I just read Ruth Davis Konigesberg’s Time magazine’s article on CHORES -who does more, Men or Women? Or really Moms or Dads? Thoroughly researched and based on different studies and census reports, Konigesberg concludes that we all do a lot; that we should stop fighting with our spouses and just RELAX! (That is if only we all weren’t so strapped for time from doing chores.)
I believe men do a lot more around the house than they used to, and are a lot more involved with their kids than ever before. I witness it every day. And yet, I kept reading the article and thinking. “I don’t care what the studies say. MOMS do more! Much much more.” I say that in spite of the fact that I happen to be married to a very loving, involved and present father who does a huge amount with our kids; one who is far neater than I am, who does laundry and even cleans! (And by cleans I mean has been known to pull the oven away from the wall and take out a vacuum and suck up all the grossness behind it!)
But in thinking of the chore wars, one has to look at time in a broad sense. The mental time and energy, which, to her credit, Koingsberg mentions in the article, is what I makes equality in the chore wars impossible to attain. Sociologist Suzanne Bianchi was quoted in the piece, “Some things that you are orchestrating may not take up a lot of time, but they do take up a lot of mental energy.” That is my point exactly! Even if you and your spouse work the same amount of hours outside the home, I would bet that yours is the brain space being occupied with the million little details that make up a life of a family.
“Do the kids need new lunch totes this year or can I get the stinkyness out by washing them? If I use bleach is that toxic? Is that 4:15 slot for violin going to open up on Tuesdays? If it does, will that conflict with basketball? Who will cover and drive them if I take the out of town gig? Is my daughter going to be in class with her best friend? Is it a good thing if she is in class with her friend or are they too dependent on each other? Is it really still okay for my son to be reversing d’s and b’s? Do we have milk? Do their school shoes, cleats, church shoes, shorts, tops, shirts, skorts, dresses fit? Should I bother with dresses when my tom boy daughter refuses to wear them? Can I carpool Wednesdays with neighbors? Are said neighbors good drivers? Do the kids need more after school enrichment? Do they need less after school enrichment? Can we afford to be so enriched? Did I sign up for the school camping trip? Will Emma loan me their giant tent, or should I find a smaller one? Oh, and ekk, what’s for dinner? And breakfast? And lunch? And then dinner again..to infinity and beyond?” (And those were just in the last 5 minutes.)
If you have a quiet moment to read, which you most probably do not, read Time’s article, or at least skim it. But know in your heart, no matter what the research says, it is impossible to quantify all that we Moms do and think about doing on behalf of our families. Maybe we should quit fighting about it and simply feel confident in our knowledge that we do far more. As daunting or unfair as that may sometimes feel – most of us wouldn’t have it any other way.