18 Hochschild - THE S CONl) IIIFT ARLIE 110131115011an with...

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Unformatted text preview: THE S CONl) IIIFT ARLIE 110131115011an with ANNE MACHUNG fms Avon Books are available at special quantity discounts for bulk purchases for sales promotions, premiums, fund raising or educa- tional use. Special books, or book excerpts, can also be created to fit specific needs; For details write or telephone the office of the Director of Special Markets, Avon Books, Dept. FP, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, N Y k, N Y k l0019, lv800~238~0658. or w or AVON aoousfimw YORK CHAPTER 13 Beneath the Cover—up: Strategies and Strains T16 ten marriages I’ve described cover the range of patterns 1 found in the fifty —plus marriages we studied~patterns in what two— job couples feel, think, and do about the work at home. I he second shift becomes a forum for each person’s ideas about gender and marriage and the emotional meanings behind them. When Evan Holt fixed dinner, Nancy Holt felt Evan was saying he loved her. When Robert Myerson cooked dinner, Ann half the time felt she was failing to protect his career from family demands. When Frank Delacorte made the pesto sauce for the pasta, it meant Carmen “couldn’t.” When Peter Tanagawa roasted the chicken, it meant he was “helping Nina.” When Ray Judson barbecued the spare ribs, Anita imagined he did it because he liked to, not to help her out. When Seth and Jessica ate the meal the housckeeper cooked, Iessrca figured it was her salary that paid the housekeeper, Seth’s salary that paid for the food. The personal meanings of the second shift differed greatly, but to most people the tasks of the second shift either meant “I am taken care of” or “I am taking care of someone.” Some personal meanings leaned toward a traditionalideal of caring, and others toward an egalitarian ideal. Indeed, a split be- tween these two ideals seemed to run not only between socxal classes, but between partners Within marriages and between two contending 188 voices inside the conscience of one individual. The working class tended toward the traditional ideal, and the middle class tended ,- toward the egalitarian one. Men tended toward the traditional ideal, 1 women toward the egalitarian one. And within Ann Myerson’s “flip flop,” her desires to protect her husband’s more valuable career was pressed on her by a more traditional ideal, while her moments of feeling this was “unfair” came from an egalitarian ideal. Most mar— riages were either torn by, or a settled compromise between, these two ideals. in this sense, the split between them runs implicitly through every marriage I came to know. To be sure, I saw important differences in social class. And in the world at large there are far more couples who spend their Saturdays doing laundry, like the Delacortes or the Judsons, and fewer Who spend them making out checks to the help like the Steins or the Myersons. The problems of the two~job family are tougher in the working class, but they are difficult in a different way in the upper—middle class as well. What exacerbates the strain in the work— ing class is the absence of money to pay for services they need, economic insecurity, aycare, and lack of dignity and boredom in each partner’s job. W hat exacerbates it in the upper—middle class is the instability of paid help and the enormous demands of the career system in which both partners become willing believers. But the tug between traditional and egalitarian models of marriage runs from top to bottom of the class ladder. Regardless of the ideal to which a couple aspires, the strain of working shifts often affects men nearly as much as it affects women. It affects the women who work the extra month a year in obvious wzys through their fatigue, sickness, and emotional exhaustion. But one important finding of this study is that the strain clearly extends to men as well. If men share the second shift it affects them directly. If they don’t share, it affects them through their wives. Michael Sherman shared the emotional responsibility and time it took to do the work at home. He had to redefine himself, to reduce his career anabitions, confront the high hopes of his family, and detach himself from the competition of his colleagues. Evan Holt and Seth Stein made no such adjustments, but they paid an enor— 190 THE SECOND SHIP-3‘ mous price nonethelessmiivan Holt through the resentments so woven into his sexual life and bond with his son loey, Seth through the disappearance of his wife and children into lives of their own. GENDER IDEOLOGY, FEELiNG RULES, and Cormo WITH FEELINGS When I began this research, I naively imagined that a persoifs, gender ideology would cohereas a cognitive and emotional-“piece”? l imagined a man’s gender ideology would “determine” howhe wanted to divide the second shift. Couples with more egalitarian ideas about men and women would share more, those with tradi- tional ideas, less. But I discovered that theset of ideas a person has about gender are often fractured and incoherent. Peter Tanagawa supported his wife’s career “a hundred percent,” but grew red in the face at the idea that she would mow the lawn, or that his daughters, when teen-tigers, would drive a car to school. Many men like Evan Holt ideologically supported the idea of their wives work— ing. They pointed out that their wives wanted to work. It made their wives more interesting, and it gave the couple more in com— mon. But when it came to a manis part in the work at home, the underlying principle changed. For Robert Myerson the principle seemed to be that a man should share the work at home “if his wife asks him.” Peter Tanagawa seemed to say a man should share the work at home if he’s as good at it or as interested in it as his wife.1 More important than the surface fractures in gender ideology, though, were the contradictions“betweeriwhat a person said they believed about men and maritalroles, andiwhat theyseemcd, (.0 feel about these. Some people were egalitarian “ontop” and traditional “underneath” like Seth Stein or traditional on top and egalitarian underneath like Frank Delacorte. Sometimes the deep feelings that evolved in response to early cautionary tales reinfiirced the surface of a person’s gender ideology. For example, Carmen Delacorte’s dread—that she would face the struggles her mother had as a single motherwstrongly reinforced her idea that women should find male protection through submisw sion to them. On the other hand, the deep feelings that evolved in response to the early experiences of Nancy Holt reinfbrccd a totally opposite gender ideology. Nancy‘s fear of becoming a submissive housewife, a “doormat,” like her mother, infused emotional steam into her belief that Evan ought to share litty~lifty in the work at home. Ray ludson’s early experience of losing his mother and his current fear of losing his wife reinforced his idea that a man needs to keep his woman at home, needs to make her depend on him and to dominate her. It fed and strengthened his gender ideology. For other peOple, covert feelings seemed to subvert the surface of their gender ideologyirrFori example, Ann Myerson described herself growing up as a tomboy who believed girls were “just as good as boys.” A hard-driving career woman who didn’t begin to consciously want children until she was thirty'two, Ann felt similar to her husband Robert in her needs and desires. Yet for some reason, her role at the office didn’t feel real while her role at home did. Rather than reinforcing her surface gender ideology, this underlying feeling undermined it. It made her ambivalent. It prompted her “flip-flop” syndrome. Similarly, John Livingston’s early experience led him to feelings that contradicted his “surface” ideology. On the surface, John was all for sharing the provider and homemaker role and always had been. But when his daughter, Cary, was born, he felt that Barbara withdrew her attention from him, leaving him feeling abandoned, dependent, and angry. When Barbara returned to her job, he felt even more angry and hurt, and so resented her working. But, be' cause he “believed in women working,” these feelings seemed