Editor’s note: Startland News is exploring a few of the most impactful quotes from speakers at Friday’s TEDxKC event at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
“Break the rules from your parents’ generation. Your father kept an immaculate garage. Your mother made a home-cooked meal every night. But in your family, with two full-time jobs and kids, let it go. Your mother might’ve ordered in too, if she had an iPhone.”
— Cathi Hanauer
With modern marriages often dependent on multiple incomes to support the family, gender role conflicts and resentment are bound to grow — especially when children are in the picture, Cathi Hanauer, author and New York Times “Modern Love” columnist, said.
“No matter how egalitarian a couple you are going in, having children silently rewrites your marriage contract. When the baby is sick, and someone has to stay home from work, you actually have to decide whose work is more important,” she told TEDxKC attendees. “That’s when you see what your marriage is made of.”
Marriage, motherhood and work make for a challenging balance, Hanauer said. Despite longer office hours than before and many jobs demanding round-the-clock attention, most working moms also are pulling a second shift at home.
“Mothers who work full-time still do twice as much housework and childcare as men, though millennial men do score better than their predecessors,” she said.
The solution lies in communication, specifically divvying up responsibilities and valuing one another enough to stick to the plan, Hanauer said.
“Hope starts with this realization: You don’t have to be your mother and your father at once. You do, though, have to be a portion of each if you’re a working mother or are married to one,” she said.
“Here’s what you need to ask yourselves as a couple, ideally before the kids come along. Which portion of each will you each be? And which will you give up? What rules from our parents’ generation are we willing to break? And how can we make it so that everyone feels valued and everyone feels its fair?”