Blog / Covid -19
Why do men care about how the dishwasher is stacked,& women don’t give a damn about it!

Can’t you see the logic of placing them in one at a time?

You see, when you put them in beside each other they wash better- there are no spaces, there’s a logic to it! 

Does this sound familiar to you? 

If so you’re not alone- dishwasher maker Bosch says that 40% of people fight about the loading of the dishwasher. 

Or, does he say nothing- letting you place them where you want, but when you leave the kitchen he gives them all a good tidy up and puts them into those special little spaces where they are supposed to be. Whichever it is, men are obsessed with  how those dishes are loaded and it drives women crazy – starting so many arguments that finish with a good door slam- yes in my house too – and I began to wonder what it is about the dishwasher that is important for men and why it is that  we women, don’t give a damn.

Is it that it’s difficult to care about logic when there is so much to do? Surely, all that matters is that the dishes are clean at the end of the cycle, isn’t that what matters? Apparently not!

So many couples argue about this that I wonder if there is a pent up tension that gets poked- something unspoken, like I always do more than you so don’t start on to me about my “method.” Because despite all the progress in education and equality the reality is that the division of labour in the home is still unequal and deep down women know this, in their bones, often very tired bones. Research confirms that women carry the greater physical load of housework- women spend 1.20 hrs per day on cooking ,cleaning and laundry, where men spend 30 minutes. When analysed further, women spent up to 30 minutes per day cleaning,where men spent just 10 minutes scrubbing and cleaning. And that  inequality extends across professions, even when women work longer hours or make more money than their husbands. 

As well as doing 1.9 times the physical work, women also carry the mental load of the household- that is is not only the jobs that have to be done, every single day like feeding, bathing the children, but also thinking forward toward Halloween, holidays, costumes for the school play, or gym kits for the Saturday matches. Research confirms that women keep a rolling mental stocktake of what is needed, not just the obvious larder needs but the footwear that needs replacement and all the way to the social household calendar.  

Sociologist Arlie Russell Hothschild termed this “ the second shift”– that is the unpaid housework that women do when they return home from their paid employment. In that research she also noticed that men took charge of occasional, non time-dependent tasks in the house such as mowing the lawn, cleaning the garage. 

So as men focus on one job, they can, with the luxury of time, perfect it- like the damn dishwasher stacking, giving helpful comments like “that doesn’t go there,” while women are skipping forward mentally to the next task or stocktaking what remains undone from the laundry room, to next week’s birthday party.

In her documentary- Becoming, Michelle Obama  spoke of her wonder at Barack’s ability to fit in his time at the gym while she had difficulty getting through the feeds and general chores of the day, following the birth of her first child. This brings us to the second point which is that men see their time as a finite resource, something to be minded and guarded- that’s why they will often say “ tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it” they want to do it in their own sweet time – that ‘s how they fit in the gym and you don’t. They value their time, maybe m ore than you value yours.

Men feel that they are pulling their weight, but deep down, women know that they’re carrying much more- thinking of everything that needs to be thought about, and remembering all the jobs that are not yet done- so rushing through the dishwasher stacking is part of that and they don’t really care that there is a “gap” or the big plates are where the little plates should be.

So what can you do to fix this. Make an inventory of every single task that you complete in your day. 

It is your responsibility to know where you spend your time and from there a good discussion can be had.

Think about it a little like if you were doing an inventory for your finance- you would look at where your money was going, now you need to look at where all your time is going.

When this is done you then can discuss how to achieve equality and share out the tasks. In order to do this properly you will have to be specific about the components of each task breaking it down and unpacking the detail of how things need to be done and the standard to which it must be done. 

You must also reclaim your time for hobbies and pursuits or indeed for doing nothing- it’s so easy as a mother or a wife to get into the habit of placing all of your personal needs and desires to the bottom of the list and then being angry that others cannot notice it and fix it for you- you must fix it yourself. It is you who must be aware that your time is valuable- equally valuable to that of your partner. 

Deep down if you know you’re carrying a heavier load in terms of the household chores and the responsibility for them then over time this will wear you down make you resentful and be the source of arguments. 

Now is the time to bring  equality into this issue and your relationship will benefit from it.