in— appropriate. He felt guilty to have them. In this way his ideology established a certain feeling rule—you shall feel good about your wife working. Yet this feeling rule clashed with his actual feeling— anger that Barbara was so unavailable. Since it was John’s habit to withdraw when he was angry, he withdrew. This withdrawal and Barbara’s upset in response to it spiraled into the conflict which, in their overbusyness, they then tried to avoid. At the heart of the matter was the fact. that John’s surface ide— 192 SECOND SHIFT ology, and the feeling rules that derived from it, conflicted with his feelings underneath. Normally, the feelings “underneath,” as l have called them, are less articulated, and less conscious than the surface ideology. lohn was highly unusual in his ability to see and talk about them. In each instance, what’s involved is a person’s gender ideology (a set of beliefs about men and women and marital roles) and the emotional meanings it (Evokes, which in turn reinforce or undermine that ideology. Also involved is the person’s secondary reaction to what’s going on, a reaction that derives from his feeling rules (for example, lohn’s guilt at feeling angry). And there is the style of coping with emotional conflict (John withdrew). T he ideology and attendant emotions—whether conscious or not—~do not combine to yield what Iohn did about the. second shift. They combine to w “ermine hOW» he felt about, What he did. The first Year of Cams . life, John withdrew emotionally from Barbara into his work and established himself as second to Barbara Ln the care of Cary, and as champion of the idea that “someone” needed to care for her more. Insofar as work permitted, he did not resist sharing the second shift; he did it, but he resisted forgiving Barbara for her emotional witl‘idrawal from him. All the minute ways in which Iohn sought to interrelate what he thought (his gender ideology), what he felt (upset by Barbara’s withdrawal), and what he did (to work long hours and to cut back on time for the marriage)——this complex of thought, feeling, and action together—~constitute his “gender strat— egy.” And the interplay of his gender strategy and that of his wife determined how they actually divided the second shift. All told, what John thought (his gender ideology) was only one small part of the explanation of Why he divided the work at home as he did. His gender ideology gave coherence and reason to his biographically derived feelings and his social opportunities, even as it also cloaked these. The feelings that underlay John’s egalitarian ideology grew from the emotional deprivations of growing up with a withdrawn father and a workaholic mother, and what this background led him to hope to receive from his wife now. For men like Peter Tanagawa, the feelings that underlay ideology resulted more from his awareness l 9 3 of the role ofan in his social world. But whatever their derivation, these feelings strengthened or subverted the surface ideology of such men and affected their will to share the work at home. ' Everyone I interviewed, in one way or another, developed a gender strategy. In some, the surface ofa gender ideology strongly conflicted with other underlying feelings, in others they didn’t con- flict at all. In some, the feeling rule was “Vile should 1mm to share the second shift,” “We shouldn’t be angry about [rarity to share, or angry at the deprivations it might entail” (for example, the Sher~ mans). In others, the feeling rule was to feel ashamed to “have to“ share it (for example, the Delacortes). But what a man or woman wanted to do usually did not com~ pletely explain what they did. Nancy Holt and Frank Delacorte are. a case in point. Nancy did nearly all the second shift even though she did not want to believe she should do the work herself. Frank Delacorte nearly shared it even though he thought he shouldn‘t. This is because, among other things, Nancy had to cope with Evan’s gender strategy, and Frank had to cope with Cai‘nieiiis, WOMEN’S STRATEGIES: DIRECT Wars :ro CHANGE Roms How does the content of what a person thinks and feels about the second shift fit with what they‘do about it—i.e., with their behavw ioral strategy? Most egalitarian womenmtl‘iose with strong feelings about sharingm’did one of two things. They married men who planned to share at home or they actively tried to change their husbands" understanding of his role athome. Before she had chil— dren, Adrienne Sherman took the risky step of telling her husband, “It’s share the second shift or it’s divorce.” She staged a “sharing showdown” and Won. After she had Joey, Nancy Holt initiated major crisis in the marriage but backed away from showdown. Both women confronted their husbands, and caused great emotional up- heaval as a result. Other women initiated a series of smaller prods 1.9% THE SECOND SHIFT to their husbands to turn more attention toward the family. When she was eight months pregnant and her husband was working nearly ah the time, Carol Alston recalls sitting her husband down on the front stairs as he came home from work and saying, “I won’t have this baby if you don‘t emotionally prepare for it with me.” Though she didn’t really mean she wouldn’t have the baby she was making an important point. Still other women initiated exhaustive, reason able talks rearranging who did what at home. Over half the working mothers I interviewed had tried one way or another to change roles at home. Gne reason the effort is so common among women is that they bear the weight of a contra— diction between traditional ideology and modern circumstances. Unless they assume the extra work of changing the division of labor, it is usually they who work the extra month a yeari If women, lived in a culture that presumed active fatherhood, they wouldn’t need to devise personal strategies to bring it about. inIRECT Wars IO CHANGE ROLES Women also tried to change marital roles indirectly. This was a primary strategy for traditional working mothers who desperately needed help at home but who couldn’t ask for a change in rcspon~ sihilitics directly or actively because they wanted the rolewand whatever power came with itw—themsel‘ves. Facing such a dilemma, Carmen Delacorte c“played helpless” at cooking rice, paying bills, and sewing. Some women, like Nina Tanagawa, used physical illness as a half—conscious signal of distress to their husbands. One highly successful businesswoman, Susan Pillsbury (a woman who described herself as “sharing equally“ with her husband), told this story about an indirect strategy of change: I’ve got to tell you my favorite story. When I was pregnant we were trying to think what to name the baby and we couldn’t think of a name. My husband, Jerry, wanted to have the baby but he wasn’t interested in what to name it. 1 didn’t want to ask him to be interested. So, you know he‘s a consultant in decision analysis; thafis his specialty. I suc— gested that we set our “decision criteria,” like the 118111: should be a family name, or the first name should fit the last name well, it should be a certain length. . . . Once I posed it as a problem in decision—making, he got so into it he couldn’t stop. I always like to tell that story. Now he tells it, cher passive means of getting men involved at home were more plainly manipulative, and even women who abhorred “female wiles“ were sometimes desperate enough to resort to them. Nancv Holt felt it demeaned women to withhold sex from their husbands in order to “angle” for something they wanted. But when Evan per- srstently refused to share the work at home, Nancy did withhold sex, and felt remorseful about doing so later. Wm In contrast to strategies designed to change roles, supermoming was a common working mother’s strategy for coping with the work at home ivitbuut2721ipasirg on their husbands. About a third of tooth ers pursued this strategy, often in combination with other strategies. Supermoms put in long hours at the oflice but kept their children up very late at night to get time with them. Many supermoms were traditional, believing that the extra month was theirs to work. Oth— ers wished their husbands would share but didn’t feel they had enough moral credits in the “marital bank” to persuade themlto do more. As a strategy, supermoming was a way of absorbing into oneself the conflicting demands of home and work. To prepare themselves emotionally, many supermoms develop a conception of themselves as “on~thc—go, organized, competent,” as women without need for rest, without personal needs. Both as a preparation for this strategy 196 THE SECOND SHIFT and as a consequence of it, supermoms tended to seem out of touch with their feelings. Nina Tanagawa reported feeling “numb.” And Barbara Livingston said again and again, “I don’t know what I feel.” CUTTING BACK AT W0 RK After trying hard to change Evan, Nancy Holt reluctantly cut back her hours at work. As she’d all along planned to do after her second child, Carol Alston willingly cut back her hours at work. After a hopeless succession of quarrelsome baby—sitters, Ann Myerson quit her job. To some women, cutting back felt like a defeat, as it did to Nancy Holt and Ann Myerson. To others, it felt like a triumph, as it did to Carol Alston. Women often prepared emotionally for cutting back hours at work by detaching themselves from work—centered friends, by re- newing friendships with family~centered friends, and in general by gathering support for entering a more solitary life at home. For women in high-powered careers and even for those in or- dinary jobs, one major emotional task was to buoy their flagging self—esteem. Mter taking time off for her first baby, Carol Alston felt depressed, “fat,” “'ust a housewife,” and for a while became the supermarket shopper who wanted to call down the aisles, “I’m an MBA! I’m an MBA!” CUTEING BACK on Housswomr, MARRIAGE, SELF, ANDwCHILD Yet another set of strategies involved cutting back on effort or on basic ideas about “what needs to be done” for the welfare of the house, the child, the marriage, or oneself. Cutting back on housework was clear, intentional, and almost across the board for those Without maids. Traditional working mothers often began the interview with apologies for the house and felt their lower aesthetic standard of living reflected on themselves personally. They felt badly when the house was messy, or at least thought they should feel badly. To them, it was a wrench to disaffiliate their self— esteem from the look of the house. Egalitarian women did the opposite. They tried hard not to care about the. house, and proudly told me about things they’d let go or forgotten to do. As Anita Judson said with a triumphant laugh, “I’m not the type to wash walls.” Others questioned the need to make beds, vacuum, clean dishes, pick up toys, or even make meals. As Carol Alston explained, “We eat big lunches, and I’m trying to diet, so dinner’s not a big deal.” On the Whole, women cared more about how the house looked than men did. When they didn’t care, they struggled harder against their upbringing and exerted more emotional effort to stop caring about the house. After the birth of their first child, every couple I interviewed also devoted less attention to each other. Cutting back on time together was usually unintentional and very emotionally charged. Most cou— ples felt as if they were “waiting” to get more time together. As Robert Myerson commented: “We have no time together alone. We’re hanging on until the girls get older.” But when marriage became the main or only way of healing past emotional injuriesw as it was for John Livingston—At was often hard to wait. in the race against time, parents often inadvertently cut back on children’s needs as well. For one thing, they cut corners in physical care. One working mother commented: “Do kids have to take a bath every night? We bathe Jeremy every other night and then otherwise wash his face and hands. Sort of sponge him off. He‘s surviving.” Another mother questioned a child’s need to change clothes every day: “Why can’t kids wear the same pants three or four days in a row? When I was a girl, I had to change into fresh clothes every day, and my favorite clothes went by so quickly.” Another mother shared her philosophy of eating greens: “Joshua doesn’t eat greens anyway. So we fix something simplewsoup and a peanut butter sandwich. He won’t die.” Another mother Sheep~ ishly complained of housewifely standards for preparing Halloween costumes: “God, these mothers that have their Halloween costumes 198 THE SECOND SHIFT sewn in September! I go ‘Oh no! Iris Halloween,’ andl dash out and buy something.” Another working mother lowered the standard for considering a child sick. “I send James to daycare when he has a cold. 1 don’t have any backup and, anyway, the other mothers are in the same boat. All the kids there have colds. So he gets their colds. He might as well give them his.” Sadly enough, a few working parents seemed to be making cuts in the emotional care of their child. Especially when parents received more from their own parents than they are giving their children, they have to manage a great deal of guilt. Trying to rationalize her child’s long hours in daycare, one working mother remarked about her nine-month—old daughter that she “needed kids her age” and “needs the independence.” It takes relatively little to cut back on house care, and the consequences are trivial. But reducing one’s notions of what a baby needs—«imposing the needs of a fourteen— year-old onto a nine-month—old baby—takes a great deal of denial and has drastic consequences. SEEKING HELP A less disturbing strategy, and one compatible with any other, is seeking outside help. Some couples who could afford to hired a housekeeper. When they could, working—class women called on their mother, mother-in—law, or other female relatives for childcare though in many cases these women worked as well. Surprisingly few parents in this study called on their children, as Ray Judson did, to share house cleaning or care of younger children. The main outside help, of course, came from baby-sitters. Some— times mothers tried to make the babysitter “part of the family” or at least to create a strong friendship with her, unconsciously perhaps to assure her loyalty and goodwill. Carol Alston left her six~month— old baby with a “wonderful baby—sitter” for eleven hours a day, and gave the sitter a great deal of credit: “My son should call her ‘mother.’ She’s earned it.” Carol often invited her sitter and husband to dinner and on outings and exchanged birthday and Christmas gifts. But it was hard for Carol to allay the sitteri‘s doubts that she. had been befriended only became she baby~sat the children. Finally, most women cut back on their personal needs, give up reading, hobbies, television, visits with friends, exercise, time alone. When I asked her what she did in her leisure, Ann Myerson replied, “Pay bills.” When I asked a bank word processor about her “leisure,” she answered that it was “time at my terminal.” I interviewed no working mothers who maintained hobbies like Evan Holt or Robert Myerson. It was part of the “culture” of the working mother to give up personal leisure, and most did it willingly. Over time, most women combined several strategiesmcutting back (on paid work, housework, the marriage, childcare, or personal needs), seeking outside help, supermoming. There was a big divide between wives who urged their husbands to share the second shift (like Nancy Holt and Adrienne Sherman) and wives who found other ways to do the work (like Nina Tanagawa and Ann Myerson). Typical of women who urged change on their husbands, Nancy Holt embraced egalitarian views on marriage. Reinforced by her dread of becoming a depressed housewife like her mother, she embraced the feeling rules that often go with the new model of marriage: “If you love me, you’ll share.” Like. a good many wives who urge husbands to share, Nancy suffered through an emotional storm, lost, gave up, and resented it. Typical of women who avoided urging their husbands to share and avoided conflict with them over it, Nina Tanagawa liked the idea of sharing “on the surface” but felt ambivalent about it un- derneath. She embraced the feeling rules that often go with a tran- sitional marriage: “if you love me you’ll care but sharing is not in the bargain.” Having changed their initial bargain in so many other ways already, she didn’t quite dare change it again. Like Ann Myer- son, many women flip—flopped betweenfeeling and acting like Nancy Holt and Nina Tanagawa. 