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    Should Chores Be Gender-Specific?

    By Kristen Houghton     

    When a co-worker of mine was asked by her parents what she wanted for a birthday present, she surprised me by requesting a set of power tools. She and her husband had just moved into what real estate agents refer to as a “fixer-upper” and the tools were a real necessity.

    “I’ll bet Andrew is happy about the tools,” I said as she described how a wall was going to be knocked down to open up more space.

    “He can care less,” she replied. “I’m the tool person; he likes to cook.”

    This petite feminine redhead went on to tell me that ever since she could remember she had liked building things. Her husband, on the other hand, was a whiz in the kitchen and loved creating meals. They worked well together.

    The information was good for me because our bedroom windows had been without “window dressing” for over four months while I waited for my own husband to put up curtain rods. Maybe I needed some tools of my own.

    The idea that chores are gender-specific should have been discarded long ago, along with the erroneous ideas that girls who played sports were “unfeminine” or boys taking dance class became “effeminate.”

    Even today, many couples still place chores into two categories: those for the husband, these for the wife. Men traditionally have yard work, household repair and maintenance duties, while women are relegated to housework, laundry and, cooking. And some couples are just fine with that.

    Other couples take turns cooking and doing the laundry. They clean the house, work on the outside property together, and look for professionals if anything needs to be repaired or maintained. It works well for them.

    Most spouses don’t see chores as being “male” or “female.” Women aren’t born with the cooking and cleaning genes any more than men are born with the genes for yard work or knowing how to use tools.

    In all seriousness couples should take what each partner likes to do and does well into consideration; if a man likes preparing meals, great, if a woman is better at fixing something in the house, so be it.

    Believe me when my husband and I look under the hood of a car we’re both confused. And neither of us will be appearing on Martha Stewart as cooking experts, but that’s okay.

    Believing that chores should be based on gender is not always the best way of thinking. Actually the person who enjoys doing certain chores is the person best-suited to do them.

    Written by Kristen HoughtonRate this article:

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