Do you believe that marriage is a 50/50 proposition? Pick up any women's magazine such as Family Circle, Women's Day, or McCall's and you will read articles that perpetuate the popular myth that husbands are helpful, supportive and share 50/50 in the housework and family chores. No matter whether a wife stays at home or works outside the home, husbands should help their wives; but they don't.
Talk to any of your female friends that are married. Ask them if their husbands share 50/50 with the care of the children, the housework, or preparing the food. They will tell you that they are responsible for doing all or more than their fair share of the work. If the husband loads the dishwasher, they consider themselves lucky.
From my past experience, I had to continue to handle all the household chores, plus the duties and responsibilities of my job. When a woman works outside the home, she faces double the demands of work and family. With wages for women a lot less than men, the wife's earnings are less than the husband's; and the wife's job is perceived to be secondary in importance. Since the wife's earnings are less than the husband's, it is the wife who does the larger share of the work.
Caring for and nurturing children is demanding work. It should be shared, but it's not. The mother bathes, dresses, feeds, watches the children play, gets them off to bed, and reads them their bedtime stories. More demands are placed on her time and energy when she goes to work outside the home. Besides having to pay for the child care, I would have to chauffeur the children to and from the child care center.
If the child was sick, the mother was the one who misses work, I would take the child to the doctor, get the medicine and stay with the child until they were well. When the children needed help with their school work, I was the one to help with that too. Putting in her eight hours at her job, it was the mother who would chauffeur the children to meetings and practices. The husband would show up for the performance, the games, and the glory.
My observations have been that husbands know how to make a mess, but they don't know how to clean up after the mess. Men must think that everything comes with a self-cleaning button.
Perhaps that explains why men don't help with the household chores; hence, I, along with other working mothers, would be cleaning our homes on the weekends. Vacuuming, dusting, washing the clothes and the floors, scrubbing the bathrooms, picking up, throwing out, and cleaning the kitchen appliances took up the whole weekend.
The first words a man mutters when he gets home from work is, "What's for dinner?" The husband expects and demands that dinner be ready when he comes home. They forget the wife's schedule or that she may have put in eight hours at her job too.
Preparing the meals and cleaning up after is strictly up to the wife to do. The articles about the husbands helping in the kitchen were like reading fairy tales such as Cinderella.
Furthermore, shopping for food is time-consuming. Before going to the store, I would plan the menus and make the grocery list. With coupons and lists in hand, I would go grocery shopping. After making my purchases, I would drive home, unload the car, and finally, put the groceries away.
Married women are overworked and underpaid; therefore, marriage isn't a 50/50 proposition. The ideal would be for husbands to share the work around the house and the care of the children. The reality is that they don't share the work. just the glory.
Author's notes: Yes! This piece was written in 1988. After 33 years, women, married or not, are still underpaid and over-worked. My opinion folks. Thanks for reading. Hearts are always appreciated.