The Chore Wars
Where did we come from? Whoever we are, one thing is obvious. A man and a woman came together and birthed us. As a result, our shaping and growing has a lot to do with who raised us. Good relationships help define us and bring us closer. Most of usspend much of our time interacting with others. The fact is, humans need other humans to feel at peace with themselves and to remain healthy. Who we are and what we do is a function of how history orchestrated itself based on who we’ve surrounded ourselves with over time. The balancing of family is very important in creating healthy relationships.
“First, from the early 1950s, many employed mothers began to challenge, although not overturn, the dominant discourse of the ideal mother as exclusively bound to the home. The simple fact that so many women were drawn to work outside the home despite criticism demonstrates the monetary and psychological importance of employment for women”
What is family? The term “family” is generally defined as a relationship by blood, marriage or affection, in which members may cooperate economically, may care for children, and may consider their identity to be intimately connected to a larger group. (Exploring Marriage and Families, Pearson 2018) It’s an intermediate definition as it points out that all families are unique in some way, shape, or form. Ranges of the family you were born into, to family you make through marriage, partnering, or parenthood and other relatives whose bonds are strong and intimate. Each family is where the next generation is being built. In a family, the father and the mother play two distinct roles. The mother is more often the caregiver, providing care and nurturing the children. The father provides security and protection and earns the wages necessary. However, both parents must be prepared for the challenges of balancing work and family in today’s society.
Unlike the early century, things have changes considerably in the 21st century. Both the roles of mother being the housemaid and father being the breadwinner have merged. Now, both partners are working outside of the home to make ends meet, hence the terminology of dual income families. Many women are involved in the labor force as ever before posing a tedious challenge to the balancing of family life. A lot of partner’s are spending less and less time with their children and not getting enough sleep.
Working families have new conflicts that arise for every member of the family. One of the conflicts is that the U.S doesn’t have a longer pregnancy compensation leave. Women have to go back to work relatively quickly in order to keep their job and don’t get to spend a ton of time bonding with their infant. Women in the work force tend to have to work their part time or full time hours and come home to clean, cook, and do other chores. The unfairness of this conflict is genuinely concerning. According to the feminist theory, aims to understand the nature of gender inequality. Families face trials and tribulations every day while trying to juggle work and spending quality time with family members.
One of the hardest encounters is the difficulty of satisfaction on both sides of the spectrum. Having members of the family know they can count on you during times of need as well as the workplace knowing that is has a competent employee that it can count on. Balancing out both is a chore in itself that adds to stress and sleepless nights that greatly hinders performance. Society is the root of the problem at times. When, the balance of work and family starts to get corrupted. Society turns a harsh look on the parenting as a whole. Members of the family suffer and have to get taken care of by nannies, other relatives, or day care workers. Many children will have to grow up a lot quicker than they would normally have to if their parents were always around. Dividing up chore work for members of the family can prove to be a tough task. But, every member must have a role, and know that specific role. All that is necessary is the right attitudes and resources required.
The predicament between work and family arose when women began participating more in the labor force during and after World War I. Women’s participation in the workforce has increased while men’s have decreased. (Pearson,2018) In 1911, 17% of women were employed. In 2015, 60% of women are employed currently. The women’s labor force increased majorly during World War II, when the men were off fighting the war and women worker’s were needed in factories, nurse aids, stores, etc. During the woman’s liberation movement, when mothers wanted to be free from the household chores, it significantly impacted the problems between work and family life even more. Different types of families arose and conflicts increased again.
In deciding on who performs the tasks within the family has always been a female oriented position. The gap associated with men and women’s household duties are decreasing significantly, although there are still relatable concerns regarding the matter. For instance, childcare is probably one of the largest concerns involving both family and their work. Lots of working families can not afford the expense of day care centers or household nannies and babysitter fees. Having the work hours compensate for the babysitting hours creates major issues along with the age of the child involved. As I talked about earlier, work may or may not have paternity or maternity leave if the child is of infant age. Transportation, leaving work on time, coming into work late, just adds to the on and off job related stress.
During an interview that was conducted on a married mother of two children, I found out a lot about how the division of work was handled and about how successful the family connected during the work-related stressors. The mother is named Judy Lynn and she is Caucasian. Her partner is named Mark David, and he is also of the Caucasian descent. The father is 62 as of late, and the mother is 61. Delving into their past a little bit when their two children were growing up and when the division of labor was introduced. They have been married and lived together for 38 years. They have been together for 44 years altogether and they did not cohabit.
Since they are both male and female, the majority of the household work fell on the mother. The mother worked 24 years before relocating to another state and raising children. The father has always been full-time, working early in the morning and late throughout the night. Personal conflicts arose during the early years of their children’s lives. Lack of relative kin and the ages of the children being 10 and 11 at the time, made it very hard for both parents to work both jobs effectively. It became a mutual decision to only have one parent work in the household shortly thereafter.
When both parent were working, division of housework revolved around two jobs. Mother did most of the childcare, which took up about 7 hours a day/49 hours a week. 21 hours a week on housework and 8-10 hours a week for her partner. The majority of car maintenance, lawn work, trash duty, some laundry, and remodeling the house fell on the man of the house. Where as, food shopping, cooking, basic cleaning, billing, lawn care, childcare was taken up mostly by the woman of the house. They believed that the household chores were fairly divided between the both of them.
Both of their jobs would require some traveling. So, both parents really had to make sure each one would equally do their duties. When one would fall, they both would. They had day jobs; the children would go to day care and it became increasingly difficult because of expenses. The mother stayed at her job for several years before deciding to stay at home with the children permanently. By the time the kids started grade school, the mother was able to switch hours at work to be able to pick the children up from school. She was able to be home an extra three hours early before her partner came home. That way she was able to do her household chores, kid’s schoolwork, and cook dinner before her partner arrived. The hours weren’t always flexible, so when they became easier it was welcomed.