When Constance Hall complained about the fact she does “absolutely everything” around the house, someone suggested that she start asking her partner for help. Now, in a blistering Instagram post, the parenting blogger has expertly explained why this advice is so toxic.
When it comes to household chores and parenting duties, men and women are judged by entirely different standards.
As a rule, nobody bats an eyelid when a woman manages to get the laundry done, the kids scrubbed and tubbed, and dinner on the table. Men, however, tend to find themselves showered with praise the moment they change a nappy.
And it’s a feeling that Constance Hall knows all too well.
The popular parenting blogger recently took to Instagram to open up about the issue, explaining that she had been challenged to ask her partner for help instead of “bitching about the fact that I do absolutely everything around the house”. Why? Because “people need lists – they aren’t mind readers.”
Taking the advice to heart, Hall began asking her partner to do very specific tasks: she had him take the bins out when they were full, spend time with the kids on a weekend morning so she could enjoy a much-deserved lie-in, and nip to the shops when the cupboards were bare.
“S**t got done,” she admits, “but I was exhausted just keeping the balls in the air, remembering what needs to be asked to be done, and constantly nagging.”
Hall continues: “And do you know what happened the minute I stopped asking? NOTHING. Again.
“So I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not my job to write f**king lists. We have enough goddamn jobs and teaching someone how to consider me and my ridiculous workload is not one of them.”
Addressing her partner – and all those who don’t contribute to household chores – directly, Hall advises: “Think about each other and what it takes to run the goddamn house. Is one of you working while the other puts up their feet? Is one of you hanging out with mates while the other peels the thirtieth piece of fruit for the day? Is one of you carrying the weight?
“Because when the nagging stops, when the asking dies down, when there are no more lists, all you’re left with is silent resentment. And that, my friends, is relationship cancer.”
Hall finishes by saying: “It’s not up to anyone else to teach you consideration. That’s your job.
“Just do the f**king dishes without being asked once in a while mother-f**kers.”
Hall makes an incredibly valid point: while the “if you want me to do something, just ask” argument initially feels positive, it still places the onus on women to think about and organise the tasks.
And, with research showing that UK women spend five hours more than men a week on unpaid labour within the home, it seems this just isn’t working as a solution.
So what can we do?
Philosophy professor Alexandra Bradner suggests on the Atlantic’s website that couples sit down with a list of questions like, “Do I do half of the laundry and half of the dishes every day?” to figure out where they’re slacking off in comparison to their mate.
This sounds, admittedly, exhausting – but there is something to be said for sitting down, talking over household chore expectations and getting some balance in place if you feel like you unfairly shoulder the lion’s share. After all, if you want him to do something…