Couples expecting a baby usually have a pretty good picture in their heads of how much their little bundle of joy is going to change their lives.
182 couples said they anticipated their daily workload to get a lot heavier, estimating an extra four hours a day post-baby.
This is according to the research done by Claire Kamp Dush, Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan and Jill Yavorsky, professors and a doctoral student respectively from the Ohio State University.
The couples in their research were male and female partners who, pre-baby, split the housework equally between them. They were also both employed and were planning to keep their jobs after their child was born.
“These are the couples you would expect to have the most egalitarian relationships,” said Kamp Dush.
The couples also told the researchers that they were also planning to split the workload of child care equally between them.
However, results from the research showed that this was not how it actually went. The researchers made the participants keep a diary to be able to keep track of how much time each of the couples actually allotted for the extra baby workload.
It turns out women spent 15 more hours a week while men spent 10. That’s 2 hours a day for women and only 40 minutes for men per day. Men also cut back their housework by five hours a week while women did not.
“The birth of the child dramatically changed the division of labor in these couples. What was once a relatively even division of household work no longer looked that way,” said Yavorsky.
“The egalitarian relationship they had before the baby was born is essentially gone,” said Kamp Dush.
To gain the lost equality when in came to workload, she suggested that “Women shouldn’t try to manage their partner’s parenting. But men also need to take the initiative and learn child care duties that their own socialization may have neglected.”
The study was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family. Diary entries left more to be desired which required only four diary entries per participant: an entry for 24 hours of activity on one weekday, 24 hours on one weekend, once during the third trimester and another after the birth of the baby.
Source: May 16, 2015. "How Housework Changes After a Kid Is Born". yahoo.com May 7, 2015. "When the baby comes, working couples no longer share housework equally". news.osu.edu