Tag: household chores

The Wisdom in Dirty Laundry

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clothes_basketChristopher Justice, a professor at the University of Baltimore, reflects on his time in the deep, dark basement of his family home washing clothes and decoding his kids’ secret habits.

As the father of two teenagers, ages 15 and 14, I never thought I’d say this, but one of the greatest joys of fatherhood has been washing their laundry. Before you call your local child services agency, let me explain. Let’s rewind about 10 years.

Who’s Doing the Laundry in Your House?

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stats on housework

Laundry is to me what that big boulder was to Greek mythology’s Sisyphus. No matter how many loads of clothes I throw into the washing machine in a day, the smelly socks and knee-stained pants just pile up again and again. But the burden is made slightly better knowing that it is shared—with my husband.

According to the statistics, I’ve got it pretty good. The most recent data on household chores, as released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, says that 85 percent of women report doing some household activity every day, compared to 66.6 percent of men. For whatever reason, I happen to know quite a few men who buck this trend.

Take my brother, for instance. Married for the first time in his late forties, he came to the union as a fastidious bachelor of over two decades (think Felix in the classic sitcom, The Odd Couple). Prior to my brother’s marriage, I once spent the night at his condo on a futon in the living room. Awaking early and close to the ground, I marveled at the sight: not a single dust bunny flitted across his scrubbed hardwood floors.

Not one to complain openly, especially about those near and dear to his heart, my brother recently told me that he’s “working on” his wife’s housekeeping habits. “I’ve finally gotten her to clean out her dishes from the sink before bedtime,” he confided in me. I stifled a giggle, and changed the topic of conversation.

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