QUESTION OF THE MONTH
DOMESTIC WORK/ EMOTIONAL LABOUR
A huge amount of my time is spent neither mothering nor making but with looking after the details of our daily lives, the ‘admin’ of having a household. Some of this is business-like but underneath the business are questions of care. There are all kinds of care beyond childcare - how does the laundry happen? The cooking? The shopping? The remembering that we have run out of tea bags, or that it is rubbish day and the bins need putting out?
There is the care over finances too, not only the earning of the money but the decisions on how it is spent. There is the care over the calendar, over deciding if a holiday is going to happen, making it happen, remembering birthdays, planning the celebrations. There is the care over what lives where within the house - where do we keep the sink plunger, the kitchen roll, the pieces of paper that we must not lose? The list goes on - a thousand little, vital things that I never said I would look after, nor did my husband, but someone needs to do it: Who? How? When?! There are some roles that, in our household anyway, neither of us immediately identify as ours - the role of home manager, general 'looker-afterer'.
Often, though not always, it is the mother that takes this role on, alongside her explicitly motherly work of birthing and breastfeeding. So here is the question: within your household what is your system? Do you even have a system? Did you agree on it, or did it emerge? Does it serve you well? Does it support up to do your mothering and your making, or do you end up resenting the other kinds of caring that you do?
This question was inspired by a great thread on our FACEBOOK page started by Rachael Spence
Check it out or come to our next London meeting to share your answers.