Updated: Mar 5
According to the 2020 Families in Australia Survey, around 60% of working mothers with children under 18 do all or most of the housework. In America, the 2019 Women in the Workforce report showed slightly better numbers - 40% of mothers reported doing most childcare and housework.
The problem is not just the stats. Even with both parents at work, working mothers carry a disproportionate burden of household duties. This division of household chores impacts the well-being and happiness of all family members, not just mums.
In this article, we'll explore why working mothers do more housework than fathers, the problems with unequal household chores, and how to get your partner to share the housework without fighting.
Why is it that working mothers do more housework than working fathers?
One of the main reasons is the persistence of traditional gender roles and stereotypes. Despite the advances in gender equality in the workplace and society in general, women are still seen as the primary caregivers and homemakers. This often leads to an unequal division of household chores, with women expected to take on a larger share of the responsibilities, even if they work outside the home.
Another reason is that women tend to be more organized and efficient when managing the household. They often take on the "household manager" role responsible for planning and coordinating the family's schedules, meals, and other activities. This can lead to women doing more household chores simply because they are better at managing them.
The problem with an unfair division of household chores is that it can lead to many negative consequences for both individuals and families. First and foremost, it can lead to feelings of resentment and frustration, especially for women who feel like they are doing more than their fair share. This can lead to conflict and tension in the household, which can have a negative impact on the overall well-being of family members.
Unequal division of household chores can also hurt women's careers, job prospects and health. Women expected to take on more household duties may have less time and energy to devote to their careers, which can lead to missed opportunities and lower earnings over time. This can also lead to women being forced to choose between their jobs and family responsibilities, which can be difficult and stressful. The stress affects their health and well-being and can lead to burnout.
Children can also feel the consequences of an unfair division of household chores. When parents constantly argue and feel stressed about household duties, it can create a hostile and tense atmosphere in the home. This can hurt children's mental health, well-being, and academic and social outcomes.
So, what can be done to address this problem and get your partner to do more housework?
Here are some tips:
Start with an honest conversation. Sit down with your partner and explain how you're feeling and why it's important to you that household chores are shared more equally. Be clear and specific about the tasks you would like your partner to take on, and explain how this will benefit both you and your family.
Make a plan together. Once you've had an honest conversation, plan together to divide the household chores more equally. Be clear about each person's responsibilities and expectations, and be willing to make adjustments as needed.
Get your children involved. Children can also help with household chores, even if they are young. Assign age-appropriate tasks to your children, and make it clear that everyone in the family plays a role in keeping the home running smoothly.
Lead by example. Yes, I know you already do – the problem is usually no one is following. Hang in there and keep setting a good example by doing your fair share of the household chores, and be willing to take on tasks that may not be traditionally associated with your gender. This can help break down gender stereotypes and show that household chores are not just "women's work."
Celebrate progress. It's important to acknowledge and celebrate progress, no matter how small it may seem. Take the time to appreciate your partner's efforts and recognize the positive impact that an equal distribution of household chores can have on your family.
In conclusion, an unequal division of household chores can negatively impact our health and well-being. However, it is possible to encourage our partners to share the workload and create a more equal and harmonious home environment by:
Having an honest conversation
Making a plan together
Getting our children involved
Leading by example and
Remember, sharing the workload is not just good for us, but it is good for our families and society as a whole.
Let's make your home healthy and happy!