Gransnet forums


How many of us shared domestic duties, care of children with our husbands or partners?

(42 Posts)
Iam64 Sat 16-Jan-21 18:27:07

I wish we had a feminist board

Like many women of my generation, I married too young. We grew apart, had little in common and separated when our child was six. I’d worked for the previous year. He said he couldn’t understand why I wasn’t happy, ‘I let you work’. That was 1978, rather than 1958.
I married again five years later. We had a three year relationship, and bought a house together a year before marrying. We had two children together, and brought up our three children together.
We shared cooking, shopping and responsibility for getting the children to school or childcare. It was as close to an equal partnership as we could manage. It meant both of us putting career aspirations at a lower level than if we hadn’t been a family.
Forty years on we have few regrets and many joys. We remain good friends with our childminder, our girls still call her aunti J and hug her if they meet her in the local shops.
It was tough, balancing demanding careers with the children, our parents, ourselves but we have been lucky. Satisfying, rewarding and never boring work.
Most of our close friends lived similar lives, so we juggled school holidays somehow.
I feel for young parents, homeschooling, wfh, juggling so many plates in the air.
Anyone else ?

Greeneyedgirl Sat 16-Jan-21 18:52:15

Same here. We shared everything, apart from cooking, he doesn’t cook. He worked shifts so did housework, shopping and childcare when I was working.
We still share most chores and our sons do similar in their households as it’s second nature to them.

Iam64 Sat 16-Jan-21 18:58:19

Green eyed girl, it’s the same with my adult children.
My paternal grandparents were both from big families and decided not to repeat that pattern. They were born late 19th century so lost infant then 17 year old siblings in ww1. They both worked in cotton mills, my gran back at work when d]my dad was six weeks old, they shared everything

EllanVannin Sat 16-Jan-21 19:04:19

Shared ?? hahahahaha.

Chewbacca Sat 16-Jan-21 19:20:01

Fraid not here Iam64. Whilst I was a SAHM managing the childcare, home, garden and decorating etc was fine, but by the time I was back out to work full time, OH was completely out of practice in taking his share of the load and had no inclination to pick up speed again. It led to a lot of friction and was contributory to the end of the marriage. Long term resentment isn't conducive to a happy marriage.

Smileless2012 Sat 16-Jan-21 19:54:55

Mr. S. was hands on but it wasn't 50/50 and I didn't expect it to be because he was working and I was a stay at home mum for the first 7 years.

He changed nappies and as both boys were bottle fed, did the 2.00 am feed on the 2 days he wasn't going into work. He doesn't cook unless we're having a BBQ and then I do all the things to go with the meat.

He helps clear up after meals and washes up if we're not using the 'washing up machine' as he calls it. Hoovering is his contribution to the house work and emptying the bins.

He washes and waxes my car and we tend to do any decorating between us. I suppose he could do more now he's retired but on the whole he's pretty good and I wouldn't have him any other way.

Chewbacca Sat 16-Jan-21 20:01:39

You got one of the good 'uns Smileless! smile One good thing about having a somewhat reluctant flat out refuser partner is that I learnt to do anything and everything in the house; decorating, maintenance, gardening, there's not much that I can't turn my hand to now. Needs must when the devil drives!

Callistemon Sat 16-Jan-21 20:03:34

DH worked away, often for months at a time.
When he was home he did his fair share and we share chores now.

Callistemon Sat 16-Jan-21 20:06:58

I feel for young parents, homeschooling, wfh, juggling so many plates in the air.
Anyone else ?

Well, yes, because I know what it's like but I was young and fit then and so are they now.
Not homeschooling, of course, but helping with homework, caring for elderly parents too.

Mollygo Sat 16-Jan-21 20:08:54

We share tasks, except for washing cars-I evidently don’t do that properly. grin
Before I had children I did all the cooking, but the sight of food, particularly raw meat when I was pregnant made me 🤮, so he took over then and now we share.
Some jobs we found we were better at e.g. he’s better at cleaning the shower base, I’m better at windows, gradually became ‘our’ jobs but cleaning, decorating, gardening, ironing etc. are all joint.
When we got married, he’d never done anything in the house, but he was a quick and willing learner. ❤️

Mollygo Sat 16-Jan-21 20:10:10

Meant to say, when we had my Nan living with us, she was shocked at what DH did, but thought he was wonderful.

PollyDolly Sat 16-Jan-21 20:13:28

I considered myself lucky if my ex ever made me a cuppa🤣🤣🤣

BBbevan Sat 16-Jan-21 20:21:29

I married at 20, first child soon after. DH and I have always shared absolutely everything. Only difference, I do the washing, he does the bins. Ironing, cleaning, cooking, child care we have always done together. Now we are both 76, we prepare meals together. My parents were the same. DHs were not. A bit of training first thing and we never looked back

SueDonim Sat 16-Jan-21 20:45:07

My Dh has always been a full participant in stuff around the home and family. He was in the Senior Service for fourteen years and that knocks off the sharp edges and makes you competent in looking after yourself and your surroundings.

I’m also pretty handy at traditional ‘male’ tasks such as decorating, fixings things that have gone wrong and so on. Dh worked away from home for much of our married life so I had no choice.

LauraNorder Sat 16-Jan-21 20:45:48

We are both capable of all chores but tend to do what we’re best at. If one
of us can’t be bothered the other steps in. I’d say we have a relationship of mutual respect and equality. He would say the same....... if I told him to.

