Growing up in your home, were there pink chores and blue chores? Did household responsibilities straddle the gender lines and follow along the traditional heterosexual definitions of boy tasks and girl tasks? With that type of upbringing, how do we gays fare when we start new homes with our new partners and families?
A new study finds that same-sex couples tend to communicate better, share chore duties more fairly and assign tasks based on personal preference — rather than gender, income, hours worked or power position in the relationship.
In dual-income straight couples, women and those who earn less money or work fewer hours tend to take primary responsibility for stereotypically female — and more labor-intensive — chores such as child care, grocery shopping, washing dishes, cooking and laundry, according to a survey of 225 gay and straight dual-income couples being released Thursday by Price WaterHouse Coopers and the Families and Work Institute. – washingtonpost.com
Researchers stated was that women in heterosexual couples are still deemed as the main, primary, or default parent. Their responsibilities are child care, organization of the family and home, and time management. Sounds like a lot, maybe too much? You better be showing your mother some love. "Time diary data shows that women, even when they work full-time, tend to spend about twice as much time doing housework and caring for children." – washingtonpost.com
The survey also found that men in same-sex relationships were more satisfied with the division of labor than were women in straight relationships. The reason? Same-sex couples talked about it more. Men in gay partnerships were much more likely to say they had discussed how to divide the labor when they first moved in together. Women in straight partnerships were much more likely to say they wanted to, but didn’t. – washingtonpost.com
Ken Matos, FWI senior director of research and author of the study, stated that, "probably the biggest takeaway of the survey: how important it is to talk and say what you want, rather than stay silent, not wanting to start a fight, making assumptions, and then letting things fester.” Gay couples talk more than straight couples about the household issues, chores, challenges.
So it appears we talk more about what we like to do, what we don't like to do, what is fair, and what works. I can see that to be true. I have a hard time holding my tongue, maybe that's why I like to blog, but then again, maybe that's why I'm still single. But how depressed are straight couples if they are not talking about what they are doing and what they want to be doing for household chores and responsibilities? Thank god I'm gay?!?
Writer and lecturer Andrew Solomon said he and his husband are constantly talking about how to make all the pieces of their lives fit together. “I feel like we’re constantly inventing it,” he said. “We talk about it all the time. It’s a constantly evolving process.”
Solomon is the primary breadwinner and his spouse has taken on the bulk of caring for their six-year-old son. Everything else, Solomon said, they’ve divided chores based on what they’re good at. Solomon is organized, so he arranges school and summer camp activities. His husband cooks. They share school drop off and they shift duties as the demands of their schedules change.
“People often make assumptions: We get asked, since I'm the one who works more, am I more the ‘Dad,’ and is John really the ‘Mom?’I feel like we have a paucity of vocabulary to describe these roles,” Solomon said. “If there’s one thing same sex parents could teach is that it’s not that one of us is ‘really’ the mom and one is ‘really the Dad. Those are irrelevant concepts. We’re just both in this together.” – washingtonpost.com
This topic has been covered by a couple of other bloggers and media, but what they all have not asked is how does this affect the kids? So my last question is actually my first … growing up in your home, were there pink chores and blue chores? What if we ask this question 10 to 15 years from now. Will there be more puzzled looks from our teenagers as to why we are using colors to define household responsibilities? If we do have same sex couples dividing chores based on strengths and likes, will this pattern of understanding trickle down into the families of the future? Will the idea spread to straight families as well? Will pink chores and blue chores become a thing of the past. Uh oh, will this be fodder for the "gay couples raise gay kids" arguments? Or will this just make our kids better overall?
And to current parents that are reading this, do you practice the pink chores and blue chores in your home? Do you find yourself following along with the heterosexual definitions of boy tasks and girl tasks? How do you handle not only your adult chores but kids chores in your home? Enlighten us!
For more of Ken Matos's research, go to washingtonpost.com