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Moms Do More Cooking, Cleaning And Laundry When There's A Man In The House

woman cleaning holding baby

We all know that moms tend to do more of the household chores than anyone else in the house (not always, but most of the time). We've seen studies that show that stay at home moms do so much work around the house they're worth a salary of $160k per year. Even in households with two parents actively contributing there seems to be a gender expectation that the woman in the relationship does more of the "stereotypical" women's chores than the man despite both thinking they are splitting chores evenly.

A study funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found that married mothers, or mothers who lived with a male partner actually did more cooking, cleaning, and laundry than women who were single mothers or lived without a partner. Not only are married moms doing more chores around the house but they're sleeping less and giving up "me" time to do those chores. The amount of time a married mother and single mother spend caring for their children is almost equal, but there is a disconnect when it comes to chores around the house.

“The idea that a mother does more housework when she has a partner or spouse may sound counterintuitive, but it’s the reality in most American households,” said demographer Linda Jacobsen, vice president of U.S. Programs at Population Reference Bureau (PRB). “What we don’t know is why mothers feel compelled to do more housework when there’s a man in the house.”

Some researchers feel that gender expectations often drive women to feel they should be doing more at the expense of their own leisure time. “Married women may feel that to be a good wife, they must prioritize housework and child care ahead of their own leisure and sleep,” said Joanna Pepin of the University of Texas at Austin, who co-authored the study. “These expectations likely stem from society’s collective assumptions of what it means to be a wife and mother.”

The study, titled Marital Status and Mothers’ Time Use: Childcare, Housework, Leisure, and Sleep found that while married men who were the sole breadwinners in their family spent only 10 minutes on average a day on chores like cooking and cleaning, sole breadwinner mothers spent on average of one hour.  Coauthor Noelle Chesley pointed out the vast difference between the two findings. “When the at-home parent is the mother, there’s a clear expectation that she’ll be in charge of the family’s domestic life,” she said. “That’s not necessarily the case when the at-home parent is the father.”

Most mothers may feel they are doing more of the household chores than their partner, but now they have research to back them up. While most partners try to ensure there is an equal divide of chores and responsibilities, it's clear that isn't always the case, but what's a busy mother to do? If you feel like you're washing the dishes while your partner is sitting on the couch or vacuuming the floors when you could be relaxing, perhaps an adult version of a chore chart can help make the division of labor a bit fairer.

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