A 2011 Time Magazine cover story titled “Chore Wars” highlighted the struggle that parents face in working full- time, raising children, and maintaining a household. The historic division of labor in which men go off to work and women take care of children and home is no longer the most common model of the American family, and there is increasing pressure on men to do a greater share of child care and housework.
Scholars suggest that this reflects the need for greater paternal involvement at home stemming primarily from mothers’ increased labor force participation. According to a 2015 EY global study, Millen- nials (78%) are almost twice as likely to have a spouse/ partner working full-time than Boomers (47%). The Bu- reau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2013 both parents were employed in 59.1% of all married couple families with a child under 18 years old.
Time use data indicate that men have nearly tripled their time spent providing primary childcare (the amount of time when childcare is their primary activity) over the last few decades (Wang and Bianchi, 2009). Although women continue to spend more hours providing childcare than men do, fathers spent about 2.5 hours in primary child- care activities per week from 1965 to 1985, and that num- ber had grown to nearly 7 hours a week by 2000.
In 2013, the Pew Research Center identified a similar increase in the number of hours that fathers spend with their children. They reported that when you combine child care, housework and paid work time, fathers dedicate approximately the same number of total hours as mothers do in contributing to their family’s well-being, but mothers still spend approximately two times as many hours on childcare and housework as fathers do.
A 2015 study done by Yavorsy, Dush and Schoppe-Sullivan, using time diary data from 182 couples who par- ticipated in the New Parents Project, found that 95% of both men and women who were about to have their first child agreed 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” such as chang- ing diapers and bathing the baby - while women spent 15 hours per week engaged in those activities. Men spent about 4 hours and women about 6 hours per week in the more “fun” part of parenting, which included activi- ties such as reading to the baby and playing.
A 2015 Families and Work Institute study of same-sex and different-sex couples indicates that men in same-sex couples have significantly higher satisfaction with the division of household and childcare responsibilities.As these tasks are not able to be divided solely on the basis of traditional gender roles, more conversations occur about how the responsibilities are fulfilled. In both same-sex and different-sex couples, those who have conversations about household responsibilities have a higher satisfaction with the division of labor (Families and Work Institute, 2015).