Working it out

I grew up in a home where work was very clearly defined by gender.

Women cleaned the house, cooked — well, Mom cooked — and did the dishes.  Men took out the trash, did the yard work, and maintained the cars.

It was all very Ozzie and Harriet…which I found odd, considering we were a single-parent household.  In fact, my mother and I had many colorful conversations on this very topic.

The times, they are a’changing.

Two separate studies have revealed that men are getting less handy around the house, and women are losing their “lady skills” (their words, not mine).

A study by AA Home Emergency Response shows that, over the past 40 years, the percentage of men able to perform home maintenance has steadily declined — from 71% in 1970 to just 44% today.  Similarly, social researcher Mark McCrindle found that only 51 per cent of women under 30 can cook a roast, hem a skirt, or iron a shirt, compared with 82 per cent of baby boomers.

Oh, the humanity.

Both studies posit possible reasons why.   One suggests that parents aren’t passing down the skills to their children. (So that’s why I can’t cook.)  Plus, men and women today are both in the workforce and developing new skills their parents didn’t need, especially with technology.

Let’s face it — today both sexes are (gasp) crossing gender lines to do chores.  I know many couples where the man has primary responsibility in the kitchen (or else, they’d starve).  Housework is shared according to talent or interest or simply who has time.

I love the fact that housework today is becoming simply work, without any genetic BS about who’s supposed to do it.

Except at my house.  (Anyone found a study about dogs and chores yet?)

6 responses to “Working it out

  1. Now I’m feeling kinda smug: I could totally cook a roast (I get to follow a recipe, right? Or do I have to improvise?), I can hem the EFF out of a skirt (even a giant hoop skirt, thanks to a semester in Costume class) and I’m an excellent ironer (though I don’t ever use that skill, thanks to Downy Wrinkle Release and my dryer). Tragic that all these skillz will die with me.

  2. Kristin Brænne


  3. Love this post. My husband is the primary cook around here – he is much faster and the results are always better, plus he kinda likes it, whereas I deplore it. Recently my 4.5 year old asked for pancakes for lunch and I said “sure” and he was like “do you know HOW to make pancakes?” I think the pendulum has swung the other direction in our house, at least on the cooking thing! 🙂

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