Do you and your spouse struggle to balance childcare, household and work responsibilities?

According to the U.S. Census Department, as of 2012, roughly 47 percent of U.S. women age 16 and older worked outside the home. When compared to the roughly 30 million U.S. women who worked outside the home in 1970, by 2012 that number had more than doubled to 74.8 million.

As more women continue to pursue higher educational degrees and employment and career opportunities, there’s been a major shift in societal views about gender roles and duties. Today, according to research from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, married men and women tend to divide housework more equally. Research also indicates, however, that this trend towards equality and housework changes once a child enters the equation.

When examining 182 working parents nine months after welcoming their first child, researchers from Ohio State University found that working moms continued to work comparable “hours in the office and at home” and added 22 hours of childcare time. Comparatively, working dads added an average of 14 childcare hours, but did five less hours of housework.

Researchers point to several reasons for the apparent disparity in the number of hours working moms and dads spend per week doing childcare and house work including societal pressures and the fact that workplaces tend to favor moms when it comes to taking time off to care for a child. Regardless of the reasons, working parents are bound to encounter challenges when attempting to balance childcare, house work and working fulltime.

To avoid stress, arguments and growing resentment; working parents would be wise to engage in open and honest discussions about these types of issues. Every couple and family is different and parents must work to find solutions to these challenges that meet the needs of their families and work obligations.

Source: KGTV, “Mom, research confirms what you suspect: You do more housework than dad,” Abby Johnston, May 8, 2015

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