Domestic chores are good for dad


Mothers do most of the childcare and dads shirk it. Do you believe this?

This is one of those myths that just won’t die, but it’s not an accurate picture of men’s attitudes, says the latest research from Caroline Gatrell of the Lancaster University management school, quoted in the Guardian.

According to the study, which polled more than 1100 working fathers, 82% of working fathers would like more family time.

Says the study: ‘Fathers who do more housework are less stressed than those who do a smaller amount’ and perhaps rather surprisingly, ‘fathers whose partners work full-time have a better sense of wellbeing than those whose partners work part-time.’

The very act of sharing the loving care of family and home seems to have a stress-relieving effect on these men.

Why do the myths perpetuate themselves even in the face of a generation of fathers who are clearly keener to step up and be equal parents when it comes to day to day care? Well, it seems that the changes are slow in coming, and, according to Gatrell, women still do most of this type of work.

This may be partly because men struggle to negotiate flexible working arrangements, even more than women do. A working woman sometimes feels judged if she rushes off to take her child to the dentist - a man is even less likely to feel comfortable doing so.

The research also showed that mothers are more likely to believe that childcare is the mother’s job than fathers are. Are some women their own worst enemies when it comes to tapping in to men’s desire to be more involved? We all know a mom who fusses and criticises so much every time her partner touches the child that he withdraws out of sheer frustration.

But we all also know that guy who thinks he’s doing everyone a favour when he cooks a meal once a week, and expects praise when he occasionally ‘helps out’ with the kids.

This research seems to support the logical conclusion that all of us would benefit from more equitable sharing of the work of keeping a home and family together. How far do we still have to go to get there?

Who does the chores in your home? Do men benefit from being more involved in childcare?

Read more by Adele Hamilton

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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