This week’s readings concentrated heavily on the idea of gendered division of labor between parents following the birth or adoption of a child…
Rehel’s article kind of pointed out the obvious as I read through it. It mentioned how parenthood was a time for “dramatic change,” especially because mothers tend to exit the workforce through maternity leave and fathers maintain or strengthen employment ties without even considering missing a few days of work after child’s birth. This is not news. It’s a common thing that’s witnessed in our society. The idea of gendered division of labor is well known by everyone. Children grow up witnessing it, and parents fall into that division when they become parents.
The interesting part about Rehel’s article was the fact that research was done based on “what would happen when men experience similar ways of transition to parenthood just as women do?” In order for such experiences to be similar, fathers had to develop a sense of responsibility and gain mastery and confidence in parenting tasks. Mothers are presumed to have a “maternal instinct.” Rehel made it seemed as if fathers had to be MORE INVOLVED in their family lives to be just as equal to mothers. The idea of gendered division of labors is extremely flawed because of the differences between the labors that each parent does to raise their child.
In Townsend’s article he clearly continued to talk about the inequality of the division of labor. Apparently mothers have a lot of control, and they’re in charge of controlling how and when the father can interact with their child. This can be seen with Roy, who mentions that his wife usually sets up individual time for him and his kids. But as for men, they feel as if their labor DOES NOT compare to that of their wives. Staying home with the children is not as difficult as what a father’s job is. Based on the “toughest job in the world” video, mothers have it TOUGH.
It’s not fair to compare and contrast who in the relationship does the most to raise a child. There should not be any division of labor whatsoever. If anything, it should be equally separated between the two parents. This kind of reminds me about Olivia’s friend’s family, whom she mentioned last week on her post. It reminded me about my ideal family. Could paternity leave be the answer to such thing? PERHAPS. When reading over some of the paternity leave policies, it was crazy to see how in the US, paternity leave is unpaid and only 60% of the workforce offers it. I wonder if men who have the opportunity to take the leave will do it even if they’re not getting paid for it. I mean, should parenthood be measured through money or through your involvement with your child? Is making money more important than developing some sort of bond with your child? If there wasn’t a stigma attached to paternity leave or even maternity leave, parents wouldn’t be afraid to be with their child for so long. The way people react about those who take leave causes parents to feel less of a parent because they’re not following social norms. That should not be the case. Do it because you know what you’ll get out of it in the long run. Engagement, accessibility and responsibility really matter when raising a child.