Skip directly to content

See our guest post at the New America Foundation: Equality and Justice for All Families.


Unpaid work - identifying tasks

How much work is it to raise children? The following list can help us think about tasks, time, and priorities.



·      Breastfeeding and/or holding and feeding your baby

·      Meal planning (considering nutrition and cost)

·      Grocery shopping

·      Cooking

·      Serving/helping youngsters eat

·      Cleaning up after meals

Health and safety

·      Scheduling and attending regular medical checkups (including well-child checkups, adult checkups, dental and vision for family members)

·      Nursing/caregiving through crisis or chronic medical conditions

·      Attending to special needs (extra medical or developmental needs)

·      Taking time to monitor, teach and supervise skill-building physical activities (bike riding, skating, climbing, etc.)

·      Encouraging active play (outdoor time, park time)

·      Bathing

·      Diaper-changing


·      Shopping for clothes (retail? sales? consignment? thrift store?)

·      Laundry

Nurturing interactions with child(ren)

·      playing with children

·      emotional connectedness - availability to children throughout the day

·      maintaining routines (bath time, story time, etc.)


·      Learning about child development

·      Seeking resources for children’s interests

·      Providing instruction in special areas – either parent provided or paid instruction (music, dance, gymnastics, etc.)


Other caregiving-related tasks:

·      Transportation (to school, to extracurricular activities)

·      Introducing your children to your spiritual beliefs and/or religious practices; participating in services and related activities

·      Creating/maintaining family rituals, guardian of family history (photos, videos, etc.)

·      Screening the messages from our culture (advertisements, television, internet, etc.)

Caring for physical environment

·      Home (cleaning, maintenance, interior decorating, home improvements)

·      Yard (mowing, yardwork), gardening

·      Car (cleaning, maintenance)

Family finances

·      paying bills, managing charitable contributions

·      financial record keeping, tax returns

·      monitoring/record keeping of medical bills & medical insurance

·      long-term planning (retirement, insurance)

·      money saving strategies: shopping sales, consignment stores; growing food; do-it-yourself home projects; swapping services with friends, neighbors

Other tasks

·      Recreation/travel planning

·      Volunteering (school, community)

·      Special events (holidays, birthdays…)

·      Extended family caregiving responsibilities

·      Caring for pets (food, exercise, grooming, vet care)