Every year, we see a piece on the hours worked caring for children and a house for at-home and working Moms and Dads and every year it comes out indicating Moms report a lot more working then Dads. Now, I do the same job as most SAHM's (plus I blog, which is hard yo) so I'm just wondering why this discrepancy exists. Well, I wasn't wondering about it until my friend over at The Daddy Files brought it up and wrote a piece at the source, Salary.com.
Now I don't know that I would go so far as to say Mom's aren't being honest or that men are more up front about it. I just think it's differing perceptions and maybe different ways of tallying up the work. Maybe it's because men are so humble. (HAHAHAHA!) If not that, then it may be just in the way we perceive work. If you count the hours you are "on call" then your work week is through the roof as an SAHD. If you count only the hours you are doing something that is productive and requires the use of energy then I probably work about 1.5 hours per week. Maybe, I just work fast?
In all seriousness, there is definitely something to "letting things slide" for a bit and then taking care of it all at once that may come into play here. It takes the same amount of time to vacuum the house when the carpet is a little dirty as when it looks like the debris field from a crash between a train carrying Cheerios and a truck of bananas. If you do floors 3 times a week and I'm OK with once a week that's a big difference in time invested. If the male psyche allows me to be OK with the fact another parent might come over and see a pile of laundry in the corner or a few crumbs on my carpet, then I'm glad. Some might say I'm lazy. Others might see that it allows me an extra hour a day to play with the kids (or write on the internets about how hard I work).
All at home parents (and working parents, well except for those who think a paid job is all they have to do) spend a ridiculous amount of time "on the clock" I just think it's weird/funny what a big reporting difference there is between the sexes. I mean, I'm an SAHD of two and I keep a fairly clean house, so even if some mop and clean more frequently than me that doesn't account for nearly a 40 hour a week discrepancy Some people might be clean freaks, but if anyone is working more than 30 hours a week more taking care of their kids and home than I am then I don't know where they are picking up that time. There are only so many hours during the day and when we (at home parents) get a break to read, write and comment on things like this I don't think we can really count this hour as a whole work hour, would you? At home parents have a tough job and it's time consuming, but I don't count my work hours as all the time the children are under my care or I'm doing anything for the house, because sometimes I'm reading/playing chess while I do laundry, blogging while the kids are busy or sleeping, watching TV while I cook dinner, dancing with Pandora while doing the dishes and I certainly can't count building a lego spaceship, playing in a fort, or snuggling with my daughter while watching Monster's Inc as "working."
What do you think? I look forward to the conversation. Gotta run, time to get back to work.