We completely support stay-at-home dads and know how tough their gig can be, but if these fathers are anything like their Australian counterparts, they may be slacking on the job, reports The Guardian.
According to research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), stay-at-home dads actually spent less time taking care of the kids than working moms. The at-home dads dedicated an average of 19 hours to childcare per week, compared to 21 hours for working moms—on top of the 35 hours per week they were already spending at the office.
These dads made up for it in housework, though only slightly. They reported doing 28 hours of housework per week (with housework including everything from running errands to car maintenance), compared to 23 hours for working moms.
When the reverse was true and dads worked (at an average of 51 hours per week), stay-at-home moms spent far more time on childcare and housework: 38 hours on each to dads' 13 hours.
So why aren’t stay-at-home dads doing as much as stay-at-home moms? “For many, becoming a stay-at-home dad is an economic decision, driven by unemployment, under-employment or disability, and not a lifestyle choice to spend more time parenting,” says AIFS director Ann Hollands.
She adds that, “The fathers tend to be older, with older children and they don’t tend to pick up the full domestic workload to the same extent that stay-at-home mothers traditionally have.”
Although the researchers can’t say for sure, the reality may be that gendered roles are coming into play, with men subscribing to the timeworn notion that cooking, cleaning and child-rearing is woman’s work—no matter that she also has a paying job outside the home.