Kids and Chores: Housework and Gender Differences

Monday, October 26, 2009

For our family segment today we look at some recent studies on housework: kids doing chores at home as their parents work more hours, and gender differences in how much parents pay their kids for helping out around the house. Joining us is Takeaway contributor Lisa Belkin, who writes the parenting and family blog “Motherlode” for our partner The New York Times, and Bob Elston, father of four, who believes chores are an important tool in raising kids.


Lisa Belkin and Bob Elston

Comments [5]


Last week this same show talked about how boys have more "frenetic" (my word) energy than girls. So if boys have more unfocused energy and need to burn it off, less chores, more activities. There is no problem here only a false media created problem. Women are generally more domestic. Get over it. Until men can have babies and override the natural order of things, women will be naturally more inclined to provide a clean, safe home.

Oct. 27 2009 01:03 PM

(cont. from above)
I heard this complaint many times from female friends--they had to help clean the house or do the dishes while their brothers got to go play, or they were recruited to help make dinner while their brothers watched TV and only got up when everything was on the table. They weren't allowed to go out or borrow the car while their *younger* brothers could stay out later and hang out with friends whenever they wanted. They would see their mothers come home from a full day of work and cook and clean while their unemployed fathers apparently watched.

Oct. 27 2009 09:26 AM

Not all women are more obsessive about cleaning. At any rate, there's a difference between "sparkling" and "acceptable"--and when it comes to making a dwelling acceptable, EVERYONE should pitch in, regardless if they care that the dust bunnies have built a fortress in the bathroom or the dirty underwear that have accumulated on the floor for a week are making the bedroom stink or the stove has caked-on food or the cat's puked-up hairball has been sitting on the floor for a month.
Besides, we're talking about kids--we're not talking about a woman or man with their own house that they can choose to clean or not. We're talking about some children are told by their parents to clean more than others. They don't have a choice. The "some" children tend to be female, and the "others" who are off the hook tend to be male.

Oct. 27 2009 09:26 AM

Let's take gender out of this. Let's take two guys living together. Let's call them Felix and Oscar. Who does more housework?

Women tend to do more housework because they are more obsessive about neatness and cleanness than guys tend to be. When guys don't have a problem with the condition of the house, they don't see a reason to clean. Maybe it's not because they think women should clean. Maybe it's they think the house is fine as is.

Women tend to think because they want it a certain way, that's how it should be. Exhibit A: The toilet seat. Women want it left down, so it MUST be left down. No negotiation. No compromise. This is how it must be. Same with cleaning.

The difference between women and Felix: Felix didn't insist that Oscar didn't help clean the house to meet his own standards.

Oct. 26 2009 05:20 PM

Gosh, another weekly story about how poor, poor, victims that we otherwise know as "girls" are being mistreated by being paid less. However, what I heard in the story is not that they are being paid less than boys but being paid 15% less often than boys. That is a difference that was skimmed over. Yet Hilights magazine was cited as source material for this story! Is this a joke? We are citing children's letters to Hilights complaining about not being paid enough as a basis for accurate reporting? You have got to be kidding!

To the female commentator on this show - enough with your carping about the unfairness of life. [[ Comment edited. Disagreement is fine, but no personal attacks. Be respectful. -Eds. ]]

Terrible way to start my day, this show.

Oct. 26 2009 09:41 AM

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