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Relationships – Who vacuums in your house?

"Vacuuming" (93/365)(Photo credit: kalavinka)

Relationships – Who vacuums in your house?

Isn’t it odd?  Most studies find, that although the number of working women continue to rise, it is still women who carry out most of the domestic chores. Now vacuuming, more than most other task, seems to cause most heat and not in a particularly nice way.

Yes, men do vacuum but they seem to expect women to be grateful that they do! When you think about it, isn’t that a bit strange?  Yes, if both parties go out to work, it is great that they share tasks.  But why should one partner be more grateful than the other?

In the kind of coaching I do (cognitive behavioural coaching) we have a concept of distorted thinking.  One of the most common distortions is around a core belief about “Should, Musts, Have to's and Oughts”. We grow up with beliefs about other people and how they should behave. When they don’t, we get angry – this could be passive- aggressive anger or outright violence. We usually learn these beliefs in early childhood and we can learn them in quite subtle ways. 

It doesn’t take much for a child to take a message from us, that this is the way the world is. This is how we should expect other people to behave! So, with the raising of an eyebrow we learn what “should” be the work of women and what “should” be the work of men. 

Much coaching and counselling activity is around unscrewing the effects of distorted thinking and helping people to think differently about themselves and about others. Confidence comes with throwing off our distorted thoughts about "shoulds" and "musts".

So what happens in your house?  Remember, when one party or the other sees special gratitude being due for a shared task, messages are being sent. 

  • First, that there might already be belief that this is really a task for one partner but not for the other. 
  • Second, to the children of the house about whose role household cleaning “should” really be. 

As for vacuuming, well, perhaps the best way forward is to invest in the best machine you can afford and then take it in turns with mutual gratitude for a job complete.

And if you want to work on distorted thoughts that undermine your self confidence, please get in touch – my email address is below.

Please take the time to take part in my poll at the top of the column on the right - thanks!

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason
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