'Why doesn't your wife keep a clean house?'

Mel & Clint Edwards
Mel & Clint Edwards Photo: Facebook @anecdotesrantsandoccasionalessaysclintedwards

I was raised by a single mum, who kept a super clean house, as well as juggling a full-time job and two ratbaggy children all by herself. It never occurred to me that housework was the domain of women – it was just what parents did. (Until we got older and then we were, quite rightly, roped into pulling our weight.)

But there are still people out there who think housework is women's work, and Clint Edwards of No Idea What I Am Doing: A Daddy Blog came up against it recently from his own mother.

The father of three says he was doing the dishes and chatting to his mother on the phone, when she asked him, "Doesn't it bother you that [wife] Mel won't keep a cleaner house?"

Clint says his mother wasn't asking in an accusatory way – she was just curious. But understandably, her comment made him think.

In his post, Clint says "there is often kid clutter, dishes in the sink, and half-finished art projects on the counters". And he says his house "isn't as clean as my mother's home".

But Clint also says that doesn't bother him one bit.

"In fact, I don't really think about that at all," he wrote in his post. "I see our marriage as a partnership, so cleaning is as much my responsibility as it is hers."

But Clint also says he doesn't fault his mother for asking the question, observing that the difference is a generational one. He even remembers his father giving him advice for choosing a wife years ago as a young boy: "Stop by her house unexpected. See how it looks in there. You can tell a lot about a woman by how she keeps her house."

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Which sounds like an antiquated approach – and of course it is – but once upon a time it was totally acceptable.

But Clint says it's time now for us to move into the twenty-first century. "I just want people to realise that parenting and domestic obligations are changing," he told Babble.

"I think most couples feel the way Mel and I do. And I think most parents from my mother's generation don't understand why many 2017 parents don't prioritise a spotless house. This post isn't a dog on anyone, especially my mother. She's a great person. And so is my wife. I was simply pointing out a generational shift. At this stage in my marriage, I'm much more interested in supporting Mel, our children, and making sure that the time we spend together is worthwhile. Keeping a spotless home is pretty far down the line. And there is nothing wrong with that."

So what did Clint say to his mother when she asked the question?

"After a few moments of struggling to find the right words," he wrote in his post, "I finally said, 'I didn't get into this marriage for a clean house. I got into it because she seemed like someone I could spend my life with.'"

And Clint's mum replied, "Well…that probably is more important than a clean house."