Monday, November 12, 2007

A Closer Look at Domestic Dynamics

My bad.

Unfortunately, I have to work harder on making sure I back up my opinions with facts and reliable sources rather than just going off on a tangent, thinking that what I'm saying is common knowledge.

Over the weekend, one of my readers said he disagreed with a line from my post, "Gone Daddy Gone" (11/7/07):

"...the final choice should be the woman's, since she bears most of the responsibility of carrying, birthing and rearing the child."

He said he agrees that women are (biologically) on their own when it comes to pregnancy and labor. However, he reminded me that men are much more involved with raising children nowadays, and the generalization of the distant father who doesn't lift a finger is not true.

He's right - you're more likely to find stay-at-home-dads in 2007 than 1987, and more businesses offer paternity leave in addition to maternity leave. In an age where more women are working and pursuing success in their careers, more men are stepping up and recognizing the need to share the work of parenting.

I know gender roles in the household are changing, but it had seemed (to me) that women still do more than men when it comes to raising children. Maybe I was stuck on that generalization? I thought maybe I spoke too soon (and too harshly) about the guys...

I needed some evidence - something more trustworthy than my personal thoughts - and came across a recent study by Tanya Koropeckyj-Cox, a sociologist at the University of Florida. Her study, featured in the November 2007 issue of The Journal of Marriage and Family, shows that women have a more positive view of childlessness than men, "likely because parenting places greater demands on mothers, especially those juggling work and family responsibilities."

Koropeckyj-Cox says, "Although fathers have become more involved in childcare and housework in recent decades, they provide fewer hours and generally less intensive care on average than mothers."

Interesting. Not only are women still carrying more of the child care load, but because of this, they are more accepting of the idea of not having children at all.

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