Iam64 Sat 16-Jan-21 21:25:15

We are a bit like the Mays is that he does bins and lawns, I do borders in the garden and care more about whether the floors are mopped.
Although we did share and still feel like a partnership, most of the practical things like, dental appointments for the children, keeping a supply of birthday gifts for their friends parties, dogs to vets, were my area. He did more late night pick ups of teenagers than I did. I did more painting and decorating

I don’t feel it matters so much who does what, it’s that feeling of sharing the running of home and family ( if there are children), sharing the emotional load, children, each other, ailing parents, that’s for me what makes a relationship good

Chewbacca Sat 16-Jan-21 21:35:42

I don’t feel it matters so much who does what, it’s that feeling of sharing the running of home and family ( if there are children), sharing the emotional load, children, each other, ailing parents, that’s for me what makes a relationship good.

Absolutely this. It doesn't have to be 50/50, just so long as both partners are happy with the arrangements they have in place, and it works for them, it's all good. It's when their is a long standing imbalance and resentment sets in that problems occur.

biba70 Sat 16-Jan-21 21:38:57

OH worked very long hours, nights and week-ends too. So I am afraid that we did not share childcare and housework, gardening, decorating, etc. Not because he is a man and I am a woman- but because it was not possible.

Oopsadaisy1 Sat 16-Jan-21 21:44:59

I don’t think it matters as long as both are happy I was a stay at home Mum, DH worked away and came home at weekends when the DDs were tiny, so I became used to doing everything.
But when I was ill he looked after me and did everything for 2 years.
Now he is retired I still do most of it, but when he cleaned the bathroom last week DD2 who is with us at the moment oohed and aaahed about how shiny everything was! He seemed to be quite proud of his 2 hours cleaning it( I kid you not, no toothbrush is now safe)
Which is Good, because he can do it in future.

GagaJo Sat 16-Jan-21 21:53:35

Ex husband was very much of the idea that while I should work (fine by me, never wanted to NOT work) I should also do all of the house work.

Nope. If both spouses work, both spouses do the housework. He never did his share. Yet another reason he is an ex.

Interestingly, his 2nd wife DOES do all of the housework. But she refuses to go out to work.

paddyanne Sat 16-Jan-21 21:55:40

1950'S marriage here ,he worked 14 0r 16 hour days for years and although I worked full time ie.40ish hours a week I did the rest too.Childcare ,housework and everthing else..never felt it was odd it was just how it was.I was back at work with my baby when she was 8 days old and the only time I ever had off work was when my son was born 11 weeks early .I prefer to do things my way and still cant stand someone else getting under my feet.OH is brilliant at DIY though and he has built umpteen kitchens and replaced bathrooms etc.Wouldn#t change a thing .

Jaxjacky Sat 16-Jan-21 22:12:15

We don’t have children together, I had my two when we met nearly 22 years ago. We both worked f/t, spent half the year in France from 2015-18, I took early retirement in 2016, I’ve had a p/t job and some voluntary work. He’s self employed and still works as he’s a youngster!
Household chores are generally each to what needs doing except he does the most of the ironing and all DIY, I cook and do all of the admin. Day to day bathrooms, hoovering, bins,
grass cutting etc is shared, it suits us.

Doodledog Sat 16-Jan-21 22:13:51

We shared childcare, as I said on the other thread, and I think that was a good thing for all of us. The children have always had a close relationship with their father, as he was as likely to be picking them up from school as me.

Regarding housework - neither of us is very good at it. We had a cleaner when we were working, and that really helped. When she left to get a full-time job it was a huge miss. We never found anyone as good, and when we retired it seemed a bit decadent to pay someone to clean when we were in all day. I would consider it again after lockdown, although we'd have to blitz the place before anyone could clean it grin.

We both cook and have always done our own ironing. I am more likely to notice things like marks on paintwork, and have considerably higher kitchen standards than Mr Dog, but on the whole, we both muck in when we have to.

He looks after the car, and we have very low maintenance gardens, which just need the lawns trimmed and the hedges cut, and he does both, which is fine by me.

Lucca Sat 16-Jan-21 22:24:07

No. My ex husband didn’t want me to work and when I did he was annoyed and expected me to not let anything else slip. I did all the housework cooking (except for the occasional meal) ironing etc. He made the house untidy, wouldn’t throw anything away. He was a good dad but ultimately the kids were my responsibility in his eyes. Both my sons are in very “equal” relationships I’m glad to say.

M0nica Sat 16-Jan-21 22:24:49

Not practical in my case. DH had a job that regularly took him away from home at very short notice for indefinite periods of time. Mostly before mobile phones and email.

Fortunately we had different but complementary skills. I am an organiser par excellence. So I took on the post of Family Manager. I handled everything from child rearing to all financial management and planning, negotiated house sales etc etc. I considered it a job that earned me my share of the family income.

DH is an engineer, and DIYer. These talents worked well with his work pattern because things could be started left and then picked up again. Over the years he has fitted six kitchens, rewired 2 houses, here and in France, built extensions and mended toys, jewellry, cars and anything that broke. I am entirely cack-handed. We have the house we have because of his skills, not mine.

We both had working mothers, that I would go back to work as soon as practical, was never even discussed, it was assumed by both of us. Our annual leave was shared evenly between child care, family holidays, and personal interests.

It was not unknown for DH to return on a Friday after a trip abroad, unpack then pack and go off for the weekend, diving. It was not unknown for DH return on a Friday after a week away, I would give him a brief rundown on anything planned for the weekend from dancing lessons to parties and go off to take part in an archaeological project.

It continues that way, although DH's working career may, now, be over, But he is 77 and his earnings in retirement have enabled to have a very comfortable lifestyle.

I think how couples/families run their family life is up to them. providing that arrangement is freely agreed by both. If it means the traditional pattern why not?