Women are hypocrites: we title ourselves in ads and articles Wife, Mom and [insert professional title here]. Never do we see men labeling themselves as husbands and fathers prior to their work titles. Are women so busy juggling family life and work life that an extended title is needed? Don't fathers also juggle family life after a long day at work? Or perhaps we women are trying to connect to other moms that we're just like them. In addition to working, we too clean up after dinner, give the kids a bath, read stories at night and shuttle them to school or daycare each morning. Oh wait. Dads do these things too? Hmmm. Why do we get those extra titles? Are there that many dads out there who don't pull their weight at home? Or are we women holding on to an old fashion view of dads who leave all the domestic work to the women?

3 comments:

reader said...

There's a story here...tell us more

katzenjammy said...

You ask, perhaps rhetorically, "Are there that many dads out there who don't pull their weight at home?" Your personal mileage may be varying from the norm. The NYTimes just published a relevant artaicle, Wedded to Work, and in Dire Need of a Wife. Some excerpts:
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It is not just the extra shift at home that is a common complaint. Working women, whether married or single, also see their lack of devoted spousal support as an impediment to getting ahead in their careers, especially when they are competing against men who have wives behind them, whether those wives are working or staying at home. And research supports their argument: it appears that marriage, at least marriage with children, bolsters a man’s career but hinders a woman’s.

According to 2006 survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in five men engages in some kind of housework on an average day, while more than half of women do.

Working women have noticed, correctly, that their male colleagues with wife support — whether or not those wives are themselves working outside the home — get further at work than the women who are fettered by marriage and children. Women occupy 50.6 percent of managerial and professional positions, according to the research organization Catalyst, but make up only 15.6 percent of Fortune 500 corporate officers.

“There’s a well-documented motherhood penalty: women with children are paid less than women without children,” controlling for other factors, said Mary Blair-Loy, a sociologist and author of “Competing Devotions,” a study of executive women who kept working versus ones who discontinued their careers.

Fathers, however, are not similarly disadvantaged and might even benefit at the workplace from being parents, according to more than one study, including one published in March in The American Journal of Sociology.
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There's a great essay on this subject, The Politics of Housework. It was originally published in 1970, and remains as relevant as ever.

Sarah Nejdl said...

to reader: no story. just a social commentary.

to katzenjammy: you are right that my home life is atypical. i am very fortune to have attached myself to a self proclaimed 'neat freak' who does a hefty hand of house chores. my point is that more and more women (esp. moms) are working. my view is that these working moms, while yes quite busy, are becoming more part of the norm in today's society than, say, in the 1960s. where a working mother was extraordinary in the 1960s, there is almost an expectation for some moms to work, such as those who held notable positions prior to kids and those in lower income or tightly budgeted households. so with 26 million mothers working, it's becoming less extraordinary that moms are working, though no less extraordinary in how they do it.

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