“Why do Daddies work more than Mummies?”

I whip my head around, look at my boy and just to make sure I heard right…

“WHAT?!”

I catch that holy-shit-what-did-my-son-just-say-to-me-we’re-getting-something-majorly-wrong-here panic in the shrilled one-word question.

More cautiously and slowly, he repeats:

“Why do Daddies work more than Mummies?”

 

It’s an innocent question.

 

Yet I’m totally shocked.

Speechless.

I don’t even know where to begin.

 

In retrospect, I know that I should have asked (without judgement): “Why do you think that, honey?” and explored the subject calmly.

 

But I didn’t.

I went into a diatribe about the value of women’s work.

I told him how much cognitive, emotional, physical energy and time it takes to run a household and raise children.

How this is often more difficult that an office job.

(I was winding myself up good).

I told him that working from home is just as much work as working from an office – if not more.

I may have gone into the history and outcomes of the feminist movement (can’t remember as the frontal cortex had left the building by then).

 

When I finally stopped, I noticed his big brown eyes

They were looking up at me confused.

Clearly my lecture was not permeating his 7-year old brain.

 

“But, why do Dads work more?” he repeated.

 

I breathed.

Deeply.

 

“They don’t.” I said.

“It may look like they do. Sometimes. But they don’t.”

“It’s a disguise.”

“Mummies actually work a lot harder.”

“Never forget that, honey.”

 

“Oh, ok” he said and skipped off.

 

“Oh, ok” my ass, I thought.

 

So while my boy skipped off sweetly, by no means worried about the gendered division of labour in the home, the wage gap between men and women out of the home, and the enormous ginormity of how pissed off his question left me…

 

I took a seat and fumed.

 

I fumed because I realized that in his mind (as in many others) the work I do…

No, the work mothers do

For their families

Every. Single. Day.

Is invisible.

 

This is true for mothers who work inside and outside the home.

I think this is true for others who take on so-called mothers’ work.

(And by no means am I claiming that it is only women who do most of this work, but most of the time, in my experience, it seems to be).

 

This invisibility was true for the energy and time that I put into meal planning, food shopping, preparation and serving

It’s true for clothing maintenance efforts (let’s face it, the word laundry, just doesn’t encompass enough – it’s really an 8-step process, not including ironing which we gave up on ages ago!)

Family administration and planning (this is another plate we spin that I could write a whole blog on!)

Family transportation

House maintenance

The list goes on…

 

But somehow the fact that I carry the majority of this weight (and run a coaching practice!) hadn’t hit home for the youngling.

Somehow (???) he didn’t notice that I do everything when good ‘ole Dad is away on business (which happens a lot!)

Because a mother’s work isn’t really seen as work.

It’s invisible labour.

It’s expected.

 

Or it was [dot dot dot]

 

Because now…[glitter, bling, ta-da…]

I have today made sure that my now 8-year old boy sees what it takes to run a house.

All of my three kids see it.

 

No, I don’t remind them regularly of the burden and weight it takes to run a five-person household.

Nope.

No complaining from me.

But no martyrdom, either.

 

That’s right.

I’m delegating, baby.

 

You can call it teaching life skills

Or team values

Whatever…

 

The point is, every person in the house is helping out now.

I’ve accepted the role of manager, but my team has grown from 2 (hubby and me), to 5.

All little hands on deck!

 

Sure, the table isn’t set perfectly

The sweeping leaves much to be desired

And my middle boy couldn’t find clean underwear this morning (little one is responsible for step 2 of clothing maintenance process)

 

But hey, if you know anything about anything about me

You know that I’m all about imperfection

(at least when it comes to housework)

Share
Tweet
Pin
+1
Email
Share