It’s census time, and, frustrated statistician that I am, I was very excited to see the form on my doorstep last night. Last census, I was 8 months pregnant with C, and we were a couple with two very demanding jobs. This census, we have two children, and one full time and two part time jobs between us. We’ve only moved 100metres down the road, though.
I was most excited, though, when I read the questions. There are new questions, dealing with unpaid work. For the first time, the government is asking people to quantify the hours they spend in unpaid childcare, care of the elderly, and care for the disabled, with a question also asking for your relationship to the person being cared for. That’s a huge step forward! I’m amazed I haven’t seen anything about it before. We are now counting unpaid caring in a serious way, in the most comprehensive survey done of the Australia population.
Now, I just have to figure out how to answer the questions about childcare. Does it count if we are both asleep? I think not. If both E and I are home with the children, should we both count our time as childcare? Or should only one of us at a time?
I figure that what I’ll do is take the 168 hours in a week, subtract about 75 hours of (their) sleep, subtract D’s 20-odd hours of day care, the 3 hours our neighbour looks after them on Tuesdays, and the 5 or so hours that my parents look after D on Fridays. Then maybe I’ll give myself 10 hours, just to salvage my motherhood status. That means E gets 53 hours of childcare a week.
Being primary carer is a pretty tough job!