If you think the idea of women shouldering most of the housework is an outdated June Cleaver-like thing, it’s not. Women are still more likely to cook, clean, and do the laundry than men, according to a Gallup poll.
More specifically, working moms spend 57% more time each week (18 hours vs. 10) on housework than working dads
Also, 9.1% of working women held a second job in 2018 compared to 6.8% of men, according to the US Census Bureau.
My daughter, like so many moms today, has a full-time job and then works a second job to help provide for her family. I mentioned she has two stepchildren, but you might as well take out the “step.” Just like there’s no foster, no adoptive, no grand. They’re children that moms sacrifice to raise.
That extends to women who elect to work at home with their children. I really dislike the phrase “stay at home mom” because it doesn’t adequately describe what women go through. There is no such thing as me time when your child needs — now — attention or encouragement or a kind word.
I’ve thought about the concept of love, which can come and go. Not for moms. There are plenty of scientific studies that show the powerful bond between mom and child might be the strongest human emotion. That’s why, for moms, being there is so important.
I also think about grandmothers like my wife, who has the most amazing capacity to go to every practice, game, concert, recital, dance class, and anything involving the (grand)children. Like so many other moms, she loves soaking up every second of their young lives.
One study shows that grandmothers become more emotionally connected to their grandchildren than do their own offspring. The study measured brain activity and showed that grandmothers had more emotional empathy for their (grand)children. The study looked at the science but didn’t continue with the logic. Children become adults, like birds who leave the nest. Our young ones have a hold on us because their unassuming innocence shows what we had in our own children. Makes sense that the connection would be so strong.
I think about all of this on Mother’s Day and realize I’m not built to do what women do. True, I once worked three jobs. True, as I clawed my way up the journalism ladder, I never turned away from 16-hour workdays. True, I took my son to every baseball lesson, practice, and game for more than a decade and didn’t miss school performances.
It’s not the same. I did all that out of responsibility. All of the moms in my life — all moms, really — do it out of burning desire. Doing something because you want to is always better than doing something because you have to.
That’s why moms are so special. They have the innate desire to always be there for their children, no matter how tired, physically sick, or drained they may be.
And while I knew this already, writing this column has driven home this point: One day on a calendar isn’t near enough for our moms.
Ray Marcano is a longtime journalist whose column appears on these pages each Sunday. He can be reached at email@example.com.