Being a stay-at-home parent isn’t easy. With the housework, the meal making, the kid wrangling and the child chauffeuring, the workload of a stay-at-home-mum is nearly double the average hours involved in a full-time job.
But a new study conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies suggests that stay-at-home dads are taking the easy street, spending an estimated 25 hours a week less on household duties than their stay-at-home-mum counterparts.
Do dads hold the secret to getting the duties done in record time? Or are they simply not putting in the same effort as mums? The AIFS weighs in.
The 75-hour work week
New research from the AIFS reveals that there are just 75,000 fathers who stay home and care for their kids full time, compared to 495,000 stay-at-home-mums. That equates to less than one in 20 Australian fathers.
While the role of stay-at-home parent remains relatively similar regardless of who is doing it, the AIFS suggests that dads don’t put in the same level of hours as mums.
In fact, the AIFS found that stay-at-home dads do an average of 51 hours a week of ‘work’ including housework and childcare compared to mums’ total of 75 hours. That’s nearly 25 hours more a week, 100 extra hours every month and … wait for it … 1200 extra hours every year!
What are we spending our time doing?
The study further breaks down just how we are spending our ‘work’ hours while at home.
- 37 hours a week on housework;
- 37 hours a week on childcare;
- 1 hour a week on additional work.
Dads, in comparison, spend:
- 28 hours a week on housework;
- 19 hours a week on childcare;
- 4 hours a week on additional work.
So what’s going on?
Dads doing less? Or simply doing it better?
According to AIFS director Anne Hollonds, one of the reasons for the massive difference between hours on duty is that dads “don’t tend to pick up the full domestic workload to the same extent that stay-at-home mothers traditionally have”.
Another thing to keep in mind is that sometimes, only mum will do, even if dad is the one at home. Breastfeeding and expressing, for example, are reserved for mum, regardless of whether she stays home or goes to work during the day.
Another explanation might be that dads simply get the workload done quicker than mums. Perhaps dads possess the secret to express vacuuming and speedy laundry folding. Maybe dads know a shortcut route to school that save them hours each week waiting in the school pickup line. Or perhaps dads know how to operate those supermarket self-checkouts without always being asked to remove that ‘unexpected item in the baggage area’.
And, if this is the case, then maybe it’s time they pass these secrets on to us mums. Just a thought …
Regardless of whether dads are doing less, or simply doing it better, the bottom line remains the same – tonight, dad is on dinner duty. No questions asked. And, mums, while you have your feet up, have a laugh at this video showing the real reason we’re getting nothing done. Enjoy xo