Housework makes fathers happy: Study

Friday, November 5, 2010

LONDON - This may come as good news to working mothers everywhere: Fathers are less stressed when sharing childcare and domestic chores, new research shows.

The study revealed that fathers are happier when they do more of the housework themselves, spend longer with their children and have working partners who are in the office just as long as they are.

Researchers hope the interim findings will prompt employers to re-evaluate myths about work - so that women cease to have their careers blocked by bosses who assume they will be primary carers of children, and men are given more opportunity to change their work-life balance.

“The way we ‘do’ family has changed - not only because mothers are more likely to go out to work but also because today both mothers and fathers want close relationships with children as they are growing up,” the Guardian quoted the lead researcher lead researcher, Caroline Gatrell of the Lancaster University management school, as saying.

Gatrell and her team spoke to more than 1,100 working fathers to find out how they combine work and family life. Their findings reveal that the desire for more family time is widespread, with 82% of full-time working men saying they would like this.

“It is becoming increasingly evident that the expectations that fathers have of the way and amount they are involved directly with their children is altering. Fathers want to spend more time with their children and are doing more of the direct care for them,” she added.

The team also found evidence that social attitudes towards childcare are in a period of profound change: fewer fathers than mothers, for example, believe that it is a mother’s job to look after children.

Gatrell added that, even though there is an “equalling up” in the domestic sphere, women still do most of the domestic work and childcare, partly because fathers are “hitting some limits” in the time they have for work and family. (ANI)

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