According to Pew research, 40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family. The share was just 11% in 1960
These “breadwinner moms” are made up of two very different groups: 5.1 million (37%) are married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands, and 8.6 million (63%) are single mothers
Household makeup changes impact each generation. When you look back to what your parents do and did and compare to what happens in your home. It’s likely quite different. The conversations you have about work and family are so different.
Whether you have girls, boys or a mix children learn what they experience. What’s the gender distribution like in your home?
Earlier in this 31 days of growing family conversations we talked about redistributions of contributions in the home. As we journey through motherhood we go in and out of work. But it seems that our share of the tasks at home isn’t often revised often enough. I can’t talk for everyone but in a general statement, if you look back at what you did when you were just the two of you and what you do now with children, the contributions and tasks you do probably haven’t changed that much. But you workloads probably have changed a lot.
It’s not necessarily been deliberate. With so many things to focus on. It’s easier to pick up the slack, whichever gender, someone has to do it- right?! If you look at your contributions and tasks at home and haven’t had a conversation about it in a while have a look at starting that conversation by visiting day 15 redistribution of contributions.
Today I wanted to look really briefly at gender. As a mother of boys it’s always been important that the boys can see themselves doing everything in the home. That they can do both now and later.
With the younger ones it’s always interesting hearing them say- “That’s for girls!” or “That’s a girls job!” You wonder where they get these ideas from. There are a few deliberate things we’ve tried to do to force a change to those statements.
- whoever cooks the others do clean up.
- Everyone cooks something each week.
- Laundry sorting starts early.
- We learn to fold and put away our own clothes and help each other fold sheets and put on duvet covers.
- They learn to program the washing machine, fill it, run it and switch it over to the dryer.
- They see me fixing, adjusting their toys, furniture as well as taking out the trash and checking the oil.
That list wasn’t about being a perfect mum or family. We still have those statements thrown around in our home. Yes I do challenge them. Lightly. This doesn’t always happen. But it does happen many times.
I can’t tell if it’s less than before. It’s never been about the numbers.It’s something we battle against little by little. But it’s not a war.
The boys experience this regularly. So it’s a start.
It is about starting the conversation now with our young children that whether we’re a girl or a boy we can be effective, sensitive, adapting to situations adults. In years to come they may experience more breadwinner moms. I’d like to think that whatever comes their way they can have open and honest conversations about gender that fit with their family.
Conversations: How do we talk about gender in our home? What do our actions show ?How are we confronting gender stereotypes? How are we talking about strengths and not bashing women or bashing men? What would be on your list?
This post is day 27 of 31 days of growing family conversations.
Come back and share your experiences,and stories . How did you get on?
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