Just what women needed: Another reminder that we’re doing it wrong.
Ah, women. They’re always frivolously neglecting their families while they run off to work, never sparing a thought for how to keep their loved ones happy.
Those selfish women — so unconcerned are they with juggling work-life balance in a way that pleases everyone at once — probably need a reminder that their priorities are all wrong because they’re NOT DOING ENOUGH to please other people. Right?
Oh wait… That’s the exact opposite of most women I know.
Let me back up a little and explain why I’m currently rolling my eyes so hard that I risk corneal injury. It’s because a new study has ‘revealed’ something that is a) bleeding obvious and b) helpful to almost nobody.
You see, the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey, released today, has demonstrated — *drumroll* — that men are more comfortable when they have a full-time partner at home.
“When you look at men’s relationship satisfaction, it’s at at its highest when their wife is not in the workforce,” report author Professor Roger Wilkins told The Australian. “I guess all things being equal, men would prefer their wife at home and managing the household.”
Thanks for the mansplainer, sir — but didn’t we already know that?
I mean, isn’t it common sense that life is more comfortable when you have a person at home, looking after things on the life-admin front?
As Annabel Crabb adroitly pointed out in her book The Wife Drought, having a spouse at home full-time is “a Godsend on the domestic front [and] a potent economic asset on the work front.” It allows a person (statistically, usually a man) to spend long hours at the office without worrying about school pick-ups; to rely on someone else to look after the little ones when they get sick; and to put in extra hours at the office when working towards that promotion.
Perhaps that’s why, as one of Crabb’s studies found, of 30 male CEOs, 28 had children, and all of those 28 had a stay-at-home spouse.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m very happy for those women who choose to stay at home while their partners work (feminism is about choice, et cetera). This post is not an invitation to jump up and down on stay-at-home mums.
But it must be said that for almost everyone apart from those women, today’s survey findings are about as helpful as a slap in the face with a wet fish.
Because telling women that men prefer them not to work sounds like just another reminder that women who work are ‘doing it wrong’; that women’s can’t ‘have it all‘; that it’s a woman’s role to ‘keep things solid on the marriage front’ — and a bucketload of other hackneyed, gendered, harmful cliches.