Mother-in-Law Refuses to Accept that Son Does Chores

Gillian Sisley

Are chores a gender-specific task?

Marriage has a notorious reputation for being a difficult sort of relationship to manage. When a pair of adults decide to get married, they are committing to being partners in life and sharing the load of their lifestyle.

And while historically speaking women were the homemakers and men earned the money, in 2022 we are seeing a more equal playing field, both inside and outside of the home. A recent study found that 59% of respondents agreed that the distribution of chores in their household was equal between partners.

These realities were highlighted in a recent online post in which a mother-in-law gives her daughter-in-law grief because the husband is expected to do chores as well.

Are chores a gender-specific task?

A Reddit post published on April 1st, reported on by Taylor McCloud from Newsweek, has gone viral with 8,600 upvotes and 1,000 comments.

The author begins her post by clarifying that her in-laws recently came to visit and stayed at the couple's house for several days. However, the author adds that her mother-in-law is very 'conservative', and has taken it upon herself to push her traditional values and beliefs onto her son and daughter-in-law.

The author clarifies that ever since the mother-in-law arrived, she's been under heavy scrutiny from her mother-in-law because the author's husband contributes to housework. An example she uses is when her husband was preparing food, and the mother-in-law became enraged. She kept insinuating that it's a 'bad omen' for husbands to cook, and that the author should better her own cooking skills so that her husband doesn't have to make food.

In another incident, the husband was sweeping, and the mother rushed over to grab the broom from him and started sweeping for him instead. The author clarifies that for every minor chore that her husband would try to do, the mother-in-law would glare at the author or order him to tell his wife to do the chore instead.

Gender isn't required to do housework.

Not all in-laws will agree with the way that their child chooses to run their household. The above story is a perfect example of such a reality. Interference from in-laws can be a very dangerous threat to a marriage, with studies showing that interfering in-laws can increase a couple's risk of divorce by 20%.

The final nail in the coffin was when the mother-in-law called up the author to tell her that "it really hurt to see her son doing chores", and that it "broke her heart" that the author was forcing her husband to do housework.

The author refused to apologize, or change the way she and her husband distribute labor in their household, and this has deeply upset her mother-in-law. The author is wondering if she was in the wrong for standing her ground on how she operates within her own marriage, and under her own roof.

What do you think? Is the author justified in standing behind the distribution of labor that she and her husband have agreed upon? Or should the author be more sensitive to her mother-in-law's traditional values, and take on all chores when her mother-in-law is staying with her just to keep the peace?

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