Dish: The Psychology Behind The Couples' Chore War

It’s tough to quantify how much work goes into keeping a home maintained. Whether a family consists of a fledgling young couple or a thriving clan of five, there are certain unavoidable duties that have to be tended to to maintain its inhabitants health and well-being. Working full time to fulfill personal goals (and make enough keep the utilities running), and put nutritious food on the table, tends to be the shared responsibility of both partners that run a household now. So when it comes time to prepare those meals, scrub up the dishes afterward, or wash and dry the clothes, is that responsibility shared too? In many homes, the housekeeping chores fall on the shoulders of women, even those who work full time, leaving them feeling burned by the burden of having to put out fires at home and manage a career. A renowned psychiatrist says young men are simply programmed to sit back and be cared for, as young females are conditioned to learn the behind the scenes of homemaking.

“Women, raised by mothers during the 1950s, 1960s, and even 1970s,” Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker wrote for Psych Central, “were generally taught how to do household chores. Years of babysitting and helping out in the kitchen prepared them for managing a home. Men, raised by those same mothers, often don’t know how to do such tasks as laundry and food preparation. They never saw their fathers prepare a casserole or iron a shirt. They weren’t gradually taught to assume responsibility for such tasks while they were growing up. Often enough, even the most enlightened and willing adult male experiences a gnawing belief that he really shouldn’t have to do these things. He may even feel less of a man when he does.”

But many men that contribute say they do their share but their spouse doesn’t reciprocate. Some males see their division of labor as uneven, with wives devoted to a double standard where they want their chores shared but dismiss other household duties that are more physical or traditionally masculine as not somewhere ladies ought to tread. “While men who are trying hard to balance the labor at home get equally upset with their wives who won’t take responsibility for getting an oil change for the car or for doing outdoor work they see as “men’s work. ”

“My wife has a fit if I don’t help with the dishes but I don’t see her going out in sub-zero weather to shovel the snow,” said a frustrated patient of Dr. Hartwell-Walker.

Is there an equal division of chores in your home? How do you achieve harmony in sharing the household duties? Casandra Armour

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