The Household Work And Child Care Essay

The Household Work And Child Care Essay

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It is important to briefly sum up the history of the American family and identify at what time did the feminization of the household work and child care take place. During the late eighteen and early nineteenth century, the family was considered to be a “‘little commonwealth enterprise,’ in which husbands, wives, and children ‘worked together as participants in common enterprise” (Kimmel 144). There was not a noticeable difference between ‘his’ and ‘her’ spheres, which means that both “men and women were involved in the worlds of work, fathers and mothers were both involved in the child rearing” (Kimmel 144). In fact, the first child-rearing manual - The Father’s Book, by Theodore Dwight – was written to the fathers, because they were the ones raising and instructing their children. Dwight was one of the first ones to write about the importance of fatherhood. Child custody has been granted to the fathers because “children were seen as an economic ‘good,’ and courts utilized an economic means test to determine who would receive custody, and custody was regularly and routinely given to fathers” (Kimmel 181).
Nonetheless, by the middle of the nineteenth century, “a gap between work and home grew dramatically, both in reality and in ideology, to create the separation of spheres -” his and hers (Kimmel 144). Men were separated from their families by the shift of paid work “from home and farm to mill and factory, shop, and office” (Kimmel 144). Meanwhile, women were confined to their households. After the Civil War, World War, the Cold War, and the aftermath, America experienced a rapid industrialization which perpetrated the separation of spheres. The responsibilities of household work and child rearing came to be seen as women’s work...


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...s not been easy for men to reconcile their work with their parenthood and it is even worse for single parents. A Pew research study published that there has been an “increase in single dads raising kids, from around 297,000 in 1960 to 2.6 million today” (Berlatsky). Single dads are easily discouraged because of their lack of training. This lack of experience makes them doubt of their capabilities and contributions to their kid’s life. Nonetheless, single fathers are receiving the support of the U.S. judicial system by adopting “joint parenting” legislation. Children’s custody is no longer granted “in the best interest of the child” – which usually meant “in favor of the mother” – but encourages the presence of both parents in the children’s life. It is because of this legislation that fathers feel empowered “to ask for more, and believe they deserve it” (Kitchener).

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