Contemporary parenting: Issues and concerns

Subject: Family
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 2
Word count: 695
Topics: Arranged Marriage, Marriage, Parenting

Parenting in modern society is quite challenging. With the increasing rate of unemployment, families have either a working mother or father. Although there are families where both the mother and the father are working, a typical family has the father or the mother working. The other parent becomes a stay-at-home parent who takes care of the household chores. There are research findings which indicate that there is a significant disparity between a stay-at-home mother and stay-at-home father. The mother performs much work compared to the father. This paper focuses on challenges and issues affecting typical American families about domestic chores.

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Dirty and pleasant work

In their work, Hochschild and Machung (2012), states that in the families where either the mother or the father are working, the mother works a month more than the father each year. In their research, they hold that mothers will undertake family chores even after leaving their day jobs, unlike the fathers who may at times be compelled to carry out domestic duties. These chores, in their argument, are more like second shift. Hochschild and Machung (2012) perceive “dirty” work is the tasks which the stay-at-home parent performs without the willing help of the working partner. Further, they view “pleasant” work as the tasks the stay-at-home parent performs with the willing help of the working partner. However, Milkie, Raley, and Bianchi (2009) dispute these statistics. In their research, these authors note that the disparity between the family chores of the father and those of the mother are not as high as suggested by Hochschild and Machung (2012). Instead, they realize that the mothers work a week and a half more than the father. However, their definitions of pleasant and dirty work reflect that of Hochschild and Machung (2012). Similarly, there is general agreement that the mother works more than the father. These statistics demonstrate gender inequalities and the need to redefine our social structures to lessen this gap.

Definition applicable to the TV family

While applying the “Parenthood TV Series,’ Hochschild and Machung (2012) description holds more than that of Milkie, Raley, and Bianchi (2009). The stay-at-home-dad at the beginning of the series is Joel Graham and is married to Julia Braverman-Graham (Massin, Ward & Goldberg, 2010). He takes care of the daughter and carries out other domestic chores while Julia is working. Sometimes, Julia provides help when she returns from work. However, when he gets a job and Julia loses hers, things change. Julia now performs household chores while Joel is at work (Massin, Ward & Goldberg, 2010). Rather than helping her as she helped him, Joel takes this as disrespect and disregard for his job. This attitude displays the gender inequalities in family chores. Nevertheless, there is a significant disparity between the work done by the working mother (Julia earlier in the series) and that of the working father (Joel later in the series). This difference reflects the results of Hochschild and Machung (2012) research. Thus, their study defines this family optimally as compared to that of Milkie, Raley, and Bianchi (2009).

Similarity between TV family and research findings

There are similarities and differences between the TV family and the research findings. In the TV family, the working mother performs more household chores than the working father. This situation reflects the research finding of Hochschild and Machung (2012). Hochschild and Machung (2012) note that working mothers perform more household tasks than working fathers amounting to an extra month. In the TV series, Joel, as a working father, does not offer to help with the household chores. On the other hand, when Julia was a working mother, she willingly assisted in the domestic duties. However, this situation significantly differs with the research findings of Milkie, Raley, and Bianchi (2009). In the reserach, Milkie, Raley, and Bianchi (2009) note that employed mothers work a week and a half more than the working fathers. This finding would imply that fathers would at times help the stay-at-home-moms in their chores, a situation contrasted by Joel. Nevertheless, the series indicates that there is need to reform the social perspectives towards domestic duties, a finding realized in the research materials.

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  1. Hochschild, A., &Machung, A. (2012). The second shift: Working families and the revolution at home. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
  2. Massin, D.K., Ward, P., & Goldberg, J. (Producers). (2010).  Parenthood [Television series]. New York City, NY: NBC Universal Television.
  3. Milkie, M. A., Raley, S. B., & Bianchi, S. M. (2009). Taking on the second shift: Time allocations and time pressures of U. S. parents with preschoolers. Social Forces, 88(2), 487-518.
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