STRONGER TOGETHER: The difference between chores and choices outside of the 9-5

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Last updated: 27/09/2022

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses what we consider work and the choices we make in life.  

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

What do you consider work in your daily life?

For years, there’s been important discussion regarding the inequity of unpaid work between genders, however continuing this conversation in today’s society seems redundant for a few reasons.

Tanya OShea IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Firstly, much of the information and data implicitly relates to heteronormative couples (male/female) which is an outdated concept.

Secondly, conversations about unpaid work suggest household activities cause stress and injustice towards one’s own lifestyle.

Which is interesting in today’s challenging climate when people are struggling to find suitable housing and the cost of living is unmanageable for some.

Shouldn’t we just be grateful to have the opportunity to do unpaid work if we choose?

Perhaps for ‘unpaid’ labours of life we do get paid, it’s just in a different form of currency: pleasure, health, satisfaction or simply having our basic needs met. Maybe by reframing chores as choices we get to make about our life and how we spend our downtime, we can live a less stressful and more empowered and grateful existence.

When the mindset towards household chores, exercise, or personal responsibilities is considered a choice, it can have an invigorating and inspiring impact for you to be an active participant in your own life.

Sometimes things get added to the work ‘to do’ list because they’ve been traditionally considered unpaid work – but this truly depends on you.

I do over 35,000 steps on a weekend doing practical, unpaid activities that are different to my workday schedule, avoiding sitting in front of my computer or the television whenever possible. I enjoy exercising, cooking, walking the dogs, catching up with friends, attending an event and working in the garden, picking up leaves, repotting, harvesting the veggie garden and replanting it. For me, some of these activities are a form of meditation that help to ‘fill my cup’, rather than deplete it.  

Some may consider these unpaid activities as mundane. Personally, I am filled with gratitude that I have a home, a family and a garden that gives me a choice to do these things.

What activities are you grateful for that you don’t get paid to do?  

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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