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The Great Divide Over Housework: Should SAHMs Do It All?

The Great Divide Over Housework: Should SAHMs Do It All?

Your husband is bringing home the bacon, but does that mean that you're supposed to play ‘50s housewife,' fry it up, dole it out, clean the dishes, tackle the piles of filthy laundry and then take on the dozens of errands and appointments? June Cleaver may have approved, but suggest this to one of the The Real Housewives of New Jersey and expect a major meltdown.

In the real lives of moms everywhere, the question of who takes responsibility for the housework is a sore subject for many Circle of Moms members, especially those who are stay at home moms (SAHMs). These moms say they find themselves in a constant battle with their working partners over the dishes stacking up in the sink, mud-streaked floors and never-ending piles of laundry.

Just ask Krystal M., who says that almost immediately after she left her full-time job to stay at home with her son, she and her husband had "a huge fight." As she explains, "he expected me to have dinner ready when he got home, the house to be spotless, and the clothes cleaned and put away. I did not quit my job so that I could be a maid. I did it so that I can take care of our son. The housework should still be shared."


"It's like being back in the 60's," says Kareen I., a mom of three. "I do absolutely everything."

Circle of Moms members agree they are tired of doing it all — "absolutely everything," says Gina R.  "Taking care of the baby, cleaning, paying bills, yard work, does anyone else do all of this? The excuse is that my husband works all day."

There is no question that chores create a lot of tension in many households. "It's the simple things that add up and get so annoying over time," says Jenny S. "I feel like I'm constantly annoyed with my husband for one reason or another. It's always something. Yesterday one of the annoying things was when I asked him to feed our nine month-old some baby food while I did the laundry, all I could hear is him complaining about how messy she's getting and then giving up after only a quarter of the food was eaten because...he couldn't handle it, so I had to finish the job."

Many moms wish they could change their partners' unexamined expectations. As Joanne A. explains, "Husbands need to realize that juggling a baby, the cooking, cleaning and generally maintaining the dynamics of the house hold has been proven to be the same as working two jobs. Just because men go out to work, they forget and are ignorant to the fact that what we do is ginormous."

So what's a woman to do? "How do you cope?," says Jenny S., echoing a collective cry.

Claudia L. recommends creating a schedule "It does take teamwork to make a household work," she says. She recommends that moms remind their husbands: "this is a partnership and you staying home doesn't mean you are NOT working."

Given how tired they are of debating over who does the chores, several moms have resorted to the ultimate solution: "I just stopped cleaning up his stuff," says Allie B. "If he doesn't put his dirty clothes in the basket, they stay on the floor (or in his closet) and he has no clean clothes to wear to work."

Other Circle of Moms community members say it's just not worth the fight, and so they just bite their tongues and do the household chores. I personally don't think it's worth the fight, or getting upset says Alicia Y. "I just pick my battles and this is not one of them."

But, in the end, an even bigger issue for Circle of Moms members is what kids internalize from seeing that when mom stays home to care for her children it is also her duty to be the full-time housekeeper. "The thing that I truly worry about is the message that is being sent to the kids," says Cathy G.  "that dads are not expected to cook, clean, or do any chores in the home. I hate that my sons are seeing first hand that the household responsibilities are all put on the Mommy. This old-fashioned."

Is it fair for stay at home moms to do it all?

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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