200 THE SECOND SHIFT MEN’S STRATEGIES In part, men’s strategies parallel women’s, and in part they differ. Some men are superdads, the full or near equivalent to super- moms-mlohn Livingston, for example. When their children were young, other men cut back their emotional commitment or hours at workmlike Michael Sherman and Art Winfield. Many men let the house go more, lowered their expectations about time alone with their wife, cut out movies, seeing friends, some hobbies. In these ways, some men’s strategies paralleled the women’s. But for most men, the situation differed in one fiandamental way. By tradition, the second shift did not fall to them. In contrast to their wives, it was not a “new idea” that they should work. In the eyes of the world, they felt judged by their capacity to support the family and earn status at work. They got little credit for helping at home. hllost men were therefore not pressuring their wives to get more involved at borne. They received such pressure. That was the big difference. Of the 80 percent Of men in this study who did not share the work at home, a majority were subjected to occasional pressures from their wives to do more at home. Most men were “transitional” in gender ideology, and resistant in strategy. But their wives" pressuring them to share often evoked a number of underlying feelings for them. c“Underneath” Ray lud— son’s ideological objections to sharing was the fear that he might lose control of his wife if she didn’t depend on him economically. Beneath Peter Tanagawa’s resistance was his fear of losing status as a man in his family and hometown community. Evan Holt feared Nancy was trying to boss him around and get out of tending the home herself. For some men who were failing at work, or otherwise felt badly about themselves, avoiding work at home was a way of “balancing” the scales with their wives. As I explain further in Chapter 15, a man may decline to help in the second shift to compensate for the fact that his wife is getting “too far” ahead at work, or in other ways gaining “too much” power. W’omen do this “balancing” too. Underlying all these extra reasons to resist sharing was, finally, the basic fact that it was a privilege to have a Wife tend the home. If a man shared the second shift, that privilege was lost. At least at first, most men gave other reasons for not wanting to share: their career was too demanding or their job more stressful. When these rationales obviously didn’t apply, resistant men resorted to the explanation that they weren’t “brought up” to do housework. STRATEGIES OF COOPERATION Some 20 percent of men expressed the genuine desire to share the load at home, and did. A few men expressed the genuine desire to share but were prevented from doing it because their wives “took over” at home. As a teacher, and mother oftwo, put it, “My husband does all the baking. He’d share everything, if I let him.” Some men. who shared resisted at first but grew into it later. But most ended up feeling like Art Winfield; “I share housework because it’s fair and childrearing because I want to.” STRATEGIES or RESISTANCEW DISAFFILIATION, NEED REDUCTION, SUBSTITUTE OFFERINGS, AND SELECTIVE ENCOURAGEMENT Many men seemed to alternate between periods of cooperation and resistance. When they were resisting, they often did tasks in a dis tracted way, dissociating themselves from the domestic act at hand. In this manner, Evan Holt forgot the. grocery list, burned the rice, didn’t know where the broiler pan was. Such men withdrew their mental attention from the task at hand so as to get credit for trying and being a good sport, but so as not to be chosen next time. It was a male version of Carmen Delacorte’s strategy of playing dumb. Many men also waited to be asked, hoping they wouldn‘t be. 202 THE SECOND SHIFT They basically forced their wives to take on the additional chore of asking itself. Since many wives disliked askingm—it felt like “beg— ging”——this often worked well. Especially when a man waited to be asked and then became irritated or glum when he was, his wife was often discouraged from asking again. Some men made “substitute offerings” in another realm: Peter Tanagawa (who would often be found reading the sports page unless asked to wash the dishes) supported Nina in her every move at work and every crisis in her conflict between work and family. His support was so complete, so heartfelt, that it had the quality of a substitute offering. Conseiously or not, other men used the strategy of “needs re- duction.” For example, a salesman and father of two explained that he never shopped because “he didn’t need anything.” He didn’t need to take clothes to the laundry to be ironed because he didn’t mind wearing a wrinkled shirt. When I asked who bought the furniture in their apartment, he said his wife did, because “She cares more and I could really do without it.” He didn’t need much to eat. Cereal was fine. Seeing a book on parenting on his desk, I asked if he was reading it. He replied that his wife had given him the book to read; he didn’t think one needed to read books like that, Through his reduction of needs, this man created a great void into which his wife stepped with her “greater need” to see him wear an ironed shirt, to furnish their apartment, take his suits to the cleaners, buy his books, and cook his dinner. Many men praised their wives for how organized they were, how competent in planning. The praise seemed genuine but it was also convenient. In the context _of other strategies, like disafl‘iliating from domestic tasks or reducing needs, appreciating the way a wife bears the second shift can be another little way of keeping her doing it. How much a working father actually shares housework and par" enting depends on the interaction between a husband’s gender strat— egy (with all the emotional meanings it carries for him) and the wife’s gender strategy (with all the emotional meanings that holds for her). What he does also, of course, depends on outer circum~ stances as well—such as shift hours or commute time—and the meanings these come to hold for each partner. 203 Though y’manywcouples now when? in sharing, at this point in history few actually do share. A new marriage humor targets this tensiofi between promise and delivery. In Gary Trudeau’s “Doones~ bury” comic strip, a “liberated” father is sitting at his word processor writing a book about raising his child. He types: “Today I wake up with a heavy day of work ahead of me. As Ioannie gets Jeffrey ready for daycare, I ask her if I can be relieved of my usual household responsibilities for the day. Ioannie says, ‘Sure, I’ll make up the five minutes somewhere.’ ’5 But what often tipped the balance between a wife’s gender strat- egy and her husband’s was the debits and credits on their marital economy of gratitude. Ann Myerson, Nina Tanagawa, Carol Alston, and most wives Italked with seemed to feel more gmnfirl to their husbands than their husbands felt toward them. Women’s lower wages, the high rate of divorce, and the cultural legacy of female subordination together created a social climate that made most women feel lucky if their husbands shared “some.” Beneath the cultural “cover—up,” the happy image of the woman with the flying hair, there is a quiet struggle going on in many two-job marriages today. But feeling that change might add yet another strain to their overburdened marriage, feeling already “so lucky,” many women kept cautiously to those strategies which avoid much change in men. one female manager remarked: “It‘s all men at my level in the company and most of them are married to housewives. But even the ones whose wives work seem to have more time at the office than I do.” As women executives at this company often quippcd, “Vi/That I really need is a wife.” In the middle ranks, a quarter of the men were married to house— wives, nearly half were married to working wives, and about a third were single. Among women in the middle ranks, half were part of two—job couples and carried most of the second