As a grandmother, I compare today’s family unit with my own
experience. I was a stay-at-home mom and my husband was the breadwinner.
My job was to run the house, raise the children, work with the schools
and plan our social calendar. His job was to provide the money.
dads’ commitment to the household has hugely increased, although he
likely gets up, showers and heads off to the office. Today’s mom is
likely to have a full-time job outside the home, so she showers, drives
the kids to school then heads to the office. If Mom has a special
appointment,Dad becomes the kids’ chauffeur. Mom thanks him.
5 p.m. Mom stops at the grocery store on her way home from work and
arrives in time to get daughter to dance class. Dad gets home about the
same time and, as Mom and daughter leave, offers to start dinner. And
Mom thanks him.
After dinner, Mom washes up,
mops the floor and gets a load of laundry underway. Dad takes son to his
soccer game.Dad’s the coach and has never missed a game; the other
parents comment on what a great dad he is.
that’s not exactly the way it is at your house, but I’ll bet it’s
close. Tell me honestly: Who runs the vacuum,does the laundry, cleans
the toilet, changes the bedding, plans the meals, does the grocery
shopping? And, these days, probably contributes to the family income?
I’ll tell you who knows. All the major food and household product
advertisers. When they’re deciding whereto spend their money, they do
in-depth research. This research tells them to concentrate their
advertising where their message will reach moms.
these big-budget advertisers of food, cleaning products and other
household items confirm what we really know in our hearts. Mom is still
the household CEO. She makes up the “Honey Do” list and Dad works from
the list. And Mom thanks him.
So we know why advertisers want to reach women. Do any advertisers want to reach men? Check out Sports Illustrated
if, for example, you want to see the latest in trucks, liquor and
sports equipment. But you’ll have to turn a lot of pages before you find
an ad that encourages the Sports Illustrated reader to buy a box of
Most families haven’t yet reached the
level of equality that has Dad taking on household obligations for which
he doesn’t get thanked. But let’s be clear; it’s up to women to
negotiate this next step because it starts with them not being critical
of the way their mates do household chores. Women and men, together,
need to learn to a) divide the chores and then b) leave each other alone
so each can do their own jobs – when, where and how they choose. And
equality will finally have arrived when women no longer feel the need to
thank their mate for taking on their fair share of the management of
So how long will it take to get to this next level of equality? Just asking.
Originally published in ParentsCanada, April 2012