Only a person who has never had an actual househusband could have written the following:
I get the feeling the Daily Mail’s solution is “men shouldn’t be househusbands,” when the actual solution is to get people to start valuing househusbands more. Part of that, of course, is valuing work that’s done inside the home equally to work that’s done outside the home.
It’s very easy to value something that you haven’t personally been cursed with. Easy to gush and be all politically correct and supportive when you haven’t had your life ground out of you day by day, little by little by a spouse who is too lazy to work but has enough energy to suck you dry for money, attention, entertainment, emotion, etc. Not sex, though. House spouses have no use for sex.
I think that unless you have personally experienced the following amazing bonuses of living with a househusband, you should shut up on the subject of how those of us who have had this great good fortune should “value” these parasites:
– Have you been coming home day after day for years to a hopelessly bored husband who’s been sitting there waiting for you to come and entertain you all day long?
– Have you had to apologize for not listening too carefully to their hugely important news of a spat with a neighbor when you know that you still have 3 more hours of work to do before going to bed?
– Have you been led to feel like a failure for not providing enough attention to said bored househusband because you work too much to keep him?
– Have you had to pay off the debts the househusband has made relying on your income?
– Have you had to give out an allowance to a grown healthy individual who refuses to earn enough money to pay for his own bus ticket?
– Have you had to deal with a sulky adult who is upset that you can’t buy them an expensive whatever they really really want?
– Have you been resented and sabotaged by a househusband who is annoyed that nobody admires and congratulates him on his non-existent professional achievements while you get accolades and compliments because you do work?
– Have you had the privilege of living with somebody who sits there at home all day long while you kill yourself to survive in a very harsh economy, yet he is always the one permanently exhausted, miserable, depressive, and whiny?
– Have you ever lived with somebody who feels perennially unappreciated and tries to squeeze out the acceptance that people normally get from many different people at work from a single person (you)?
– Have you gotten to the point where you are so terrified of disturbing the fragile mental state of the fatigued househusband that you don’t even ask him to take out the garbage because it’s easier to do it yourself than to exhaust him even further?
No? Not really? Then don’t ask me to value this kind of a moocher because I have experienced all this.
Now, I want to make the following completely clear: I’m not claiming that I’m any sort of a victim here. The unhealthy dynamic between the leech and the organism whose body feeds it is created and maintained by both of them equally. I do not expect anybody to “value” me for having been a willing participant in this sick dynamic. What I do want to achieve with this post is to get people to understand that sanctification of househusbandry is not a valid response to the glorification of housewifery. It makes absolutely no difference what the gender of the moocher is. When one person’s entire existence is dedicated to servicing the household needs of another person, when one of the partners has no social or professional realization of their own, there is absolutely no possibility that the relationship between them will avoid becoming monstrously ugly.
The idea that a househusband is the perfect accessory for a feminist is deeply misguided. Let’s just move past this insane belief that, in order for two people to have a relationship, one of them has to give up on a life of his or her own and become a household device.
As for the reason why housework is not valued (or paid for) very highly is that it’s extremely easy. You need to invest zero brain energy to vacuum or press buttons on a washer. A person who presses the microwave buttons and does nothing else in life should not expect to be valued and appreciated a whole lot.
At the same time, real work benefits many different people. A bus driver takes people outside of her immediate family to work. A firefighter doesn’t spend all day saving only relatives. A teacher provides education for children of complete strangers. In the meantime, a housespouse only cooks and cleans for his or her family members (if that). So why should society value this completely self-centered existence in the same way it values the work of those who benefit everybody? Making a pot of soup (something that I, a career woman, do better than the absolute majority of housewives and more often, too) only benefits a few and can be done by absolutely anybody without dedicating their life to it. The only “value” of this work is that it provides a lazy and immature person with an excuse to mooch of his or her miserable hard-working spouse. The funny thing is that, often enough, the bulk of housework in such arrangements gradually shifts onto the working spouse because the househusband (or wife) is too exhausted, depressed or unappreciated to do even these few and easy tasks.