By Jill Simeone-
Lisa Belkin, who writes the PARENTS blog on the Huffington Post, has a great article this week about parents sharing household work, who does what, whether stereotypes still persist, and how kids read gender roles.
Here's a quick excerpt:
Sure, there are some individuals who match stereotype. And yes, broadly measured, it is still accurate that mothers are still more likely to do "mother" things (work part-time, earn less money, perform a larger percentage of childcare and housekeeping tasks). But while those things are true, they are not as true as they used to be, and in so many instances they have nothing to do with your truth. I'm betting that, without much effort, you can think of parents -- probably even in your own home -- who are a scramble of expected and unexpected traits. And if you can't come up with an example from your own circle, I am happy to introduce you to any number of single parents or same-sex couples who are the ultimate proof that division of parenting labor (and parenting halos and demerits) are not determined by gender.
Reading Lisa Belin's post this morning, I was reminded of a comment my 4 year old made only last night: "Daddy doesn't know how to cook." It surprised both me and my husband, since he managed a restaurant for several years and is actually a good cook.
Since having kids, though, we've divided up the household chores...and cooking (when it happens) ends up on my list. Taking out the trash and putting in the ACs are on his list. Which works fine for us. We really share the household work pretty equally and this isn't a source of conflict for us.
But my daughter's comment and this article have made me think about how our household chores are read by our kids...and what gender roles we are modeling to them. I don't really want to trade cooking for trash duty, but I will be more careful to involve the girls in helping each of us...so they get a sense of family responsibility. This way, they'll learn basic competence in taking out the trash or cooking, even if they don't like it. Raising independent kids, to me, means teaching them a broad range of life skills, so they can survive on their own or figure out how to share chores with a partner some day.
Here's a Cozy Owl household duties quiz, to see how your family divvies up the duties. In your home, which parent...
- Makes school lunches
- Pays the bills
- Makes sure the kids bathe regularly
- Assembles new bikes
- Is in charge of buying gifts for relatives
- Mows the lawn
- Drives the car on a family trip
- Puts away clean laundry
- Checks homework
- Takes out trash
- Plans summer camps or activities for kids