Today, more moms work outside the home than they did in previous generations. Still, and while dads contribute to household chores and are more involved parents than ever before, moms are burdened with the majority of the household work and child rearing responsibilities in addition to their full-time jobs. In other words, being a working mom is still harder than being a working dad. Why? Because moms are still considered the primary caretakers of their children.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of American households with dual-career couples rose from 34 percent in 1975 to 47.7 percent in 2014. Still, numerous studies have shown that women still take on the bulk of the housework. In fact, according to one such study out of Indiana University, highlighted by HuffPost, in most American homes "chore roles align with traditional thinking on masculinity and femininity ― even among couples where a woman is the primary or sole breadwinner and even in same-sex couples." Long story short, women are still taking on the bulk of the household responsibilities while simutaleousy bringing home the bacon. Who says you can't have it all, right?
My husband and I divide our responsibilities based on our schedules. Since I come home from work earlier than my husband, I pick up our son from daycare, take care of homework with my daughter, and cook dinner. My husband then bathes the kids and puts them to sleep as I clean up after dinner. But while my husband is a fantastic dad and partner, I still do the majority of the housework and childcare in our home. I still do most of the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, the childcare, and the household management. I'm still the primary worrier, scheduler, and go-to multitasking parent. When we were childless our household responsibilities were split pretty evenly, but children added a lot more to my plate and only about half as much to his.
Honestly, another reason why responsibilities are so unevenly split in our household is because many things just don't occur to my husband. He doesn't think about what activities our kids should be doing, he doesn't really realize our kids grow out of their clothes and shoes and need to go back-to-school shopping, and he isn't concerned with their yearly well-visits and semi-annual dental checkups. These things are just simply not on his radar. I mean, I have to remind him to get a physical, so how can he remember that the kids need one? So with that in mind, here are just a few reasons why being a working mom is forever harder than being a working dad. Period.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, moms are doing a disproportionate amount of household chores. In 2016, on an average day, 85 percent of women did household activities such as "housework, cooking, lawn care, or financial and other household management," compared to 69 percent of men. Furthermore, 49 percent of women did laundry and cleaning versus 19 percent of men, and 42 percent of men did food preparation or cleanup, compared with 68 percent of women. These statistics don't lie, people; women are still doing the bulk of household chores while also working full-time outside the house.
Every month I receive an email from my daughter's school asking for volunteers. When I was home on maternity leave with my son I was able to come read to the class or help plan a Halloween bash, but now that I work full-time, volunteering at my daughter's school is simply out of the questions. Nevertheless, moms all over the country are being bombarded with volunteer requests from their kids' schools and moms are usually the main attendees. Furthermore, parent-teacher conferences are usually attended mainly by mothers and a quick Google search will result in hundreds of thousands of articles with titles similar to "A Busy Mom's Guide To Volunteering At School."
Overall, moms are still primarily responsible for maintaining their kids' health and wellness. In fact, a study from The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found that "women are 10 times more likely than men to take time off to stay home with their sick children." The study also found that mothers are five times more likely to take their sick kids to doctors appointments.
So yes, us moms are still keeping track of appointments, scheduling sick visits, and making sure our kids see the dentist every six months, all while simultaneously dialing into conference calls, heading company-wide meetings, and planning brainstorming sessions.
According to The Economist, pregnant women are perceived as “less authoritative and more irrational, regardless of their actual performance" and mothers are seen as "less committed to work than non-mothers." Mothers are often penalized for the same family commitments fathers are praised for. This double-standard is often referred to as a “motherhood penalty” and “fatherhood bonus."
Furthermore, since women still make less than men, a lot of the inequality is based on financially-based decisions. A 2015 study by Catalyst found that in "dual-earner couples, 71.8 percent of husbands outearned their wives." If the husband makes more than his wife, she is usually the one left taking more time off in order to take care of their kids and not risk the higher household income. Yet, one of the reasons women make less than men is because they take off more often, so it really is a never-ending cycle of gender-based inequality.
While I spend the weekends doing laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, and catching up on every other errand I don't time time to do during the week, you can usually find my husband taking the kids out to a park, riding bikes with them, and doing whatever other fun activity that keeps them occupied. So while I have to do all of the chores, he gets to actually enjoy time with our kids.
According to the Bureau Labor of Statistics, on an average day women spent 1.1 hours providing physical care to their children children while men spent only 26 minutes. A recent study by a team of researchers from Cornell University, The University of Minnesota, and Minnesota Population Center concluded that "mothers still do more of the 'work' and less of the 'fun' parenting tasks."
I am teacher and taking days off from work is nearly impossible, so when the kids are sick it's up to my husband to figure out how to work from home. When I was working in the corporate world, however, I was responsible for taking care of our sick children. My husband's career seemed more demanding at the time, so I'd use my personal days to stay home with the kids.
Mothers are mainly in charge of everyone's schedule. They handle the family calendar and all of the children's activities. In other words, mothers do the “worry work” of parenting, according to The New York Times. In fact, sociological studies confirm that "mothers draft the to-do lists while fathers pick and choose among the items." While dads may do the drop-off at an activity, it's usually the moms who make sure everyone's schedules coordinate. While a dad may coach a little league team, the moms usually do all of the background work to make sure the existence of team is even possible. Moms worry, moms multitask, and moms make sure everything runs smoothly.
Let's be honest here, today's mothers are under an increased amount of pressure to be perfect. Our child-centered society dictates that in order to raise successful children, parenting should be "guided by expert advice and costly in terms of time, money and emotional investment." Therefore, much of the pressure is placed on the mothers since they are still in charge of much of parenting. While childless couples are generally no longer succumbing to traditional gender roles at home, a baby pushes couples further into a gender divide. According to Pew Research, a baby increases a mother’s total workload by 21 hours per week, while the father's workload is increased by only 12.5 hours per week. That is a staggering 70 percent increase in workload for women compared to men.
Plus, has anyone ever heard of dads being judged about anything child-related except for maybe how much work they don't put into parenting? And even that often gets excused by other factors. Moms, on the other hand, are pitted against one another and are judged for every single thing they do and don't do.