Wednesday 16 October 2019

Diary of a working mum: 'Why is it nagging when a woman asks a man?'

Kirstie Allsopp: Doesn’t ‘nag’ her husband to help out with the housework.
Kirstie Allsopp: Doesn’t ‘nag’ her husband to help out with the housework.

Yvonne Hogan

Kirstie Allsop is annoying me again. Her ten-year marriage is very happy, she says, because she doesn’t ‘nag’ her husband to help out with the housework.

Sure why would you, Kirstie? Don’t you love doing the old housework yourself? The ironing is a particular favourite I believe. You enjoy it so much that you believe that all working women love it as much as you do - we just keep it a secret.


You also have a housekeeper, a nanny and a personal assistant and an agent. So I would imagine the housework in your home is well covered without dragging hubby into the mix.


I think the thing that annoys me most about Kirstie Allsop is the fact that she is a very successful modern working mother with a full-time job – packaging domestic drudgery and trying to sell it to us in an over-priced homemade paper mache box that we have to make ourselves from salvaged lampshades – but she glorifies and fetishises the 1950s housewife.


Running a household, rearing children, feeding them, clothing them, educating them – whether you are out working or at home full time - is hard, hard work. It is rewarding, and we wouldn’t have it any other way, but it is tiring and it is draining and it can wreak havoc on relationships. So to have anyone say that you shouldn’t ‘nag’ your husband to help with the housework, not to mind Kirstie Allsop, is just plain annoying.


Even the word nag is annoying. When men ask their wives to do something it is just one person asking another. Why is it nagging when a woman asks a man?


All this placid, pleasant wife, housework as a postmodern hobby, baking cakes is sexy etc reminds me of that awful book ‘The Surrendered Wife’ by American writer Laura Doyle. Doyle’s thesis is that to have happy marriage the wife must leave all the decision-making to the husband, never say no to sex and basically be whatever he wants or needs at any given moment.


That’s the basis for a happy something alright, but it’s not any marriage I would like to be in.


Follow Yvonne on twitter @YvonneHogan

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