Odd jobs for men?
A funny thing happened on Instagram recently that made me wonder what the hell some fellow husbands and dads are doing.
Since smashing my new phone, and it being impossible to replace the screen without resorting to criminality, I’ve not been posting as many pics. My old Wileyfox Swift is a great little phone, but the camera leaves a lot to be desired.
To make up for this, I thought I’d show people I was alive by posting a few more stories of what I was up to – they’re only temporary, so it doesn’t matter to me that they’re not particularly decent quality.
I started out with a pic of some baking I was doing, then a few more routine jobs – washing, helping the kids make birthday cards for their nana, cleaning etc.
Weirdly, I got a few messages, mainly from moms and wives, that were generally saying it was nice to see a bloke doing stuff around the house.
Intrigued, I decided to carry on with mundane pics about what I was up to. Sorting lunch, doing a shop, packing away etc, and ended up with a couple of dozen pics (too many, I know, but it was for science) and way more messages in response than I’d usually get.
Worryingly, they were almost universally messages along the same lines – being nice about me doing chores.
This isn’t a dig at anyone who messaged me, it was nice to chat to people, and there were some that were complimentary about their male other halves also pulling their weight – and a couple in exactly the right tone: ‘do you want a medal?!’.
I’m not ‘helping around the house’, I live here
The number of messages complimenting me on doing stuff made me think that if I had ovaries it wouldn’t be noteworthy, because that’s what’s expected of women.
Why should it be odd – to such an extent that it’s worth remarking upon – that someone cleans their house? Or washes their families clothes? Or sorts out lunch?
Since my toilets in a restaurant have a urinal, it’s somehow unusual that I’d iron name labels into my children’s school uniform? Sorry, but I can’t afford to replace jumpers every week because my kids are terrible at putting things back in their bags!
What are some men doing, or more specifically, not doing?!
Why, in 2017, do some wives and mothers (and some blokes) find it odd to see a man doing chores?
I’m choosing my words carefully here with the rather ugly word ‘chores’, because I don’t want to say ‘helping around home’. That would suggest it was down to someone else – presumably my wife/mother of my children – to cook, clean, wash, iron, look after my kids etc, and if I occasionally push the vac around I’m doing her a massive favour.
How is that not anything but complete nonsense?
I live here.
If I weren’t married and lived on my own, I’d clean my house, wash my clothes etc.
Putting on a wedding ring didn’t render me incapable of using an iron.
My front door doesn’t have magical properties that erase my ability to use a dishcloth when I walk through it after a day at work.
I expect both my kids – boy and girl – to keep learning to do jobs around the house as they become old enough. Not just because it will be nice to spread the work out a bit more, but because they need to be functional human beings. Isn’t preparing them for life kinda the main point of parenting?
We don’t have a list of jobs we each perform. We just crack on.
It might have seemed like I was doing it all on Instagram, but who do yo think was putting the clothes away, refereeing kids when I was hanging clothes on the line, and popping over to her grandparents to help them with washing etc?
I do prefer to iron my shirts as, frankly, I’ve got more weight behind me to attack the creases.
I’m also pretty anal about cleaning thanks to a Ukrainian cook in a pub restaurant where I worked in my youth – making a floor wet with a mop doesn’t make it clean, it makes it wet!
My better half is great at baking, but that doesn’t stop me making a floury mess in the kitchen (and cleaning it up afterwards!).
I do need to up my game with kids school stuff though. She’s a teacher, so has a much better understanding of what they need, and what we need to do.
With the Girl starting school, I need to get more involved so it’s not just on her to make sure they’ve got the right bits for each day.
Unisex tips for men
If you’re a man reading this, who thinks they need to up their game, or a woman too I suppose – though my experience so far wouldn’t suggest so – here’s a few things you might think about to make sure you’re not being a lazy bugger:
- You’re not ‘helping’. You live there too.
- If you don’t know how to do something, learn. Our species can send probes to the edge of the solar system, so you can get better at loading a dishwasher.
- Say thank you when your partner does a household task. They’ve given up their time for everyone in the house, and it’s just good manners.
- Don’t expect a reward for doing something. It’s not a transaction, it’s life.
- Get involved with your kids, and be a good example to them. You’re their parent, not a babysitter.
Any other frustrated/baffled dads/husbands/mothers/wives have any more?