Recently, there has been more and more discussion about the inequality between men and women when it comes to parenting and running the household. There is still a rather large gender divide, and this is very apparent in how couples parent their children and manage their household. It's not always obvious sexism, either. There are far more insidious issues, that can affect even the most supportive parenting teams, where everyone is working full time. So how can we recognize these issues, and what can we do to solve them?
14 Still Sexist - The Mental Load Mothers Carry
It is all the little details that keep the home running smoothly that occupy many women's minds throughout the day. We are forever running through our to-do lists, trying to keep track of everything and making sure everyone in the family has what they need.
Whether it is doctor's appointments, permission forms, school lunches, meetings at work, calling the repair guy, kids' sports commitments, play dates, or whatever else, you name it and women look after it. It is all those little items that, by themselves, are no big deal. But, when you accumulate all of them, they become an enormous energy drainer and create a lot of stress and anxiety for moms. For some reason, most women are the ones who carry that burden in the family.
13 We Can Help - Continue The Discussion
We need to keep sharing our thoughts and feelings about the imbalance at home, and we need to keep talking to our partners, especially when they're supportive and genuinely want to help, as most of them do.
Include your partner in the discussion, and work together to find some ways that you can share the parenting role more equally - not with the man 'helping' the woman, but expecting her to tell him what to do.
12 Still Sexist - Mothers Work & Maintain The Home
Previous generations had a very different approach to parenting, and there was much more of a gender divide. The women, for the most part, stayed home and raised the children and cared for the home. The men, for the most part, went out and worked and provided for the family. This has changed in recent years, and women have much more opportunity to pursue careers and make choices on how they want to work and raise their family.
This change is definitely for the better, however we still have quite a ways to go in reaching equality. It's almost as though the belief now is, "Sure, you want to work? Go right ahead. But maintain the house and raise the kids while you're at it." Hence why women feel as though they are working two jobs. How can one person possibly manage both of those full-time occupations? Even if you are a stay-at-home mother, that is still a full-time job in itself, and raising children these days comes with many more expectations and obligations, so that even stay-at-home moms are clocking incredible hours.
11 We Can Help - Arrange Regular Outings For Both Partners
Parenting is tough! There is no question about it, it's the best and hardest job you'll ever do. There is nothing wrong with needing a break from it every now and again. In fact, it's very healthy for you to do so, both with your partner and without.
Date nights are a wonderful way to keep the romance in your marriage once kids come along, and it's a great time to step away from the chaos of parenthood and just enjoy one another's company. It is also equally as important and therapeutic for each partner to have their own time away with their own friends (or on your own, if it's solitude you're seeking).
10 Still Sexist - Men's Ability To "Shut Off" When At Home
Have you ever noticed how men can literally ignore tasks that need to be completed? For instance, stepping over the laundry basket full of clean clothes that was placed strategically at the bottom of the stairs, rather than carrying it upstairs. Yet, when women confront hubby about this obliviousness, his response is always "I'm happy to do it, just ask!"
But, that's where the difficulty lies. Because asking is one more thing that we are responsible for. Why do we have to create to-do lists and honey-do lists and ask before tasks get done? How is it that men can literally "shut off" and relax once they arrive home and not notice all the things that need to be done?
9 We Can Help - Set Up A Chore Chart
If you're really feeling like the household chores are unequal, sit down with your partner and figure out a fairer way to handle them. Make a list of the jobs that need to be done around the house, and split them more evenly between you (and the kids, if they're old enough to help out!).
Having the household chores listed and clearly laid out for each family member can help to make things less stressful at home, as everyone knows what's expected of them. That way too, you're not stuck having to leave Honey-do lists every time you go out or left feeling resentful because you're doing the majority of the jobs around the home.
8 Still Sexist - Dads Babysit, Moms Parent
It's not uncommon to see Dads being fawned over for doing basic things with their kids - if he takes them to the park, or looks after them when Mom goes out, he's seen as a 'super Dad'. However, Mom is expected to take care of the kids and look after them, and isn't lauded at all - this is seen as just her job.
This is an issue that can bother men as well as women - being seen as not as much of a parent, or even not as capable of a parent. Parenting should be an equally shared task, where the only person babysitting is the one you pay so you can go out on date night.
7 We Can help - Handle Budget And Childcare Together
Money has to be one of the most stressful things to deal with in a relationship, and part of the problem is that it usually falls on one person to maintain the household budget, watch the finances, pay the bills, etc. Taking on the household budget and finances as a team can help to ease some of the stress, as you will be figuring things out together. Decide together how this will all work, and how each of you will contribute to the process, so that it is shared more equally.
Similarly, figure out how to balance your childcare, so that each partner is contributing equally to family time or one-on-one time with the kids. Dad should never see his role as a babysitter!
6 Still sexist - Women Have To Plan Ahead
The preparations it can take for Mom to be away for a day are ridiculous. The preparations that need to be made ahead of time are huge - scheduling pick-ups, preparing meals, leaving to-do lists, making sure clothes are clean, etc.
It takes a lot of work and thought for a woman to be away from the home, and yet it's nothing for the man to be away. Why is this? It is another example of how parenting is still sexist and unbalanced.
1 We Can Help - Let T "Mom Guilt" Go
Many women tend to be their own worst enemy and take on way more than they can handle at a time. Many women want to be that perfect, Pinterest-worthy, beautiful, fit, together, fashionable, relaxed mom, and we beat ourselves up if we don't measure up to every aspect of motherhood. Ladies, it is time to let the mom guilt go! We need to stop being so hard on ourselves.
We need to start celebrating everything we are doing as moms, and stop worrying about not accomplishing every single little thing. That will ease some of this gender divide, because men aren't nearly as hard on themselves as women are. They don't critique every aspect of being a dad, they don't overthink how they handled their kids' most recent tantrum, and they don't doubt their contributions to the family. In order to continue our growth toward gender equality, we need to stop being so hard on ourselves and start really seeing ourselves as equal and deserving. Because we are.