While New Moms Cook and Clean, New Dads Play

From Drugs.com - October 12, 2017

While New Moms Cook and Clean, New Dads Play

THURSDAY, Oct. 12, 2017 -- Here's news that may be familiar to many American women -- young Dads are not taking on their fair share of housework and child care, especially on weekends.

New research shows that, on their days off, men are most often found relaxing while women do household chores or look after their new infant. That's according to lead researcher Claire Kamp Dush, associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University.

In the study of 52 working couples, men spent about 101 minutes kicking back while their wives took on household responsibilities during days both had off.

By comparison, women only had about 49 minutes of relaxation while their husbands performed chores.

"There was time where both of them were doing child care and housework at the same time, but there was also a lot of time where she was doing some kind of work and he was doing leisure," Kamp Dush said. "Men were much more likely to have time like that than women."

The results show that household responsibilities still are being broken down along lines that leave women shouldering much more of the family burden, said Curtis Reisinger, a psychologist with Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y.

"Both males and females are continuing in their 'specialized' behaviors in their non-workdays," said Reisinger, who was not part of the study. "Males continue their 'boys will be boys' leisure behaviors on weekends as they traditionally have. Women continue their traditional 'homemaker' role during their discretionary time."

For the study, researchers asked dual-earner couples in central Ohio who were expecting their first child to fill out a minute-by-minute time diary detailing how they spent their day.

The men and women both filled out a diary twice, once on a workday and again on a day off, during the third trimester of pregnancy.

The couples then repeated the process about three months after the baby's birth, to see if having an infant caused any shifts in behavior.

The amount of time men and women spent on housework and child care was more equal on workdays after the baby's birth, although women still did slightly more work, the researchers found.

"They are doing some things right, because at least on the days that they are working there's a pretty even split. They are usually sharing tasks," said Natasha Quadlin, an assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State University. She was not part of the research team.

But on days off, a huge gap appeared between husbands and wives:

It's likely men are more protective of their time off thanks to the expectations under which they were raised, Reisinger said.

"In our society, men grew up with an entitlement that they get to play on the weekends. This is not a norm for females," Reisinger said. "Consequently, men may resist the loss of leisure time more vehemently than women. Women do not have to give up such leisure time since they never had it to begin with."

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