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Is Double Burden Draining Your Efficiency

Updated on February 11, 2016

Is Double Burden Draining Your Efficiency


Double burden, double day or second shift describes the work pressure on men and women who have to balance full-time jobs with household responsibilities. The concept of "second shift" was first introduced in Arlie Hochschild's book "The Second Shift: Working Parents and Revolution at Home". Her definition of a second shift describes what happens after a working day. In 2007 researchers at the Cambridge University looked into the average working week, and found that women in full-time employment worked an average of 68 hours while the average working week for a man was 55 hours including commuting and domestic work.

Family models on the basis of division of earning and domestic work:

  1. Complementary-traditional where wife is doing more unpaid work, and husband more paid work.
  2. Complementary-gender reversed, that is, the husband is doing domestic work and wife more paid work.
  3. Women's double burden, wherein, the wife is doing the same amount of more paid and more unpaid work.
  4. Men's double burden, that is, the husband is doing the same amount of more paid and more unpaid work.
  5. Shared roles, wherein, man and wife are doing the same amount of unpaid work.

For couples seeking greater equity in their roles as parents and providers, the "shared roles" model provides the greatest balance.

Family is not an important thing. It's everything.

— Michael J.Fox

Types of double burden

  1. Balancing work with family life: Working moms are paralyzed by a double burden of guilt which makes them anxious about neglecting their children and concerned that motherhood makes them worse employees. Researchers have found that women spend far more time agonizing about their jobs at home and more time worrying about their families at work than men do.
  2. Single parent double burdens: Be that men or women, single parents have to balance work, childcare, and domestic responsibilities. They do not have the option of sharing the workload with anyone. A significant percentage of single fathers are at risk of being fired from their jobs or quit because it becomes too much of a burden for them to balance both work and family.
  3. Married parents double burden: Domestic work is private and outside the cash economy. It is not remunerated, and this causes it to appear something less than real work. According to Arlie Hochschild, while the traditional woman wants to identify with her activities at home, the egalitarian woman wants to identify with the same spheres her husband does. The transitional woman is somewhere in between. Couples facing the double burden of home and work responsibilities suffer feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and marital tension.
  4. Middle-class families double burden: With the women's expanded roles in workforce, middle-class families switch over to the use of substitutes for household work, by using appliances such as vacuum cleaners, microwaves, dishwashers, laundry machines to decrease the workload.

Practical tips to reduce double burden:

  • Learn to prioritize. You need to choose what you actually want from your work and from your family life.
  • Stop feeling guilty about everything.
  • Make time for yourself.
  • Seek for hired help in the house and day-care facilities.

It may be possible with the support of more flexible employment practices and a good deal of advanced planning for both men and women to reduce their double burdens and achieve high-octane careers.

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.

— Desmond Tutu


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    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      It is tough for families where both parents are employed and there just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done. Planning and communication are vital for family life in this scenario to be successful. Extended family can also lend a helping hand and much needed support. Teaching children to fulfill household responsibilities is also a great help.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      3 years ago from sunny Florida

      I so get this ...double burden labeling, if you will.

      I worked full time and then went home to be a full time wife and mother for years and then was a fulltime teacher and went home to be a single mother who had all of what MUST get done at home. My daughter did help with what she could so that was a blessing...

      Well done...Angels are on the way ....g+ shared tweeted



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