According to the Time Use Survey of the American labour department, married moms who work full-time spend an average of 83% of their time caring for their kids, whereas fathers working full-time spend just 52 minutes on their kids per day, and only 55% of those fathers spent that amount of time on a regular basis.
When it comes to housework, married men who work full time contribute 14 minutes a day on housework, while women who also work full time spend around 52 minutes on housework.
Now, although the interpretation of these results seems quite obvious, revealing what most mothers have suspected for a very long time, that fathers are lazy. However, other interesting arguments can be made to counter this interpretation, namely that controlling mothers reinforce a father’s withdrawal. But I will leave you to be the judge of that.
Recently a debate ensued when New York Times’ writer KJ Dell’ Antonia and Times scribe Bruce Feiler raised the question of why moms know more detail about their childrens’ lives than dads. They were of the opinion that mothers should back off a little and allow fathers to do things their way. Dad’s way may not replicate mom’s way of doing things, but that does not say that dad’s way is wrong.
But do you fear that backing off would leave your child standing alone on the sidewalk after school for hours, or that he feeds your child those hidden nuts in the cereal they are allergic to? And if you manage to let go for a day and let dad run things, do you anyway get bothered with a hundred calls from your husband asking stuff like ‘Where do you keep the band aids?’, etc.
Take a step back and objectively evaluate your unique situation. Are you taking tasks away from your husband because ‘you can do it so much better’ or is he just plain lazy? Are you scaring your husband away from his responsibilities? It might be helpful to ask a third and fourth unbiased party what they observe.
After you’ve dealt with the root cause of the problem, take practical action – allocate specific tasks or times evenly between the two of you and keep to it. This will protect you from suffering under his laziness, or him being scared off and missing out on his child’s life. It will also protect you from burnout.