My mother once found a shriveled-up carcass, about the size of a golf ball, in my fridge. After a few befuddled moments, we realized: It was a turnip.
I’m not the greatest housekeeper in the world. Or even in these pants. Thing is, I don’t give a rat’s ass about it. (Oh look, a rat!) I don’t want to be good at housework. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a clean, tidy home. I do. I just don’t want to be the one to make it that way. Not when there are so many other delightful things to do with my time like getting boinked in the bunghole. (No, I don’t love anal; I hate cleaning THAT MUCH.)
So I got myself a housekeeper. Now before you peg me for the Duchess of Douchenozzle, she only comes biweekly for a couple of hours. “Must be nice,” a friend of mine huffed. “Yes, it’s quite splendid actually,” I replied in an English accent, because that’s how snobs sound, obviously. “But not as nice as that bucket of chicken you’re holding in your hands with those new acrylic nails” which cost more than two visits from lovely, lemon-fresh Angela.
Sorry, June Cleaver, there’ll be no housework for this beaver. The percentage of breadwinning women has quadrupled in the last forty years. In 1976, women made up 8% of breadwinners among Canadian couples. In 2010, that number was over 31%. We bitches be making more paper, yo, and our fellas be making more PB&J sandwiches. There is finally some balance between the sexes in the working and parenting departments. When it comes to bringing home the bacon, frying said bacon, and stogging it into our youngsters’ gobs, it’s a fifty-fifty gig. High fives all around.
But somehow, the housework still largely falls to the penisless. You know it’s true. A New York Times article, “The Case for Filth,” said so too: “…in America, as well as in several other countries in the developed world, men’s time investment in housework has not significantly altered in nearly 30 years.” Some dudes just don’t care if the house is clean or dirty. Some think dishwater is absorbed directly through the skin, poisoning their manly virility. Others sigh heavily at the sight of unwashed dishes in the sink. Oh my apologies, my manly prince, shall I scrub the pots squeaky clean while polishing your knob?
Maybe it’s only fair that men expect us to clean the house. After all, haven’t we traditionally expected them to pump the gas, mow the lawn, shovel the snow, take out the trash, whack the weeds, and slay the spiders? Guilty as charged right here.
And I know it’s not just the dudes. Our mothers think housework is our job too, still subscribing to that old-school division of labour when women cared for the home, and men built muscles from actually working instead of gazing adoringly at their form in the mirror at the gym three days a week.
And, frankly, we gals think the chores are on us too. Or at least we did until we woke up and smelled the bullshit. Ever catch yourself apologizing for the state of the house? Unless you’re conducting some bizarre fungal experiment in your kitchen, there’s nothing to be sorry about. That guilt you feel when your baby grabs hold of a dust bunny during tummy time…. We can thank our mothers for that, and their mothers before them. It was a part of being a woman. Remember that rattle you had when you were a baby? Yeah, that was practice for your feather duster.
But hey, we modern families can work it out. Guys: do what you do best. Fix the toaster, saddle the horses, choke the chicken, whatever. We really appreciate it. And we’ll do what we’re good at: fill the toybox, pack the lunchbox, groom the love box, and practice our kegels to reverse the damage done to the ol’ bat cave when the bambinos came barreling out (which no amount of snow shoveled or grass cut can ever trump, by the way).
And together, we’ll fight the necessary evils of housekeeping. By just not fucking doing it. Oh it will get done…by a hired professional. It’ll save our time, our sanity, maybe even our marriage. If you think you can’t afford it, stop dropping coin on spray tans and decals for your ginormous pick-up truck. And psssssst: have a look under the cushions of your couch for loose change, dirtbag. We’ll have to maintain things between visits, of course. Like the laundry, unless you plan on growing spuds in your skivvies. But pay a pro to take care of the big stuff: the floors, the bathroom, the beds. (Scouring the fridge for fossilized rutabaga is prolly gonna cost extra.)
This article was previously published in The Overcast, Newfoundland’s arts and culture newspaper in which I write a monthly column called The Motherload.