Thursday, January 21, 2010

Housework

While Derrick was here finishing up the burden of housework gradually, then not so gradually, shifted to me. I remember back in the days before Sylvia we shared work pretty equally; in fact, there were several tasks I never really took on (vacuuming, for one) because Derrick cared more than me and so stayed on top of them better. Since he was finishing, though, and deadlines looming closer and closer for him, I started taking over more of the housework, even the stuff Derrick typically took care of. Either that, or it went undone (which is why my house has gradually accumulated more and more clutter and grime lately. Grr).

The deal was Derrick would return the favor when it was my turn to finish. Turn about's fair play, right? Sadly,that probably won't happen, since by then he'll be working at his new post-doc (assuming the position is still there when he finishes). Turns out, according to this article, I'm not alone in doing most of the housework and child-rearing. I'm not surprised, though I am surprised at the size of the disparity. I'd not have guessed there would be a 20%-plus gap, even when both spouses are scientists. I've talked to other female scientists and definitely gotten the impression there's quite a bit of give and take--one spouse will be primary house/child-care for a little while, then it'll switch when the other partner needs to focus on work. It's a little depressing even in situations like that the balance of the housework lands on the lap of the wife, even though both partners are putting in similar amounts of time at work.

I still hope Derrick and I can find a balance closer to 50/50 (or maybe 40/40/20, with the last category for paid housework), but it sounds like if I do, I'll be bucking a trend. Ah well, a girl can dream!

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