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Time and Money

As I was reading the assigned readings for our family, background and education unit, a specific reading in The Social Construction of Difference and Inequality written by Ore, caught my attention. The reading was called, Families on the Fault Line. As you read this article, you begin to realize the differences that set aside the working class from all others. It is not just the occupations they have, or how much yearly income they make, that sets them so far apart, but also the inside workings of their families. The day to day obligations such as prepairing meals, childcare, shopping, sleeping, working, spending quality time with one another, and household chores, all cause tension. All of these things, along with many more become conflicts for a working class family. Unfortunately, because of their economic status, a working class family does not have the time or the resources to satisfy the needs of themselves, as parents, or the needs of their own children.

Time and money-precious commodities in short supply. These are the twin plagues of family life, stated Rubin on page 254. This is especially true for the working class. Not only are working class families considered poor, but they probably work twice as hard as an upperclass family needs to to survive. Most parents end up working two jobs just to make ends meet. Parents also end up working opposite shifts of one another to avoid the highly expensive rates of childcare. A child is the most important thing to a parent. So imagine how upsetting it is to a parent, who loves their child to the extent that they would do anything for them, to not beable to put them in a safe childcare environment. Most working class parents are not able to do this for their children. One may blame the division of labor as a cause of this. A parent who has the status of working class, cannot get a well enough paying job to support the demanding needs of todays society. They cannot get the benefits that allow them to take a day off if their child is sick. Many parents are terminating from their jobs for missing too much work because of their children. To not be able to hold a steady job, only hinders a person even more when looking for a new occupation. It doesn't seem fair that families who only want the best, are held at such a disadvantage. For the most part these families are hardworking and dedicated. A husband and wife of a working class family, seem to share more gender specific duties than any other class. They do not have the means to hire someone to help with the daily chores, or with the children, so they tend to share the duties equally. How else would they get by? It is so unfortunate, that all the time working class parents spend trying to support their family, takes away any extra time that they may have had to spend with one another.

1. Do you think that the economic trend of the working class will ever change? Why or why not?
2. Poor families struggle greatly with childcare issues, are there any safe support systems currently in place that offer inexpensive child care for these struggling families?
3. Do you think that it is surprising that the gender roles in some working class families are shared? Explain
4. What needs to be done to help a working class family succeed?