Thursday, March 15, 2007
Housework vs. the Rest of Life
Rebeldad points to this study that says dads do about 7 hours of housework and moms do twenty-one--which is consistent with other recent studies of domestic labor.
"From a gender equity standpoint," writes Rebeldad, "it's bad that dads are lagging behind moms... but 21+ hours a week on housework--no matter who is doing the work--seems like overkill. Surely there are better ways to spend three hours a day."
Here's how I responded over at Rebeldad:
Does my family do at least 21 hours a week of housework?
Let's see: my wife and I each do about 4 hours of housework over the weekend, and I spend about a half hour in the morning and a half hour in weekday evenings doing dishes or picking up clutter. I can only guess how much my wife does during the day (most of her time is consumed with childcare/playing), but let's say at least one hour (mostly picking up toys or washing dishes), plus an additional two hours one morning a week. I'm excluding cooking, which my wife does most of.
So we're doing at least 20 hours a week cleaning and maintaining our two-bedroom apartment (that's a pic, at top, doll in foreground), and we are not neat freaks. I can easily see how a rural/suburban residence would involve more hours of housework. So I guess those numbers don't seem unreasonable to me.
But I think the key line from the source report is this one: "Girls spend more time doing housework than they do playing, while boys spend about 30 percent less time doing household chores than girls and more than twice as much time playing."
In many respects, this is the thing that needs to change. If we can equalize those hours (and there's no reason why we as parents couldn't) then we might really see equality down the road, when our children have children. For me, this is a reminder that my son needs to learn how to do housework--something that I wasn't really raised to do, and when I got to college, it showed.
After reading this post at Rebeldad, I scrolled down to see what I've been missing--and was surprised to see that Rebeldad nominated Daddy Dialectic for "best new daddyblogger," a contest being run over at the At-Home Dad site. From what I gleaned, the actual voting won't happen until the end of 2007.
That's good. Thanks, Rebeldad, and to everyone who has ever supported Daddy Dialectic by telling a friend or linking over here.
Update: After coming home and reviewing our housework hours with my wife, I have to revise my estimate. In reality, I think we do an average of about 15-16 hours per week.