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While Moms Do Housework on Weekends, What Do Dads Do? Not Much, Study Finds

While Moms Do Housework on Weekends, What Do Dads Do? Not Much, Study Finds
From TIME - October 10, 2017

Parents of young children may (or may not!) be surprised by a recent study that shows new dads spend more time relaxing than new moms. The study, published in the journal Sex Roles, found that in households in which both parents work, men tend to devote more of their days off to relaxing, compared to women who spend them tending to childcare and housework.

Researchers tracked what couples were doing minute-by-minute on their non-work days, and found that when women were busy with kids or chores, men were often engaged in leisure activities. Men did help out with these tasks, but to a lesser extentand when they did, their wives were generally also doing so as well.

The study included 52 heterosexual couples living in Ohio, most of whom were white and well educated. Lead author Claire Kamp Dush, associate professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University, says she was surprised that even in middle- to upper-class families, the division of housework and childcare was so disproportionate.

I didnt really see that coming, says Kamp Dush, who says she and her husband strive to share household responsibilities as equally as possible. We expected these couples have pretty egalitarian ideals about the way the division of labor should go, but those beliefs really arent being practiced.

The study participants all kept detailed diaries of what they were doing at different times of dayand how long they spent doing certain activitiesboth on a work day and a non-work day. They completed this exercise both before and after their first child was born.

Kamp Dush and her colleagues found that, three months after their babies were born, men spent about 101 minutes relaxing on their days off while their wives did some kind of childcare or housework. Women, on the other hand, logged only half that time46 to 49 minutesin leisure while their husbands had their hands full.

The amount of time women and men spent doing housework and childcare was more equal on work days, although women still got slightly less time to relax. On days off, thoughSaturday and Sundays in many familiestraditional gender inequalities emerged, the authors say: Women continued toiling away while men took the opportunity to kick back.

The husbands in the study werent necessarily doing this deliberately, says Kamp Dush. For future studies, wed like to look at husbands perceptions of how much work hes doing versus how much shes doing, she says. Id like to see if he perceives that hes doing a greater percentage than he really is.

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