We don’t have a dishwasher in our home, at least not one that doesn’t have two legs and a brain. That means a lot of handwashing dishes. I’ve heard the rumor that it’s meditative but I don’t believe it. It just seems to take a lot of time, dry my hands out and I always manage to use the green scratchy side of the sponge on the silverware and scratch them.
Last week, I felt like I was scrubbing too much. I washed dishes in the morning before work and then, I washed dishes in the evening after dinner. I could have sworn my husband was not washing any dishes, whatsoever. Of course, in his defense, he was busy doing other things like the laundry, taking out all the trash loads and filling up the bird and chipmunk feeders, but still, his absence from the sink was duly noted.
So, I deliberately left dishes in the sink. The dishes did not miraculously get cleaned. I then felt justified to mention something about the inequality in the dishwashing.
Chris has done the dishes conscientiously for the last week. Because he’s a competitive guy, he’s suggested that we have a little check off list of who does what. That seems a little extreme to me. I also suspect I might lose.
Our household is not the only one that goes through this little housework tug-o-war though.
Women spent approximately 18 hours a week doing housework, according to a 2001 study by the University of Maryland. This is about 40% more than the men contribute. This doesn’t make much sense now that 49% of women work outside the home and contribute about 35% to the total family income. In fact, in 24% of homes, the woman outearns the man.
Yet, I suspect even in those homes, she’s still doing the bulk of the housework.