shift. The other half were single or single parents. Among lower—level clerical work— ers, most were single or single mothers. Being “rich” or “poor” in backstage support probably influences what traits people develop. Men who have risen to the top with great support come to be seen and to actually be “hard driving,” ambitious, and “committed” to their careers. Women who have had little support are vulnerable to the charge of being “uncommitted.” Sometimes, they do become less committed: Nancy Holt. and Nina 'l‘anagawa withdrew their attention to work in order to take care of “everything else.” These women did not lack ambition; unlike Ann Myerson, their work felt very real to them. They did not suffer from what the psychologist M atina Hornet calls a “fear of success,” in her book Women’s l/Viil to Fail. Rather, their “backstage poverty” raised the emotional price of success impossibly high. In an earlier economic era, when men entered industrial life, their wives preserved for themwthrough the home—~31 link to a life they had known before. By “staying back” such. wives cased a difficult transition for the men who were moving into the industrial age. In a sense Nancy Holt is like a peasant new to a factory job in the city; she is part of a larger social trend, doing what others like her are doing. In the nineteenth century, men had women to ease the transition for them but in the twentieth century, no one is easing the transition for women like Nancy Holt. C H A l? T E R 1‘7 81:47,?in into Old Birympkies 07/ Mallory)” _Hi5t0ay Happen? The woman with the flying hair offers a pictm'e oi‘what it should be like to work and raise a family; busy, active, fun. But the female mannequin in the apron, wide-eyed and still, arms folded, peering outside my neighbor’s bay window, a picture of the {alser present mother is often a more real picture of life at home when two~job couples “cut back” at home and diminish their idea about what a child, a marriage, a home really needs. She is my neighbor’s joke but she also symbolizes a certain emotional reality when men don’t share the second shift. i The woman with the flying hair and the mannequin are reminders of two sides of this major ongoing revolution in the role of women. As women have been catapulted into the economy, their pocket— books, their selfvrespect, their notion ofwomanhood. and their daily lives have been transformed. The “motor” of this revolution is the changing economymthe decline in the purchasing power of the male wage, the decline in “male” blueucollar jobs, and the rise in “female” jobs in the growing service sector. A new gender ideology has become a powerful prod, as well, by creating an egalitarian code of honor and identity for men and women that fits the evolving circumstances. But the revolution has influenced women faster than it has in~ fluenced men. The unevenness of this revolution has thus driven a 257 258 THE SECOND SHIFT wedge between such husbands and wives as Evan and Nancy Holt, Nina and Peter Tanagawa, Ray and Anita ludson. Home is far from a “haven in a heartless world,” as Christopher Lasch has noted; home has become the shock absorber of contradictory pressures from the world outside it. The gender revolution is primarily caused by changes in the econ» only, but people feel it in marriage. in a parallel way, economic shitts have been the “motor” of changing relations between blacks and whites. As the number of unskilled jobs declines, as capital moves out of the central cities to suburbs or to cheap labor in Third World countries, blacks and whites are left to compete for the remaining jobs. it is in the back rooms of investment banks, per— sonnel offices, and union halls that the strain between the races might be. said to originate. But it is in the school yard, in the prison, on the street that racial tension is actually felt. Just as American blacks have “absorbed” a higher unemployment rate “for whites,” in the same sense, the growing number of working women have absorbed the contradictory demands of family and work “for men,” by working the extra month a year. if blacks have lowered the unemployment rate for whites, women have reduced the family“ work conflict for men. But unlike most blacks and whites, men and women live together; the female absorption of a male problem becomes part of marriage, and strains it. Although most working mothers l talked with did most of the work of the home, they felt more permission to complain about it than did working women fifty years ago. Many of them wanted to share or wanted to believe they already did. A hundred years ago, American women lacked social permission to ask for a man’s help in “women’s work.” As Gwendolyn Hughes pointed out in 1925, in her book 1M other": in I rzdumjig earlier in the century supermoming wasn’t a “strategy,” it was a normal way of life. Today women feel they are allowed to ask for help at home; but on the other hand, they still have to ask. A hundred years from now men may presume it’s their role to Share. ‘We’re in the middle of a social revolution. The women l studied usually pursued several strategies over time; first a woman would be a supermom, then cut back her hours at home, which would set of? a crisis and lead her either to cut back 25% her hours at work or further limit her work at home. At the time of my first interview, 18 percent of the wives were married to men who shared the second shift. hiost of the rest—52 percent-~were not trying to change the division of labor. They were either su- permoming, cutting back their hours at work, or cutting back at home. They complained, they joked, they sighed fatalistically; they collected a certain moral credit for doing “so much,” but they didift press their husbands to change. Some ofthesc Women didn’t want their husbands to share because they didn’t believe it was right (they were traditionalists, like Carmen Dclacorte) or because they were making up for having surpassed a certain appropriate “power mark.” By doing more at home, those women, like Nina Tanagawa, were “balancing.” Other women in the study wanted their husbands to share (about half were egalitarian in ideology)~~but they didn‘t press for it. Many women cut back what had to be done at home by redefining what the house, the marriage and, sometimes, what the child needs. One woman described a fairly common pattern: “l do my half. I do half of his half, and the rest doesn’t get done." Others cut back their hours or commitment at work, or sought help from relatives or friends, or older children. These women don’t press their hus» bands to help more either. Most would have loved more help, but getting help was second on their c‘wish list” after “want fewer marital tensions.” And other women had other motives for not persuading their husbands to do more. Ann Myerson didn‘t want to ask for more help—she wanted to put her husband’s job first, because she thought he was smarter and had more to contribute to the world. After a period of disenchantment with her marriage, Jessica Stein didn’t want to ask for help because that \V(.)lll(l bring her closer to Seth, and would force them to face the estrangemeni they were tacitly agreeing to ignore. Some women who didn’t urge their husbands to share at home also didn’t “make room” for his hand at home; they played expert with the baby, the dinner, the social schedule. Something in their tone of voice said, “This is my domain.” They edged their husbands out, and then collected credit for “doing it all.” At the time of my first interview, about a third of women were 260 THE SECOND SHIFT in the course of pressing their husbands to do more. But another third of the women I talked to bad at some point already pushed their husbands to share, and didn’t get very far. Some, like Adrienne Sherman and Nancy Holt, tried active renegotiation~~holding long discussions, making lists and schedules, saying they can‘t go on like this. Or they tried passive renegotiationflthey played dumb, got sick, or indirectly induced their husbands to do more at home. For their part, 20 percent of the men felt they should share the responsibility and work at home (egalitarian ideology), and 80 percent did not (traditional or transitional