As a member of a great many female-driven motherhood Facebook groups* – who’s got time for Real Life friends these days? – I read A LOT about the division of labour at home after kids. And it’s a subject I always observe with the utmost sympathy and concern: yes, being a single mum has its tricky bits but not having to manage the life of another grown-up (a husband’s) in addition to my own and the kids’ is a huge weight off.
Because no matter how progressive our cause of feminism is, there’s still a huge disparity between who takes on the majority of time-consuming management jobs at home. And I don’t mean the crappy day-to-day stuff that is easily taken care of, like the bins or the washing up, but I mean the brain power-intensive, management-heavy life admin tasks. Think medical appointments, school paperwork, organization of bills, supermarket shopping, meal planning, play date and social life co-ordinating. The stuff that still, in the majority of cases, falls on women.
And it’s bloody exhausting. I don’t think even we appreciate the mental pressure of these tasks – the remembering, the managing and the organizing – that is placed on us as wives and mothers. Even now, I think back to my ex-husband getting home to two babies, a crazy wife and an untidy house and asking what I’d been doing all day: it made me want to explode. What do I do all day? EVERYTHING, I do EVERYTHING all day.
It’s as fellow blogger Susie Verrill recently responded to her partner when he asked, “have you got a minute?”. “I haven’t had a minute since 2014!” (just substitute that year for whenever your firstborn came along).
The feminist artist EmmaClit drew a cartoon on this exact subject recently, and I think it hits the nail BANG on the head. I showed it to a friend this week and as soon as she saw the title of it – “You Should Have Asked” – she was nodding her head in agreement.
Click here to see the full version – I’d be interested to know if you’re nodding your head too.