In my post yesterday I talked about pothole #3 – Laundry.
And I felt an additional discussion on this subject was warranted.
That of ‘womans work’, delegation, family chore sharing et al.
In my home, I do the washing. Strict divisions of labour. I wash, hang, and mostly it’s me that folds. Everyone puts away their own clothes once folded – with whoever is around being asked to deposit towels in the bathroom and sheets into the linen cupboard.
Quite often that last one is accomplished by a quick response to a simple statement by one of my children. eg "just going to have a quick shower, Mum" – gets a lightning quick "here, take these towels with you dear, and pop them in the basket…".
You see, I have discovered another trick. A large cane basket on a shelf takes the pile of towels without a single cupboard needing to be opened or closed. Much easier for the teenage mind to cope with.
I digress. I do the washing, as I was saying, because I cannot reach the lightbulbs in our 9′ ceilings, I hate removing spiders, I am no good clearing out gutters or remembering to water the pot plants, hopeless at even remembering that filters need cleaning occasionally and I work at home so am here and able to dash out and grab the clothes off the line if it looks like rain.
And call me weird, but I find pegging clothes on the line therapeutic.
Families have different views on the division of labour. And I know plenty of people who divide the labour differently.
One couple – he does a load whenever he can (he’s on shiftwork), but never folds the clean stuff. That’s her responsibility. Another couple, she washes most of the time, but only irons for herself and the kids. He has to do his own ironing. In each case, it’s been a case of negotiation (or was that simple ‘laying down the rules’ to get to the point where the system works. Another family I know always put everything on hangers straight off the line and put away in the wardrobes, and only iron if it still looks crushed when they need to wear it.
It may not be strictly "women’s work" any more, but however it is delegated or shared between the whole family, if it’s a problem – then it’s everyone’s problem. And if you are the head female in the house, then that definitely includes you. Be part of the solution – brainstorm with the family – work out the best way for it to happen so there is no longer a pothole.