Quick, Pass Me the Detergent!
I mean it. And what’s not to love? For one thing, you get the satisfaction of serving the family. For another, it’s a job where you can see tangible, real-time results. And then there’s the intoxicating feeling of triumph when you’re folding the last load and you know that each and every laundry basket in the house is totally and completely empty. It’s awesome.
OK, I just broke down how doing laundry gives me joy. Hmmm.
Perhaps I need to rethink my definition of joy?!?
Or maybe not. Because there is evidence that when married couples share the household chore load, good things can happen.
For instance, this article refers to a recent Psychological Science piece that demonstrates a link between dads doing an equal share of the chore load and their little girls gaining a vision for vocations that are not traditionally feminine. You can find the full report here, but here’s the article’s abstract:
Gender inequality at home continues to constrain gender equality at work. How do the gender disparities in domestic labor that children observe between their parents predict those children’s visions for their future roles? The present research examined how parents’ behaviors and implicit associations concerning domestic roles, over and above their explicit beliefs, predict their children’s future aspirations. Data from 326 children aged 7 to 13 years revealed that mothers’ explicit beliefs about domestic gender roles predicted the beliefs held by their children. In addition, when fathers enacted or espoused a more egalitarian distribution of household labor, their daughters in particular expressed a greater interest in working outside the home and having a less stereotypical occupation. Fathers’ implicit gender-role associations also uniquely predicted daughters’ (but not sons’) occupational preferences. These findings suggest that a more balanced division of household labor between parents might promote greater workforce equality in future generations.
So, you’re telling me that by helping more around the house, I can expand the range of felt vocational options for my girls? You’re telling me that by sweeping the floor, my daughter might consider being an astronaut?!?
There’s good modeling for the kids, and then there’s this headline, from this recent Huffington Post article:
“Splitting Household Chores May Lead to Better, Hotter Married Sex.”
Let’s have the researchers speak for themselves on this one:
“Couples who shared domestic labor had sex at least as often, and were at least as satisfied with the frequency and quality of their sex, as couples where the woman did the bulk of the housework,” Sassler writes. “In fact, these egalitarian partners were ranked slightly higher in all these categories, reporting more frequent sex and greater satisfaction with the frequency and quality of that sex than conventional couples.”
On this blog, and in my doctoral program, I talk a lot about inter-gender partnership in mission. That is, my focus is on the ministry context, and my conviction is that the mission of God will move ahead in greater measure when men and women can truly share the ministry load.
Good to know that the same thing seems true in marriages.
So I say pass me the dish towel. And the feather duster. Heck, where’s that toilet brush?!?