should stay-at-home moms be doing all of the housework?

Should Stay-At-Home Moms Do All of The Housework?

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How Much Housework Should a Working Husband Help With?

When a woman is a stay-at-home mom (SAHM), it’s often determined that she will do the majority of the housework. Seemingly, this makes sense since she is the one who is home most of the day. However, it is apparent that many women are struggling to keep up.

I belong to a lot of “mom” groups online which have been very helpful to me as a first-time mom. I have gotten a lot of insight into how other women are running their homes. Questions I see frequently are regarding how often other stay-at-home moms are getting help from their husband with the household work.

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These questions look like:

“When your husband is the only one working, how is housework divided?”

“Does your husband get mad when you ask him to help clean?”

“How are other moms keeping up with cleaning the house and taking care of the kids all day? I’m drowning.”

These questions come up because a lot of women feel like their husband isn’t helping as much as he should be. What women are wanting to know from other SAHMs is how much help they are getting.

Being a Stay-At-Home Mom is a Full-Time Job

One thing I see most people agree on is that being a SAHM is a full-time job. Whether or not moms are able to fit household duties into their “work” day seems to depend on their situation. Keeping your child(ren) fed, clean, and entertained throughout the day is a beastly task. Especially if you have an infant or multiple kids at home.

When you are a SAHM, your main job is to care for your children. There are so many things that come with this job and some people tend to overlook the fact that being a SAHM can be complex and difficult. You are not only providing childcare. You are also providing meals, education, physical activity, and transportation for your children.

The things that a SAHM does in a day really add up. In fact, according to a survey, stay-at-home parents work an average of 98 hours a week. That adds up to working more than two full-time jobs.

Stay-At-Home Moms Struggle to Keep Up With the Housework

One of the things SAHMs struggle with most is keeping up with cleaning. When you are cooking most of your meals at home, raising children, and just living life, things tend to get messy. I find that even when I am able to fit small tasks in between naps and help from my husband, tasks can still pile up.

There are so many daily tasks to keep up with that it’s not surprising that SAHM’s are struggling. These don’t even include deep-cleaning, irregular tasks that often get pushed aside.

Then The Mom Guilt Sets In

Do you play with your child? Or do you clean up the mess that is sitting there? Maybe you can find a way to do both.

There is a lot of pressure to keep up with everything as a mom in general. As a SAHM, there seems to be a little more pressure on the housework as well. Although, even working moms seem to shoulder most of the household tasks as well.

So the questions remain… is your husband helping enough? Is he doing his part for your household? Is he doing as much as you?

How Many Husbands Help Stay-At-Home Moms With Housework?

I’m glad you asked because I’ve been looking into this to see what the norm is. It turns out that more than half of husbands who are working full-time (or more) come home and help their SAHM wives with household duties. I don’t mean just watching the baby while their wife cooks dinner and gets her chores done either.

Here’s what the numbers are saying:

  • 148 out of 270 SAHMs said that their husbands help out regularly at home after they get home from work. They jump in without being asked and seem to have a regular routine of helping cook and clean. The general thought of this group seems to be that during the day, both the husband and wife are working their full-time jobs and that anything that is left at the end of the day should be split.
  • 69 out of 270 SAHMs said that their husbands only help out when asked. This group’s responses indicated that their husbands don’t help with housework routinely. However, they do help out when asked to do specific tasks. Some happily and some not so much. A lot of women in this group only ask for their husband’s help when they have fallen behind due to being too busy, sickness, or other situations where they need extra help.
  • 53 out of 270 SAHMs said that their husbands do not help them with housework. This is either because the husband refuses to help because they feel it is their wife’s job as a SAHM to complete these tasks or because the wife does not want help.
Graph of how many husbands help SAHMs with housework

Finding What Works For Your Family

After reading hundreds of responses from SAHMs, my biggest takeaway from this research was that the 54.8% of SAHMs that are getting regular help from their husbands seem to be the happiest with their situations. It seems that the husbands from this group realize that being a SAHM is a full-time job and that anything above and beyond taking care of the kids throughout the day is additional work. These families have found ways to work together to make sure that the work gets done.

This isn’t to say that the other family systems are not working or that they are wrong. Some moms would prefer to delegate tasks like we see with the 25.6%. And some of the 19.6% group where the husbands don’t help with any of the housework preferred it that way. What the majority of families do might not work for yours depending on a lot of different factors.

Pie chart of how many husbands help SAHMs with housework

The important thing is that both parties feel like what they do and what their spouse does is fair to their marriage. There should be an equal amount of effort from both sides in all things. Otherwise we see things like resentment and feelings of being unappreciated pop up on both sides.

So, Should Stay-At-Home Moms Be Doing All of the Housework?

The majority says “No”. 80.4% of husbands to SAHMs are helping with the housework whether they are doing it on their own or being asked to help. This isn’t because SAHMs are lazy either. Most moms would love to get everything done themselves but there just isn’t time to do everything.

The alternative to having a parent stay at home with the kids is outsourced childcare. Regardless of the reasons that a couple has chosen to have the mom stay at home, we have to remember that by doing so, they are replacing what would be a full-time service from someone else. If the mom was working a regular job all day and then coming home, child and house duties would need to be split.

Who Does Our Household Chores?

Before becoming a SAHM, if you would have asked me if I would be doing all of the housework, I would have replied “of course!”. However, like many others, parenting has not been what I expected it to be.

With an infant, I am unable to keep up with everything all of the time. There are days when I am able to get more tasks done than others. When I am behind, I do have my husband to help me. He either jumps in and does things that he sees need done or I communicate things to him that I need help with.

I would like to get everything done during the day so we can relax together in the evenings and on weekends but that just isn’t possible right now. It’s important to us that we both get to interact with our baby so that is our top priority, and we work together to make sure other things get done too.

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