New statistics prove men and women do nearly the same amount of work.
Moms do so much. Moms are put-upon and overworked. Moms—both the stay-at-home and working variety—get no help from their slovenly, inept husbands.
I’ve heard that refrain many, many times from a whole bunch of women. Hell, I’ve heard it often enough right here on this very website. And while I know full well there are many mothers doing extraordinary work both at home and in the workplace, all these claims of martyrdom just didn’t seem to add up or pass the “sniff test.” Something just always seemed…off.
Now, thanks to Ruth Davis Konigsberg’s article “Chore Wars” in Time this week, I know why.
Citing U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, Konigsberg said married men and women with children who work full time spent virtually the same amount of time on paid and unpaid work in 2010. So, in a nutshell, when you combine time spent at the office and time spent on household chores, men and women are nearly equal. Women still did more work overall, but only by 20 minutes a day. That is the smallest difference ever reported, according to Konigsberg.
So what does that mean?
First of all, men are still spending more time at the office doing paid work. And women do more of the unpaid work, including childcare duties. So just to be clear, no one is pretending men are doing the lion’s share of housework.
But let’s be just as clear about something else—it’s time women stop the “woe is me” routine.
Men are pulling their weight and logging the hours, but many women simply aren’t recognizing their contributions. As Konigsberg writes using her own personal experience, if men are forced to put in longer hours at home then women often feel like the weight of the world is on them. Men come home and pitch in however they can, but much of the day’s work is already done. But despite women feeling like they do it all, the math just doesn’t add up because time spent contributing
Some people say men should take more time off work to be with family. In a perfect world I agree. But the fact remains while employers often compromise with working mothers after a baby, dads are not cut the same slack. Good jobs are hard to come by and we need to keep them, especially if women choose to stay at home. Raising a child is hard work and of the utmost importance, but let’s not diminish the hours dad is putting in so mom can stay home.
But although some women scream for equality, there is some evidence they say one thing and mean another.
A recent Salary.com survey polled nearly 2,000 people regarding relationships and money. One of the questions they asked was “Would You Support a Partner Who Wanted to Be a Full-Time Parent?” Sixty-four percent of men said they would support someone who desired to be a full-time parent. But when women were asked the same thing, the number dropped to 35 percent.
Even more telling, however, is that 34 percent of women flat-out refused to be with a man who wanted to stay at home full-time to parent. So it appears some of the women calling for men to pitch in more at home are the same ones who wouldn’t even consider being with a man who wanted to run the household on a full time basis.
But lastly, I think mothers simply have a tendency to overvalue themselves and exaggerate the amount of work they do. And that’s not just me spouting my opinion.
Again, going back to two recent Salary.com polls that surveyed mothers and fathers separately to determine how much time each group spends parenting, some very interesting disparities were readily apparent.
Stay-at-home fathers reported spending an average of 52.9 hours a week on childcare related duties, while working dads logged an average of 30.6 hours a week. But when moms took the same poll, stay-at-home mothers said they spend an average of 96.6 hours a week taking care of the kids and the home. Hell, working moms said they spend 55.9 hours a week on household and kid duties, in addition to working full time (defined as 35 hours or more a week).
Moms, we know you work hard but c’mon. You’re really trying to tell me working moms spend three hours more per week taking care of the house and kids than fathers who care for their children on a full-time basis?? It just doesn’t add up. Probably because moms overvalue themselves due to societal pressure to be “Super Mom” at all times. Dads, on the other hand, are likely much more realistic about the time and effort they put in on a daily basis.
I don’t think any of this is intentional and my point is not to call moms out. Instead, it’s to make people see there is evidence that men are not as lazy as everyone thinks they are, and women are not as overworked as they claim to be. Both genders do different things and perform various duties. All of them are important and none of them should be overlooked.
But if we want to make real progress, we’ll all stop keeping score.