Saturday, March 15, 2014

Should Women Be Appreciated For Doing Housework?

I'm talking here about housewives, not women who work part- or full time and still do (some) domestic chores.

As human beings, we all want to be appreciated. Mrs Andelin points out in "Fascinating Womanhood" that women should appreciate the efforts of their husbands to earn the living, even though by earning the living the man does nothing more than his duty. The same goes true for women. We all like it when our husbands compliment us on our housekeeping or our cooking, give us flowers and the like. However, should the husband's appreciation be the only motivation for the wife to keep the house? I believe not.

Look, if you are a housewife then keeping the house is your job. You are supposed to do it in the best way possible, whether your efforts are complimented by others or not. Women nowadays are all paranoic about men taking them for granted if she does as much as bring her husband a beer, yet they aren't afraid of their bosses taking them for granted, it seems; though I doubt they get rewarded for simply showing up in the office on time or doing anything at all work-related. It's pretty much expected of an employee to perform his tasks, so why should a housewife feel different?

There is something sinister in the idea that we only should do our duty because we expect compliments and rewards. It shows the degradation of society when people expect compensation for just being a decent human being. I suspect next people will start demanding bonuses for not stealing or not murdering someone, but it's a topic for another discussion.

For me, having a clean house isn't only a matter of duty, though, it's more a matter of self-respect. As my Grandma used to say: "I keep a clean house because I respect myself too much to live in squalor." She had an internal motivation to keep things neat and tidy which didn't depend on  others. It was similar to not looking slovenly; taking a shower, brushing your teeth etc. It was just something which a decent woman did, because she was, well, decent.

The fact is, when people come on a visit and see a mess, they won't think worse of your husband, they will think worse of you. You may disagree with it, find it sexist and unfair, but it won't change the way things are. Screaming at reality doesn't make it disapear, it only makes one look stupid. It's better to accept it and try to make the best out of it.

My friend and I are big fans of a British TV Series "Keeping Up Appearances." Though it mocks Hyacinth with her pretensions, it hardly shows Daisy and her family in a positive light. I mean, would you rather have you house look like Hyacinth and Richard's or Daisy and Onslow's?

We can't all of us live in an upscale neighbourhood, or have an ideally looking house all the time (it's essentially impossible with small children), but I think we can all make an effort to have a reasonably well-organised household. As a housewife, you owe it to your family, but most important, to yourself.


  1. My husband and I love "Keeping Up Appearances" so much we even named our first dog Onslow 6 years ago. He continues to keep us happy. We were sad when the actor passed away recently. I agree internal motivation contributes to internal contentment.

  2. Oh how cute about the dog! Yes, I heard about the actor, didn't he have cancer or something? I like Onslow and Daisy in a way, but I wouldn't copy their housekeeping practices:) My favourite characters are Elisabeth and Emmet, and then the vicar because he is so handsome:) And I always feel pity for Richard, poor guy...Which season do you like most? I prefer Season 2 and 3, but I do love them all really.

  3. I never got it why it's so difficult to someone to do chores, to clean the toilet or make the bed etc. You are doing it FOR YOURSELF! (or your family, but even if you are single) I really would like to know the psycological explanation behind such behavior. To me, it's seems like some kind of passive self-destruction. I have never met a person who was against clean and neat environment. I just don't get it.

    I have to confess a bright moment I had last week... I've always thought that some things have to be done because they just have to be done (cleaning...) last week I realized I wanted a certain spot clean because I was proud of it... I wasted it look like I felt about it, not just because to clean it is a good thing. Never too late... to me it really made a difference :-)

    And yes, poor Richard! Somehow I like Onslow, because he really is who he is. No fake show-off, he don't try to make impression to anyone, but he still has a good heart, he's ready to help when needed.

  4. You know, I have the feeling that some women are trying to prove that they are liberated by not cleaning the house. I could tell you stories about this attitude, but would rather not go into personal details:)

    As for Richard, it's his fault as well, I mean why is he such a wimp??? He literally does everything Hyacinth tells him, however stupid.

  5. Of course, if the woman works, it changes things, however most married women over here still work shorter hours than their husbands, so it's only logical that they will do more cleaning. Also the husband will typically do home renovation, car maintenance, mow the lawn and the like, all after his working hours, and some women tend to forget that this is also a part of domestic chores.

    As for cooking, fast food is unhealthy, tastes terrible and makes people fat. Every person should try to avoid it as much as possible, whether he works outside home or not.

  6. The Bible says we are just servants who are hardly performing our duties by doing God's will. We never do what we should do as Christians. but we often think that be are better than others just because they do less than we are doing. If God decides to decorate and reward somebody's efforts, because He loves us so much, it is His decision. We have to humbly consider ourselves just what we really are, neither more, nor less. Who can boast with perfectly serving God? The more one struggles, the more one understands how much work is still pending. Why should we expect anything for doing our jobs? A very sad problem of nowadays is the fact that we started to consider our jobs to be somebody else's job. Women feel very proud if their husbands do the housework, men feel very proud if their wives earn the living. This is wrong. Everything has a purpose, everybody has a place and a mission.

  7. We do live in the times of confusion, don't we?