Community Question 🗣 What Things Do You Do That Don’t Count As “Work”?
Women do all sorts of work. Parents work incredibly hard, and they contribute an estimated 75% of the national output of work in any given economy—it’s just not accounted for or paid. In a brilliant essay about mothers and work, Margo Aaron talks about all the things women do that are real labor—domestic, caretaking, mental, emotional, psychological, and more—but that people aren’t paid for.
So, I’d love to hear from you: What are some of the things that you do that aren’t recognized, that aren’t accounted for, or that aren’t paid? Leave a comment down below and read what others have to say all about the invisible load that mothers carry.
I think it’s so hard because it’s sometimes invisible to even me. I forget all of the things I do, and the load I carry in my head. It’s more obvious to me that I do most of the laundry (because I can see the baskets stack up), and I own the food purchasing, groceries, and meal planning and prep.
But for things like remembering relationship details, enrolling us in medical care, in reaching out to friends and keeping our social life somewhat functional, in remembering birthdays and presents and gifts and social norms, I don’t often pause and think about all the extra work.
All of those things count as work, even though they’re in the personal or invisible realm.
Things The World Does Not Consider Work – But Expects Women To Do (Without Complaint)
This list is so comprehensive and amazing. All of the relational work, the teaching and education, the emotional literacy and the attunement—it is so much work that goes unseen, especially when it’s done well. Dang. We’re going to have to have you write another blog post with this list!
I feel like there is a constant stream of household admin that swirls through my head on a day to day basis. I daydreamed last week at the prospect of task batching all household admin to one day a week, and quickly realized it wasn’t realistic.
By household admin what I mean is: being responsive to school requests, filling out forms, keeping track of the cat food, making sure camp is registered for, and health forms are submitted, buying birthday cards, and sending holiday cards to family. Making sure the Covid form and temp are taken each morning.
There’s just so dang much to keep track of to keep a household running smoothly. If balls get dropped, especially around kids schools- I feel really embarrassed. And balls definitely get dropped.
There is SO MUCH household stuff to hold and to manage. Especially all of the forms. There are SO MANY FORMS. Some need to be scanned, some are PDFs, some need to be delivered in person, some need a printer. It’s an intense amount of administrative work just to get your kids to go to school, daycare, camp, doctor, after-care, art programs, athletic programs… it’s so much. It’s a half-time secretarial job for this alone.
I don’t want to repeat everything that’s been said, but here’s a few things I thought of that I do to add to the list Margo has!
– knowing where my kids favorite blanket is at all times and making sure it gets washed occasionally
– mentally knowing how much ketchup or flour or cereal or any other food we have at all times
– making sure we schedule regular maintenance, inspections, and registration for our vehicles
– switching out the kids clothes (and shoes) when the get to a bigger size and figuring out if they need anything once in that new size
– knowing what is or isn’t needed at daycare daily
I’m here for repeating it louder and louder, and also—that’s more work for you! Love these additions.
I feel so seen with all of these responses.
Currently on my mind
Ooh, now let’s add Covid on top of it…
Finding, researching, coordinating, training, and paying childcare. One of the most difficult things about being a working parent is finding good childcare that works for your family.