Mothers Still Do Most of the Child Care

Article excerpt

Even in couples most likely to believe in sharing parenting responsibilities, mothers still bear significantly more of the child care load, reveals a study in Family Relations.

For dual-earner couples, the mothers' additional parenting burden starts early, when their first child is less than a year old. When their children are nine months old, mothers spend nearly 70% of their time on an average workday (when they are not working or sleeping) on some type of child care, compared to less than 50% of time for fathers. "Although the mothers and fathers had similar work constraints, the mothers still invested significantly more time in parenting," indicates researcher Letitia Kotila, lead author of the study.

The results are somewhat surprising to the researchers because the couples in this study are middle-class and dual earners--just the type of people that previous research suggests would be most open to equal sharing of parenting duties.

"Both parents may think they should divide child care responsibilities equally, but mothers still feel a special pressure to show they are being the best parent they can be," says Sarah Sullivan, coauthor of the study. …