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newsflash - TopGear is not real housework

There are times - far more than I care to admit to - when I open the front door, look around and think: "Oh my God, we've been burgled!"

Then I remember that's the exact condition I left the house in that morning, as I headed out to do far more interesting and important things than housework.

I am, literally, a desperate housewife; with sadly none of the glamour of an Eva Longoria.

The problem though, is that this housewife's housework still has to get done - those stairs won't hoover themselves, you know.

Nor will the limescale on the bathroom tiles go away all on its own. Someone has to clean it.

Increasingly, however, it seems that we don't care. A new Oxford University study discovered that women are now spending less time on domestic chores today than their predecessors did 50 years ago.

Today we only spend an average of four hours and 20 minutes on housework daily as opposed to nearly six hours back then.

Yes, that's a whole ninety minutes of extra time we can now devote to doing other, fun stuff. Like what? Like working to pay the mortgage of course!

Simultaneously, the study found that men have upped their time doing household chores from one hour and 35 minutes in the 1960s to an exhausting two hours and 18 minutes a day nowadays.


That doesn't sound too bad, does it? If your bloke spent more than two hours a day cleaning out the loo or scrubbing the bath, you'd be pleasantly pleased, wouldn't you? (I know I would).

But hang on a minute, what's that? "Shopping and childcare account for much of the unpaid domestic work carried out by men," says the report.

Does that mean the guys have filled in twenty minutes picking up a pint of milk and a sliced pan on the way home from the gym? And another two hours of "child-minding" while they watch TopGear and the kids are fast asleep upstairs?

Yes, I thought so. Meanwhile, women are still doing the lion's share of the housework and say they would "like their husbands and partners to help more around the house".

But you see, ladies, that's where we're going wrong. By whinging that we'd "like a helping hand" we're perpetuating the myth that housework is the responsibility of the woman. We're letting the blokes feel as if they're doing us a big favour by emptying the dishwasher occasionally when they should sharing chores fifty-fifty.

And if we refuse to do his share, what happens? We end up with a house like mine, where it's easier to live in dusty chaos than argue about who does what.

Is that submission? Or am I just being graceful in defeat?