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Husbands Relax Best When Wives Are Busy



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“A man works from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done,” my mother used to mutter under her breath while sweeping beneath the dinner table or vacuuming.

A new study has confirmed the stereotype that women do more around the house. In fact, the lead author of the study, Darby Saxbe, reported that wives typically do around twice as much housework as their husbands.

Not surprisingly, men are just fine with this. While wives’ stress levels drop when their husbands pitch in with the dishes or laundry, husbands are most peaceful when they kick back while wives tidy up.

Of course, we needed a study to demonstrate that about as much as we needed Haley Reinhart’s stage fall to convince us that four-inch heels are bad for balance.

What do we do with this information? It’s simply not news that people are more relaxed when others are doing the work. One snarky comment under this study said the headline could’ve been “Wives Relax Best When Their Husbands Do All the Housework,” except that it’s never ever happened in the history of marriage.

However, don’t go burn your bra on the front yard — your husband will only ask you to mulch around the begonias while you’re out there. Instead, take a moment to answer some perspective-enhancing questions.

Do you have running water? Clothes you didn’t sew? A refrigerator that doesn’t run on hand-hewn ice blocks? A vacuum cleaner? A dishwasher, microwave, air conditioning? Did you spend less then three days ironing this week? 

Chances are, your mother might have even accused you of acting like “a chicken with its head cut off.” On more than one occasion, my mother would follow up on the chicken accusation with, “If you don’t stop, I’ll wring your neck.” This hyperbolic — yet effective — threat referred to the way dinner preparation used to begin.

Still want to complain about cleaning up after a meal by sticking dishes into an electric box that washes it for you?

Ladies, let’s don’t let this ridiculous, unnecessary study send us into finger-wagging resentment. Rather, let’s celebrate the fact that we have it so much better than moms who came before us — thanks in large part to inventions made . . . by men.

— Nancy French is the author of the upcoming Home and Away: A Story of Family in a Time of War and can be followed on Facebook here.



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