Then, I went to get my hair cut and my hair dresser was talking about how she does not understand how her husband does not see she needs help. Not only this, but he actually told her that she looks old and tired! (FYI she looks like a super model - totally serious). He was shocked when she declined his invitation for an evening out and couldn't for the life of him figure out what had happened to put her in a bad mood.
Oddly enough, when I came home from work yesterday, my kitchen looked like several small toddlers had had a party in it, even though I had two kids in school, one sick in bed and a husband that was supposed to be watching the sick one. It was really unclear how such a mess could be created by one grown man. Ahhh, but mystery is the allure of a good marriage...
Working part-time or staying home, it is perceived women have more time to get household chores done. This is true when older kids are in school. If there exists, however, an infant/toddler, you still have to watch this partially suicidal person. That, of course, is not taken into consideration for the mother; If it is the Dad staying home - of course he couldn't make dinner/clean to counter/take out the trash as he was watching the baby!
It seems reasonable that if a mom goes to work full-time, the division of labor is more equitable. However, studies show the rules are: Mommy cooks dinner, clean up after dinner, make lunches, does laundry, helps with homework when Daddy is really busy and Mommy is less so. Mommy cooks dinner, cleans up after dinner, makes lunches, does laundry, helps with homework when Mommy is really busy and Daddy is less so. Common thread : Mommy does it.
Below is a very disturbing exerpt from a 2008 New York Times article called When Mom and Dad Share It All:
"Social scientists know in remarkable detail what goes on in the average American home. And they have calculated with great precision how little has changed in the roles of men and women. Any way you measure it, they say, women do about twice as much around the house as men.
The most recent figures from the University of Wisconsin’s National Survey of Families and Households show that the average wife does 31 hours of housework a week while the average husband does 14 — a ratio of slightly more than two to one. If you break out couples in which wives stay home and husbands are the sole earners, the number of hours goes up for women, to 38 hours of housework a week, and down a bit for men, to 12, a ratio of more than three to one. That makes sense, because the couple have defined home as one partner’s work.
But then break out the couples in which both husband and wife have full-time paying jobs. There, the wife does 28 hours of housework and the husband, 16. Just shy of two to one, which makes no sense at all.
The lopsided ratio holds true however you construct and deconstruct a family. “Working class, middle class, upper class, it stays at two to one,” says Sampson Lee Blair, an associate professor of sociology at the University at Buffalo who studies the division of labor in families.
“And the most sadly comic data is from my own research,” he adds, which show that in married couples “where she has a job and he doesn’t, and where you would anticipate a complete reversal, even then you find the wife doing the majority of the housework.”
Why are men programmed so differently? How are women supposed to get ahead in their career when they stay up folding laundry their my husband works on work? What kind of behavior are we modeling to our daughters? Do we want them to expect to be someone's cleaning lady or a rocket scientist?
My mother's advice has always been to get help. Expect no one (I have always thought this was a euphimism for husband, but I think she also means herself - kidding mom!...kinda) to help you. So, have cleaning people. See if someone can run errands. Get good child care. I have always thought these were brilliant ideas and very helpful when I had 3 children under 4 years old simultaneously with a husband in medical training. However, it was HELLA expensive. I was lucky because we could afford it - or rather, we were the fortunate recipients of my in-laws' generosity. This is not a reality for most couples.
As a pediatrician, I have an inside scoop of 10 years listening to thousands of patients. I ALWAYS ask the parents, and it happens to be mostly mothers bringing their children in, about life at home. The verdict is in - for the most part, this is a common-thread issue. Very real, very present, very detested.
So Dads : don't put the moves on your partner with kissy-kissy sounds. Tell her you made dinner, cleaned up after, and put away all the laundry you washed and folded. Guaranteed score.