ideology). Men whose wives pressed them to do more often resisted by a strategy of “needs reduction”; they claimed they didn’t need the bed made, didn’t need a cooked meal, or didn’t need a vacation planned. Indeed, some men seemed to covertly compete with their wives over who could care the least about how the house looked, how the meal tasted, what the guests would think. Other men denied the fact they didn’t share by not acknowledging the extra kinds of work their wives did. Some men made alternative offerings to the home. Peter Tan— agawa offered his wife great emotional support for her career instead of more help at home. Seth Stein offered his wife the money and status of his career instead of help at home. Others made furniture, or built additions on the house their wives could have done without. These were strategies of substitution. Some men covertly referred their wives to “all the sacrifices” to their manhood they had already suffered—compared to other men, present and past. They made their wives feel “luckier than other women.” Unconsciously, they made a gift out of not being as pa— triarchal as they torrid be. And men obscured their strategies by explaining that they were not “brought up” to do the work at home. If there is one truth that. emerges from all the others, it is that the. most important injury to women. who work the double day is not the fact they work too long or get too tired. That is only the obvious and tangible cost. The deeper problem such women face is that they can not afford the luxury of unambivalent love for their husbands. Like Nancy Holt, many women carry into their marrige the distasteful and unwieldy burden of resenting their husbands. 261 Like some hazardous waste produced by a harmful system, this powerful resentment is hard to dispose of. When women repress their resentment, many, like Nancy Holt, also pay a certain cost in self—knowledge. The mental tricks that kept Nancy Holt from blowing up at Evan or sinking into depres— sion were also the mental tricks that prevented her from admitting her real feelings and understanding the ultimate causes for them. Her psychological “maintenancc program” a program that kept her comparing herself to other women and not to Evan, readjusting correlations she made. between love and respect, respect and actions, and ten‘tinding herself that she was “lucky” and “equal anyway”——- all these habits of thought smoothed the way for a grand rational- ization. They softened both sides of a strong contradiction-be~ tween her ardent. desire for an equal marriage and all that prevented her from having it. They blinded her to what she really felt about her life. Some women didn’t want their husbands to share the second shift and didn’t resent their not sharing. But they seemed to pay another emotional price a devaluation of themselves or their daughters as females. Ann Myerson managed the home because she wanted to protect her husband’s time so that he could make his “greater contribution” at work. She felt hers was the “less impor— tant” work. Despite herself, she also regretted having daughters, because they too would grow up managing the house in order to protect the greater work contributions of their husbands. However driven, however brilliant, Ann felt, girls could never enjoy the priv~ ilege of smooth, unambivalent devotion to work which in our so ciety is the work that is most highly rewarded. Instead of seeing a problem in the system of rewards or the arrangement between the sexes, Ann felt it was too bad she didn’t have boys who could “cash in” on it. In this Ann articulated a contradiction I believe every woman faces: women end up doing the second shift when the second shift is secondary. The more important cost to women is , not that they work the extra month a year; it is that society devalues the work of the home and sees women as inferior because they do devalued work, 262 THE SECOND SHIFT Deyalued as the work of rearing children is, it is probably one of the most humanly rewarding occupations. In appreciating the toll of living in a stalled revolution, then, we should count as part of that cost the nussing connections between Seth Stein, Evan Holt, and their children. Resentful of Seth’s long absences, his older son sullenly withdrew and at bedtime the younger one dashed-around frantically. Drawing the one out and calming the other down he- came one more hassle at the end of Seth’s long day. He is missing the feelings his children would feel toward him if they didn’t resent his absence; Seth is missing the tangles and the arguments that ultimately remind a parent that they matter to a child. But he is also missing the cuddles, the talks about What holds the clouds up, and why people get sad. Although fathers pay most of this particular emotional cost, in a dillerent way many mothers do too. As the main managers of the second shift, women become the “heaities,” the “time and motion” persons of the family—andwork speed-up. They hurry children through their daily rounds—“Hurry up and eat. . . .” “Hurry and get into your pajamas. . . .”-and thus often become the targets of children’s aggression. Porous NANCY Horas? As I drive from my office at the University of California, Berkeley, across the Oakland Bay bridge to my home in San Francisco, I often compare the couples l have been studying to the students I teach. tho will step into the biography of Nancy Holt? Who will be the new Nina Tanagawa? The Jessica Stein? The Adrienne Sher— man? The Ann hilyerson? And which of the men will be like Art Winfield? Like John Livingston? Like Ray Judson? Will my students eventually rear children like Joey Holt, Alexandra Tanagawa, Victor and Walter Stein, Adam Winfield? Will it be easier for the younger generation in two—job families? Has the turmoil of the 19703 and early 19803 been a temporary phase in preparation for a new kind of marriage in the fiiture? Or Will my students also live in a revo— lution that is stalled.> I wonder about all this as I talk with students in my ofiice at 464 Barrows Hall on the Berkeley campus. Nearly all ofi'ny women students badly want lifelong careers. In this they are typical of students more generally. An American Council of Education survey of 200,000 freshmen at more than 400 campuses in lvlarch 1988 asked students to name their probable career. Less than 1 percent of women answered “full-time. homemaker.m In my office, only a handful confide that “all they want” is to be a l‘ioniemaker, oli‘ering long, hesitant explanations for Why they would conceivably want to stay home, as if these days this choice for a college woman called for a social version of a medical excuse. In a 1985—86 suwey of University of California, Berkeley, so niors, Anne Machnng found that over 80 percent of senior women, thought it was “very important” to have a career. At the same time, 80 percent definitely planned to marry or be in a con’unitted part nership, and another 17 percent hoped to be: in one. They planned to have two or three children at most, and to have them later in life than their mothers did. Most planned to interrupt their careers from one to five years to have the children but they didn’t think this would disadvantage them at work.2 The students I teach fit this description too. When I show my students a picture of the woman with the flying hair, briefcase in one hand, child in the other, they say she is “unreal?” but they want to be just like her. Even for the most exceptional women, the contradictions be tween work and family are very real. And my students know it. Many know it from their mothers) struggles, and sometimes from their divorces. But, faced with a contradiction and a cultural cover- up, they feel afraid. They applaud the new opportunities at work. They are scandalizccl by the inequities that remain. But when it comes to matters at home, a distant,‘yague, distracted look comes into their eyes, and suddenly they become hesitant and inconclusive. They plan to put marriage off. They plan to go slow. If they have a steady boyfriend, they donit talk about how they will share the work at home in the future. That’s “too far ahead.” At the, actual 264 THE SECOND SlilFT problems of holding down