We have a strange and complicated agreement about who does what laundry tasks in our house. G does his own clothes washing. I do most of the rest although G will do Grace's, a load of nappies or other household washing if it falls to him. But I am squarely in charge of the timetable. When it works, we always have clean clothes to wear and I am not overwhelmed with too much airing and folding at once.
As for ironing, G doesn't. I imagine he could if he had to, but he probably wouldn't see the need in most situations. So I do it for him. Because he's my man and because I like to do things for him. Ironing is something I won't do out of obligation and sometimes if the atmosphere is a bit grumpy it tends to build up. It's not that I don't do it on purpose. Maybe its more that I need help to be able to iron. I can't iron when Grace is running around and I try not to do any housework after dinner. And sometimes when everyone is grumpy, the household negotiation process breaks down somewhat.
As I iron, I see the marks on his collar and tell him to use the laundry spray and I note which shirts are getting a little too shabby and think about maybe buying him some new ones. He's not a man who likes to go shopping. Mostly I look out for good quality shirts in his size when I go to Savers (a big charity shop near us). If they don't fit or if he doesn't like them, I can exchange them. It does seem a bit retro to buy clothes for a grown man, but then so does the division of labour in our house.
G mows the lawn, deals with the car, fixes things that are broke and does quite a lot around the garden. He also does quite a bit inside but like with the washing, I run the timetable. And there are some jobs that he won't do, like folding. Or avoids, like grocery shopping. Are there many jobs that women get to decide that they won't do? I know I opt out of lawn mowing and I'm not allowed to build anything. But do I withdraw from some tasks only because Gs happy to do them and it's one less thing to think about?
For some reason it seems that laundry is more women's work than any other housework. Why? I know of the odd man who does part of the process, like for example washing and hanging out. But not others such as folding and putting away. I've heard of quite few who do no part of the process at all and think that that's OK. I've only heard of one man who does the whole shebang, from laundry basket to back in the wardrobe. Apparently, that was his household task, the one thing that he could do while his wife was out working full time and the kids were at school. I can't help thinking that if the situation were reversed, the woman would do the washing and pretty much everything else and would think that that was fair enough. Yet a situation of a man at home and only doing part of the household work is also considered fair. I just don't get it.