Do uninvolved dads make better husbands?

Katherine - posted on 01/31/2011 ( 20 moms have responded )

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Here's a new report I'm absolutely not buying. A co-parenting study out of Ohio State University says that the less dad is involved with the work of being a father, the stronger the relationship between mom and dad. (Let's just assume no gay partners, and no stay-at-home dads were included in this study.)

Conversely, the more dad is involved in being a playmate to the kids, the better it is for mom and dad's working relationship. Just don't expect him to change any poopie diapers.

Moms, prepare to be annoyed as hell when you read the findings that basically say, drudgery is your territory.

Results showed that couples had a stronger, more supportive co-parenting relationship when the father spent more time playing with their child. But when the father participated more in caregiving, like preparing meals for the child or giving baths, the couples were more likely to display less supportive and more undermining co-parenting behavior toward each other.

The underlying message is that once you step into mama's job, mama is going to tell you how crappy you are at said job. Say this is true about the majority of women being micro-managers (I will freely admit my control issues with color coordination when my husband dresses our daughter). Shouldn't the conclusion of the study be that women start to relax? Rather than, hey men, you're off the hook. Go watch some sports on TV and leave the grunt work to the women. They'll thank you for it. Because I, for one, would not feel so generous towards a co-parent who only got the fun jobs. So my "working relationship" with my husband might just be compromised, since being a martyr doesn't really put me in a good mood.

Ladies, don't buy into this. You can't be stereotyped as a controlling bitch, any more than your husband should be stereotyped as a do-nothing lazy jerk. The fact of the matter is that a happy co-parenting team figures out what works best for them. And rarely (although I'm sure those people are out there) do the child-rearing jobs get split up by gender between "play" and "work." Everyone needs to pitch in, so no one feels unduly burdened. And everyone should get a turn being the fun parent.

Do you believe traditional gender roles make for happier parents?

Come on really? I'm with the author, not buying it.

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Jenn - posted on 01/31/2011

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I don't know about for anyone else, but for me I find it makes me happy and I look at him with that puppy dog look - like "awww - you're such an awesome Daddy and you're awesome for helping me out." I don't see how him helping would make us less close, and in fact find the opposite.

Lady Heather - posted on 01/31/2011

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Dude, I know I could not be single. Well I guess we all could if we had to. But I give mega kudos to all the single mothers out there because my ass needs the other parent. The husband goes out of town sometimes and I can't stand it. Probably doesn't help that I can't drive and the transit is crappy. I really like having someone to hand the kid to while I go have a bath though. Honestly, I don't spend much time apart from the kid - the odd bath, Saturday morning sleep in, monthly book club meeting... I guess it's more knowing that I can if I need to that makes the difference in my brain.

Pity that not all husbands are that useful. :(

Stifler's - posted on 01/31/2011

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HAAA. I don't beleive in coparenting, only parenting. If you're the father of my child expect to change nappies, do bottles, cuddle, play, read, pat to sleep, and do all the things I do with our child.

[deleted account]

This would not work in my house, even though I am a SAHM! Yes I do the vast majority of the work because I am here and my hubby is at work, but when we are both here he changes nappies, cooks, feeds our son, dresses him, baths him (hubby actually baths our son more than I do - he goes in with daddy), puts him to bed etc etc etc. - WE share the rubbish jobs because WE both became parents together and so neither of us should just get the good stuff!

If my hubby had tried to pull I'll play you do the work with our son my relationship would not have lasted I am nobodies slave and have no intention of becoming one, my hubby made our children he can help look after them!

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Nicole - posted on 01/31/2011

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Both of my kids are in daycare while I am in university classes and my son goes with his dad on weekends. I also trade off babysitting with and get lots of support from friends.

I have lots of time to myself and lots of time with my kids. I am lucky and blessed:)

Stifler's - posted on 01/31/2011

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I feel exactly like that Heather. I don't know how they do it. Then again I don't know how married women put up with useless men that won't even play with the baby and let them go have a shower.

Becky - posted on 01/31/2011

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When my husband doesn't pull his share of the load, I get pissed at him. So I'm pretty sure it doesn't make me think he's a better husband or bring us closer!

Stifler's - posted on 01/31/2011

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It would be way harder for me to be single I think. I just leave the house without asking or saying anything when my husband is home except "i'm going out" and he just knows what to do with our kid.

Nicole - posted on 01/31/2011

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In my experience, women take on most of the responsibilites of the household, whether they work or not. All of the working mothers I know run around all day taking on more than their fair share.

In my own personal experience, I had my first child with my husband. It was hard as hell and somedays I felt like I had two kids.

I had my second child after the divorce and it was ten billion times easier! I was shocked. Being single with two children under 5 should not be easier than being married with one child!

I wish I knew of exceptions but every example I have seen it looks like that. Women take all of the weight and when they finally get sick of it, they move out and become single.

[deleted account]

Traditional gender roles work well in my family....for the most bit....but I would not expect them to work for everyone.

That said, there are responsibilities with our son that fall on my husband, and things I would rather him not even try. He gives our son a bath and helps him brush his teeth in the evenings. You can't really mess bath and teeth brushing up, so there are no qualms about how it's done, but the real reason I delegate those to hubby is that they are fun, and he needs fun time with our son. I get to have fun with him all day, but hubs is usually working. They play for a bit when he gets home, but mostly we play as a family in the evenings, so this is just my little way of supplementing his daddy/son time and getting in a little cleaning in the evening.

