In 2019, the ongoing battle for equal labor (emotional and otherwise) between different-sex partners is one of the most contested feminist debates. In other words, most women are tired of carrying the burden of solving all the problems at home and at work while men only focus on the latter. In Harper’s Bazaar’s viral 2017 essay, Women Aren’t Nags — We’re Just Fed Up, Gemma Hartley lists various emotional labor duties allocated primarily to women —such as reminding a male partner of his family’s birthdays, knowing dietary guidelines for kids’ lunches, calling a babysitter, and scheduling doctor’s appointments, among other thankless tasks. But what happens when mothers can suddenly quantify their profitless household work — and put a price tag on it?
According to Life Hacker, there’s a “Parenting Calculator” from Funky Pigeon that can determine how much you would earn as a parent if you were paid for all of your work. “Parenting obviously isn’t just babysitting. Parents, particularly those who stay home full-time, are also cooks, housekeepers, tutors, and personal drivers,” Meghan Moravcik Walbert, who tested out the tool, explains. So, how does it work exactly?
Well, the blog culled eight different tasks that parents (mostly moms though) spend their time doing for their kids and found the closest professional equivalent. They then gathered wage and salary data for these tasks for all 50 states in America, including over 2,000 individual towns and cities across the country.
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A few posts ago, I gave an example of "being in charge of birthdays" as emotional labor and need to clarify with an excerpt from an article written by Julie Beck. She writes, "There’s no doubt that the unpaid, expected, and [often] unacknowledged work of keeping households and relationships running smoothly falls disproportionately on women. But that doesn’t make it emotional labor. Organizing to-do lists and planning family Christmases are just labor." Emotional labor, as first defined by sociologist Arlie Hochschild, is "the work of managing one’s own emotions as required by certain professions" (like flight attendants, #therapists and #psychologists). .
So that's right, ladies- keeping track of all the birthdays, appointments, soccer schedules, play dates, babysitters, getting together with other couples, planning holidays, establishing traditions, taking pictures in matching PJ's and sending out Christmas cards….That's just WORK (my bad). I'd argue that the emotional labor part of it (as Hochschild intended) is managing the FEELINGS we have about doing all of that unpaid, unacknowledged work. .
And look, maybe you are OK with it, or even fulfilled by it- more power to you! But if you are feeling unappreciated, overwhelmed, overburdened, anxious, isolated, stressed to the max, exhausted AND STILL OPERATING in your role as mom, wife, daughter, sister, etc..Then you are in emotional labor, my friend. .
And it is time to start pushing. .
Here's how to start: 1. Acknowledge the behaviors you want to change. Do you find yourself choking on your words when you need to ask for help? Do you have the urge to "just take care of it"? . 2. Ask yourself: What would it mean to me if I didn't do XYZ (i.e.: say yes to everything)? And notice the judgment that pops up. . 3. Be curious about it. Where did you learn that? How often does this come up for you? . 4. Is that judgment attached to a fear? (and is that fear valid?) A value? (and is it YOUR value or someone else's?) A need? (and is there another way to get this need met?) .
Yea, this process also counts as emotional labor. Only this labor ends in a rebirth. Who's ready? . #rebirth #emotionalawareness #work
First, parents enter their city and check off how many hours per week they do the following for their children: Cooking, cleaning, driving, teaching, personal assistant, laundry, nurse, and psychologists. Lastly, you’d click “Find my #ParentSalary.” Voila! Your annual salary will be calculated on the spot.
As much as this calculator is a step in the right direction for household labor equality, you can’t put a price on emotional labor like phone calls, scheduling, reminders, and other unwaged work. The solution, IMHO, is to split emotional tasks equally (I mean duh). But until then, it might be a good idea to start the conversation by showing this device to your partner.