One of my clients has often complained to me, about frequently feeling overworked and exhausted, managing her household chores. She is a mother of three children and a homemaker. Her daily schedule included: making breakfast to suit everybody’s needs, packing lunches, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, ironing the clean clothes, making dinner and cleaning dishes. Weekends were exclusively dedicated to cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen and mowing the grass. She said, “So much for being a wife and a mother!”
It felt like a burden to her, and the much unappreciated effort had made her feel bitter within herself. Her kids would often complain that most of their things had not been done properly, but they barely offered to help her in doing jobs. Most of her issues revolved around keeping everyone happy and meeting everyone’s needs. She couldn’t find time for her own rejuvenation. As tears rolled down her cheeks, she complained that after 20 years of marriage, she was not much more than a glorified maid, who was overworked and under-appreciated.
It made me wonder if this is a common story in many households, often bitched about when housewives got together for their gossip sessions. If it is the case, then, I believe that so called ‘gossip sessions’ to be no more than Network Support Groups, acknowledging the issues that housewives are living with daily. This can be a therapeutic exercise, in terms of unburdening emotions for many, but, often does not lead to any solution. I had another quick thought pass through my head – relating to my childhood. While my parents were both working I had seen them divide their responsibilities, and as I grew up, I shared some too! My father wasn’t embarrassed about cooking meals, doing dishes, or the laundry. Of course, they had their fights and arguments, but never about whether some chores were women’s work, or some were jobs for men. We all grew up sharing responsibilities, not waiting to be asked to do something, or waiting for another person to do it.
My chain of thought was broken when she rushed to fetch herself a glass of water. “I can’t see things undone or left unclean; neither can I wait for someone to allocate the work,” she said, as she sipped her water. “I don’t like to do that.” she added. “I feel a sense of responsibility, that if there is a task that needs doing, I should do it myself rather than live in forlorn hope, that someone else might do it! It is as simple as that. The very fact that I didn’t delegate any job to people shouldn’t be the price of my life being miserable. One of my kids said that they just can’t do as good a job as me. My other child thinks I am OCD and go overboard. But frankly it’s neither, it’s just my sense of responsibility.”
All I knew is, that no household chores are gender based. One must also understand, that if you expect your room to be neat, your clothes washed and ironed, and your meals cooked to your liking, and the bathroom clean and hygienic, look at your own abilities to make it so. The environment you live in, reflects the effort you put into making it clean and tidy. Why wait to be told to do things? When you can always take the responsibility! All you can get is a thank you and love in return.
The information and views expressed in the blog are individual and inspired from writer’s experience and study in Mental Health & Hypnotherapy.