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Working or Staying at Home? The Controversial Question of Parenting Continues

Update Date: Mar 20, 2013 01:03 PM EDT

The ways of parenting have changed a great deal over the centuries, with fathers playing a more direct role in the household, picking up more domesticated work than ever before. The role reversal of traditional norms between fathers and mothers in regards to housework and chores has somewhat survived the stigmas behind unemployed fathers and employed mothers, with more fathers choosing to stay at home. Despite the slow growing trend of stay-at-home dads, research reveals that mothers in general still manage to pick up more of the slack at home and tend to spend more time with their children.

According to a study done by Pew, modern day men perform domesticated tasks two and a half times more often than the average man in 1965. Although this statistic shows that men are doing more housework, Pew reported that the majority of the grunt work still lies on the women. Mothers spend roughly twice as much time as fathers do with their children. Pew reported that mothers spent 13.5 hours per week and fathers spent 7.3 hours per week with their children in 2011. However, although the majority of fathers might not be neck in neck with mothers, Pew's survey revealed a dramatic shift in attitudes regarding men's perception of working mothers.

The percentage of men who felt that women should stay at home with children under 17 dropped from 54 percent in 2009 to 37 percent. This suggests that men are starting to accept and be more understanding toward mothers who chose to work, and thus men are more willing to do domesticated chores. The researchers did stress that this new statistic could have been influenced by the fact that most households in certain areas cannot survive on one paycheck anymore due to the economy. Regardless, men claim that they are willing to pick up the slack at home.  

The Pew survey also found that both men and women, roughly half in each gender, reported to have difficulty balancing the demands from work and home. Furthermore, 46 percent of men felt that they were not spending enough time with their children, whereas that percentage dropped to 23 for women.

These statistics provide a general understanding of the trend of having two working parents, and how these parents are adjusting to each other's schedules in regards to their children and house chores. The researchers also noted that some men are starting to report that they do the same amount of housework as their wives, who tend to state otherwise. Studying this discrepancy between mothers and fathers could provide some understanding as to how each gender views and understands domesticity. That type of study could possibly reveal findings regarding how men and women feel about the importance of domesticated tasks and how the other parent goes about handling these tasks. 

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