Cleanliness is next to Godliness

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I read with interest Brony Gordon’s article Cleanliness: my substitute for godliness in The Telegraph, London, for two reasons. Firstly, why would researchers do a study on how women feel about cleaning and how long they spend doing it? Secondly, why would anyone keep their love of cleaning secret?

OK, I actually do understand why anyone would undertake a study of women’s cleaning habits; they’re paid to do so by some company which manufactures cleaning products or appliances.

But why would women who enjoy cleaning keep it a secret from their partners? Brony Gordon suggests that this is a reaction against the sexist stereotype of the 50s housewife who loves nothing better than taking care of her husband and family. But then what’s so wrong about this?

Many women work today through financial necessity, or as they no longer feel the pressure to procreate, their career becomes a replacement for the children they will never have. However, if a woman can afford to, and has the desire to do so, is it wrong to want to be a housewife and mother? Imagine if all the women (and the smaller percentage of men) who stayed at home to look after a home and children were paid a salary? Who could afford to pay that amount of money?

It seems that many people in modern society believe that it is OK to pay a cleaner and for childcare yet the thought of doing such a job themselves is beneath them. Go figure!

I am a working mother, not the righteous ‘I can do it all’ type, but the ‘two incomes are better than one’ type. I cook (sometimes), I clean (occasionally) and I work hard (often). I don’t ask for praise but I do expect some recognition from my family – a little thanks goes a long way. Am I any different to the women who stay at home – no. They too work hard and deserve just as much thanks as I do, as well as recognition that they have the right to enjoy what they do.

Should women be ashamed of choosing motherhood over a career?

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Written by Debbie McTaggart


Total Comments: 17
  1. 0

    Should women be ashamed of choosing motherhood over a career?

    No not at all–but don’t choose the career if you want children–and have someone else bring them up, if you want Children be prepared to be there for them

  2. 0

    I personally hate housework loved working, found it quite maddening my husband saying he loved ironing that stopped when my children were all over 15 and I told everyone including him they should all do their own ironing! They did but somehow he never found time. On the other hand I love mowing the lawn and so do other wives in the street! I think stereotyping daily household chores is completely wrong.

  3. 0

    Yes I say each to do what they enjoy doing most–house or outside work

  4. 0

    I have always loathed housework, unfortunatley so has everyone else in the house! So guess who has to do it whether she likes it or not! I would love your solution PlanB, but then nothing would ever get done!!

  5. 0

    In all honesty I think there would be less divorce if more woman stayed home. Not because I think a woman’s place is in the home. I’ve seen on of my sons with a employed partner and later with a partner who is is home with the children. It is a struggle financial now , and I know everybody just can’t afford to stay home. But at the end of a long working day he is grateful to come home to home cooked meal instead of something thrown together or from fast food. There is no mad rush to get everything done. Its done.There isn’t the stress. There is time to sit and talk.

    • 0

      There are other option to the woman staying home – both could work part-time -or even the male partner stay home if the woman can earn more – I know a couple of cases where that happens. ideally both work when the children reach school age and 1 is there for the kids on their return. The big thing future generations are going to have to consider is superannuation when they both retire and that is going to be a big consideration as the obvious intention is that that will replace pensions.

  6. 0

    I have no idea how or when it happened but both my sons do the clothes washing, would take an equal share in cooking, shopping etc. I think most of the modern fathers are the same. Our generation was the first where most wives worked and tried to run a house, and it has now evolved that it is shared with both partners working. Makes life much easier for todays women.

    • 0

      Men are changing. My husband insists on driving. Sees it has his place. My sons quite happily get in the passenger seat and let the ladies drive.. They don’t feels its demeaning at all.

  7. 0

    Good to do whatever feels right for each–but as long as BOTH CAN be independent–if they need to be–ie–driving–cooking–mowing etc as we never know which is going to be the 1st to die–I have friends that live the old fashioned ay she does ALL the house hold things–he doesn’t have a clue–and does all the driving etc etc–if one of them dies the other is going to be in a total mess –she has never driven–and knows nothing about banking etc etc all she can do is house hold stuff and cooking. I have seen this happen in many cases were one is in real trouble should anything happen to the other.

    • 0

      PlanB My sister is like that. Her husband has always controled the money. Paid the bills etc. She’s on a pension but wouldn’t even know what deeming means. Wouldn’t have a clue what the electricty bill was. When I mention anything she just says she leaves it up to him. Says she doesn’t worry about money.

    • 0

      Have seen this happen too in older Australians but even more tragically in some ethnic groups where the women don’t even speak English or even read in their own language. They then have to be totally reliant on children,grandchildren to inter-act with officialdom or medical help for an example.

  8. 0

    Yes Nan, I worry for people like that–as they never look what is ahead –there are so many around too

  9. 0

    hallo everybody…i shouldn’t really comment because i am a bachelor
    by choice & have always been independent plus i had boyfriends on
    several continents via travel…i also see myself as ‘Daisy’ of the
    tv show ‘keeping up appearance’ but now that i am over 70 i have a
    very friendly MALE cleaner once a month…& i like being by myself
    with my own space…i made that choice when i was 22….talofa

    • 0

      Talofa you just go to prove men equally with women are quite competent in all areas – if they have the chance and upbringing to do to so – what men have that women don’t normally have is the physical strength (plus height in my case) to do some jobs. Hanging around in a shop aisle until a taller person comes along to be asked if they could reach something at the back of the top shelf is frustrating! ditto for changing light bulbs!

  10. 0

    Housework remains a stickly issue. My viewpoint is very much about practicality and what’s going to be realistic in terms of lifestyle. Where both are working especially with young school-going children, which I’ve been through, it is essential to ‘delegate’ from an early age or stage in the relationship. Working women have to ‘unshackle’ from the societal views that only the woman has to cook,clean,launder, rear kids, pay bills,carer others etc etc. In my view there is no such thing. So you can gather my two sons (32 and 28y) have learnt to cook, launder, clean, etc Wasn’t a big deal as my husband does do all of the foregoing. It was more about mentoring and modelling to the our sons. Never have we squabbled about our domestic responsibilities except the normal grunting when it has to be done. I am proudly to say to others that my sons know how to sort the washing – that has come from playing cricket as the ‘whites’ had to be washed separately! And their partners are as proud!
    However, I believe it is important not to get hung up and stressed about the domestic scene. Having an obsessed view about housecleaning, I believe leads to anxiety and neurotic behaviours – I could be wrong. You see there are people who find it so stressful when travelling or camping. They simply can not cope with anything that is not uniform, ultra neat and tidy and end up having a disatrous holiday. I guess these are the people who spend their holidays and travels in 5-star resorts but have no idea about the culture and sommunities of the countries they have visited! Not everyone of couse.
    An BTW, this notion of a woman’s place is in the home is well and truly long been relegated as a chauvinist ploy! We should all just get over that one once and for all.

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