Some good news for those of use who would like to see a more equal division of household tasks:
In dual-earner couples--the dominant family form in the United States--men's handling of household chores and child care has increased steadily since 1977, according to the 2003 National Study of the Changing Workforce, published by the Families and Work Institute, based in New York City. This is true of men both on work days and on non-work days.
Moreover, the time women in these couples spend in such tasks has either decreased or stayed the same over this same period.
For example, in 1977 employed fathers in dual-earner couples with children spent, on average, 1.3 hours per workday on household chores compared to 3.7 for employed mothers. By 2002, the comparable figures were two hours per day for fathers and three for mothers. The "gender gap" in hours declined by more than 70 percent, from 2.4 hours per day in 1977 to one hour a day in 2002.
The researchers speculate that if these trends continue, the housework gap will close entirely.
The nurturing gap has also closed considerably.
In 1977, employed fathers in dual-earner couples allocated 1.9 hours per work day to their children compared to 3.3 hours for employed mothers. By 2003--when the comparable figures for dual-earner couples were 2.7 hours for fathers and 3.5 hours for mothers--the gap had narrowed by 57 percent. If these trends continue, the nurturing gap will shrink further.
There's still work to be reallocated, clearly. But hope is in the air! Not only will the children know their dads much better, but the dads can also enjoy their children! And the moms can set aside a little more money for retirement and a little more time for just relaxing.
My problem is that the snakes don't have hands and the dogs break the dishes, so I'm left with all the household chores. Not fair. Not fair at all.