Thanksgiving is a lovely time of year to not only see distant family and beloved friends, but also dredge up decades-old resentments. A famous familial bugaboo is who helps clear the table/wash plates/Saran Wrap the leftovers and who sits on their ass, pretending to be paralyzed by a food coma. (Of course, food coma person perks right up when the pecan pie comes out. I’m on to you, Christian.) I am fortunate that I grew up with a father who has always shared 50/50 of chores equally with my mother, including on holidays. The fact that my parents’ kitchen is clogged with women doing cleanup has more to do with the fact they have four daughters than anything else.
But it has not always been so when I’ve been a guest at other family’s homes on Thanksgiving. I vividly remember a Turkey Day seven years ago with a then-boyfriend whose male relatives all sat around the table while the women, including me, cleaned up the entire mess and wrapped up all the food. The aunt even directed me to do this and that as my dude sat on his butt, which I thought was slightly rude since I was their guest, but whatever. That incident was the first time in my life that I had seen traditional gender roles play out so strikingly on a holiday. (Not surprisingly, dude and I did not last.)
I asked The Frisky staff and a bunch of my friends how their families sort out this Thanksgiving clean-up business. The answers are more egalitarian than I suspected … but at the same time, a little disheartening to hear some families still think mom = the maid.
Click through to read their stories above, accompanied by retro cleaning advertisements, and share your own stories with us below in the comments!