So you’re not alone in thinking that you deal with the majority of the domestic responsibilities and childrearing. A new survey by ForbesWoman and TheBump.com determined that the most mothers (both stay-at-home and full-time workers) resent their partners for not splitting childcare duties and housework. The second shift, indeed.
Regardless of being married or living with the father of their baby, 60% of the 1,200 women surveyed said that they feel like single mothers. Between stay-at-home mothers and working moms, the numbers almost broke down the same: 92% of working moms and 89% of SAHM feel overwhelmed by childrearing and keeping house.
Bonnie Rochman over at TIME had this tidbit to contribute from her own experiences as a mother and spouse:
It’s not that I don’t love or appreciate my husband, but like the other mothers interviewed, I feel responsible for the bulk of our domestic workload. He does the dishes and packs the kids’ lunches; I cook and tidy and process endless loads of dirty clothes, get the kids off to school and pick them up, plan their after-school activities and our family’s social life. But here’s where I differ from the women surveyed: I’d happily turn over the meal planning and piles of soiled laundry to my hubby; apparently, they wouldn’t.
A very fascinating part of this same research determined that two in every three women felt obligated to do the extra work, which Carley Roney, editor-in-chief of TheBump.com, speculates may have to do with mommy guilt. Working women are racked with the feeling that they should be spending more time with their children while SAHMs feel like they should be Super Mom — capable of handling all things and everything.
What we ultimately have here is a dangerous intersection between unrealistic expectations of mothers and fathers failing to contribute. Cultural depictions of mothers as being intrinsically selfless with no needs of their own perpetuates the notion that they don’t need any assistance with childrearing. Women and men both ingest this myth, but while men are perceived as more evolved fathers by contributing more, mothers who make their needs heard are still considered flawed parents — just because they’re women.
A more progressive approach to parenting acknowledges that women aren’t Super Mom all the time, nor expects them to be. And while we’re expecting dads to participate more, women should feel no less shame at doing less.