Moms Should Handle Diaper Duty While Dads Handle Playtime-- Is This Study For Real?



I have to admit when I first read about this study, where results show that happier kids came from families where moms did diaper duty and dads gave piggy back rides, I was seeing red. Just what so many dads do not need--some supposed research to back them up when asked to change a diaper or feed the baby. (Actually, though, no diapers were used in this study as it focused on families with 4 year olds.)

What does this mean, I wondered exactly? Moms should be the care-givers while dads stick to being the 'fun' parents?


Well, what it doesn't mean is that fathers should not be involved or share in any household/ child-care duties (any dads out there reading this, wipe away that smirk, ok?) But parents need to find a way that works for them. Maybe like where fathers help out without being asked? Or where fathers help out without grumbling or whining, perhaps? Just maybe this would cut down on the resentment moms feel?

Just saying.

The study, which was done at Ohio State University, showed that couples had a stronger, more supportive co-parenting relationship when the father spent more time playing with their child. But when the father participated more in caregiving, like preparing meals for the child or giving baths, the couples were more likely to display less supportive and more undermining co-parenting behavior toward each other.

After the I re-read the article, I could see some of the points being made. Moms get resentful and so do dads.  We may not like to ask, and they may not like to be asked. Moms may want things done their way, while dads will probably have their own spin on tacking a chore. So yea, conflict and tension can certainly be problems.

 I admit I am a controlling type mommy Not controlling in the sense that I monitor and control everything my kids do all day long, not like a bad mommy (I don't think, anyway.) No, I mean controlling in the sense that I do like to do things my way. I will wince and squirm if I think the hubby is doing washing the boys' hair wrong in the bath, for example (not so much shampoo, honey--no, you will get that in their eyes that way....things like that I will do.)

Or when it comes to bedtime, I have my routine. My routine. Yep, I want help, but I guess I want it on my terms.

So I guess I can understand how after all there can be conflict when sharing all the responsibilities. But then again, I will find myself getting resentful if I feel like I am the only one doing the 'bad guy' stuff, plus the cooking and cleaning, while the hubby plays and gets to be the 'good guy' with our kids.

So what do we do?

 Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, co-author of the study and associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University,  says every family has to find what works for them. But it is important to remember that co-parenting does not necessarily mean that all chores are divided equally either.

I guess for us, what works best is that my husband helps me out when I ask him to, and I realize that by enlisting his help, I must relinquish control. And if I choose to do things by myself, I realize it is also my choice and so I should not get resentful. For his part, he could do more without being asked.

Controlling, yes that is me. But it is not all that bad. He ends up getting more time to watch TV, play with kids, read the newspaper, etc. simply because I would rather do stuff myself that needs to get done. So in the end, we are probably both more content with the way things run in our family than I realized. I needed to recognize that I can't really be resentful if I choose to do things myself. And if I want more help, I have to be willing to let go of the issue of 'wanting things done my way.'

How do you share parenting and childcare duties in your family? Is it working out okay for you?

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