Women Still Carry Greater Workload at Home

Mother’s Day is just a month away, and if a brunch reservation or day at the spa isn’t already in the books – loved ones may need to get creative to pull off a memorable celebration that does Mom justice. While flowers, books, jewelry or clothing are all lovely gifts, many mothers are more appreciative of time with their children and grandchildren creating memories. Shouldering some of the household chores, like helping with a Spring garden cleanup or other maintenance projects can also help lift the “motherload” of housework and caregiving that moms often bear inequitably.

According to a new NPR report, although women’s contribution to family incomes in opposite-sex marriages has steadily increased in recent years, women still are doing more housework and caregiving than men. This includes caring for young children, but also helping to care for elderly parents or other family members.

Women have entered the workforce in large numbers, are earning higher salaries, and are reaching higher educational achievements. But at home, even women in “egalitarian marriages” are spending more than double the amount of time on housework than their husbands and nearly two more hours per week on caregiving. Husbands spend about three more hours per week than their wives on paid work, and about three and a half more hours on leisure activities.

Pew research shows that much of society values women’s contributions at home more than their contributions at home while more than half of those surveyed said society puts more emphasis on what men do at work than what they do at home in terms of unpaid housework and caregiving. Many middle-aged and older adults hope that the next generation of working parents will have a greater balance at home and in the workplace. But until then – maybe what Mom really wants is someone else to do the dishes, grocery shop, and clean the bathroom before guests arrive!