Sunday, May 2, 2010

Housework Woes

The Cares of a Caretaker

A nice old lady by the sea
Was neat as she was plain,
And every time the tide came in
She swept it back again.

And when the sea untidy grew
And waves began to beat,
She took her little garden rake
And raked it smoot and neat.

She ran a carpet-sweeper up
And down the pebbly sand.
She said, 'This is the only way
To keep it clean - good land!'

And when the gulls came strolling by,
She drove them shrilly back.
Remarking that it spoiled the beach,
'The way them birds do track.'

She fed the catfish clotted cream
And taught it how to purr -
And were a catfish so endowed
She would have stroked its fur.

She stopped the little sea-urchins
That travelled by in pairs,
And washed their dirty faces clean
And combed their little hairs.

She spread white napkins on the surf
With which she fumed and fussed
'When it ain't covered up,' she said,
It gits all over dust.'

She didn't like to see the ships
With all the waves act free,
And so she got a painted sign
Which read: Keep off the Sea.

But dust and splutter as she might,
Her work was sadly vain;
However oft she swept the beach,
The tides came in again.

And she was sometimes wan and worn
When she retired to bed -
'A woman's work ain't never done,'
That nice old lady said.

Poem by Wallace Irwin
Image, Housework Fairy, by me

A study by Londa Schiebinger, director of Stanford's Clayman Institute for Gender Research, entitled "Housework is an Academic Issue", shows academic scientists spend about 19 hours a week on basic household chores. The solution? Schiebinger urges universities and businesses to offer an employee benefit to pay for housework. {Bring it on!}

Dr Barbara Pocock, the director of the Centre for Work and Life at the University of South Australia, in a study of Australian working women found resentment over housework killed libido.  ''Women's feelings about their husband were shaped by perceptions of fairness around housework,'' she said.  {Yep, we know that.}
Dr Lyn Craig of the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of NSW has been researching the impact of children on household unpaid work for a number of years.  She writes, “Children are hugely time consuming. When children are born into a household, time in the unpaid labour activities of (housework, shopping and childcare) rockets.”   {No kidding!}
New research from the Jean Hailes Foundation for Women has found mums take an average 9,000 steps a day as they look after children, pick up toys and clothes, prepare meals and finish housework.  {Well that's giving it a postive spin.}
Associate Professor Janeen Baxter, University of Queensland notes that women with careers still take on the lion's share of domestic chores, often juggling more tasks in less time. "While women have made big inroads into paid employment and moving up the career ladder, within the household things are still fairly unequal and there's a very clear gender division", she said. {Mothers of sons take note.}

Australia’s own “Queen of Clean” Shannon Lush, has launched a new book on the topic of involving chilren more in housework.  It’s called Kids Can Clean (ABC Books).  “Cleaning with kids is easy when you make it fun,” Shannon says. “You can start from a very young age by setting up systems that make it easy and fun.”  {We can but try.}
I'm off to chase dust bunnies and haul laundry.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...