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What It's Like to Have a Househusband

Househusbands: Do Men Do Enough Around the House?

The third most important factor in a happy marriage: sharing the housework, according to a 2007 Pew Research Center study.

Yet many of the happily married women I know still gripe that their husbands don't do enough around the house. Or, they do enough, but only when they are told to. It's an ugly truth that the most liberated, headstrong women are loathe to admit.

Which is why I found this article about how it feels to have a "househusband" alternately encouraging and depressing. Writer Louise Parker begins by asking, "Surely no woman about the house would fail to clean the fridge for three months, only do the washing-up when it’s threatening to suffocate the kitchen, or scrutinise pieces of lawn mower at the dining-room table?"


Though her househusband has his strengths — gender-stereotypical talents like fixing things around the house — Parker admits he doesn't do as much housecleaning as she'd like: "the househusband is not, and will never be, a housewife."

To find out more, keep reading.

There are pros and cons of being a working mom with a stay-at-home mate. Parker points out that her househusband still has insecurities about not earning a paycheck, but at the same time, her kids get to experience things with dad that they wouldn't necessarily do with mom.

But still: if a man's full-time job is being a dad, is it too much to ask that he clean the house too, just as housewives have done for year? Is it, as Parker suggests, a lack of genetic conditioning? Or are boys just not brought up to care as much about a clean house as we would like?

Image Source: Thinkstock
Join The Conversation
Svend-la-Rose Svend-la-Rose 6 years
First and foremost, a household in which both spouses work should be able to hire a maid for the bulk of the housework and buy a dishwasher specialized enough to clean the pots and pans. Men do not clean as much as women because our brains are not programmed to see what needs to be cleaned. Our brains are programmed to see wild animals in the bushes and shoot arrows at them, not to see little spots in the bushes and pick them out. In other words, mens' visual cortices are better at spotting movement, whereas women's are better at spotting still objects.
gingirl gingirl 7 years
My boy can be a complete slob, which drives me crazy. He has trouble picking up after himself, you can literally see a line of clothes from one room to another when he's changing. I don't mind cleaning up our place (especially since I'm unemployed and he's not), but it's nice that he doesn't expect me to do it. He always thanks me and is always appreciative. I love that he does the dishes tho, that's my least favorite. My single mom always said she never wanted another husband, but she needed a wife to help out around the house!
Chrstne Chrstne 7 years
My SO is a little lazy when it comes to cleaning, but there are many other things he does that makes up for it. I do the things he hates, and he does the things I hate, so this is a perfectly fair trade off for me. Plus, I really do like cleaning and using all those amazing smelling Mrs. Meyers products :P
skigurl skigurl 7 years
I don't know, my man is pretty good at cleaning and keeping things tidy and taking responsibility and initiative to do things both inside and outside the house. His dad (or my dad actually) isn't so helpful, though. So I don't know where he learned it, but I'm very very lucky.
dexaholic dexaholic 7 years
I'm reminded of The Breakup, when Jennifer Anniston's character says to Vince Vaughn's character "I don't want you to do the dishes, I want you to WANT to do the dishes!" I'm living on my own for the first time and being solely responsible for cleaning, I kinda miss having someone to help out, even if he needed to be reminded every now and again. But that's all I miss!
boredgourdless boredgourdless 7 years
Right now I work much less than he does, so most of the domestic chores fall to me. However, he does like to help on weekends. For me, the challenge has been to just accept his help and not correct him for not doing things "my" way. If it takes him half an hour to clean the counters, fine. Experience shows those will be the cleanest, best scrubbed counters ever.
Pistil Pistil 7 years
For the most part I actually don't mind doing the cleaning, I just don't like to be expected to do it.
Natalie-Love Natalie-Love 7 years
Funny, my boyfriend is a clean freak. Never had to ask him to clean... He's more likely to just start cleaning & for me to volunteer to help him. I don't mind cleaning, we just have different thresholds for what messy means,and he likes things extremely clean. But he's going for a masters, and then a doctorate, so I don't think he's becoming a househusband any time soon! Hahaha.
medenginer medenginer 7 years
Mine works constantly so I don't say much when he doesn't get to his part as quickly as I would like but he tries most of the time to do his share. If he sees I'm busy and can't get to the chores he takes up the slack. I take on more responsibilities since I have more time off each week. He does the things I prefer not to do like the kitchen. He doesn't do things how I like or the way I do them but I don't complain. It's better than no help and it's not worth arguing about.
socalbeachgal socalbeachgal 7 years
LOL to janneth. So far reminding and yelling hasn't worked with my son, he is still a slob but hubby has gotten better over the years at cleaning to my standards.
janneth janneth 7 years
In my experience, the biggest male slob can become a helpful house cleaner, with a lot of reminding and a little yelling.
mix-tape mix-tape 7 years
Most men are just raised to expect a woman to clean up after them. I hope I don't end up with a messy dude, but someone who is OCD with cleaning would bother me too.
inlove23 inlove23 7 years
Some guys just suck, plain and simple. My current boyfriend keeps his room pretty clean (ever since I gave him a trash can) so I hope it carries over! =/
Rosay77 Rosay77 7 years
Level of cleanliness depends on the guy. Some guys are slobs (as are some girls) and other guys are spotlessly clean.
sourcherry sourcherry 7 years
I don't think it's genetic, it's lack of habit. Girls are encouraged to do domestic work since they're young, while most guys don't even make their own beds. I think if women want competent husbands in that department they have to learn some patience and encourage them rather than complaining they don't do the job as well. I'm saying this because many girls complain about having to do all the work, but when the guy helps they say they'd rather do it themselves because it's not done right. Well, that attitude is not going to get us anywhere...
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