Division of Household Labor May Not Be As Equal As Parents Think

As a modern mama, you probably expect (or at the very least hope) that your partner spends as much time on household chores and various other duties as you do. But new research suggests that the division of household labor grows unequal once the couple enters parenthood.

Researchers at the Ohio State University studied 182 opposite-sex couples before and after having their first child. During the "before" interviews, couples were able to accurately measure how many hours of housework and paid work they were doing— and men and women spent approximately the same amount of time on each duty.

Unfortunately, that didn't hold true once they became parents. The couples were reevaluated when their babies were 9 months old. Once child care was added in, each partner reported performing approximately 90 hours of total work (that includes paid work, household chores, and childcare) in each week. And while that was an overstimation—both parents actually worked less than that—it turns out that the new dads overestimated their workload more than the new moms, and actually did less. Men reported doing 35 hours of housework and 15 hours of child care, but were actually only doing 9 hours of housework and 10 hours of child care. Women reported doing 27 hours of housework and 28 hours of child care—but in reality were doing 13.5 hours of housework and devoting 15.5 hours to child care.

Typically, with the new addition of child care, women's workload increases by 21 hours while men's increases by 13, according to the report.

To combat this eight hour discrepancy, researchers suggest confronting any inequalities in household labor before routines are established and become harder to break.

Going back to work after baby presents unique challenges. Working moms offer their best tips.

Image: Parents with newborn via Shutterstock

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