A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Housework inequalities

There’s a story in the news today about housework and the dollar value of what is contributed by dad’s and mom’s in the USA. As this is seen from an insurance companies perspective, it is about replacing the work done, not about time contributions. Dad’s contribute at $20,248 in value, while mom’s contributions are valued at $60,182. These numbers are arrived at by estimating the amount of each job that needs to be done around a home, assigning an approx yearly total time, and a comparable salary from the real world. There is no breakdown, listed for mom’s. So this leads to questions, is it that mom’s do more valuable work, or work more hours at home. The answer is in most cases definitely the mom’s do the majority of housework. Regardless this comparison does not take into account, the important criteria, such as time pushing a swing, telling bedtime stories, holding the back of the bike seat as they learn how to ride a bike, or all the other memorable moments in a child’s life.As a Buddhist I am to support my wife in the running of the household, as she is the authority in the home. This does not mean I leave all the work for her, rather that we do our best to share the load equitably. If I am the only bread winner for the family, while she stays home, then of course she will do the majority of housework. However just as I enjoy a day off, she should also get a day off from housework. If we have children, and she is staying at home, she has the most important job of either of us, the care and raising of the child or children. A day off from housework can be as simple as pre making the food for the day, say a picnic basket and stopping at a family style diner for dinner. The important thing to keep in mind is an equitable division of time, so as to allow the family to be able to do things together, as well as allowing all members of the family some time for themselves. The insurance company assigns a dollar value to each task, as a Buddhist its about equality of effort, and about treating both parents equally in the running of the home.


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