Monday, April 23, 2007

More kids, more work?

A few days ago, while chatting with a female friend who is married without kids, she mentioned that she recently got to know a housewife with two kids. In a pretty casual manner, she said her housewife friend has twice as much work compared to me based on the fact that I only have one kid. The statement didn't strike me until later in the evening when I thought about our conversation. Now, is that true?

I don't think it is. The number of kids one has is definitely not proportionate to the amount of work or responsibilities one has to bear. Even if all the physical conditions such as living conditions, household duties, financial status etc are equal, how much work and responsibility a housewife has is ultimately subject to the choices and decisions the housewife makes.

She could have five kids and not even care to cook for them or attend to their studies, thus having less work than another housewife who has just one kid but ensures the kid is well taken care of in all aspects. But assuming both housewives are caring and responsible, how old the kids are also make a difference. Older kids equals less attention to things like having to bathe or feed them, put them to bed, help them in the toilet, ensure they are playing safely etc. And if mum wishes to go out, older kids could be left alone at home or with minimal adult supervision more easily compared to much younger ones.

I would agree that a responsible housewife who has more than three kids would have a heavier burden. But between one which has two kids and another with just one kid, it's hard to convince me that the former has twice the burden. Some of you may think I'm being petty but I feel the need to share this; especially with those who are not parents yet, and those who are planning to be, that parenting is not math, not even the most complicated algebra or calculus. They have definite answers. In parenting, you create the answers yourself.

Each child and each mum is different and unique so I feel that we should not compare at all in any aspect.

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