Are Maids Really Saving Marriages?


The continuous increase of women in the workforce is leading many to question how the household will maintain success and pristine. “Who is going to watch the kids?” or “Who will clean the house?” are only two of endless criticisms women may face as they pursue their careers while simultaneously being a mother and wife. One solution that has arisen (at least for those who are able to afford it) is to hire a maid to routinely clean the house and keep it in order.

Marriages undoubtedly face challenges and arguments regarding the workload of maintaining the household. More times than not, in a heterosexual marriage, men insist on having his wife take care of the house, even if she is working just as many hours as he is. In the graph below, you are able to see the comparison of paid and unpaid work men do to women. As Barbara Ehrenreich mention in Maid to Order, many marriage counselors and families suggest hiring a maid to do the housework in order to settle the dispute between the spouses. The more women realize they are doing a significant more amount of work in the house compared to their husbands, they begin to boycott and settle this inequality by having neither of them do the cleaning.

paid v unpaid
The above graph shows the contrast of hours that men and women spend performing unpaid labor

The number of household workers are increasing steadily and is allowing both spouses to work and take care of their children, while still keeping their home clean. It also is creating an idea that household work deserves pay and cleaning companies are earning money for what women used to (and still continue to do) without pay. There are plenty of (valid) arguments towards the exploitation of women of color and the establishment of power now inside of the household between the homeowners and the cleaning company. These issues are extremely relevant and continue to be. These are some of the sacrifices many couples are willing to make in order to save their marriage. The household has transformed into a place of business; however, once again, that is the sacrifice many are willing to make in order to save their marriage.

The hiring of a maid service is becoming the norm in middle and higher class heterosexual households. The divorce rate is approximately 50% in marriages, and couples are actively trying to not be apart of that statistic. The increase of women in the workforce is resulting in the need for childcare and also help from the husband around the house. The reluctance of many men to do work results in constant bickering of who is pulling the most weight and threatens the well being of the relationship. The easy solution is that no person will have to clean and it will simply be done by an outside source.

Do you think hiring a maid is the lazy way of fixing a marriage, or do you think it is necessary?

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