Men greatly exaggerate the amount of time they spend doing housework or helping with the baby.
Ask someone who is a parent of an 18-year-old what life was like when that child was an actual child, and you could get detailed responses.
The time it took to do anything, the time it took away from doing what you love, the time it took away from doing what paid the bills, are all issues parents have dealt with for decades now, and the accuracy of what parents remember may not always be 100 percent 15-18 years later.
Or nine months later, as it turns out.
In a research paper offered to the Council of Contemporary Families symposium on housework, gender and parenthood, researchers at Ohio State University determined that parents overestimate the amount of time they spend doing anything related to parenthood, and male parents clearly overestimate the time they spend parenting, working or cleaning.
Way to go, guys!
The details of the study are these: 182 couples, each with professional careers, were interviewed before they had children and within a year after they had a child. The study participants were asked to keep a detailed time diary, listing how long they spent in terms of hours each day doing different tasks. Before children, they were asked to keep track of the amount of time they spent at work, and the time they spent in housework or house care, and to do so individually.
Following the arrival of the child, the parents were asked to individually keep track again of work time, housework time and parenting time.
“Most modern couples want to share the duties and rewards of work and family equally,’’ the report stated at the beginning. “Before the babies were born, most couples had achieved a balanced division of labor.”
Before the birth, both parents reported working about 45 hours a week, with 15 hours a week each doing housework.
During pregnancy, the couples were interviewed again and there was almost unanimous agreement that the men and women would share duties such as bathing, feeding and dressing the child.
Then the child arrived, and nine months later, the researchers did two things: they conducted interviews with each parent and asked them to estimate the time they spent at task, then they looked at the detailed time logs kept by each individual.
On average, each parent felt they had increased their workload in all areas by about 50 percent, increasing their workload on paid and unpaid (parenting and housework) labor from 60 hours a week to 90 hours a week. The moms believed they spent an average of 27 hours a week doing housework, 28 hours dealing with child care and 35 hours of paid work time. However, according to the detailed time sheets, women only spent 15 hours a week in child care, only 13.5 hours per week on average in housework, and 42 hours per week doing paid work, six hours more than they estimated.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.