If You Want More Sex, Do the Chores

“When women shoulder a disproportionate share of responsibility for housework, their perceptions of fairness and marital satisfaction decline, and…marital conflict and women’s depression increases.” ~ Leslie Bennetts,The Feminine Mistake

Neither my husband nor I expected me to become an unpaid servant. He never expected me to do all the child-rearing as well as all the tedious and mundane housework. But I do, even with a full-time job. I make the lunches, I buy the groceries, I plan the meals, I organize weekend events, I arrange music lessons — and that’s just the predictable stuff. I pick up the kids from school when they are sick, I drive them to dentist, doctor and eye appointments and I stay home from work on every Professional Activity (PA) day and holiday, which is about 45 days annually, not including summer holidays. When I worked for a corporation, I used up every single vacation day and then took unpaid days for the rest.

I get paid absolutely nothing for this work. In fact, corporations and governments penalize me by saying that this work is not only worthless for counting in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but is also so simple as to be irrelevant to the world of business and work. When I applied for a job after having children, one interviewer looked at my resume with distain, as if I had been doing nothing for 3 years. Since I made little income during those years, I was not allowed to buy disability insurance in case I got sick. Nor was I able to add to my retirement savings. In essence, my work inside the home not only has no value, but is invisible and carries a stigma that can never be removed.

Research shows that when a woman marries, her contribution to housework increases by approximately 7 hours a week. Just by tying the knot! Whether we like to admit it or not, the housekeeping responsibilities remain solidly in the domain of women. In their book The Career Mystique, Phyllis Moen and Patricia Roehling found that when couples marry, not only does the amount of time a woman spends doing housework increase, but that a man’s decreases by 33%.

And why is this so? Do women like doing this work? Are they naturally better at it? Research suggests otherwise and blames this imbalance squarely on the shoulders of our socialization and societal expectations. For women, this conditioning starts in childhood with us simply copying our mothers as role models. As Selma Greenberg, an expert in this area, suggests, “One of the most powerful ways mothers and fathers transmit to children their ideas on what kinds of adults they should grow up to be is through the parents’ own behavior. By looking, listening, by observing children also learn a lot about their place, their station in life.”

Read the rest of this article on Medium.com: https://medium.com/@maureenfitzgeraldphd/if-you-want-more-sex-do-the-chores-5c6fa6e16f76

This is an excerpt from Motherhood is Madness: How to Break the Chains that Prevent Mothers from Being Truly Happy by Maureen F. Fitzgerald, PhD. Available HERE on Amazon.

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