Gender and Division of Household Duties

Cleaning a window

My husband and I have been married for 10 years this month! He is naturally talented at both cooking and baking. When we met and began dating in college, we couldn’t afford to go on a bunch of expensive dates, so we would cook together instead. He would call me his sous chef as I peeled the potatoes or chopped the vegetables. We married at 23 and we separated household duties organically as we learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses when it came to managing a household. It was natural and enjoyable for him to take on the role of cooking. My dad also cooked growing up, so I didn’t blink an eye when my husband took on this household duty. As we settled into marriage, I was shocked by the reactions to having my husband cook. I heard many murmurs from women in my life saying, “Must be nice!” or “Well, then what do you do?” This is still shocking to me when I get this reaction. What are we in the 1950s? We both work full-time jobs, why is it strange for him to cook?

I feel really lucky that my marriage is a true partnership from household duties to childrearing. We ebb and flow to adjust to what one another needs at the time. When I think back to the judgmental reactions I’ve received from women, there is an undertone of resentment. It’s almost like they were saying “You are not doing 90% of the household labor and mental load? How lazy of you!” I hate that the standard is for women to completely overextend themselves in the home while they are working too. It is unfair to have expectations of what the traditional heteronormative relationship looked like 75 years ago. Times have changed significantly, and it is healthy to divide a home in a way that makes sense for your individual family. The rules are there are no rules. We get to create homes and personal lives that bring us peace, joy, and equality of division of labor.

Father and Daughter Baking

Girl baking cookies

“Teach her that the idea of ‘gender roles’ is absolute nonsense. Do not ever tell her that she should or should not do something because she is a girl. ‘Because you are a girl’ is never the reason for anything. Ever.” ―  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I am grateful that my children are seeing us model a true partnership. If you are unhappy with the amount of help you are receiving, don’t be afraid to renegotiate with your partner. Write down all your responsibilities and his responsibilities and make a plan that better fits your family. You deserve the support. So much is asked of women and especially mothers. It is ok to ask for your needs to be met! If you are happy with how your home is run, good for you. Contribute to your home with whatever strengths you were given. The rules are there are no rules.

Emily is a Louisiana native born in Shreveport, Louisiana. She went to UL Lafayette and earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations in 2012. It was here that she fell in love with her husband, Jude, and the city of Lafayette. On the weekends, you will find Emily at a festival, the farmer’s market, enjoying a Mardi Gras parade, or eating at one of the many delicious restaurants in Acadiana. Emily and Jude have two children named Mia (6) and Patrick (2.) She is a Marketing Director by day and mom by night! Emily has a passion for reading, Harry Potter, theatre, coffee, wine, spreading financial literacy, her friends, and family.