Working mothers work harder than husbands post baby birth

Working mothers work harder than husbands post baby birth
Highlights

Add a baby in a couples lives, and they no longer share equal amount of household chores, claims a new study.

Add a baby in a couples lives, and they no longer share equal amount of household chores, claims a new study.


The study has found that women shoulder a greater amount of workload than men in a high income household when a baby is born, though both thought they shared it equally.

Detailed time diaries that the new mothers and fathers overestimated their increased workload - but by widely varying amounts. Compared to the parents' estimated four hours of extra work each day, the time diaries showed women's workloads increased by two hours a day, while men's total working time each day increased by only about 40 minutes.

Claire Kamp Dush, co-author of the study and associate professor at The Ohio State University, said that women ended up shouldering a lot more of the work that comes with a new baby, even though both men and women thought they added the same amount of additional work. The results were especially surprising because before the baby was born, these couples were sharing household chores relatively equally.

182 couples participated in this study, where they all had higher-than-average levels of education, both spouses had jobs and both spouses, and reported their intention to keep working after the child was born.

Results showed that the couples shared duties equally before the baby was born. Both men and women reported doing about 15 hours of housework per week, as well as 42 to 45 hours of paid work, respectively. Moreover, 95 percent of both men and women agreed during the pregnancy that mothers and fathers should equally share the child care responsibility.

However, after the arrival of their child, men did about 10 hours a week of physical child care - the less fun work like changing diapers and bathing the baby. Meanwhile, women did 15 hours per week.

The more "fun" part of parenting, such as reading to the baby and playing, is called child engagement, and the time diaries showed a much smaller gender gap here. Men spent about four hours per week in child engagement, while women spent about six hours. Men also cut back their housework by 5 hours per week, while women did not reduce their housework to compensate for additional childcare work.

One explanation for women's increased post-parenthood workloads compared to men has been that they are spending less time at their paid jobs. But this study didn't find that. Neither men nor women had significantly decreased the number of hours spent at their paid jobs, the results showed.

The study appears in the Journal of Marriage and Family.
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