Carolyn Hax: A great (and uneven) divide over housework

Nick Galifianakis for The Washington Post
(Nick Galifianakis for The Washington Post)
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By Carolyn Hax
Monday, September 6, 2010

Adapted from a recent online discussion:

Dear Carolyn:

I've finally put my foot down and told my husband our discussion about housework is over and he needs to increase his share of the work, or else.

We each estimated the number of hours we put toward housework and kids. I do almost 60 percent of the work. I excluded things on his side that I don't really call work, because I know he enjoys the solitude (lawn care, weeding, finances, cooking, etc.). He doesn't think that's right, but I don't think these tasks compare to vacuuming, doing dishes every night and cleaning bathrooms.

I also don't buy his argument that he works 10-15 hours more than I do at his job each week. That is a career choice, and while it has enabled him to earn far more money than I do, it doesn't excuse him from his share of housework.

Short of threatening divorce, how do I convince him he is wrong? I threw this out to friends and family and everyone agrees with me.


If you're softening your hands while you do dishes, then you can't count that toward your workload, either.

As for your friends' unanimous agreement, all I can say is, wow, you have friends.

Here's a definition that works on Earth: Anything you wouldn't already be doing for leisure counts as housework. Period.

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