You’ve probably heard a lot of complaints about dads over the past few years. We fathers are not pulling our weight around the house. Poor Mom is stuck working a “second shift,” doing more than her share of household chores even after a full day at the office. In fact, even “good dads” aren’t so good after all, and don’t deserve all the praise that is apparently heaped on them whenever they are seen in public within 50 feet of their kids.
In honor of Father’s Day, allow me to dig into the data on how parents spend their time, and to bring to light a side of it that few seem willing to discuss. It’s a side that makes dads look . . . good.
My core points are these: Among married couples living together with kids, if anything, it’s dads who do more work in total—adding up paid work, housework, child care, and even shopping. Moms do work more in some specific circumstances, but the data acquit fathers as a group of the slacking charges so frequently leveled against them. Further, the biggest complaint that is actually consistent with the numbers—that moms and dads do different blends of home work and paid work—is not necessarily a problem at all, and to insist otherwise is to devalue parents’ own preferences.