In this NYT article, men are happier and women are less so compared to survey results from 1960.
This is largely correlated with women’s role in the work force has increased while their responsibilities at home haven’t decreased. Women are often overachievers (I’m biased again by the ones in my life.) I don’t blame men for not having picked up their act to take on the fair share of household chores. (please note, this is general speaking. Most men I know are quite happy to have equal opportunity at work and at home with women.) I believe that I can change within myself to change the things that I’m unhappy about in my life. So with that in mind, I offer two suggestions to alleviate the problems of this unbalanced happiness scale.
1) As a woman, I think women shouldn’t have to try to be everything. We are no Wonder Woman. Do the job you want to do, and balance that with the amount of household chores you can take on. Both men and women should get reasonable amount of paid paternity leave from work. So what if you can’t find time to have a baby, doesn’t mean you failed to be a good woman. After work, go home and lie on the couch watch TV like men if that’s all that you want to do. (I’d choose to dress up and head over to a ballet or wander down Whole Foods aisles getting inspired for what to create out of my kitchen.)
One might ask what makes a woman different than a man? It certainly isn’t the unbalanced amount of household chores you do. You are a woman the being you, by the mere fact that you are naturally inclined to nurture and care, to create a cozy beautiful home, to being more in tune with emotions and beauty, to being happy, and just to be beautiful and elegant.
2) I’ve been thinking about parenting a lot lately. Girls and boys are brought up differently. That’s fine because they have different nature and different needs. Girls develop their status in a family by taking up more responsibilities for household chores while it’s OK for boys to watch football because the assumption is they wouldn’t be good doing any cleaning around the house. That assumption has got to change. Household chores are not gender specific.
My suggestions to the women: just because you can clean the toilet better and care more for cleanliness, it doesn’t mean you have to do it all. When you are tired and overwhelmed, ask for help like hiring someone else to do it.
My heart goes out to all the women that try to be “perfect” for all aspects of their lives but compromised their happiness. You are good, but you can be great if you live to be the happiest possible. Live full and live true.