September 27, 2016

How to equalize the housework.

That's a better title for what the WSJ calls "Four Tips to Save Time on Housework." Or... their title is better if you don't want to make it obvious that the tips are aimed at women who live with men:



The best tip relates to something that I've blogged about here before: The woman may be doing more than the man because she believes that more needs to be done. She can adjust that belief downward — "Lower your standards" — and get to equality by doing less herself.

40 comments:

Sebastian said...

"She can adjust that belief downward — "Lower your standards" — and get to equality by doing less herself." She can, but then she would violate at least one corollary of Althouse's Law.

Danno said...

I agree with your idea of doing less (lowering your standards) as a solution. From what I see of the things in your life that you share, you keep things at home simple and plan a lot of outside activities that you mostly share. Like the video states, the lowering of standards is the easier of the two approaches. And, life is too short to be a slave to a demanding house.

rhhardin said...

The woman is always imagining inviting friends over. The man isn't.

rhhardin said...

Dead-end areas of my house tend to fill with licked-clean peanut butter jars and yogurt cups.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laslo Spatula said...

In the cartoon the woman who wants the clean house is white; the man who doesn't care so much about a clean house is black.

So: the 'black man is lazy' stereotype, needed to counter the 'overworked woman' stereotype.

Why don't they just hire a Mexican cleaning lady?


I am The Replacement Laslo.

Ben David said...

rhhardin: maybe when the man imagines inviting friends over, he imagines *his* friends - who won't notice anything about cleanliness.

A very talented Israeli settler puts on puppet shows about Israeli life in the West Bank. She always gets a laugh with a bit where 2 female neighbors agree that if one of them is killed in a terror attack, the other will scoot over to clean up the house before the police and the press are allowed in...

Expat(ish) said...

For the last 25 years my wife has been complaining (gently, usually) about having to "lower her standards" of house cleanliness. I've been (gently, mostly) ignoring it for at least as long.

So it might be more accurate to say that I *think* she is still complaining.

A (now divorced) friend once retorted to his wife that the 80% of the house he paid for was as clean as he liked it.

ouch.

_XC

rehajm said...

Shallow thinking. Deep thought on the matter utilizes economic principles, game theory and comparative advantage to optimize solutions.

OTOH, marrying an economist could be classified as 'lowering your standards'...

Clark said...

I think adjusting expectations downward is reasonable advice. If one person is bothered by the state of something and another is not, the onus is on the bothered to remedy the situation. Don't like dishes in the sink? Do them. Don't like living with someone who leaves dishes in the sink? Don't.

Original Mike said...

My wife is never happier than when she's cleaning things. The problem we have is she doesn't know when to stop. Her cleaning jags are oftened followed by me fixing the things she broke ("Did you really have to take the faucet apart to clean it?")

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I'm the one who cleans the Johnnies because I don't mind reaching deep inside there with a sponge.

Sorry, but cheap plastic bristles on the end of a cheap plastic wand won't do it.

tcrosse said...

My wife loves doing the dishes because when she's doing the dishes everybody leaves her the fuck alone.
Let's talk about some real issues, like Thermostat Wars or Leaving the Toilet Seat Up.

robother said...

People whose identity is tied up with being seen as a hard worker can't take the advice to lower their standards, as if this is merely an objective question of house cleanliness. Their standards of cleanliness rise to fill the [available time needing to be filled][greater virtue needing to be leveraged].

The Cracker Emcee said...

Sexist assumption. I do most of the house cleaning (and all the maintenance and yard work) because I have higher standards than my wife. I notice details and things that need doing that would never register with her until they became critical. I know other manly men that are the same. I think a large part of it is a male appreciation for efficiency. When it comes to cleaning the wood floors or making the shower shine with a minimum of wasted effort and a maximum of cleanliness, Father knows best.

CStanley said...

