The division of labor inside and outside the home is a major issue when it comes to both married and non-married couples. If handled incorrectly this power struggle can fuel many arguments. However, if handled successfully this can prevent future breakups as well. If the man in the household offers some extra help this will in turn make the women more open towards granting the man s wishes. This extra support will in turn help the woman gain steps when it comes to her professional and social responsibilities. I believe that this division of labor can break or make a relationship. If one or the other feels the need to act selfish or lazy this will in turn put extra pressure on the counterpart in the relationship. This is most apparent in relation to dual-earner households. If both partners are working full-time this management of labor becomes a major issue. This is even more compounded when children are in the picture. Sure their combined income will be greater but the pressures at home will also increase. This problem wasn t as apparent when the traditional family role was in place. Mom stayed home and her work was taking care of the family and the household chores. This was her nine to five job with an occasional help here and there from her husband. But as the times have changed things are no longer as simple as this. With the direction things are heading the problems with division of labor will undoubtedly only get worse.
To understand this division of labor you have to understand the roles and the history behind them. In a society where the norm was to have a Leave It to Beaver lifestyle dual-earner households were not to be accepted and wouldn t be understood. The family, especially the wife, would be considered to be irresponsible towards not only her role as a mother but that as a wife as well. Whereas now-a-days the traditional roles are quickly fading into the past and duel-earner households are the norm it is more accepted for the wife to have a career of her own and to take pride in this responsibility.
As mentioned before the happiness factor in the relationship is determined by how much support a wife receives from her husband. The more helpful he is the less stress there will be upon the wife and in turn she will be more content in the relationship. This is the key to overcoming the battle. Women with their new jobs often feel over whelmed by what s happening with both work and home life and in turn become over-stressed. When the husband or partner in the relationship offers a helping hand this will alleviate some of the pressure. This happiness issue is most apparent in relation to women in the workforce versus men. If the female or wife feels like she can ask for help whenever she feels the need she will feel more supported when going out and looking for that job and not feel as if she is neglecting her family. If she is experiencing resentment by her partner she may choose not to go for that job and will resent her husband for making her stay at home , this will in turn make her unhappy. If the balance of labor in the house is pre-established before the kids and the job this may stop the problems before they arise. However, most men don t offer their help until it is almost too late. In most of the stories in The Second Shift it is apparent that the man s career is the priority and the wife s career just extra money, not something to be taken seriously or even to be considered a career. Of those that did take their job seriously they in turn seemed to have the more difficult situations when it came to the division of labor in the household. It came to the point of the couple having multiple separations before the husband gave in and decided that helping out wasn t so bad. Did he not notice that his wife was to the breaking point? Or is it that he didn t care enough to disrupt the good thing he had going in his cushy lifestyle? It s more likely the latter was the real reason. The husband liked not being bothered after work. He wanted to volunteer his time when he wanted to not because he felt he needed to.
This unequal division of labor takes it toll on women worse than it does on men. Men seem to prosper from the constant watchful eye of his spouse whereas men seemed to care less about how stressed their wives became. The wives had to come to the breaking point to get acknowledged or to receive a break from the daily rigors of both homelife as well as professional life. Women experience a higher report of just pure unhappiness, depression, and thoughts of divorce than their husbands do. This is directly related to how their happiness is rated at home. It seems, in my opinion, that men who are raised in the more typical traditional home expect their wives to take on both the dual-earner aspect at home but retain some of the traditional traits as well. It is this combination that makes women burn out like they do. Some men blame women s unhappiness at home on the independent women lifestyle that women are presently adapting. The thoughts being that the women are in some way bringing this upon themselves. One of the ideas being that the women should stick with what comes naturally, that of childbearing and homemaking. It is often thought that the men bring home the bread and butter and that is what comes naturally for them. That maybe since society didn t notice the problem in the past that that is the key to solving the dilemma. The idea being that we are just supposed to return to what used to work in the past and that we shouldn t rock the boat. Or women could just receive a little more help at home and than both partners can achieve what they want in life.
We have all heard the statement when mom s not happy no one s happy. This statement can be applied to the theory of the wife as well. When the wife s not happy the husband isn t going to be either. The barter idea comes into play here. If the husband wants something badly he will in turn negotiate various ways of receiving it. Whether that means helping out more around the house or picking the kids up from school one afternoon, that is what he will do to put his spouse in a better mood. When the husband fails to negotiate is when the major problems lead to separation. To get the most out of the relationship the man needs to recognize the importance of the division of labor and how he can work it to his advantage. The man is going to need to overcome the standard idea of traditionalism and instead focus on the new dual-earner idea. If he can play his cards right not only will more money be coming in, thus increasing their physical comfort and security, but he will have a more content relationship with his wife. The wife will be happier because she is doing something she feels proud and at the same time can also be considered a good mom and a wonderful wife as well. This is the perfect scenario for the dual earner household in the women s eyes. She wants the best of both worlds and often doesn t know how to obtain it without the cost of her happiness. If the division of labor can be successfully negotiated then a happy marriage should be the product.
Overall, this division of labor is a major aspect of any marriage or relationship that shouldn t be overlooked or minimized by any means. In regards to the way that society is progressing, especially by seeing the increase of women in the workforce, this issue will be encountered more than ever before. Successful negotiation will prove to save a great many relationships or marriages in the end.