In the U.S., time allocation trends in marriages have changed markedly over the last 50 years. Specifically, the idea that married with children entails dad doing anything but the dishes has faded into TVLand viewing. For example, in 2010, among married couples where both are employed full-time outside home, women averaged 1.1 hours of childcare a day. Men were 17 minutes behind. That’s an improvement (over 35 years) of 300% for the guys. But that’s not the real story I think. Research shows that as women moved into the workplace during the same period, they kept a lot of child care duties. But not housework. No. Men picked up the slack big time.
Ellen Galinsky (Families and Work Institute) has conducted research into the “new dad.” And yes, they are feeling pressured by the new expectation of good at work, good at fatherhood.
On the other hand, working women, given their increasing commitment to kid-culture, are feeling more dissatisfaction than they did 30 years ago according to UCLA’s Susan Bianchi. The upshot is dads have these developing issues: when women come back to work after the baby, there is a modified expectation of performance. But no such compensation was felt by new fathers. Ergo: for men, conflicts rain down between work responsibilities and fatherly responsibilities, between his wife’s expectations and what he can deliver, and between work aspirations and the parental ideal.
What drives the perception of women and men here? An interesting point of difference between working parents: over the years, the genders report a transition in the meaning of “free time.” In 1975 its meaning to both implied reduced feelings of being rushed. But 20 years later that meaning had changed for women, who increasingly blended leisure time with child care. Men on the other hand report that they believe care giving ought to be equal but believe it happens only 30% of the time. The solution to these perceived inequities: “take their feet slightly off the gas pedal of their careers when their children are young.”
That is of course all well and good. The problem is, that careers are built on pedal to metal at the beginning of things.
Now, as I observe what is going on around me in my ripening years, I see not this average stuff in the stats, but a huge variety of behavior among parents. Parents of my age tend to belong to the “dad=primary breadwinner — mom=primary homemaker” camp. This seems in fact to still be a kind of local Church ideal, set in concrete to some degree by the Proclamation on the Family. But I have no idea how this works outside the Mormon Corridor. So my question to you is, how do you see the division of labor working out around you, and especially among your Mormon acquaintances? You can volunteer your own situation if you wish. Have at it.
 In fact, women engaged in full-time employment outside the home increased their time with the kids and that time morphed into time spent in cultural pursuits (you know, ballet lessons, etc.). That implies the men participated in the effort too. For most of the stats and quotes here, see Time (August 8, 2011).
 See her May 2010 report published by the Institute.
 I.e., they believe their wives aren’t cutting the mustard here.