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Even as women become the main breadwinners of their families, they’re still stuck doing most of the housework. Sure, men are spending more time than even doing childcare tasks, but that doesn’t trickle down to housework. Dads are picking up kids from dance class and soccer practice but they’re not necessarily picking the toys all over the living room. Sick and tired? Well, those women who are sicking of doing all the housework should just stop, and then everything will be better, says Stephen Marche in a new New York Times essay.

In “The Case for Filth”, Marche says the only way for women not to feel like they’re doing all the work is to just stop doing it so damn much. He explains, “the solution to the gender divide in housework generally is just that simple: don’t bother.” It isn’t so much that the housework is important (“a clean house is the sign of a wasted life);  it’s the fact that women just stress about it so much. “Caring less is the hope of the future. Housework is perhaps the only political problem in which doing less and not caring are the solution, where apathy is the most progressive and sensible attitude…”

That’s easy for him to say, but some people actually care about cleanliness, and they’re not nuts. It’s normal to want to know where everything is. Marche doesn’t say how a family is supposed to fit into his idea of “egalitarian squalor”. Throw children into the equation and without a solid housework system, you’ll be drowning in Legos in no time. And besides, teaching kids to be neat, responsible adults is a part of parenting. 

Still, any mom would be happy to have a little less cleaning up to do. But unless Mr. Marche is going to come up off some money to hire maids for everyone, it just ain’t gonna happen.

Did you change your cleaning standards after having kids?


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