Women find domestic chores are ‘therapeutic’
There was a time when the modern woman insisted her partner did 50 per cent of the housework – or iron his own shirts at least. But the postmodern female has more than made peace with doing the domestic chores, and has embraced housework as “mentally therapeutic”, according to a survey.
In an age when women are making economic strides and excelling in the workplace, the one thing that gives the majority a sense of empowerment is a good go around the house with the vacuum cleaner – followed by some cleaning and dusting.
The online study, commissioned by the Discovery Home and Health TV website, found that the average woman between 18 and 80 spent nine years, two months and 25 days of her adult waking life cleaning and tidying. But 59 per cent of the women interviewed would have it no other way and said “cleaning makes them feel in control of their lives”, while 60 per cent said they found it “mentally therapeutic”.
Where 20 years ago housework was seen by many as a sign of female subjugation, the tide appears to have turned. Nearly six out of 10 (58 per cent) defended their role in the home and said they “felt depressed if their house was a mess”, while 59 per cent said “untidiness and clutter made them feel tense”.
Only a tiny minority of 4 per cent admitted to being averse to cleaning the home, saying that it was “a waste of time and effort”.
The survey of 2,000 women found that cleaning chores featured higher on the average list of priorities than personal grooming – a woman spent two hours and 23 minutes cleaning and tidying, while only 52 minutes on personal appearance.
In spite of the feelgood factor around housework, 57 per cent of women admitted that cleaning exhausted them, particularly as 71 per cent also had a job.
One-third of all women claimed “cleaning gives them more satisfaction than sex”.
Although only 22 per cent said they actively enjoyed cleaning and tidying, the majority (64 per cent) said the “results made them happy” and half said it was “visually joyful” which left them feeling “proud of their achievements”. But many were aware of the pressures exerted by media images of women as perfectionist home-makers such as the characters of the American television series Desperate Housewives.
Nearly half of those interviewed (46 per cent) described themselves as “cleanaholics”, while 46 per cent wished they could “cut down on cleaning”.
Eight out of 10 respondents compared the cleanliness of their home with other people’s, while 70 per cent feared they would be thought “lazy” if their homes were untidy.
Dee Smith, executive producer of the channel’s Cleanaholics series, believed that “cleaning was the new therapy”.
“British women feel happier and more in control of their lives when their home is clean and tidy – and judging by their high-powered cleaning habits there are more desperate housewives on this side of the Atlantic than the other,” she said.
The respondents spent an average of £9.70 each week on household cleaning products. One in 10 women employed a cleaner, but six out of 10 women “still cleaned up before she or he arrives”. Autor: Arifa Akbar