes and has just sat down; the very last thing she wants to hear from her husband is that statement.
Except, on the other hand, there is the Stay At Home Mum; who is the accountant, the laundrywoman, the cook, the taxi-driver, the nurse/doctor, the grocer and - well - everything else in between. She also has to keep the house nice and clean and try to have a bit of a social life on top of pleasing the whole family too! Now, this isn't easy for them; and I've known a few of them. They love what they do, but they also find it hard.
My Mum was a Stay At Home Mum for a period of time; until she had to go out and find a job to help make ends meet and make extra money. It was harder on us kids because we were given chores to do when we woke up (like make our beds and clean our rooms - something we didn't quite get the hang of) and there were chores we had to do after school (like walking the dog, taking out the rubbish, cutting up the veggies for dinner and setting the table for dinner as well). It was the small things that made the house run well; and if we missed out on a few of the small things, sometimes the house didn't run well. But that didn't happen often.
Now, I've lived in a shared house once or twice, and it was fun. We had our share of bills, shopping and working out who was buying what. I sorted out what we bought with the groceries; and used my car - as it has a massive boot/trunk - and the bills were split three ways. We all had our own jobs to do; and I offered to keep the house clean instead of paying rent... which went down well with two guys who didn't vacuum or dust or do laundry.
That was when I was 24 years old. Now, I'm much older, and living on my own, I have found that everything - and I mean everything - is done by me. I am the gardener, grocer, laundrywoman, billpayer, exterminator, nightwatchman, vet, doctor/nurse... I'm the lot and there's just me to do everything. Living on your own and doing everything is much harder than having a partner to help take up the slack... because you can't rely on anyone else by yourself; and you don't want to ask for help in case you seem weak. So, if and when I hurt myself, I rarely tell anyone unless somebody asks how I am.
But my housework gets done when it gets done. I find that my laundry is done over a week instead of a whole weekend as my clothesline isn't big enough. When it rains, I have a clothes horse I use inside and it takes only a small load. I must wash up every night or I'll get cockroaches - and put out the rubbish into the bin as well for the same reason. I dust three times a week (only for the stuff to come back a day later!) and I find that no matter how tidy I try to be, the house is never tidy enough...So, does anyone have these problems? Have you had these problems throughout your life where no matter what you've tried, you just can't keep your place clean and tidy? And does it occur to you that the housework does seem as though it's the domain of only the women and not that many men are taking part; or is that just my imagination?