When will men stop shirking their share of the housework? That was the question a recent New York Times article asked, and the answer it gave was, if it happens it will be some time between 75 years from now and never. According to the author, Dr. Darcy Lockman:
The amount of child care men performed rose throughout the 1980s and ’90s, but then began to level off without ever reaching parity. Mothers still shoulder 65 percent of child-care work.
The rest of the article explored why this inequity still exists, even among “progressive couples…who thought [they] had made a prenatal commitment to equal parenting.”
Interestingly, the article puts the blame on innate male and female differences: men are supposedly more comfortable than women with “getting away with something.” So why do men do less than women? Dr. Lockman thinks at least part of it is because they don’t feel guilty about shirking while women do.
FEE.org’s Jon Miltimore points out another possibility: maybe men do less child care and work inside the home because they are busying putting in more hours outside the home. According to the Pew Research Center, women do more inside the home – 32 hours, compared to men’s 18 – but dads average more hours of work overall. When child care, housework, and paid work is all added up, dads spend 61 hours each week working, while moms average 57. It turns out that moms and dads don’t split any of the work exactly 50/50.
The same Pew data showed that dads in 1965 used to spend just 2.5 hours a week caring for their kids. By 2016 that had increased to 8 hours, and we can be thankful for the change. Nothing in marriage and parenting is ever going to be 50/50 because God made men and women with different roles, interests, abilities and weaknesses too. Then He told us to pair up so we could compliment – not duplicate – one another. Christians can echo the French with a rousing “Vive la différence!” but we should never forget that our kids need not only their mom but their dad too.