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?