Chores: A blessing in disguise? |

Chores: A blessing in disguise?

Keala Francis

A recent study by the Journal of Marriage and Family showed that women, even if they work, handle 61 percent of household chores. But why would women take on these extra chores in a world where equality in the sexes is supposed to hold sway?

Let’s see.

As I was doing my majority percentage of household chores the other day, my youngest child started chanting at her older sister:

“Stooo. Pit. Stooo. Pit.”

“Mommy, she’s saying stupid.”

“Stooo. Pit. Stooo. Pit.”

“MOMMY, she’s saying stupid.”

I did not relish this moment as a mother. Enter household chores. Surprisingly, dads have yet to discover this ultimate out clause.

“Girls, I have to go change one of those hard-to-reach light bulbs.”

Now, in some families, this is Daddy’s purview, but to me seems like an extremely good excuse to climb on top of the washing machine where neither child can reach me. Plus, I think this gets me up to 62 percent of the household chores, putting me above average according to that recent study. This extra percentage point also gives me lording-it-over-the-husband rights on an as-needed basis.

“Stooo. Pit. Stooo. Pit.”

I think perhaps I should add yard work to my list of chores.

“Mommy, she keeps saying stupid.”

And shoveling the driveway.

The other day my oldest child refused to buckle her seatbelt. I told her that if a policeman caught her, mommy would go to jail. She gasped. The next day as I pulled out of the driveway, she told me it was a good thing there was no policeman around because she hadn’t buckled up yet and she didn’t want me to go to jail.

Where is all that unfolded laundry when you need it?

My brother and his wife drop all talk of starting a family after a visit with us. Their visit could last one day or one week, but always to the same effect.

My brother’s wife recovers faster from these episodes. At which point, my brother either books their next trip or begins negotiations. He works on the economic principal of competitive advantage. His wife, for example, has the better job. She is also much better at managing the household. She cooks better. She cleans better. She even argues more successfully with the car mechanic if he tries to swindle her after her engine explodes on the highway. She is the much better caregiver, he argues.

My brother has yet to find an area of domestic life where he has a competitive advantage, he says. He maintains that until he can effectively take on more than 0.00001 percent of the work required for domestic harmony, well, kids will just have to wait.

His wife thinks this is just nonsense. “Honey, you built the fence,” she says. This is true, but the fence leans into the neighbor’s yard. “You installed the washer and dryer all by yourself,” she adds. Also true, but he somehow managed to sprain his ankle and still walks with a limp. “And my mom will watch the baby so we can both work,” she says, smiling. Uh.

Lately, my brother has been taking on more household chores.

“Stooo. Pit. Stooo. Pit.”


Well, you’ve heard it. VT

Keala Francis is an Edwards resident and the mother of two. She can be reached for comment at

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