We consider our son equally ours--so we try to split parenting as close to 50/50 as possible, but he does get more of the "fun" jobs and I get the bulk of the "crap" jobs because his time with our son is limited. We end up having pretty equal shares of fun time with our son, but because I am with him more, I have more crap time as well as my share of fun time....does that make sense?

Bonnie - posted on 01/31/2011

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They should most certainly help when they can. It takes two to make a baby and the father should be just as much a father as a mother is a mother.

Charlie - posted on 01/31/2011

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WHat a load of shit .

My fiancee and I are equals in everything to do with parenting and we have a great relationship even more so since discovering his amazingly natural leanings towards being a nurturing father , just makes him SOOO much more sexier.

Lady Heather - posted on 01/31/2011

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Wtf? Ummm...no. My husband enjoys bath time with the little one and I'm glad to let him take care of it. He also likes to get up early with her on Saturdays and make her a nice breakfast while I sleep in. Certainly no complaints from me there! HA. I find my husband really likes to do something that makes him feel useful as a parent and since I'm not a wench I let him do it and don't badger him if he doesn't do it my way. I don't think I know better just because I'm the mum.

Bonnie - posted on 01/31/2011

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No I don't believe in traditional gender roles and I don't feel it makes for happier parents. My husband works around 45-50 hours a week on average. When he gets home in the evening, he has to prepare his schedule with appointments for the next day and make phone calls. Sometimes he even has some paperwork, so I don't expect him to come home and just take over and I don't go over to him and say, "you have to do this, this, and this, before the boys go to bed."
Yes, he does try to get an hour with the boys before they go to bed. Some nights he does, some he doesn't. He changes diapers and helps them get into their pjs, sometimes gives them a bath, sometimes does the dishes. He usually puts them to bed if they aren't already asleep by the time he is free.
I usually do all the cooking and most of the cleaning. He takes care of the de-cluttering most of the time because most of the stuff that gets cluttered is his lol.
I believe that as long as there is balance overall with everything that gets done and as long as both parents show respect for the other and show they care about what goes on in eachother's day, that is good enough.

[deleted account]

I saw this and thought hell no, we would have such a strained relationship if he didn't help with the baby. I would go insane and something bad would happen. And we are stronger than ever because we both take time to take care of the baby together and we also take time for just us. We are partners, we work together on everything. Raising our child should be no different.

Shauna - posted on 01/31/2011

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Depends on the couple. I do everything for my child, i do all the cooking, all the cutting of his food, all bottles, all diaper changes *although if needed my husbadn would handle one* i do all the cleaning in the house, besides outside work thats up to my husband. Or if something needs fixed , painted he does it. While im busy making a meal he plays with baby.

I wouldnt have it any other way. Theres been a few times were i said "ok you give baby a bath tonight" since i always do. and i found myself standing there saying"what now" i had no clue what to do with my free time. And i found myself barging into the bathroom demanding i take over b/c i like the way i give baths compared to him.

My husband works two jobs and when he comes home for lunch there is always dinner waiting on the table for him. It was never forcd upon me to be this way... but i like it better. Im kinda old school i guess you could say.

But my husband is actually kinda whipped he does what i tell him to do, but what i tell him is stay out of my way when im cooking/cleaning etc. thats my territory... you go fix a car or mow the lawn.

i wouldnt have it any other way.

[deleted account]

My DH works over 45 hrs a week while I stay home. He helps in the evenings when he can but mostly when he gets home he eats, plays with the girls, interacts with us all in various ways. However, daddy won't do my job and I DON'T want his job. We each have roles and where mine is very in depth because I am home all day. His is more reserved because he is out of the house all day. In that manner anyone can say that my DH is not as "involved" as he should be. However, I have an amazing husband. He helps out with whatever he can around the house and with the kids. He does all the yard work, and keeps the vehicles running. That on top of being a great dad to our kids and working 45+ hrs a week makes him not only an amazing man but a wonderfully "involved" father. No one is going to tell me otherwise either. We have a relationship yes, mostly good but we have had bad too. Oh boy have we had bad. However, we have gotten & are getting through it all. We are stronger for it too. IMHO I believe that people need to stop reading so many statistics about everything and especially their relationships. Every relationship is going to be different because every person IS different. In our home we have a traditional gender role relationship and it works for us. I know that it won't for everyone and that is fine. I believe that every relationship needs to find their own balance and understand that it isn't always perfect, it isn't always going to work, and you WILL be questioning yourself as well as your relationship many times over the years to come. The key is to work through it all and make the best of it. communication and compromise are key ingredients in all things.

Tara - posted on 01/31/2011

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No I don't believe in traditional gender roles, and honestly if this holds any truth at all it is the very fact that women tend to control the maintenance of the home, children, food etc. but that doesn't mean it should be that way!!
I get that it's annoying as hell when Dad steps in and makes chef boyardee for the 10 month old, and then dresses your daughter like a wayward orphan from the 20's and let's your 6 year old go to school with a PEANUT butter sandwich etc. etc. etc.
But really moms just need to lighten up even the playing field, let dad take more control over day to day life, and mom can start to have more fun with the kids!!
My ex was the good time dad, I was the bad one. I made all the hard choices, he let them colour on the walls...

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