Paid Work and Family Work
As previously discussed. the first big change in the relationship between family and work occurred with the Industrial Revolution and the rise of capitalism. The cult of domesticity kept many middle- and upper-class women out of the work force during this period. Primarily. working-class and poor women were the ones who had to deal with the work/family conflict. Today, however. he issue spans the entire economic spectrum (Reskin and Padavic, 2002). The typical married woman in the United States combines paid work in
the labor force with family work as a homemaker. Although This this change has occurred at the societal level. individual women bear he brunt of the problem. Even with dramatic changes in women’s work-force participation. the sexual division of labor in the family remains essentially unchanged. Most married women now share responsibility for the breadwinner role. yet many men do not accept their share of domestic responsibilities (Reskin and Padavic, 2002). Consequently. many women have a “double day” or second shift” because of their dual responsibilities for paid and unpaid work (Hochschild, 1989.2003). Working women have less time to spend on housework; if husbands do not participate in routine domestic chores. some chores simply do not get done or get one less often. Although the income that many women earn is essential for the economic survival of their families. they still must pend part of their earnings on family maintenance. such as day-care centers. fast-food restaurants. and laundries, in an attempt to keep up with their obligations. Especially in families with young children. domestic responsibilities consume a great deal of time and energy. Although some kinds of housework can be put of1′,the needs of children often cannot be ignored or delayed. When children are ill or school events cannot be scheduled around work, parents (especially mothers) may experience stressful role conflicts (“Shall be
comparable worth (or pay equity) the belief that wages ought to reflect the worth of a job. not the gender or race of the worker.
a good employee or a good mother?”). Many working women care not only for themselves, their husbands, and their children but also for elderly parents or in-laws. Some analysts refer to these women as “the sandwich generation” caught between the needs of heir young children and of their elderly relatives. Many women try to solve their time crunch by forgoing leisure time and sleep. hen Arlie i-hochschild interviewed working mothers, she found that they talked about sleep “the way a hungry person talks about ood” (1989: 9). Perhaps this is one reason that, in more recent research, Hochschild (1997) learned that some married women with children found more fulfillment at work and that they worked longer hours because they liked work better than facing the pressures of home.