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Tue, Mar 26, 2013
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Dads who do the dishes, hang out with kids may have happier marriages

A new US study finds that the best way for parents to tackle the daily chores is simple: do them together, all while spending quality time with the kids.

"We found that it didn't matter who did what, but how satisfied people were with the division of labour," says Brigham Young University professor and lead researcher Erin Holmes.

"We found that when wives are doing work together with their husbands, they are more satisfied with the division of labour."

A research team from University of Missouri and Utah State University studied how 160 couples handled housework and child-rearing duties, to see what contributed to the quality of the marriage.

Interestingly, the most significant factor was whether or not dads spent time with their children.

"For women, dad having a good relationship with the kids means that dad and mom are probably going to have a better relationship," Holmes says. "Something as simple as reading a book with your children every night and talking with them about their day can really go a long way," adds study co-author Adam Galovan.

Previous research by Holmes shows that both husbands and wives dramatically increase their household tasks during the transition to parenthood.

Typically dads do twice as much housework after the first baby arrives, but moms do about five times more housework than before.

That division of labour could cause some friction in the relationship, but Holmes advises that couples could merge their to-do lists, whether it's dishes, laundry or bedtime stories. And dads should be aware that when they strengthen bonds with their kids, everyone wins, he adds.

In a separate study, researchers from the University of British Columbia found that fathers who do household chores and have egalitarian views about gender have daughters with higher career ambitions than less egalitarian fathers do.

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