Clare McKeon's Column: PAIN IN THE HOUSE; Time We Had a 'Fair Shares' Agreement over chores.(Features)

Article excerpt

Byline: Clare McKeon

TWO reports were issued this week on housework; the results don't surprise me one little bit.

In fact both confirmed my deeply held suspicions on this most ghastly of tasks.

Number one, housework doesn't make you fitter and number two, it's the chief cause of conflict among newlyweds.

Let's deal with the man-made myth; doing a bit of housework is as good as going to the gym. This is an attempt to stop women from doing proper exercise.

It's also a stab at making them feel guilty.

"Oh, I shouldn't be out walking when a bit of housework would be just as healthy an activity."

The research carried out by a team at the University of Bristol says that a brisk walk does far more good than dusting, mopping or scrubbing.

Well we always knew that, didn't we, it's just that the evidence wasn't there to back up that hunch.

Mind you it doesn't help when the American queen of domesticity Martha Stewart insists on telling us that for her, housework brings inner peace and the hum off a vacuum makes her feel calm. This woman is stuck in a time warp - the 1950's.

There are no health gains from doing housework.

I remember years ago when it was all the rage to glorify housework.

Sections in women's magazines showed diagrams of comely maidens doing leg swings on doors, press-ups on floors, using stairs like a stair master and pressing flower vases into action as dumb bells. …