What’s your initial reaction?
If you are like me, it was positive, followed quickly with the thought, “Hang on a minute, what’s the catch?”.
The catch is simple. There is an increase in single moms who are unemployed and in married moms who cannot find work. Move along, nothing to see here.
Analysis of time-use diaries finds that mothers at home spend more hours per week than working mothers on child care and housework, as well as more time on leisure and sleep. Time use also varies among different groups of mothers at home: Married stay-at-home mothers put more time into child care and less into leisure than their single counterparts. [my emphasis]
A mother’s work is never done.
My work (and most men’s work) is never done. I am expected to put in a minimum number of hours chipping away at it, and to produce output that meets the expectations of my employer. There is no movable line that divides my day between leisure and work, where I can choose to chill, so to speak.
A mother’s work is never done.
I disagree. That there will always be more dirty cloths and dishes, and spaces will be re-cluttered, and children’s appointments will have to be kept with Doctors, and the house will run out of milk and bread, and dust bunnies will proliferate like real bunnies….on a hypothetical day, today for instance, if I was a stay-at-home something or other, the work would be done. When more work appears, its not that the work is never done, its that it gets undone.
A mothers work is never done
My BIL suddenly was a stay at home dad with seven kids after his prostate cancer surgery and recovery, now 15 years past, took him too long from the workforce and his wife admirably stepped up and has thrived in that role. (She also demonstrated that a woman can excel like this and yet maintain the frame she has when she was the folksy home-schooling rural wife who made things from scratch and deferred to her husband, kuddos to her for that example). he to excelled at the all things domestic. He home-schooled, did the tasks any stay at home parent must, cleaning, laundry, dishes, and continued doing the domestic chores typical for men…repairs, lawn, and bigger jobs around the place that he was qualified to do due to his prior vocation. He was also done Every. Single. Day. Unlike the women referred to in the pew study, his leisure time did not involve compromise or leveraging the fact that certain things left unfinished “until tomorrow” would not be noticed or felt.
A mother’s work is never done
The increase in stay-at-home-moms is only good news to the extent that, if it is not a dysfunctional home, the children are benefiting by her steady presence. Would that it be the case that stable married women with working husbands were eschewing work outside the home. That they were choosing to be domestic managers, even if openly claiming that technology has helped enable that, it would still be a good trend. But the details show that that is not where the increase is happening. Lets face it, from appliances long in existence to more trouble free textiles and home surfaces, the work that is never done should rarely not be done.