The Solution To Housework Drudgery: Get The Kids To Do It

10/04/2015 16:41 | Updated 10 June 2015

superheroes father and son hanging up the washing

It's official: Housedads are GODS.

Of course, I have always known this because, as the eldest of four sons, my mother worshipped me (this is just a fact, you lower-down-the-pecking order offspring. Deal with it!).

And, of course, becoming a father instantly bestows God-like status upon you, regardless of your place in the sibling hierarchy.

But now my talents with a frying pan, an iron, a dishwasher, a washing machine and a Toilet Duck have finally been recognised.

For it's been revealed that men like my legend-in-my-own-underpants-self are Domestic Gods.

Yes, long gone are the days when a man's only contribution to cooking and cleaning was to lick his plate clean or lift his slippers off the carpet while his wife Hoovered under them.

Millions of us modern men are now chief cooks, bottle washers, fluff-pickers and sock-rollers in our domestic domain – and not just we Housedads of the species, either.

According to recent research, modern British men are more hands-on than ever with the household chores.

Well, not quite.

Let's have a look at the stats.

Despite the aggrandisement of the male of the species, the research actually reveals quite the opposite of what it claims.

For example, this boast, that one in 10 men now do the bulk of the cleaning, polishing and dusting in the home.

And this 'revelation': one in five men are in charge of cooking dinner every night.

And this: one in 10 regularly does the family washing.

ONE IN TEN? ONE IN FIVE? Yes, just 10-20 per cent of men are doing their bit around the house.

If that's worthy of a Shock Horror Gadzooks press release nowadays, what the hell did our fathers do back in their day?

0.0000 per cent of jack shit, presumably.

That isn't the way I remember things when I was growing up.

Now at the risk of getting all Monty Python here, way back when I was knee-high to a grasshopper's knee-cap, our mum and dad – who both worked in factories – made sure they shared the domestic chores.

But not amongst each other – oh no, that would have been too simple. They shared them between me and my three brothers.

I was responsible for making the beds; number two son for washing the pots; number three for dusting and hoovering (he got the short straw); and number four for making making a cup of tea when mum/dad got home from work (he was the true favourite).

Of course, we still had to eat, so we'd take it in turns to accompany mum to the shops every week; and then Mum and Dad would take it in turns to cook for us until we were old enough to cook for ourselves.

At the weekends, we all pitched in with the washing and hanging things up with what felt like a million clothes pegs.

In fact, the only task they didn't let us near was the ironing, not because Mum feared us burning ourselves, but because, as well as working in a factory packing knickers, she also did part-time ironing and threw ours into the mix when she was ironing another family's shirts and skirts.

So I reckon, if our household was in any way representative of the nation back in the 'Seventies, that Dad did 20 per cent of the chores; Mum, 20 per cent; and their four sons 60 per cent – or 15 per cent each (I didn't spend my entire time at comprehensive school picking my nose!)

But everyone's experience is different, and according to the equipment company's study of 2,000 couples there has been a revolution of chore-sharing, and even role-swapping on the domestic front.

Backing the research is none other than Suzi Perry, presenter of F1 and former presenter of The Gadget Show.

She said: "The times really are changing and so it probably wouldn't come as a surprise that more men are helping out around the home compared to several decades ago.

"Nowadays, relationships are more like teamwork and we help our partners with the upkeep of the house and garden.

"Brits are working longer hours now as well so if domestic chores were only to fall on the lap of one person, they may find family life harder and their day more stressful.

"We all know that a problem shared is a problem halved, and this should also reflect the thoughts of many towards household chores.

"So it's encouraging to see so many Brits taking on tasks they wouldn't once have been expected to do."

This is palpable nonsense. 'One in 10' does not equate to chore-swapping or role-swapping. It amounts to dads doing LESS than they used to do, surely?

Which begs the question: is it desirable for men to get stuck into the housework as much as their wives?

Answer: No.

What should be happening is that women should be doing as little housework as their partners – and that mum and dad should divvy it up to their offspring instead.

This teaches children discipline and pride, gives them a work ethic and prepares them for the reality of living on their own when they leave home.

If they EVER leave home, given the price of housing these days. But that's another story...

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