"I make lunches" © Ashly Stohl from her project, "What do you do all day?"
“What do you do all day?”
I am a stay at home mom of three kids, two of whom have special needs, and yes, someone said this to me.
And what made me even more angry is that I couldn’t answer the question. I know what I do is important. I know I wake up at 6am and fall asleep around 10pm, and I’m always tired, but I have no idea what I do in the day.
Women in the U.S. around the world perform on average, 4.5 hours of unpaid labor a day, almost twice that of men. You can read about the statistics here, but what can't be represented in a bar graph is how those hours are valued by our society. All that unpaid labor, the labor of raising our children, keeping our homes, doing the things that nobody wants to do, is considered "women's work," and it's not meant as a compliment.
So today, on International Women's Day, let's celebrate the true meaning of Women's Work - unpaid labor, traditionally done by women, that is now done by women, men, and people of all gender identities. It's work that is hard, unforgiving, rarely celebrated. and not appreciated nearly enough. It's work that requires selflessness, patience and love, and if you look in the right places, it's work that returns more love than any paying job ever could.
So today (and every other day,) please extend some love and appreciation to any person who is brave enough and strong enough to do Women's Work.