Housework is "For the Birds"

This week we’re talking about housework.  MamaMzunga of Kenya asked our writers,

“How do you divide up housework? Does it fall into predictable gender divisions? And, maybe most importantly, do you think it’s divided fairly?”

Check out what some of our World Moms had to say…

Alison Lee of Malaysia writes:
“I’m lucky to have a cleaning crew come once a week to do deep cleaning. The daily chores of just keeping the place neat and tidy, laundry, cooking – well, that’s all me!”

Susie Newday of Israel writes:
“LOL-I make my kids do it??? But seriously, I am in search of a wife…. though to be fair, my husband does help out with certain things when he is home. And I taught all my boys everything because I want my daughter-in-laws to like me.”

Asha of Nigeria writes:
“In New Jersey, I did dishes, laundry, and cleaned up everything except toys. That was the kids responsibility. My husband worked very late, traveled often, and even worked on the weekends so he couldn’t help out. I suspect he was thrilled about that. In Nigeria, we have a full time housekeeper. She does all the cleaning. I still do laundry and clean up on the weekends. As you can imagine, I am much happier with our current arrangement. I hated housework.”

Tatterscoops of Indonesia writes:
“I’m a single mom and currently living with my parents so I don’t have to deal with this, but when I was married it was almost equal. ‘Almost’ was the key word – hah!”

RoxIsBrilliant of Nevada, USA writes:
“Another single mom here. I do all of it, but my son is starting to help out quite a bit. Plus, he cleans his own room.”

Mamma Simona of South Africa writes:
“I’m really blessed – I have a lady who comes in once a week to do all the ironing & “heavy” cleaning (floors, windows, drapes etc.), my son mostly takes care of loading and unloading the dishwasher, my daughter takes care of laundry and my hubby cooks way more often than I do! (In case you are wondering my son is 19yrs old & my daughter 16). The kids also take turns feeding the dogs. 🙂 It wasn’t always like this though – I’ve had my turn of being a SAHM and doing almost everything myself.  Hubby used to do the ironing back then because he was better at it. :)”

The Alchemist of India writes:
“There is domestic help to scrub the floors and do the dishes. All the rest gets done by me. You know, I am a SAHM for now. And hubby works more than 12 hours a day. So, I guess sitting in the happy haven of my home it is easy to complain about hubby not sharing any housework at all. But well, I think for now, it is divided fairly enough. Perhaps when I go back to work again, I would expect more help.

And moreover my 6 y.o. is more than eager to always help. I think it is kind of cute and probably he would grow up helping his wife and sharing household chores with her.”

Mannahattamamma of United Arab Emirates writes:
“Now I have a cleaning person who comes in 2 times weekly (BLISS) but I do all the rest: shopping, cooking, most of the laundry (husband has been known to toss in a load of laundry & sometimes remembers to put it in the dryer). (We both work as English professors, FYI).

We have an ongoing “discussion” about him doing more, but he says he needs a list of specifics (a list he wants me to create) and I say dude, you’re a grownup: what needs to be done, choose something, and just do it (consistently). Sometimes, frankly, this conversation of ours makes me feel like an article in a women’s magazine because we’re such a cliche. I’m working the so-called “second shift” for sure!  But having a cleaning person helps a LOT. It’s the first time in my life I’ve had help and I am especially grateful.”

Karyn Van Der Zwet of New Zealand writes:
“It’s meant to be me, which probably explains why it doesn’t get done very often! (Apart from basics.)”

Ms. V of South Korea writes:
“We have a housekeeper who comes in every other week to give the apartment a good deep clean. But, of course, there are chores that need to be done every day and I would say that they are divided fairly though not necessarily equally. By fairly I mean that we each do what we can reasonably do in the time we have, which I think is fair. By virtue of being a mostly-stay-at-home mom and doing most of my work from home, I am more available to do chores. And my husband’s two biggest chores – taking out the garbage and cleaning the litter boxes – are, I suppose, pretty stereotypical gender roles. But, we divide the cooking pretty equally (we both love to cook so that is hardly a chore), he ALWAYS does the dishes, and though I do most of the laundry, whoever realizes the cloth diapers need to be washed first ends up doing them. Same goes for vacuuming, dusting, etc. We both do whatever needs to be done when we notice it. Overall, I am satisfied with the division of labor. I just asked my husband if he was as well and he said, “absolutely!”.”

Tara B. of Washington State, USA writes:
“Housework….hmm…are we talking house cleaning? That is mostly me. But there are many things related to our home and its upkeep that my husband does, mainly the more labor intensive, outdoor stuff. Cutting back trees….fixing drywall….rewiring a faulty light fixture….taking care of any rodent/pest problems (we live in the country)…he does all of that stuff. So maybe that falls down traditional gender lines, but I do prefer cleaning bathrooms to thrashing pricker bushes or setting mouse traps :-)”

Maman Aya of New York, USA writes:
“Interestingly enough, my husband does most of the cleaning. We used to have a cleaning girl who came once a week, but she did a mediocre job. So we figured why pay all that money for a mediocre clean if my husband cleans just as well? 🙂 I do the laundry, cooking, dishes, shopping and cleaning of the kitchen, he does the bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, and mopping the floors. It gets divided pretty evenly… Sort of! :-)”

Maggie Ellison of South Carolina, USA writes:
“As of now, I stay at home and do most of the housework.   On the weekends, my husband and I share the cooking and light pick-up, but for the most part, I take weekends off from cleaning.  We all need down time.  Our schedule will be changing in about 5 months and so we are going to have to divide housework differently.  Until then, I’ll keep our happy arrangement!”

Salma of Ontario, Canada writes:
“The girls take turns on washroom and kitchen chores. I fill in the gaps, but that’s about it- us girls do the work and the boys play.”

How does the housework get divided in your home?    

And do you have a question you would like to pose to our WMB writers?  If so, email us at to see what they have to say.

Don’t forget to visit us tomorrow to check out the travel itinerary for next week!

– World Moms Blog

Photo credit to Calvin Dellinger  This photo has a creative commons attribute license.

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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