Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trying to keep the home clean?!

October 26, 2011, 8:23 pm
Neglected Children, Messy Houses and Guilt

In case you missed it, the Working Mother Research Institute surveyed 3,781 women and issued a report called “What Moms Choose.” It quantifies a lot of things we know, and a few that we don’t. Here are a few statistics to throw out over dinner, if you belong to one of those families who have civilized, discussion-based dinners (I tell myself that will happen when the children are older):

•55 percent of career-oriented stay-at-home mothers would prefer to be working
•71 percent of mothers equate work with something done only to pick up a paycheck

•51 percent of working mothers feel guilty about not spending enough time with their children
•55 percent of working mothers feel guilt about the untidiness of their house

•55 percent of stay-at-home-mothers feel guilty for not contributing to family income
•44 percent of stay-at-home moms feel guilt about the untidiness of their house

Guilt and tidiness seem to be pretty powerful themes here. And there’s more on both:
•49 percent of working mothers and 47 percent of stay-at-home-mothers agreed with the statement, “I am my worst critic”

And finally,

Working mothers feel most judged about
1) How clean my house is
2) Not taking care of myself
3) The amount of time I spend with my children

Stay-at-home mothers feel most judged about
1) My contribution to family income
2) How clean my house is
3) Not using my education

It’s kind of impossible not to notice the weird emphasis on cleaning here. Why do both sets of mothers feel so much guilt about the house? Is it because they want a clean house or because they think they should have a clean house? My house is clean-ish, but cluttered, which drives me crazy, but doesn’t make me feel guilty (perhaps because I blame it on my husband, whose reluctance to throw away anything should be studied by anthropologists).

Is this a vestige of the 1950s, where women greeted men with cocktails, a warm meal and a meticulous home (oh, if my husband could only go back. In lieu of a highball he gets: “Bathe a kid! Cook some beans! Read ‘Ladybug Girl’ 22 times, and then once more!”).

On the guilt theme, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. It is the working mother report from the Working Mother Research Institute. But I can’t help but wonder, would the working dad institute ask whether fathers feel guilty about the cleanliness of their homes?


Leah Maya Benjamin said...

I would guess no, even before we had kids I did most of the cleaning, Joe would help but I didn't work as long of hours so it made sense, we aren't really messy people mainly is just where we live, dirt comes in constantly and now with a crawler I vacuum even more then before.
Interesting though, I think your house gets messier if you are home with the kids, of course if you work and you don't get your house cleaned then its still there when you get back. Using my education? could care less, being a mom is a job and its the job I wanted so therefore it is my top priority. Yes I do feel guilty sometimes like I should have got more done etc etc etc, but Joe doens't make me feel i that way I do it to myselft.
On a side note, boy am I LOVING the video funtion on the baby monitor, its fantastic to have. Took out the motion one, I odnt' know if its how I had it or what but I had too many flase alarms, I could sit there and watch him breath heavily and it would go off, he's 21 pounds so it should be abel to feel him, I just wondered if its because he's on his side alot?