Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Call out the Cakensmoosher

I’ll still do the dishes.


The lawn? Yes. Garden. Not necessarily. Or at best, when asked.

I’d be kidding to say that my wife and I evenly divide the chores at home. There are things she does (the majority). There are things I do (the minority). There are things we do together, or at least we take turns. Or something like that. Though I’m sure she does most of it.

A study from Norway purports to say our marriage will be the happier for my general neglect of ensuring that 50/50 dividing line is reached.

The study, according to, says that those who divide chores equally are up to 50% more likely to divorce than couples in which the female did most of the housework. (Laudabily, KSL provides a link the original study paperwork. Laughably, it’s in Norwegian so it could be secret code messages to The Swedish Chef for all I know.)

So that begs the question: How does the study define chores and housework?

I don’t know. I don’t read Norwegian.

But the Daily Telegraph says the study states that a more “modern” view of marriage in which divorce is a more easily swallowed option if, say, the man does nothing when it comes to dishes and laundry, coupled with the fact that more modern females also work out of the home and are thus more immediately able to support themselves if there is a divorce may lead to more divorces overall, not the chores themselves.

Dr. Frank Furedi, a sociology professor at the University of Cantebury, has this to say of the study, per the Telegraph:

“In a good relationship people simply don’t know who does what and don’t particularly care. Unless marriage is a relationship above anything else, then whenever there are tensions or contradictions things come to a head. You have less capacity to forgive and absorb the bad stuff.”

Kind of goes back to the old sci-fi cliché that planets and nations that don’t have a word for peace or war don’t have them because, living peacefully for centuries, they’ve lost the need for such words.

In other words, in relationships where love, not gender equality, is the principal driver, the rest of the stuff doesn’t matter – or at least doesn’t matter to the point that couples are divorcing over who does the most dishes or laundry. The idea is that love is the motivator that leads a man, say, to fold laundry or do dishes, put the kids to bed, and such, rather than a logical drive to ensure love is communicated, rather than gender roles are broken or reinforced.

Do my wife and I have typical, gender-based divisions of labor? You bet your boots we do. I do the lawn mowing and most of the yard care – with the exception of the garden, where she is the driving force and I am the willing helper. When she decided we needed a sprinkler system installed this summer, I’m the one who did the work. I’m also generally in charge of garbage cleanup, home maintenance, and other “manly” duties.

Conversely, I also do a lot of dishes (not all of them). I will fold laundry when asked. I will tidy up. I will put groceries away. I will cook for the family and clean up after myself. I clean lots of toilets. In fact, that’s what I need to do tonight. We also can a lot of food and I’m there to help when asked. She does most of the cutting up and such, while I’m in charge of the pressure cooker and setting up and cleaning equipment.

My wife generally does the laundry, vacuuming and is in charge of home decorating, getting the kids do to their homework, piano and ballet lessons and other such stuff.

Conversely, she is generally in charge of automobile maintenance since she has a better rapport with the mechanic we use. She’s also our gardener, both flowers and vegetables, though I’m there as a willing assistant and generally don’t need to be directed to weed the flowers (weeding the garden, on the other hand, sucks rocks and I will generally only do that when asked).

More importantly, I feel we’ve got a relationship that’s based on love, not business or gender roles. So nobody’s going to have to get out the Cakensmoosher just yet.

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