After two years in which many dialed back celebrations during the Covid-19 pandemic, this holiday season likely will be supersized. Many of us are making up for those missed opportunities with more celebrations with more people.
Behind all these celebrations are often some very tired women. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, among married heterosexual couples who both work full time and have a child under age 18, mothers spend nearly double as much time as fathers on housework, food preparation and cleanup, and purchasing goods and services — the primary forms of work involved in hosting people or exchanging gifts around the holidays.
It’s time for all people, regardless of gender, to step up to divide the labor that goes into the holidays more evenly.
Still in many 21st century homes, there is “the taken-for-granted notion that a mother is in charge of the tracking and the knowing and the thinking and the planning and the feeding and the caring and the checking and the doing unless she has worked to make other arrangements (which then entail more knowing and more thinking and more tracking and more doing),” Darcy Lockman writes in “All the Rage: Mothers, Fathers, and the Myth of Equal Partnership.”
This kind of often unnoticed work is known as emotional labor. “Emotional labor, as I define it, is emotion management and life management combined,” Gemma Hartley writes in “Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward.” “It is the unpaid, invisible work we do to keep those around us comfortable and happy
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