a demanding job and raising young children, they don’t dare look. I don’t believe they don’t know the problems. These are intelligent, inquiring women. I think they are avoiding a close look because it scares them. It isn’t just one or two young women who avoid it; there seems to be a collective decision not to look. For all the media attention given the working mother, young women are not asking what major changes we need to make the two—job family work well. if Nancy Holt and many women in this hook reacted against their mothers” frustrations at the life of an unfulfilled housewife, many of my women students today, eighteen to twenty—two, are reacting against their mothers” frustration at being oppressed warkirzfl mot/iris. To many young women, the working mother is the new ideal. But she is also the new cautionary tale. Many young men and women grew up inside busy, strained ovo— job families. Vth i ask them about the advantages ofhaving grown up in a two-job family, they mention the education, the family vacations, the financial needs their parents" wages met. And they generally agree with the student who said: “It’s sure made me self— reliant. I can cook by myself, do my homework without prodding. I wouldn’t he so independent if my mom had been home all the time.” When I ask them about the disadvantages, they sometimes recall a bad memory, like this one: “W hen l was ten, I had to come home and empty the ashtrays and make. the salad for dinner and start my homework in the house alone. I survived, but I hated it.” Or another: “My mother was always on the go, and my dad worked long hours. I don’t feel like I really got to know either of them until I got to college.” When asked to put the advantages and disadvantages together, both men and women felt the advantages won; they want to have two—job families, too, but somehow not in the same way. Beneath their private fear of becoming an oppressed working mother, young women are also anxious about the whole stalled revolution. The old way of being a woman in a patriarchal but stable family system is fading. (The parents of nearly half of my students have divorced.) But a new equal relationship with men at work and at home is not yet in reach. Bracing for the plunge into adulthood, most of these young students are turning away from Carmen Delacorte’s model of womanhood, but not reaching out with any confidence to Adrienne Sherman’s. Most of my women students—at the University of Calv ifornia, the heartland of student revolt in the 1960s~nare wistful for a fifty fifty marriage, but don’t think they’ll get it. Raised as babies in families who struggled over the second shift, they are weary of marital wars. They accept the goals of the revolution but approach them pragmatically, timidly, fatalistically, in the spirit of the “stall.” They are poised to step into the biography of Nancy Holt. Next to the experience of their own working mothers, what most affects their views on marriage is their exposure to divorce. It makes some young women more traditional. As one described: “In her first marriage, my mother really pushed to be equal with my dad. That just led to horrible arguments. In her second marriage, she‘s staying home. She just says, “Yes, dear . . . yes, dear” and things are calmer. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I know I don’t want a marriage like her first but I can’t see myself in a marriage like her second.” Most daughters of divorce don’t want to “get caught” unprepared. As one nineteen-year~old student explained tome: “My mother worked as a frecwlance graphic designer and it was she who took care of my brother and me. She didn’t earn much for her work, so after the divorce, her income plummeted and she got really depressed. Meanwhile my dad got remarried. When I called my dad to tell him how depressed she was, he just said she should get a job.” If a woman lets go of her place at work to care for a family. she can “get caught.” 80 some women may creep cautiously into the biography of Anita Judson, the billing clerk and mother ofthree who kept on working to be prepared “just in case.” What goes for college-educated women and men goes even more, I think, for high school—educated young people. If privileged women openly embrace, the supermom image, other women are forced into it out of necessity, as were many of their mothers before them. The problems middle—class women face are doubled in the working class. Blue—collar women are likely to marry hluocollar men, who are the most vulnerable to economic fluctuations caused by the current crisis in American industry. Lessweducated women 2.66 THE SECOND SHIFT are more likely to defer to their hushands’ jobs; one 1986 national study found that 53 percent of women with no high school edu— cation, in contrast to 25 percent of women college graduates, believe “that it is more important for a wife to support her husband’s career than to have a career herself,”3 Unlike upper—middle-class women, they will nonetheless have to work, and won’t be able to buy them- selves out of strains of the second shift. And how about young men? Are they planning to share. the work at home with working wives? In a 1986 study ofBerkeley seniors, 54 percent of the women and 13 percent of the men expected to he the one who would miss an important meeting at work for a sick child. Sixtypine percent of the women and 38 percent of men expected to share the laundry work equally. Fifty percent ofwomen and 31. percent of the men expected to share cooking.4 A survey by Catalyst found that half of the women plan to put the husbands job first, but ova—'r/Jirds of the men said they planned to put their own job first. ’_ In a 1985 in-depth study of Berkeley seniors, Anne Machung asked undergraduate men if they expected to marry a woman who held a job outside the home. “She can work if she wants,” most answered. V'thn asked if they would be willing to marry a woman who wanted them to do half the housework and child care, one man answered, “Yes, I could always hire someone.” Another an- swered, “It would depend on how much I liked her and how she asked.” A number of them didn’t want “lists.” Among the young as well, women seem to be changing faster than men. A GENDER. STRATEGY FOR THE NATION Brought to America by the tradition of the European Enlighten— merit, the belief in human progress easily fit the open American frontier, the expanding national and international economy, and the movements for racial and gender equality. Like most Americans over at least two centuries, most of the men and women I inter- viewed for this study said they believed “things were getting better.” ix.) CS“ x] They said they believed men “are doing more at home than before.” In small measure, this is true. But the young do not promise to usher in a new era. Corporations have done little to accommodate the needs of working parents, and the government has done little to prod them. The nuclear family is still the overwhelming choice as a setting in which to rear children. Yet we have not invented the outside supports the nuclear family will need to do this job well. Our revolution is in danger of staying stalled. Certainly this is what has occurred in the Soviet Union, the other major industrial society to draw a majority of its childbearing women into the labor force. Since industrialization, Soviet women have worked outside the home and done the lion’s share of the second shift too. “You work?” the Soviet joke goes. “You’re lily erated.” A stalled revolution has been mistaken for the whole rev- olution. And some commentators in the USSR argue that there, too, the extra burden on working mothers is behind the rising rate of divorce.5 As more women enter the labor force, will the divorce rate rise in China? In Japan? In India? In Australia? Cultures differ, but this fundamental problem is the same. Can we do better than this? The answer depends on how we make history happen. lust as individuals have gender strategies, so do governments, corporations, schools, factories, and men’s clubs. How a nation organizes its work force and daycare centers, how its schools train the young, reflects the work and family roles it envisions for each sex. The