Michael Eriksson
A Swede in Germany
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Remuneration of a house wife

On some occasion, while still in Sweden, I read an article applauding the following: A married couple had both worked and used a part of their money for a hired help to do cleaning and other household tasks. The man was of the opinion that it would be a better solution for the woman to become a house-wife. The woman consented, but, apparently not enthusiastic, she later handed him a bill over services rendered and demanded payment...

This scenario shows a complete and utter inability to reason:

The efforts by the couple were for mutual benefit and with the intent of both doing “their fair share”: Originally, they both earned money, and paid for household chores (and food, clothes, rent, ...) with that money. Later, the man brought the money (for food, clothes, rent, ...) while the woman’s contribution was to handle the household. Both variations are inherently fair and beyond reproach, provided that both consented (which the woman had) and all details were well handled. What the woman proposed was something entirely unfair, namely that she should (for all practical purposes) be the employee of the husband, who now paid for everything with his work. Yes, the woman would have worked in the household; no, she would not work for the household—just for herself, as proved by the fact that money that had previously either been common property or belonged to the husband now would have belonged to her alone.

Further, add in that the woman had, but did not use, the option of insisting on remaining employed—in effect making this an exercise in passive-aggressiveness.

Let us consider this with some hypothetical numbers—just in case one of the readers is as logically challenged as the woman: Assume that they both earned a net (“after taxes” and the like) amount of 2000 Euro/month, spent a total of 1500 Euro at various living costs, 2000 on the help, and split the remainder three-ways into his money, her money, and common savings.

Now each would contribute 2000 Euro/month, each would have 166 Euro (and change) for own spending, and the common savings would rise by the same amount.

Implement the change as originally foreseen, and the man would contribute 2000 Euro (in money), the woman 2000 Euro (in services), each would have had 166 Euro (and change) in spending money, with the same for savings—just like before. (But with the likely added benefit that the woman had more spare time in this scenario...)

Implement the change like the woman wanted it: The man would contribute 2000 Euro, the woman nothing (her 2000 Euro in services being paid off by the 2000 Euro payment), the man would have no (!) own money, the woman would have 2000 (!) Euro (minus taxes and similar, had she chosen to pay them), and the common savings would drop by 1500 (!) a month.

This complete and utter lunacy was applauded! The woman was presented as an example of good thinking, of someone who had “one-upped” her husband, whatnot—while she, in reality, had proved herself to be an idiot (as demonstrated by her inability to think clearly), unethical (through her self-centered and unfair behaviour), and passive-aggressive (for failing to make her stand in an acceptable manner: If she preferred the original arrangement, she should have insisted that it be kept—not put on a front of consent, and then sabotage the process.)


Well, two can play that game: An Australian annoyed by a similar brainless reckoning turned the tables—and found that the typical housewife owed her husband 15k/year...