We feel a little guilty dissing Dad so soon after Father’s Day. But a new survey of more than 1,200 mothers by ForbesWoman and the pregnancy website TheBump.com reveals that most of them resent their partners because they handle far less than their fair share of the housework and child care.
Despite being married or living with a partner, most mothers say they feel like single moms. No one called to solicit my opinion on the matter, but I might have given a similar response.
It’s not that I don’t love or appreciate my husband, but like the other mothers interviewed, I feel responsible for the bulk of our domestic workload. He does the dishes and packs the kids’ lunches; I cook and tidy and process endless loads of dirty clothes, get the kids off to school and pick them up, plan their after-school activities and our family’s social life. But here’s where I differ from the women surveyed: I’d happily turn over the meal planning and piles of soiled laundry to my hubby; apparently, they wouldn’t.
Many women complain, but they’re also remiss to cede control. Two of three women surveyed said the inequitable balance of parenting powers makes them resent their partners, yet juggling all the domestic duties feels like something they’re obligated to do.
“It’s literally ingrained in most of us to want to be Super Moms, and that feeling is so often compounded in working moms, who feel the added guilt of being away from their children for a number of hours each day to begin with,” Carley Roney, editor-in-chief of TheBump.com, told ForbesWoman. “When they have the chance to be a mommy, to give up any control can be quite painful.”
The survey revealed that 92% of working moms and 89% of their stay-at-home (SAHM) sisters report feeling overwhelmed by the demands of work, maintaining a household and parenting, prompting more than 60% to say they feel like they’re piloting the parenting plane solo.
Whether a woman worked professionally or stayed home to take care of the kids made no difference in how the mothers perceived their responsibility for domestic duties.
Both working and SAHM mothers said they are mostly in charge when it comes to laundry, shopping, cooking and cleaning and bathing, feeding, dressing and entertaining children.
It’s not just their perception. Research from the nonprofit Families and Work Institute shows that in 2008, fathers spent three hours a day on workdays with their kids under 13 — an hour more they did in 1977, but still short of the 3.8 hours that mothers spent with their kids.
Of the 1,259 women surveyed, 91% were married and 9% had a significant other with whom they lived. Working moms accounted for 68% of the respondants (54% worked full-time); the remaining 32% identified themselves as SAHMs.
Discipline was one area in which moms didn’t feel quite so resentful toward their partners. Interestingly, teaching kids right from wrong and meting out consequences is shared equally between mothers and fathers.