After reading Maria Godoy’s blog, “Out Of The Binder, Into The Kitchen: Working Women And Cooking,” I started thinking more about her use of the concept “guilt-trip casserole.” Godoy quotes The New York Times‘ use of the phrase, which means that women feel guilty to make a home-cooked meal and have family dinners due to the social expectation that having family dinners every night is linked to stronger families.
I’m not surprised that women still feel like they must cook dinner for their families even if they have a full-time job (and so does their husband). While I do think that this concept of “guilt-trip casserole” plays a role in why women continue to take this task on, I think something else is at play here. Men are still not comfortable enough with the idea of cooking dinner for their families, even if their wife works full-time as well, and women still feel the need to help them get adjusted.
I’m assuming the fathers we’re talking about consist of fathers from the Baby Boomer generation, Generation X, and Generation Y, because any fathers from the Millennial generation would be around 20 years old. These generations, and most specifically the Baby Boomer generation, grew up a certain way. Most of their mothers worked in the household taking care of the kids, so in one way, it’s not all that uncommon for them to see their spouses as operating in a similar fashion.
Take my dad for example: while I was in high school, my mom worked twice as many hours to pay off my high school tuition, and this included working at night. My dad probably still worked more hours in a day than her, but over the span of a week (and sometimes weekends for my mom), they both put in their 40 hours. Because my mom worked at night, this meant my dad had to pick up her slack and start learning to make dinners for my brother and me. He definitely had a hard time adjusting to the new change, asking me for help most nights. So whenever my mom had a night off or got home early, she would rush home to make dinner for us and make sure everyone was content.
So while I see where mothers might feel guilty in regard to making sure they raised children around the dinner table, I think they also feel guilty not following the social expectation their husbands grew up with. They want to be there for their kids, definitely, but they also want to make sure their husbands are tucked in.