I think most people who can benefit from these logical suggestions have already figured it out for themselves, while the people who most need to consider these tips will need therapy to work out their psychological need for conflict before they can make adjustments.

Peter said...

So many books on how to achieve happiness, yet so few state the obvious: that the secret to happiness lies setting expectations well below observed reality.

Boxty said...

Cracker, are you accusing Althouse of a sexist assumption or admitting one? Because what you wrote was sexist and proves Althouse's point at the same time.

I too clean the bathroom because I don't think she does a good enough job. I've gotten lazy recently and don't clean to the same standards I'd like, but my wife doesn't complain because it's still above her standards. That's a win in my book.

campy said...

To my mind, part of the problem is that women have a hard time seeing men's work as work. To them it's only work if a woman is doing it.

DanTheMan said...

When my wife does half the yard work, half the car repairs, half the home improvement projects, and half the plumbing and electrical repairs, I'll do half the laundry, dishes, and house cleaning.

Jupiter said...

The insidious aspect of this, is that the person with the higher standards *always* does the work, because nothing ever gets to the point where it would bother the person with the lower standards.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

In the housework/yardwork arena you just have to decide where you want to pick your battles and is it really worth it. Lowering your standards a bit on somethings to get harmony in your marriage is just a smart thing to do. It also helps if neither of you are very picky.

So, my husband doesn't pick up his dirty socks and clothing daily to put into the laundry basket. Big deal. I could nag him and annoy him into doing it, or just scoop them up myself on my way through the bedroom. His wet towel thrown onto the bed and left there to soak into the comforter making it damp and smelly...NOW that's another issue! I will do battle on that hill.

He doesn't care if the dishes sit overnight in the sink or aren't loaded immediately into the dishwasher. Sometimes I let them sit because I'm tired or just don't feel like it, but mostly before bed load the dishwasher and do the hand washing, because I don't like to see a dirty kitchen in the morning. That is MY thing.

We don't keep score on who does what around the house or in the yard. There isn't any point in making marriage a competition. I do most of the yard work, mowing, pruning etc....because I'm home and because I like to see the property looking groomed and I enjoy it. Plus he is working his butt off all day long on pump and plumbing jobs and is dog tired at night. Big stuff that requires more muscles than I have...he will do when he isn't on a job or ....we hire someone at much less per hour than he charges for his time.

Marriage or just coexisting with roommates is a give and take type of thing. Everyone has to compromise in some ways.



Birches said...

My kids clean their own bathrooms, load and unload the dishwasher, fold their own laundry, sweep the floor after dinner and wipe the table.

Honestly, how much time does housework take? Not a huge amount of time.

wholelottasplainin' said...

DanTheMan said...
When my wife does half the yard work, half the car repairs, half the home improvement projects, and half the plumbing and electrical repairs, I'll do half the laundry, dishes, and house cleaning
********************************

THIS! The original graphic for this thread showed only traditional "women's work", and not all the other stuff men do, routinely and mostly on their own.

Apparently in the feminist world those other activities do not exist, or are trivial in terms of time, effort and skill.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"Because what you wrote was sexist and proves Althouse's point at the same time."

Deliberately so and, in my case, absolutely true. Reality is indeed subjective, but nowhere more so than in acid flashbacks and feminist cant.

H said...

If you go to any university town, where to a considerable degree, boys live with boys, and girls with girls, you will find that on average, or "mostly", the girls rooms/apartments are cleaner than the boys. Women's standards are (on average or mostly) higher than men's. Find a marriage or two where that is not true does not disprove the general tendency.

But there are also marriages where the husband cares a lot more than the wife about keeping the car cleaned and waxed, or keeping the lawn mowed and weed free. The difference? The husbands don't whine about how their wives are not doing their share of car-washing/lawn care.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"Apparently in the feminist world those other activities do not exist, or are trivial in terms of time, effort and skill."

If women don't see you do it, it doesn't count.

tim in vermont said...

