Moms Often Work While Dads Relax, Study Finds

By Marion Renault
The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A new study from Ohio State University reveals that on workdays, parents took an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to dividing household duties. But on days off, gender stereotypes emerged, as women took on more housework and child care while the father enjoyed leisure time.

The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

Chris Reed and his wife, Sonya, do their best to divide parenting equally.

The Westerville couple, both of whom work full time, rotate who gets their 1-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter awake and dressed in the morning.

Chris always drives the children to day care. In the evening, Sonya picks them up while he gets supper started at home. With their firstborn, Chris said he and his wife bathed and put the baby to sleep together.

“We don’t have any codified system for it,” he said. “We don’t really talk about it much at all. I see a job needs to get done and I do it. Same with her.”

But new research from Ohio State University suggests that the Reeds’ family dynamic might not be the norm.

The study, published online this month in the journal Sex Roles, showed that even in highly educated couples where both partners have full-time jobs, moms and dads don’t split housework or child care evenly.

“I was not surprised as a parent,” said Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, a human-sciences professor involved in the published paper. “It absolutely goes on in my home. I’m a whirling dervish. I have a hard time relaxing. I’ve always got to be doing something.”

For the study, researchers analyzed how 52 couples from the Columbus area spent their time both before and after the birth of their first child.

They discovered that on workdays, parents took an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to dividing household duties. But on days off, gender stereotypes emerged, as women took on more housework and child care while the father enjoyed leisure time.

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