This, (‘Now, Dad Feels as Stressed as Mom’) from The New York Times has very similar themes to that piece from the Sydney Morning Herald that I just linked to here a while back about the angry dads – essentially that men are being more squeezed by their work-family balance than ever before and probably dipping out on some acknowledgement for that too – and yet, somehow the NYT piece manages to be far less inflammatory than that SMH one was. Like, just because men are hurting doesn’t mean that it is women’s fault.
Also, I quite like the way the gender division of family responsibilities was unpacked in the NYT piece – their explanation for why the burden feels so lopsided to women – “the psychological responsibility”. A huuuge part of the problem.
Then again, some contributions may be unrecognized by the other partner. For instance, a father may prepare school lunches half the time, so he thinks he’s sharing that chore. But he doesn’t factor in the time his wife spent shopping for the ingredients, planning healthy, appetizing menus and emptying and cleaning the lunchboxes every day.
“Women remain psychologically responsible, and that’s a burden,” said Dr. Galinsky. “That psychological responsibility adds to the sense of feeling like you’re doing more, even though it may be somewhat invisible.”
For his part, a father may spend time fixing a tricycle, playing video games or putting away outdoor toys – time that his wife doesn’t count when she’s mentally keeping tabs.
“Women consistently underestimate how much their husbands do,” said Stephanie Coontz, a marriage historian and author of “A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s,” to be published next year.
“Women don’t necessarily give his contribution the same value as theirs,” she added. “They don’t always recognize that what he does with the kids is a form of care, too.”
By the way, speaking of psychological responsibility, if I die can someone I know please check that my partner buys our kids Christmas and birthday presents? Doting though he is as a father he is yet to be the purchaser of a single one of their gifts.