Saturday, 26 January 2013

Help me, please, I hate housework!

Writing in desperation, a woman boasting the screen name of 'Angel Eyes' wrote to Yahoo Answers, 'I really hate housework. I mean, I really am grateful that I have my home but the cleaning is horrid and a losing battle. I don't feel it's laziness but rather dread that keeps me from doing it. I keep the area where the baby stays clean but I hate laundry and dishes and every other aspect of cleaning. Any suggestions or help you can give me will be much appreciated.'

Angel Eyes received a number of responses, some empathatic, some rather judgmental in tone. My favourite was from S.K. who started their response with 'OMG, I have this problem to. Maybe it's a disorder we can get meds for.'

What these women probably don't realise is that they probably do have meds for this already, as historically a lack of interest and motivation in housework has been linked with women's dissatisfaction with their societally imposed roles of housemaker and a likely connection with the experience of post-natal depression. Dorothy Wright, in 1961, wrote home to her mother with the description of herself as 'not a good mother', explaining that although she loves her two children, she 'loathes the continual, hampered feeling'. (Alistair Thompson)

Dorothy lived through what is now known as the Second Wave of Feminism, where women pushed for the right to equality in marriage and for the right to work. It is possible that now women have been pushed into the 'triple burden' position where they are expected to be efficient home-makers, living mothers and fathers as well as holding down jobs and careers.

Women are indeed living in a complex world where expectations are pushed on them from every direction, including values which have been passed down from their families and an array of messages from the media. My short story, Deuce, touches on this quandary, as Billy's Mum leaves the kitchen after slaving away at a hot stove on a typically steamy Aussie Christmas day and takes up camp in the back-yard at the new Totem Tennis set. Beneath the jacaranda tree she loses herself in a tennis championship of her imagination, her only escape from the endless domestic toil which had been her thankless task for many years. To read more of this story, simply purchase a copy of Short Stories on Motherhood, available for Kindle, E-reader or in print.

Sue  Oaks