What Is Housework?
Housework encompasses different tasks, the amounts and types of which depend on household size, composition, and cultural expectations. If children are present, caring for them is a primary household duty that brings with it a range of other housework tasks. Similarly, caring for aging parents is common and includes supplemental domestic responsibilities. People hire domestic help to do housework or to care for the young or old when they can afford to, but in most homes, the women of the household do these tasks without financial reward. Routine household tasks necessary to sustain individuals and maintain homes include meal preparation and clean-up, house cleaning, grocery shopping, and laundry. These tasks tend to be obligatory, repetitive, and boring, and they have historically been women's responsibility. Occasional tasks that need less frequent attention— gardening and yard care, bill paying, household repairs, and auto maintenance—are typically performed by men and tend to be more time-flexible, discretionary, and enjoyable than routine housework.