Division of Labor in the Home

Today in my sociology of family class we talked about the division of labor in the home. This summer in my theory class we learned about the division of labor theory that Durkhiem came up with. Durkhiem focuses more on the international division of labor, where as today we talked about how the labor to keep a household running is divided (usually between husband and wife).

The whole time my teacher was talking about creating an equal division of labor within the home. In other words, having a home where the man cooks, cleans, takes care of the kids, and does the same amount of housework that the woman does. Now in theory this sounds great, and why wouldn’t we want to strive towards this? But taking a closer look at what this means, and I don’t know if I would actually want an equal division of labor in my home. For instance, take cooking. I love to cook. I love to make dinner for people, it is a way that I like to show people I love them, care about them and value the relationship I have with them. I look forward to the day when I get to cook dinner (most) every night and enjoy a home cooked meal with my husband. Cooking is relaxing to me and a great way to de-stress from the day. Why would I want to have my husband cook every other night just so that our labor in the home would be equal? Not saying that I wouldn’t love to cook together or have help every now and then, but I love cooking. Why would I want to give up doing something I love?

This got me wondering, why are women so entranced by sharing everything equally? Honestly, there are somethings that I am better at than Gavin is, and things that he is better at then I am. Why would I try to do those things that he does so well, when he can do them better than me? Yes I want to take care of my kids, and hopefully be able to stay home with them. Why is that so looked down upon? Why in today’s society is being a stay-at-home mom seen as a bad thing? I found it a little funny that my teacher put a statistic up that valued the work of a stay-at-home mom around $130,000 for a year. I’m not sure what year that was for, but regardless these women are obviously doing a lot of work. Yet, there is a sense of drive towards dividing the labor within the home. I guess I see it more as my husband is going to have his job outside the home (and if he could make over $100,000 a year great) and I would do work inside the home that is just as valuable as his work. Also in class my teacher was saying how the difference in household work that men and women do has decreased in the last 50 years, but that is mainly because women are doing less work. Well who is doing the work now? Are the hiring help? That doesn’t seem like the best use of money, at least to me.

What I am not saying is that the woman/wife should do all the housework, cleaning, cooking, taking care of the kids. I definitely think the man/husband should help around the house and be involved in the kids’ daily lives.

I guess what I am getting at is why is American society so fixated on men and women sharing all tasks equally?  Why can’t we acknowledge that (generally speaking) one gender is better at certain things then the other and be ok with that? The phrase “embrace the differences” comes to mind. Although people usually use this when talking about race, ethnicity or culture. Why wouldn’t it apply to gender?

What are your thoughts? Am I just totally out there and off the wall? What do you think about gender norms and division of labor in the home?

 

Upcoming: A post on crafts! Oh how I looooveee me some crafts!

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