It's Dad's Turn To Do the Dishes

DO YOU plan to have a successful career? Do you plan to have a happy marriage?

Do you plan to have both? If so, you may be in for some trouble. So says Arlie Hochschild, professor of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley and author of Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home. Hochschild contends that students who are convinced they can have it all are "about to walk off a cliff that they don't even know is there."

Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home

by Arlie Hochschild

Viking Penguin

$18.95. 309 pages

That cliff is the "second shift"--housework and child care that husbands and wives must do after their first shift of work at their jobs. Tensions between work at home and job commitments, she writes, can lead to neglected children, marital unhappiness and, ultimately, divorce.

After reviewing extensive surveys of marriages and observing first-hand 15 working couples, Hochschild concludes that the feminist revolution has stalled--leaving mom exhausted and depressed and leaving modern marriage in a state of crisis.

"Women tend to talk more intently about being overtired, sick and emotionally drained," writes Hochschild. "These women talked about sleep the way a hungry person talks about food."

Hochschild argues that until men share the "second shift," the current generation of college students (female and male) will lead unhappy married lives. "In the last 40 years, many women have made a historic shift, into the economy," she writes. "Now it is time for a whole generation of men to make a second historic shift--into work at home."

UNTIL recently, women alone have had to deal with the conflicts between career and family life. Female students fretted about managing children and careers, while males rested comfortably with the knowledge that they could find wives to take care of their homes.

But the Ozzie and Harriet world is disappearing fast. Now men must also face the conflicts between market work and house work. Not only are wives less likely to tolerate an unfair division of domestic labor, but unbalanced marriages are less likely to be fulfilling.

Studies indicate that almost all American marriages impose a disproportionate burden of housework on the wife. Although the labor force participation of mothers with young children has skyrocketed in recent years--and now exceeds 50 percent--men have not adjusted to these trends by sharing housework and child care.

Instead, men married to women with careers do little more housework than those married to housewives. Even studies by conservative economists reveal that working women work longer hours than their husbands, when work at home is included.

But Hochschild makes clear that a loss for the wife isn't necessarily a gain for the husband. Second Shift tells the story of several families in which mothers, fathers and children alike suffer from the unequal division of household labor.