Documenting the American South Logo
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Louise Cole, March 16, 1995. Interview G-0157. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Sharing household chores and childcare responsibilities

Cole describes how she and her husband balance work and family. When her husband returned to graduate school in 1977, Cole explains that, though she had six children to raise, it was necessary for her to return to work in order to make ends meet. Because both she and her husband worked outside of the home, Cole explains how they shared household and childcare responsibilities.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Louise Cole, March 16, 1995. Interview G-0157. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

well, first of all, I was very busy with six children at home. And my husband, we came here for him to get a master's degree two years in 1977. We had four children then and I had two more in the next 2 1/2 years. And I was typing his papers and very busy, and he was in graduate school and working 4 to midnight shift at night. And that went on for, instead of 2 years it went on for 7 years, because when he got his master's, then he decided to get the PhD, or the Doctor of Public Health. And then when he got the Doctor of Public Health, I had to go back to work part-time at the hospital as a medtech so that we could eat, because when he graduated his only job offer was a postdoc here at the university, which at that time paid, you know, -21,500 and we had a family of 8, so that was not very much in 19 - let's see, he graduated in 1983 and that was not much money back then so I went to work part-time. I worked like 20 hours a week, and then - so we always - from then -
What happened to the kids?
Well, I worked nights so he took care of them.
So there was always a parent at home?
Yes, he was working days and I would work 2 nights a week, so he would bring the kids, he would take care of the kids at night, diaper them and put them in bed and, you know. He, so we equitably shared in the diapering and the getting up at night with the kids. In fact, he gets up with the children now in the morning and gets them off to seminary, because we stay up until usually midnight. And I'm very much like my mother, I have asthma and I need more sleep than he does, and so he does that in the morning, he gets up and takes care of the children and I do the end of the day routine with getting dinner and dishes and clean up, so he doesn't have to do that. And then he does the morning routine, so I don't have to get up and I can sleep and extra hour, hour and a half.