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Study uncovers how couples unevenly split time for childcare


A new study may produce sneers or elicit guffaws from the males who are happily married with young kids, expecting a baby, or have friends and family members with a new addition to the family. Based on a poll of 52 dual-earning couples from the Columbus area who were having their first child, moms tend to do greater amount of childcare and housework while fathers enjoyed more leisure time.

That is one of the takeaways of the article “What Are Men Doing while Women Perform Extra Unpaid Labor? Leisure and Specialization at the Transitions to Parenthood” published in the journal Sex Roles. Lead author Claire Kamp Dush undertook the study with Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, a professor of human sciences at Ohio State, and Jill Yavorsky, now an assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

It was the first-of-its-kind study that sought to uncover what men were doing as their female partners devoted additional time for childcare and housework. The research study gathered views of U.S. working class couples who were mostly highly educated and white, using time diary data.


The study uncovered the emergence of gendered patterns and inequality where women do a lot more housework and childcare while their life partners leisure, The Ohio State University reported. The research revealed that while parents who held jobs tended to more evenly split routine housework and childcare tasks on workdays, the situation was different during non-workdays.

During weekends, fathers were found to be most often relaxing, engaging in leisure 47 percent and 35 percent of the time while mothers performed added house chores and childcare. When fathers helped out with taking care of tots and home-related tasks, moms spent time relaxing a mere 16 percent to 19 percent only, the research found. The timeframe for the study findings was around three months following the birth of the first child.

Various factors may account for why women tend to be pressed to get lots of work done at home, even when fathers willingly lend a hand. In Asian societies with dual-earning couples who subscribe to traditional gender roles, childcare is considered the mom’s primary responsibility. Many Asian working couples also rely on nannies, helpers, and extended family members to help out.

Nonetheless, a mother’s personalized touch is considered vital, while a father’s hands-on approach to child rearing is well appreciated. In some instances, traditional gender roles are rejected. In the book, “The Book of Dads – Essays on the Joys, Perils, and Humiliations of Fatherhood,” a father shared that seeing his son’s face everyday made him opt for a “new career” as a suburban house husband and unpublished writer.

While his wife went off to work, he would stay home, take care of their child, and run the house. The whole thing made him fully appreciate what his own mom once did for him. Raising kids, he noted, is hard work, the hours are long, and the parent is always on call. Such views drive home the point that greater relaxation time – for both moms and dads – is well-deserved.


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About the author

Judy Cordova

Judy is a UP Journalism graduate. Her writing stints include work for the Office of the Press Secretary-Malacanan, St. Luke’s Medical Center, BusinessWorld, ABC-5, and International Business Times Australia. She loves writing about science & tech, movies, business, and other topics under the sun. Aside from the fact that she has loads of awesomeness, she also believes that “if there’s a will, there’s a way,” with God’s help.
Address: Manila, NCR

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