Though men were coming home from work to kick off their shoes and relax, women who came home from work got to work again--doing housework and child care. According to her book, men and women in dual-earner families share housework equally only about 20 percent of the time.
This isn't to say men don't do housework. In fact, they do more housework than ever before. But they still don't do as much as women, even if both spouses work. And men tend to over-report the work they do.
Things are improving. According to a Bureau of Labor report from this year, employed women do 2.6 hours per day, compared to 2.1 hours for men. That's 47 more minutes of housework per day.
But maybe those men are a little optimistic about their own contributions. One survey finds that men over-report (when compared to time diaries) their hours spent by 148 percent. Women also over-report, but only by 68 percent.
All of this might seem like squabbling over details. Who wants to track their hours spent doing housework after doing housework, right? Marriage isn't about keeping score.
I'm not suggesting a rigid 50/50 approach or forcing couples to keep track. But keep in mind that, according to Hochschild's work, the combined burden of working full time plus a disproportionate amount of housework can lead to exhaustion and illness in women. And another suggests that men who contribute more to household duties have less work-life conflict and do better psychologically than those who contribute less.
So we're back to a consistent theme in this blog: negotiation. If you're doing more than your share, you may be paying more of a price than you're aware of. It might be a good idea to talk with your spouse about how to split the chores more evenly. Sounds like a great topic for an upcoming post!
How do you and your spouse split the chores?