Study Finds Housework Makes Fathers Happy

by Kathy Jones on  November 7, 2010 at 4:52 PM Lifestyle News
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New research shows that fathers are less stressed when sharing childcare and domestic chores.
 Study Finds Housework Makes Fathers Happy
Study Finds Housework Makes Fathers Happy

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.

Source: ANI

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This is very important work, but I might alter the thesis. To me, the headline should read, “Men with a better work life balance are happier than those without.”

Clearly, if a man is at home enough to be doing more housework and raising his kids, the more time he is away from the office. He is obviously not the 70-hour-work-week-work-a-holic dad who is busting his hump to do what society still tells him he needs to do for his family—earn lots of money. I’m guessing that a lot of those “happier men” have the courage to say to their employers, “I love my job and will do it well, but you need to recognize the challenges I am facing as a working father.”

Therein lies part of the problem. Society and work place culture see women as “working mothers” but we still largely see men as just “workers.” Men have watched as women have been victimized for being put on the “mommy track” and are therefore often reluctant themselves to take advantage of workplace policy which could alleviate the stress of work life imbalance.

What will it take to change? It will take more brave men to wear fatherhood rather than face-time at the office as a badge of honour. It will take more progressive employers who need to recognize that they need to be “father friendly” and not just “family friendly.” And it will take more women advocating for men’s work life balance. That would result in happier employees, higher productivity, better retention and recruitment, more harmony at home and more women breaking through the glass ceiling. In short, it is good for everyone.

I run a company out of Canada called Bettermen Solutions I travel the globe to do men’s work-life audits, corporate workshops and keynotes and show companies how to make the aforementioned improvements by recognizing and dealing with the unique work life balance challenges faced by men.

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