When it comes to cleaning, lots of women think men just aren’t pulling their weight … but Emily Saunders prefers it that way.
Her partner James Preston rarely lifts a finger, but the 24-year-old full-time mother says this suits her just fine, because she loves dusting and polishing.
Ms Saunders lives with Mr Preston, a steeplejack who is also 24, and their children Elijah, two, and Finley, six months, in Somerset, England. She says she is only too happy to take charge of keeping the family home pristine.
“When people hear my partner James hasn’t cleaned the loo in nearly two years, they’re stunned. But I don’t care. It’s not his job. In fact, housework in general isn’t his job. I do everything, getting up at 7am and stopping at 1am, when I fall exhausted into bed.
“I cook our boys’ food, clean, dust, tidy and vacuum. James, who works as a steeplejack, doesn’t need to do anything. I don’t think it’s archaic or unfeminist, like some people have claimed, I just think it’s the best way of doing things — and only fair at the moment as he’s the breadwinner and he’s exhausted when he gets home.
“When I unexpectedly found out I was pregnant, seven months after we met in a pub and got together in 2017, we decided I’d be a stay-at-home mum. So I left my full-time bar job. I’m not critical of working mothers but I think kids benefit from Mum being at home and knowing they are well cared for by the person who loves them most.
“My friends with kids are largely the same. A few do work, but only part-time. My schedule varies but is pretty relentless, especially as I’m studying for an Open University degree in law.
“I love it but it’s a lot of reading, which I usually do at around 11pm, after James and the kids are in bed. I eventually want to become a lawyer but nothing is set in stone. If I do achieve my dream, I’ll still do most of the housework. Hopefully it’ll be less messy, as the kids will be at nursery.
“I spend most days in a constant whirl of cleaning, putting toys away and doing laundry. It’s hard-going but I really want a clean house for James to get back to around 5pm. When he arrives home he relaxes for a bit then makes us dinner – he loves cooking – while I tidy up. James doesn’t offer to help but does say, ‘Tell me if you need me to do anything’. But I rarely do.
“I think the last time I asked was when we moved house nearly two years ago and I got him to clean the bathroom, and he never makes the bed. After the children are in bed, around 7pm, we have a couple of hours together before he nods off around 10pm and I clean for an hour before studying, then prep the baby’s bottles for another hour.
“It does annoy me when people say I’m old-fashioned. I enjoy what I do. I like a clean house, I enjoy cleaning and it’s my choice. I can still do all this and be a feminist.”
James says: “I’m happy how things are. It’s something that works for us. If only she could learn how to cook too, ha! I’d be living the dream.”
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission