- How do you think about care in your life? How do you feel about it?
- How do you make caregiving decisions?
- What do you aspire to change in your life?
Patterns and themes quickly emerged across three areas: the work of caregiving; women’s and men’s relationship to and experience of care; and the systems around families that intersect with and affect care.
READ: To achieve gender equality, we need to support men as caregivers
The work of caregiving: While care work is universally similar, it’s also nuanced and different in so many ways. It’s childcare and it’s taking care of the aging, but it’s also grocery shopping, getting dinner on the table, drop-offs and pick-ups, doctor appointments, laundry, cleaning, finding summer camps, remembering medications, stretching a budget, and so much more.
Women and men’s relationship to and experience of care: The mothers we spoke to talked about the joy, power, and sense of identity that can come from motherhood, while also sharing how the hidden work of motherhood can leave them feeling unseen and undervalued. We found that men can and want to play a larger role in the home, but often lack the support systems and role models to do so.
The systems around families that intersect with care: Families are doing all of this care work while working one, two or more jobs. We found families overwhelmed and exhausted by the realities of modern life. And we found that change on an individual level isn’t enough as the system—work, community, schools, caregiving facilities for children and older adults--pulls people back to traditional roles in big ways and small. Families feel pressure to figure this all out on their own, as a personal struggle, rarely acknowledging the systemic barriers holding them back.