If you've ever had an argument over a sink full of dirty dishes, you're not alone.
Let’s face it: Doing any kind of chores, be it picking up your room, vacuuming, or cleaning windows, truly stinks. It's extremely common to argue over who's doing the most work around the house and who should take on which duties. But if there’s one thing that people do all agree on, it’s that one chore is worse than all the rest: washing dishes.
According to a new report by the Council of Contemporary Families, a nonprofit dedicated to studying family dynamics, everyone hates doing dishes. But, as the report shows, it’s crucial to share the burden of scrubbing pots and pans in order to keep familial relationships happy.
“Doing dishes is gross. There is old, moldy food sitting in the sink. If you have kids, there is curdled milk in sippy cups that smells disgusting,” Dan Carlson, an assistant professor of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah, and the lead author of the study, told The Atlantic.
He explained that while other chores like gardening and cooking come with compliments at the end, doing the dishes is a truly thankless job. “What is there to say? ‘Oh, the silverware is so … sparkly?'”
And it’s women who bare the brunt of dishes duty, according to the study. They're also, unsurprisingly, the ones who suffer the consequences of having to always clean up other people’s messes.
As The Atlantic reported, women in heterosexual relationships who wash the majority of a household’s dishes report they have less relationship satisfaction and even have worse sex than women who have help from their partners.
Furthermore, because doing the dishes has long been gendered as a “female” task, while chores like mowing the lawn are seen as a more masculine duty, women “see themselves as relegated to the tasks that people don’t find desirable,” Carlson said.
To ensure women don’t feel stereotyped and don’t have to always take on the worst chore on the list, Carson suggested that couples share the task, or even clean the dishes together. This way, he said, household chores feel more evenly divided and couples will get the chance to spend a little time with one another over the sink. Nothing like a hot date on a Friday night over some dirty dishes, am I right?