A well run home creates bliss but requires a hell of a lot of domestic work to get there. We all know that right? Bliss comes at a cost and the cost is highest for women. The numbers are clear. In spite of advancements since the 1950’s, women are still pulling the major load at home and with the children.
Domestic Work Stats
In the U.S., women do an average of 242 minutes of unpaid work per day compared with 148 minutes per day for men, the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development reports. That’s an extra 94 minutes per day of unpaid labor for women. For the 65% of women who work outside the home making a fraction of what men make, that then comes home to an EXTRA 1.5 hours of chores the hits just don’t stop coming.
Sidebar: Let’s throw some extra “beauty time” into that mix too. We do live in an appearance based society and that’s hard to lay down. Manis, pedis, hair color and cuts, and blow outs, makeup and fashion also do a lot to fill a day. Research shows that 78% of women spend at least 1 hour a day on their appearance.
We are some damned busy people. Caring for children, aging parents, our husbands, our work, our appearance, and our homes all while keeping the Instagram stream looking calm and successful. We impress the shit out of me.
But do you ever wonder what we could do with all the time and money we’d save if it took us 12 seconds to style our hair like it does our husbands? Surely we could do some good in the world with hair time we’ll never get back.
But the truth is:
Gender roles and how we play house are ingrained long before we even know what the term gender roles means. I never HAVE to color my hair again, but I grew up in the Patriarchal Society too. I’m convinced I feel better when my hair looks better. I don’t know how to shake that. The changing of institutionalized sexism is hard, and none of us are perfect at it. The best we can hope for is awareness, a nod to fairness, and understanding. We’re all evolving, or we should be.
The feminist that makes her husband a sandwich, and then wonders if she shouldn’t have is being robbed of doing a nice thing for her husband. The man who would love to stay home with the children, but doesn’t because he feels less of man when he does so are very real emotions that should be honored. Some people work outside the home, others work like the dickens inside of it. Every home and every partnership is different, at different times, and should be.
Balance is what life’s about and it’s complicated. How much to give, how much to take. It’s something we all struggle with.
How bizarre that our “at home” duties should be so binary.? I think we are all learning nothing is as binary as the old days had it.
So I’d like to throw the terms emotional labor and invisible work into your repertoire. If you’ve never seen the incredible graphic description of invisible labor , go here.
Right now, I’ll wait. Getting you to go to that link is the most valuable tip from this post!
It’s called….”You should have asked”. I believe many women will scream NAILED IT and many men will say, “Well, you should have asked”. It’s brilliant. I re-read it on the regular. It’s how many of us are built at this moment in history.
Great partnerships do the work til the work gets done, and then rest and play together. They take the effort to notice what needs to be done. Some days it’s equal. Some days it’s not. If you’re both working at the same capacity you’ve got the hard part accomplished.
Awareness is key. Consider yourself aware. Communicate with your partner. Be a good one.
PS: I KNOW not #allmen. But enough. Thanks to the fellas who do their fair share of the labor.
Read more about today’s challenges with marriage and family.