I have always maintained that the main obstacle to happiness for 90% of women is standards that are too high. Almost any woman can get laid almost at will if she is willing to lower her standards, for example.

Iapetus said...

"In the cartoon the woman who wants the clean house is white; the man who doesn't care so much about a clean house is black.
So: the 'black man is lazy' stereotype, needed to counter the 'overworked woman' stereotype."

It's a different, socially uncomfortable stereotype. Quite a few TV ads these days show a white woman with a black man, but rarely do they show a black woman with a white man, except in a group of people. The statistics are overwhelming. Why is that? Is it because of the Kardashian women, who seem transfixed by black men? It brings back the long-ago fears white racists had towards their black slaves, imagining black men lusting after white women. But could it be the other way around, with the black/white roles reversed?

SDaly said...

lapetus -

It's not the Kardashians. It's deliberate social conditioning. Do a Google image search for "black mom and baby", "Hispanic mom and baby", "Asian mom and baby" & "White mom and baby". Tech, advertising and MSM are erasing white families.

Malesch Morocco said...

My wife agrees with you 100%.

Otto said...

Gender difference:
"Bottom Line: Even though female high school students are better prepared academically than their male classmates on many different measures of academic success, both overall and for mathematics specifically, female high school students score significantly lower on the SAT math test, and the +30-point differences in test scores favoring males has persisted for several generations and exists across all ethnic groups. At the high-end of math performance, high school males significantly outperformed their female peers on the 2016 SAT math test by a ratio of 1.60-to-1 for scores between 700 and 800, and that outcome for superior male math performance on the high end of the distribution has persisted for more than four decades.

Despite the persistent, statistically significant differences in math performance by gender on the math SAT test that have continued for close to a half century, we hear statements like this: “There just aren’t gender differences anymore in math performance,” according to University of Wisconsin-Madison psychology professor Janet Hyde, who says further that “parents and teachers need to revise their thoughts about this. Stereotypes are very, very resistant to change, but as a scientist I have to challenge them with data.” Given the significant and persistent gender differences in SAT math test scores that have persisted over many generations across all ethnic groups, the scientific data about gender differences in math performance would seem to present a serious challenge to Professor Hyde’s frequent claims that there are no gender differences in math performance.

Further, the fact that women are underrepresented in STEM occupations and hold only 26% of STEM jobs according to a 2013 Department of Commerce report certainly isn’t because female students are being discouraged from studying math and science in high school. In fact, the evidence shows that females are excelling in math and science in high school – they outnumber males in AP/Honors math and science courses, and are more likely than their male counterparts to take four years of math and science courses."

Joe said...

And, women, whatever you do, when your husband voluntarily cleans the kitchen better than it ever has been cleaned, don't let your first words be, "You did it wrong."

He may never clean the kitchen again.

Edward Bo said...

"Women, for hormonal reasons, can see individual dirt molecules, whereas men tend not to notice them until they join together into clumps large enough to support commercial agriculture"

Dave Barry

Rob McLean said...

Men are scum, and that's that.

Mrs. X said...

Mr. X does more of the cleaning because his standards are higher than mine. On several occasions, I've suggested he lower his them. This never ends well.

Big Mike said...

I guess women figure the grass mows itself, those outdoors repairs use self-pounding nails, and in the fall the leaves rake themselves into piles and all you have to do is hold a bag long enough for them to jump in.

openidname said...

My ex-husband managed to avoid housework by doing a s****y job of it. And definitely on purpose. He was always cheerful about it and happy to volunteer. Leaving me to decide if I wanted my white shirts to come out of the wash pink and my forks to have remnants of yesterday's dinner on them, or if I wanted to do the housework myself.

Jon Ericson said...

Yep, scum. I don't know how you ladies put up with us.

Douglas said...

In every couple, one can live with a mess and the other can't. The split is often but not always on gender lines - more often, women have higher standards of cleanliness and neatness. Happy marriages require compromise by both parties.