I recently came across this interview on the Internet. Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, talks about how she and her husband split the housework and childcare duties 50/50. (Check out the interview here) Wow! Even the title of the article calls this the ‘impossible.’ I found it a bit troublesome, however, as I listened to her talk about her life, and give advice to others. I sure didn’t feel like I lived in the same world that she does.
First, kudos to Sheryl for telling young women that the most important decision they’ll ever make in their entire life is the decision about who they choose as a life partner. It’s great advice for women who want to have a career and a family. Personally, if you don’t find a great guy like Sheryl did, then forget the 50/50 split when it comes to housework and childcare. At the very least, know ahead of time if you’re getting a guy who expects you to do it all.
Second, when I compare my life to Sheryl’s, which I find myself inclined to do if I’m going to follow her advice, I have to shake my myself back to reality, and remember that I don’t live in Sheryl’s world… although I’d like to. I don’t have the resources available to me when it comes to household and family management, that Sheryl does.
I don’t have a nanny. I don’t have a housekeeper. I don’t have family nearby that can pitch in. I do have a dishwasher. I do have to get my kids to school EVERY day, not majority of days as Sheryl talks about. She didn’t mention who picks the kids up from school… I wonder if she has them in an after-school-program and then she gets them by 6:00pm. Somehow, I doubt it.
It’s great news that Sheryl and Dave can split the work, but again, how much of a family workload are they splitting? With additional household helpers, they aren’t splitting a FULL workload, are they? When I think about my husband and I splitting the full workload as we would have to, I’m not sure he’d be as accommodating as Sheryl’s husband is.
In Sheryl’s interview, she repeats that things “need to change.” I wholeheartedly agree with her, but I shudder to think that the things she says need changing, are societal in nature. It’s great to say that it has to change, but WHO, dear Sheryl, will move that mountain? I don’t have the resources to change the nature of society, but perhaps you do. That would be awesome!