New research from the Australian Institute of Family Studies says stay-at-home dads spend less time on childcare than their working partners.
According to the study, SAHDs put in 19 hours per week in childcare, while working moms take on 21 hours of childcare.
The study also found that men who stay at home do an average of 28 hours of housework, while their working partners do 23 hours, despite having full-time jobs outside of the home.
And the working moms of the world respond in unison, “No shit, Captain Obvious.”
Perhaps you’re wondering how these numbers could add up?
Here’s a hypothetical rundown:
Mom wakes up, wipes three butts (only one of which is her own), makes breakfast, forces stinky youngest child to take a bath so that the teacher at preschool doesn’t report the family to CPS for neglect. Dad camps out on the toilet with iPad.
Mom finds four missing shoes (only one of which is her own), cleans the Paw Patrol lunchbox so that older child does not go on hunger strike this afternoon, and rushes out the door with travel mug of coffee in hand. Dad is somehow still on the toilet.
Dad drives kids to school. Teachers high-five and admire dad for being such a caring and involved parent. Mom attends stressful meeting wherein she acts as mediator between socially awkward co-workers who need help negotiating the use of company resources. She then begins to make phone calls to clients. Mom keeps a positive disposition for coworkers, clients, and superiors for the next eight hours, lest she be told to “smile.” Meanwhile, she is mentally preparing her shopping list and weekend activities with the children.
Dad transfers clothes from the washing machine to the dryer and gives himself a high five. He then wraps up a rousing game of Call of Duty and begins clearing the breakfast dishes. Mom sneaks into the women’s bathroom to order a present for her MIL for Mother’s Day on her smart phone.
Dad does the school pick-up and gets another round of high-fives from the teachers. Mom calms down a high-maintenance client using the same soothing techniques she did on her son when the Paw Patrol lunchbox was dirty this morning.
Dad chucks children in front of PBS Kids so he can begin preparing dinner.
Mom arrives home and the family has dinner together. (Yes, 4:45 is a realistic dinner time when you have small children.)
Mom helps dad tidy up the dishes while children argue about who had an insignificant plaything first. Mom settles the negotiations over said plaything using the same technique she did at the 8:00am staff meeting.
Mom plays with children. Dad surfs the internet.
Children melt down because it’s time to brush their teeth and they’re “not tired” and mom is “the worst mom ever” for her concern over their basic dental hygiene.
Kids are in bed. Dad is watching Sports Center. Mom is the only one physically able to see 17 stray socks on the floor because apparently the rest of the family suffers from sock-blindness. While she bends down to pick up socks, she notices the floor needs sweeping. While she’s sweeping the floor, she notices the baseboards are filthy and since they are hosting a barbecue this weekend, she needs to deep clean and get some meat to marinate.
Dad offers to give mom a back rub that lasts approximately 30 seconds before turning into a butt rub, then a boob rub, then…you get the idea.
Dad smiles in his most satisfied “Casanova” smile and states, “We should do that more often.”
Mom checks on the sleeping children one more time and heads to bed herself. Tomorrow is Saturday, a day she will spend looking after the children all of their waking hours while simultaneously grocery shopping, cleaning, and teaching her offspring to be empathetic-yet-resolute, forgiving-yet-self-respecting, clever-yet-humble, patient-yet-motivated, inquisitive-yet-well-mannered, etc. Dad will go golfing.
I can assure you this hypothetical schedule is quite realistic. You see, I am a working mom and my husband is a stay-at-home dad. He is a fantastic father, and I wouldn’t want to replace him with any other man. But here’s the thing–by nature, moms just do more than dads. We do. Every moment we spend away from our kids is accompanied by mom guilt. And every moment we are in the same vicinity as our kids, we give to them. Our maternal instinct trumps any “me time” or “self-care” to which our former, childless selves would have felt entitled.
Dads, however, feel no guilt about taking time for themselves. Dad guilt is simply not a thing.
Where working fathers come home and decompress for an hour, working moms walk through the house with children attached to their legs. Where stay-at-home moms cook dinner with little “helpers” touching everything (even though dad is now back from the office and just sitting in the other room), stay-at-home dads quickly check out as soon as their working partners walk through the door.
That’s not to say I’m complaining. In my set-up, my kids get the best of both their mom and their dad. I know that. But I also know that I will always do more than my husband.
And if you’re honest with yourself, you will too.