At least it should be according to a recent study!
From cooking and cleaning to caring to driving to schools, parents take on 14 roles, working hours that would earn then £60,645 a year in the workplace!
On the scale of domestic drudgery most people would probably say raising children is the most rewarding. But while it can have great pleasures and rewards, it’s still hard work; a lot more important than cleaning the bathroom; and doesn’t get valued in capitalist society.
Housework and paid work comprise women’s ‘double burden’ – there is no evidence that hours spent on housework are falling (and the number of hours in a day remains 24!). So many women work long hours and work and at home. Although the cuts agenda is changing this. Lack of affordable childcare stops many women working full-time.
In 2012, 24% of mothers have already left work, and 16% reduced their hours, because childcare costs more than they earn. Over a third of UK parents already rely on ‘informal’ childcare arrangements – grandparents and other relatives. This isn’t valued either. Social isolation and loss of independence are inevitable as women of all generations bear the burden of childcare cuts and spiraling costs.
So – wages for housework? Give every parent £60k?
Well (that would be nice) but it doesn’t really solve the problem. This is a problem bound up with so many others from the sexism inherent in the allocation of housework and childcare to women; to the way working-class women’s fertility and right to choose is questioned; to the way working-class parents are portrayed as neglectful and selfish for wanting free community nurseries and expecting to be able to have kids and go to work; the list goes on!
We need more efficient collectivised housework; decent, free community childcare; and to fight for all the things that could make the “right to choose” a reality – and the right to not have to choose between spending time with your kids or spending all your time at work or cleaning the house.