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Is My Vagina Dictating Chores?

  • 5 min read


My husband does all the cooking. He does it better. That’s the reason he does the cooking and I’m very thankful for it.

But in the eyes of my monster-in-law, I’m the one supposed to cook and my husband is a ‘poor thing’ incapable of using a saucepan. He shouldn’t ‘cook’ in the kitchen but ‘man’ the BBQ.

Maybe I should stand up and say to her:

‘I see your point. We have the vagina. Therefore we do the cooking, cleaning and everything else. They have the penis so they work, earn the money, sometimes ‘assist’ us and take the trash out. You’re absolutely right!’

Men and women are far more equal than we think

In his norm-shattering new book ‘Father Figure: How to Be a Feminist Dad’, which was launched last week, Jordan Shapiro happily debunks the idea that men are from Mars and women are from Venus.

The New York Times bestselling author shows there is no evidence for a ‘male and female brain’. They are, in fact, far more equal than we may think.

So why don’t father and mother feel equally responsible for the household chores? I often hear sentences like: My husband doesn’t care about anything. Or: I can’t do anything right for my wife although I’m the breadwinner.

Although gender norms are changing and family life is undergoing an existential transformation, we have expectations of what’s ‘normal’ and ‘right’ for a man and father as well as for a woman and mother.

I’m the breadwinner. You’re the wife.

Recently, I wrote a very successful Mother’s Day article about a friend of mine who felt she was on the verge of burnout because her husband behaves more like a child than a grown-up man and co-parent. To express my female solidarity, I sent her a bouquet of flowers for Mother’s Day.

Although my friend’s husband is able to work from home, she continues to care primarily for the children — she still does the extra shift.

His fixed mindset is:

‘I’m the breadwinner. You’re the wife. Therefore it’s your job to mother our children in the pandemic.’

Furthermore, she is about to lose her financial freedom because she is only able to work part-time, and is even considering quitting altogether because she has to homeschool her children.

There are also a few moments when her husband offers her his help as ‘babysitter’ or ‘assistant’, but he is definitely not a co-parent. He may be successful in business life but not in family care.

In most families, the pandemic didn’t trigger a change

Moreover, I understood from other (more experienced) mothers from Germany that they really thought the pandemic and their husbands being home for an entire year would trigger a change. That their husband would reduce his working hours to help with the children and all the additional tasks that come with a pandemic. But, unfortunately, in most families, this didn’t happen.

Women are still doing the extra shift and losing their financial freedom too.

Mothers, especially, are having the worst time, despite holding the world together with maternal glue.

He goes from the basement where his office is to the couch

Food photo created by Racool_studio

When my friend’s husband used to come home from work, he felt lazy and flopped down on the couch. Now he’s working from home, he goes from the basement where his office is to the couch.

While his wife does the dishes, he relaxes on the couch with his children.

You could easily get the feeling that the home is for male leisure. It’s a nest and dad is ‘king of the house’. The rest of the family exists to care for him.

  • But the work of women shouldn’t be primarily to make leisure time for men.
  • Why does the man have the privilege of relaxing on the couch with a beer while the women are doing the dishes?

Therefore we should think critically about household labor:

  • Why is it divided that way?
  • Who is doing which job?
  • Do we do the things because we’re better at it or because it’s ‘our job’ based on our genetics?

Don’t carry the load alone, but share it with your partner or find a way that you agree with.

Dear Moms, from the bottom of my pandemic-battered exhausted heart: don’t stress eat and cry, but give yourself a break👍!

Dear Fathers, if you want to get laid play a fair game and ‘Man up to household chores’👍!

Eve Rodsky makes the case for fair play in her NYT bestseller. Surveys show that sex and a fair division of household tasks are related. In fact, if the division of tasks is fair, the frequency of sex increases.

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