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New Dads Just Want to Have Fun.

Exactly what are dads doing while moms are taking care of housework or tending to their child? The results will be disappointing for those who expected more gender equity in modern society. A study published in the journal Sex Roles found that, three months after the birth of their first child, on days when couples were not at their jobs, men most often were relaxing while women did housework or childcare. However, when men were taking care of the kids or working around the house, their partners most often were doing the same thing.

One telling statistic: women spent 46 to 49 minutes relaxing while men did child care or housework on their day off, but men spent about 101 minutes in leisure while their partners did some kind of work.

On workdays after the baby was born, the amount of time women and men spent doing housework and child care was more equal than on nonworkdays, although women still did slightly more work, the results showed. However, men made up for it on nonworkdays, when the amount of time they spent in leisure activities more than doubled--from 47 to 101 minutes--between when their partner was pregnant and three months after the birth.

"On workdays, parents are more evenly splitting housework and childcare," notes coauthor Jill Yavorsky. "It's very much 'all hands on deck' but, when there is more time available on the weekend and parents are not so pressed to get everything done, then we see the emergence of gendered patterns and inequality where women do a lot more housework and childcare while he leisures."

On their days off, men were relaxing 46% of the time while their partners did child care. In contrast, women were engaged in leisure 16% of the time when their partners were taking care of their child. Results were similar for housework, where fathers took 35% of the time off while their partner did tasks like cleaning. Women took 19% of the time off when men did housework.

Lead author Claire Dush indicates that these highly educated couples where both parents have jobs would be the ones you would expect to have worked out equitable arrangements for sharing housework and child care. "I was expecting to see a lot more minutes where the couple was doing some kind of housework or childcare together. I suspect the situation may be even less equitable for women who don't have all the advantages of the couples in our sample."

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Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2017
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