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08th May 2015

So much for equality! Women take on more housework after baby arrives

Katie Mythen-Lynch

Women take on the lion’s share of the housework after they have children, even if they split the chores evenly with their partner before.

According to a study of 182 new parents, all of whom were dual earners and educated to a high level, both mums and dads agreed that the volume of housework increased dramatically after the baby arrived.

However, despite the fact that both parents continued to work full time after the baby was born, time diaries revealed that women were putting in an extra two hours of housework per day on top of their usual chores, while men were contributing just an extra 40 minutes.

To make matters worse, it could be all our own fault.

According to co-author of the study Professor Claire Kamp Dush of Ohio State University, the heavier workload could be a result of gatekeeping, where mothers subconsciously limit and control their partner’s involvement in their baby’s care.

“These are the couples you would expect to have the most egalitarian relationships,” said Prof Kamp Dush.

“They have the education, the financial resources and the other factors that researchers have believed would lead to equal sharing of responsibilities. But that’s not what we found.”

Here’s a breakdown of the study in numbers: 

  • Before the baby was born, men and women reported doing about 15 hours of housework per week, as well as 42 to 45 hours of paid work, respectively.
  • 95 percent of both men and women agreed during the pregnancy that mothers and fathers should equally share the child care responsibility.
  • That’s not what happened. After the arrival of their child, men did about 10 hours a week of physical child care – changing nappies, bathing the baby. Meanwhile, women did 15 hours per week.
  • The more “fun” part of parenting, such as reading to the baby and playing, is called child engagement. Men spent about four hours per week in child engagement, while women spent about six hours.
  • Men cut back their housework by five hours per week, while women did not reduce their housework to compensate for additional childcare work.

According to our A Slice of Ireland survey, which was carried out across all Maximum Media Network’s sites including, and, 61% don’t get enough time to yourselves… and when you do get some ‘me time’ – wait for it, you do housework before meeting friends, shopping or exercise.