Reagan government said it was “profamily,” and confused being “profamily” with being against women’s work outside the home. In an age in which over 70 percent of wives and mothers work outside the home, and in which the rate is still climbing, the Reagan administration’s Panel on the Family only oflered as its profaniin policy a package of measures against crime, drugs, and welfare. In the name of “protecting” the family, the Republicans proposed to legalize school prayer and eliminate family planning services. They did nothing to help parents integrate work and family life. And we have to ask whether, when marriages end due to the 268 THE SECOND SHIFT strains of this life, is it'profamily or antifamily to make life in two- job families so very hard? As working women become an interest group, a voting block, and a swing vote in elections, the issue of policies to ease life in two-job families is likely to become a serious issue of public policy in years ahead——ifthey can envision a solution. We really need, as Frank Furstenberg has suggested, a _Marshall Plan for the Family. It would look to other progressive industrial nations for a, model of what could be done. In Sweden, for example, upon the birth of a child, every working couple is entitled to twelve months of paid parental leave, nine months at 90 percent of the person’s salary plus an additional three months at about $300 a month. The mother and father are free to divide this year off be— tween them as they wish. Any working parent of a child under eight has the opportunity to work no more than six hours a day, at six hours’ pay. Parental insurance offers parents money for work time lost to visit a child‘s school or care for a sick child. That’s a “pro— family” policy. An honestly profamily policy in the United States would give tax breaks to companies that encourage “family leave” for new fa- thers, job sharing, part—time work, and flex time._Through com- parable worth, it would pull up wages in “women’s” jobs. It would go beyond half-time work (which makes it sound like a person is only doing “half” of something else that is “whole”) by instituting lower~hour, more flexible “family phases” for all regular jobs filled by parents of young children. The government would give tax credits to developers who build affordable housing near places of work and shopping centers, with nearby meal—preparation facilities, as Dolores Hayden describes in her book Redesignirg the American Dream. It would create warm and creative daycare centers. If the best daycare comes from elderly neighbors, students, grandparents, they could be paid to care for children. Traveling vans for daycare enrichment could roam the neighborhoods as the ice-cream man did in my childhood. In these ways, the American government could create a “safer environment” for the two-job family. It could draw men into chil— dren’s lives, reducethe number of children in “self-care,” and make marriages happier. These reforms could even improve the lives of 269 children whose parents divorce, because research has shown that the more involved fathers are with their children before divorce, the more involved they are with them aficmmrdr. If the government encouraged corporations to consider the longwrange interests of workers and their families, they would save on longorangc costs due to higher incidence of absenteeism, turnover, juvenile delinquency, mental illness, and welfare support for single mothers. These are the real profamily reforms. if they seem “Utopian” today, we should remember that in the past, the eight-hour day, the abolition of child labor, and the vote for women once seemed utopian too. Among top—rated employers listed in The Hundred Bert Companies to l/Vork For in America, many offer country—club mem- bership, first-class air travel, and millionwdollar fitness centers. Only a handful offer job sharing, flex time, or part—time work. Not one provides on—site daycare and only three offer childcare deductions»— Control Data, Polaroid, and Honeywell are exceptions. In his book Mayatrends, John Naisbitt reports that 83 percent of corporate ex- ecutives believed that more men feel the need to share the respon— sibilities of parenting, yet only 9 percent of corporations offer paternity leave. Public strategies are linked to private ones. Economic and cultural trends bear on marital tensions in ways it would be useful for families to understand, and we need to apply an interpretation of marriage that highlights the links between the two. W hen I talked with Nancy Holt about working two jobs and raising a child at this period in history, I talked about “the uneven rate of change,” about the greater difference between her life and her mother‘s than that between Evan’s and his father’s. We discussed the differences between her gender ideology and Evan’s. We explored the cautionary tales that might be holding each version of manhood and womanhood in place. I pointed out her strategies—«a sharing showdown, cutting back at work—and I named Evan’s—resistance. We discussed how Nancy’s resentment at Evan’s refusal to share the second shift might have emerged in how she handled Joey. We explored how the give and take of credit for each partner’s contributions to the second shift created imbalances in their marital economy of gratitude. The questions I asked the Holts are only a start in exploring how family 270 THESECQND SHEET life is situated in a wider circle of influence; such questions begin what for each couple would have to be a long, careful look in the cultural mirror. The happiest two—job marriages I saw were between men and women who did not load the former role of the housewrfe-mother onto the woman, and did not devalue it as one would a bygone “peasant” way of life. ’l‘hey shared that role between them. What couples called “good communication” often meant that they were good at saying thanks for one tiny form or another of taking care of the family. Making it to the school play, helping a child read” cooking dinner in good spirit, remembering the grocery list, taking responsibility for the “upstairs.” These were the Silver and gold of the marital exchange. Up until now, the woman married to the “new man” has been one of the lucky few. But as the government and society shape a new gender strategy, as the young learn from example, many more women and men will be able to enjoy the leisurely bodily rhythms and freer laughter that arise when family life is family life and not a second shift. A F T E is]? 0 133 . Sometime after this. book first appeared, I had to laugh. Once when I was in a hotel hallway at a sociology conference, an eleva~ tor door opened. 7A man unknown to me peered out of the eleva— tor, saw my name tag, fixed me in the eye and blurted out, “I cook!!! But my wife doesn’t agrarian? it. She thinks I cook to control what we cat. You see:7 I like fish but she doesn’t. . F" Sud~ denly the elevator door closed, and that is all I will ever know about this man, his wife and their relative preference for fish. While researching and writing The: Second Shift, I had lElt like a mole under the earth: solitary, focused, ear tuned to tiny sounds underground. After The Second Slag]? appeared. suddenly I was speaking at many gatherings and being approached by a great many people like the man in the elevator. As I arrived at television and radio recording studios on my book tour across the coimtry, often a receptionist would tell me in a lowered voice about the laundry her ex-husband never touched. Leaving studios. l’d some~ times get the opposite story from a listening cameraman: Didn’t you find some women who were lazy slobs? After hearing, during, a taping of the “Phil Donahue Show,” that working mothers work an “extra month a year,” one woman in the front row of the audience jumped to her feet, raised her arms high as in a Baptist revival meeting and shouted, “That’s right?” The wife of a friend left Xeroxed pages from the chapter on Nancy and Evan Holt on their refrigerator, and then on their bed- room pillow. AftCl‘ reading the book) two female colleagues he— came sensitized to abiding rescntments in their own marriages, ...
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