Chore Wars Get Personal
Who does the most work around the house when it comes to taking care of the kids, you or your spouse? I’m always quick to say me. Definitely. And I am happy to back it up with articles like this one, where I can point out to my husband that research shows moms spend 1150 more hours doing parenting chores than dads.
It’s especially interesting coming soon after the Time magazine article published in August, Chore Wars, that shows maybe there really isn’t the inequality we like to think there is. In that article the author claims that while women might put in a few more hours on the home front, it actually all equals out because men are putting in more hours at work.
Who is doing more? It's hard to say. We all feel like we don't have enough time to spend with our kids or enough time for just ourselves, as evidenced in the many articles on how to find better work/life balance.
In my house, I wouldn’t start to claim whose job is more important or who works more hours at their paying job. It’s too hard to really measure in my family, since I’m a freelancer and feel like I work all the time, but my husband puts in a lot of hours at his job as well. But I will say that when I’m not feeling put upon and at my wit’s end from hearing “mommy” for hours at a time, I might actually admit that the contributions to the household chores in this house are pretty equal. Sure, I do most of the cooking, and while dad puts the kids to bed and does a fair share of the baths, I’m still doing the majority. But I also know that he spent all day Sunday cleaning out the basement, including sucking up the dirt and moths with the shopvac, and then took a truck load of junk we don’t need any more to the dump. Then he spent his day off on Labor Day completely cleaning out and re-organizing my daughter’s room, including washing down the walls and baseboards. Those are two chores I would avoid like the plague. I’ll gladly put the kids to bed every night, and even clean the toilets, if it keeps me from having to lug that shop vac around and suck up dead bugs.
So while I do think that moms probably do more of the taking care of the kids, I think overall the question of who does more is a complicated issue. It depends on who you ask when. It depends on how you define the chores. And as the author of Chore Wars found, it depends on whether you like the chore or not. Maybe the fact that I enjoy reading a bedtime story to my kids at night means it's not really work. It's the fun, together time that I want to have with my kids while they're young.