More Dads are spending more time with their children

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?

5 comments on “More Dads are spending more time with their children

  1. As a Gen-X father, I heartily agree with the spirit of those statistics. I’ve always preferred extra time with my family over extra money or promotions, and I’ve gone as far as requesting “vacation raises” instead of pay raises. My son’s first year has gone by quickly enough; I’d hate to miss any more of that precious time we have together.
    It’s an uphill battle sometimes. Employers in the US are looking for workaholics, not well-rounded human beings. Any indication that family will take priority can be interpreted as unwillingness to “get the job done” or even disloyalty. However, that can be overcome when the intention is made plain; my work is important, but primarily as a way of supporting my family.

  2. What’s standing out to me is how the time that either parent spends with their children is still about half of what their children’s teachers spend with them. I’m a year from my teaching certification, and that thought is really sad to me. I’m going to be spending more time with my students than their own parents.. more than my own kids will get with me.

  3. I don’t believe this so just because a teacher talks and teaches children in class that means they spend more time with the children than the parents. Lets put this in perspective. Ok lets say the school period starts at 8:30 and is over at 3:30 that is 7 hours. Is that teacher actually involved with each child for 7 hours. I don’t think so. In elementary school there are how many subjects to study. As I recall each subject was taught to us maybe 10 minutes on average the rest of the time was spent writing on it or reading it in the book. when we are writing or reading about it that is not time spent with the teacher. So I would say that a teacher may spend at the most 2 hours a day interacting with a child. I think just because you are in the class does not really mean you are spending time with them. Interaction is what counts. Now does a teacher actually interact with the students more than their parents is the question.

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