Bulk of housework left to us - working mums

Bulk of housework left to us - working mums

More than eight out of 10 working mums say they're the ones who are mainly responsible for the housework in their homes, according to a survey carried out by Workingmums.co.uk.   Here, we look at why the idea of shared parenting is not happening in reality.

Our survey said
We asked: ''Shared parenting: Do you do most of the housework, and if so, why?''  An overwhelming 84% of working mums told our poll it fell to them to don the Marigolds, vacuum the floor, dust the mantelpiece and feel down the back of the sofa for stray pound coins.  The biggest factor for being the one who shouldered the housework burden was presence in the home - nearly half (44%) said they took responsibility because they were in the home more.   Mum Emma Telfer told our poll: ''I do the majority of the housework and the cooking as I am not working at the moment.  My partner takes over the cooking at weekends and does help from time to time, but as he does a 50-hour week taking into consideration his commute I don't expect or ask much in the week.  When I was working, he did help a lot more.''
But many who took part in our survey weren't happy about what they felt was an unequal distribution.   More than one fifth (21%) said they did most of the housework because their partners won't do it.  Mum-of-four Kay Fraser told our survey: ''I do all the cleaning, ironing, washing and cooking, I suppose because he is at work.  But I have four children to look after too...and if I don't do it, it won't get done!''
One mum, who wanted to remain anonymous, echoed this and didn't mince her words.  ''If I don't do all the shopping, cooking and working, it simply wouldn't get done and there would be no money at all,'' she said.  ''Lazy springs to mind!''

But our survey showed not all mums were reeling because they had too much housework to do.  Nearly one fifth (16%) of working mums said they were happy with the shared aspect of housework - they felt their partner stepped up to the mark and was doing his fair share of it.   One mum told us her husband was a great help in the home.  ''My hubby is fab,'' she said.  ''I work less than him, but we have three young kids (one with ASD) so he comes home and does 75% of the housework, including cooking and ironing.''
But other mums were not getting the same level of support.   More than one in 10 (13%) said they took on the major part of the household chores simply because ''it's quicker''.

Rod for our own backs?
Child psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer warned of a ''martyr mum syndrome''.  She says it is ''especially prevalent in working mums who are trying to overcome feelings of guilt at leaving their children, so put a lot of pressure on themselves to be super mum, super wife and domestic goddess''.
One mum told Workingmums.co.uk that mothers of boys should be thinking of the next generation by making them aware they should be joining in with household tasks.  Lyndsay Hoban said: ''I have to do all the cleaning and housework as he ''doesn't like it''.   Funny us women moan about the lack of effort or expectations our husbands/men have of us to act like their ''mother'' in regards to cleaning/chores, but how many of us raise our sons so that we do everything for them?  Hardly helping their future wives are we?''

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