I won’t say that I’m startled by this data, but I am pleasantly surprised that BusinessWeek (of all publications) has a report exploring how fathers are spending more time with their families and less at work. Indeed, they cite data that suggests there are plenty of men now who are willing to eschew promotions in return for the ability to have a more flexible schedule…
According to the numbers: in 1977, Moms spent an average of 3.3 hours/workday with their children, while Dads spent 1.8 hours/workday. For more contemporary figures, BusinessWeek breaks men out into Boomer and Gen X fathers, finding that Boomer fathers spend an average of 2.2 hours/workday with their children and Gen X fathers spend an average of 3.4 hours/workday. Quite a change!
Even more amazing, the balance of chores between men and women appears to be evening out too: in 1977, married men spent an average of 1.2 hours on chores during an average workday, while married women spent 3.3 hours. In 2002, by contrast, married men are now spending 1.9 hours/workday on chores while married women are spending 2.7 hours/workday.
Is all this the result of the wonderful labor-saving devices we have nowadays? I doubt it. In fact, I think that one significant change in our culture certainly affects these figures: more women are working than were working in 1977. I’m sure that’s exactly why married women now spend less time on chores. It would also be quite interesting to compare the number of hours slept by the average married couple versus 30 years ago. My gut feeling is that people are adding these additional hours by trimming their workday a bit, but also by simply sleeping less.
What do you think? What’s your personal experience with how much men are or aren’t more involved in parenting in these first few years of the 21st Century?