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Why is it wrong to take care of your husband?

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Claudia Winkleman

Claudia Winkleman

Claudia Winkleman

She's renowned for being one of the nice girls of British broadcasting, but last year, Claudia Winkleman, co-presenter of Strictly, received some flak on social media for comments about her relationship with her film producer husband, Kris Thykier.

The mother-of-three revealed that her marriage went through a rocky patch as they struggled to find a balance between work commitments and home-life but she has realised the importance in caring for her other half.

"We don't have rules, but we look after each other more," she said in an interview in Red magazine. "So whoever comes home first normally makes the dinner. It's just about being nice to each other."

Sensible as this sounds, some new wave 'feminists' believe that she shouldn't admit to taking care of her husband.

So we asked some women what they think and whether or not relationships are about give and take on both sides.

•Anita Whyte lives with her partner Paul Moran in Kildare. They run their own company called www.dolledup.ie, and while they spend most of their waking hours together, Anita says their relationship is harmonious because they both pull their weight and genuinely like caring for each other.

"We both take care of each other and I would like to think it will always be like this as that's what relationships are all about.

"In the early days before we started working together full time I was always home first, so I would do the weekly shopping and get dinner started as it made more sense.

"Now we're working together, we do everything together - including the weekly shop.

"Paul prepares dinner and I'll cook it and then we wash up together. I don't iron unless I really have to so if Paul is ironing he'll ask me if I need anything done.

"We have our jobs around the house as well so it's all about give and take.

"I know some women think men should look after them but I've got two working hands and legs and am more than capable of taking care of myself and being a team player.

"It's nice when I'm handed a cup of tea out of the blue or when I discover Paul has done a job I hadn't got round to doing.

"I like to wash my own clothes and Paul will do his, but other than that we pull together, it gets done quicker and no-one feels they're doing more than the other.

"And by working together, the results are always positive.

"I believe people should look out for each other because they want to and because they care for each other.

"It's not about who does more than the other it's about getting it done, making life simple and as stress-free as possible for each other - it makes for a much happier home.

"Paul and I have had a tough few years trying to start a family and getting a new business off the ground.

"It has been very challenging, but Paul has been the one keeping us both positive and strong - he has carried us both.

"So yes, I believe it's all about the team playing and taking care of each other."

•Linda Kelly is a chef and make-up artist with her own business called www.newlookfx.com. She is married to Evangelos Chronopoulos, who is originally from Greece - but the couple now live in Wicklow. She enjoys looking after her husband and says feminism has taken on a whole new meaning.

"I like to look after my husband, especially when he is sick as I think it's a kind of loving thing to want to mind someone.

"I think some people have taken the whole feminism thing to great new heights making some women feel bad for looking after their husband.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course but no one should be laughed at or judged if they want to cook, clean or get dressed up for their partner.

"It's all about give and take, for instance whoever gets home first in our house lights the fire. I cook as it's easy and quick for me because I come from a catering background, and he cleans because he was in the navy and likes it done a certain way.

"There is a lot of pressure being put on men these days to provide for their partners or families and to bring home the bacon in a high-paying job, but personally I prefer to make my own money as well so we both end up paying for things like household bills and grocery shopping as a unit.

"Personally I think couples should look after one another because they want to, otherwise there is no point in doing so.

"I like to get my hubby surprise gifts now and again to show I care.

"Also I will buy him his favourite biscuits or chocolate in the shop and he does the same for me. We take turns watching 'our shows' on TV as sometimes I fancy a bit of eXpose or Absolutely Fabulous and sometimes he watches Wheeler Dealers.

"Evangelos is looking for a job in Ireland as we wish to settle here but he works in a specialised field of electronic security systems engineering and it is very difficult to find work. He has sent out so many CVs and it's hard for him because he hasn't made any friends yet because his office is in our house.

"At the end of the day, I believe it's all about compromise and communication and I think there is a lot of cultural influence there too.

"Being Irish I want to look after my husband, feed him, make him comfortable and make him feel special - luckily they have a similar mind set in Greece - so it works for us."

•Dee Roche lives with her husband Derek and four children - Cian (11), Mia (9), Evan (7) and Aaron (5) - in Malahide. She is the co-owner of Little Ladies' Pamper Parties (www.littleladiespamperparties.ie) but although she is often very busy with work, she is more than happy to pull her weight within the family as both she and Derek (who runs a safety training company called DRST) believe in working as a team.

"I am more than happy to be able to look after my husband and family but we don't have 'roles' in our household.

"We work as a team and if a job doesn't get done then it can wait.

"We all have very busy lives so it's all about juggling things to suit and fitting in what can be done.

"Like me, Derek is self-employed and works long hours which leaves us with less family time during the week.

"So because the children have activities over the weekend and sometimes I have to work too, I prefer for him to spend quality time with the kids and myself when he is off.

"I know if the situation was reversed and I was working more than 80 hours a week he would be there for me too doing all the cooking and cleaning. I never think of us as having our own separate roles in the family.

"He is extremely hands-on with the kids and is an amazing father and husband, so I feel we have it worked out.

"Because I do more around the house, it means we are both able to enjoy time together or as a family as much as possible.

"I do most of the cooking and cleaning both because I'm around the house more during the week and as I'm a neat freak he probably wouldn't do it to my satisfaction.

"Having said that, if Derek arrives home and there is no dinner ready, it's not a big deal and he will fend for himself.

"He never expects anything from me - if the house isn't clean but the kids are happy then that's all that matters.

"My work is mainly midweek mornings in the office and then I spend many weekends out pampering Little Ladies for a couple of hours, so this is when Derek takes over with all the running about and feeding the kids.

"I don't have strong feelings on feminism either way. I believe in what works for us and makes us happy as a family.

"We have never discussed who does what or when, we just work together. Neither of us compare if one of us does more around the home. We work as Team Roche.

"At the end of the day I care for my husband and he cares for me, there is no competition.

"We are just a couple working together to hopefully give our four kids a happy and healthy life with some fun thrown in along the way too."


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