Do Uninvolved Dads Make Better Husbands?

bad dad good marriageHere'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?


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