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When moms out-earn their husbands, they gain more housework, study says

Leeda.the.Paladin

Well-Known Member
In 2013, when Betty Choi was pregnant with her first child, she made three times as much money as her husband, who, like her, was also a doctor.

At the time, Choi worked two jobs — as an attending physician and a medical writer. Her husband was working an intense schedule during his fellowship years, she said, often logging 100-hour weeks.

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But while Choi greatly out-earned her husband, she also did more of the housework and child care for about three years, she said.

“There weren’t enough hands,” said Choi, now 38 and living outside Santa Barbara, Calif. For a while, the couple had a part-time nanny, but balancing two careers, first-time parenthood and maintaining a home was difficult, Choi said. She remembers doing the cooking and cleaning, and sometimes not seeing her husband in the morning or after work.


That unequal distribution of domestic labor falls into a pattern documented in a recent analysispublished in the journal Work, Employment and Society. New mothers take on more housework than their husbands — and even more so when the woman makes more money than him, according to the article by Joanna Syrda, a professor at the U.K.-based University of Bath School of Management.

“We see these top female earners as compensating in doing more housework,” Syrda said, “not when women out-earn their husbands but when mothers out-earn fathers. So parenthood seems to have that traditionalizing effect.”
Syrda’s study used research from the Institute of Family Studies and examined the relationship between spousal income and division of housework from more than 6,000 dual-income, heterosexual married couples between 1999 and 2017.
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Women with children reduced housework from 18 to 14 hours a week as they went from earning zero to half of the household income. But after passing her husband’s salary, a woman’s home tasks increased to nearly 16 hours a week, the analysis found. In contrast, a man’s housework ranged from six to eight hours a week when he was the primary breadwinner but then declined as his wife out-earned him.

Syrda posited that women out-earning men bucks traditional gender stereotypes, so women do more housework to compensate and men do less. That hypothesis corresponds with her other research on couples’ income and male psychological distress.

“Men have very high stress levels when they are the only breadwinner, understandably, and lowest when their wife brings in around 40 percent of the household income,” she said. “Because, importantly, it is less than half.


The findings also correspond with other studies that found women with unemployed husbands still did considerably more housework than their husbands. But this research specifically looked at heterosexual couples with children.
Perspective: Covid-19 has made housework more visible, but it still isn’t valued
While counterintuitive to some, these findings did not surprise economist Misty L. Heggeness, who has also conducted research on dual-income households and the distribution of domestic work.
“Not only are societal gender norms stronger around parenthood, biologically women end up spending disproportionate time with young kids due to birth, breastfeeding and the bond that develops out of those activities,” she said. This translates into many tasks — changing diapers, putting children down for naps, cooking, taking care of appointments — falling disproportionately on women, she added


That’s where Choi found herself logging more hours than her husband, she said. One of their two children has food allergies, so cooking and preparing food became more time-consuming. She also said she became the default “on call” parent in case something happened at school.
The couple talked through how to more evenly split tasks, which was made easier when her husband’s fellowship ended and his work transitioned to more-manageable hours, Choi said.

These days her husband, who now earns more than her, does all of the cooking on the weekends, does “tons of laundry” and helps get the kids ready for school, because his day now starts later, she added. During the pandemic, even though he also worked most weekends, he took charge of the kids when he could so Choi, now an author, could meet her book deadline.
give him a lot of credit,” Choi said. “He loves being involved, and we have learned to communicate our needs.”
Historically, U.S. women have taken on more responsibilities at home because they have not been able to work outside the home or have worked fewer hours and earned less, because of limited access to higher-paying jobs. But since the 1970s, even as women’s participation in the labor force and salaries have risen, men have still not taken on an equitable share of housework. During the pandemic, this was laid bare as millions of women dropped out of the workforce amid remote schooling and a lack of child care.
Biology, social constructs and persisting traditional perceptions regarding gender can all play a role, experts say. Research has shown that women earning more than their husbands can put stress on a marriage (increasing the likelihood of divorce by 50 percent) and prompt partners to lie about their incomes.


Like Choi, Sarah Tuttle, an astrophysicist and assistant professor at the University of Washington, and her husband have alternated being the higher-earning spouse. In graduate school, they had similar salaries. But in her field, post-docs made more than those in her husband’s.
“Earlier in our relationship, I absolutely took on many more of the roles. When he did stuff, I’d be like, ‘Oh, I hate how you do this’ … all of those stereotypes,” she said. “Then we worked through a bunch of it.”
There were also structural biases to fight, Tuttle said. Throughout parenthood — Tuttle, 44, is a mother of two — others have assumed she would be the point of contact for school, activities and appointments. Just recently, her husband tried to make a doctor’s appointment for their son and the office instead called her, Tuttle said

Now, her husband is about to take a job at a large tech company, and his salary will be larger than hers. But he often cooks dinner, because he works from home, and he does the laundry, Tuttle said.
“It worked out the way it worked out because we really intentionally had those conversations,” added Tuttle.
That kind of communication and re-centering has been key to the balance in her marriage, she said, especially after a stressful period during the pandemic. Tuttle said that as they had to manage remote school, their careers and their home, they initially retreated into traditional roles, with her taking on the organizational and emotional part of their family’s work.


Heggeness, the economic researcher, said that “there is literally no reason why men cannot engage in household chores equally to women, especially when children arrive. It just takes more assertive engagement from men to take the lead on certain tasks.”
Choi acknowledged that despite her husband being a willing partner, it also takes constant communication — from both sides.
“You have to voice your needs,” she said, adding with a laugh, “I’ve learned to be more compassionate in my delivery.”
 

Kitamita

Well-Known Member
:censored: :censored: :censored:

Throw all these raggedy :censored: away- I’m not even surprised. I’m slowly become a misandrist on the daily.
Exactly! I am not surprised by the article but it could not be me. We will be getting a nanny/housekeeper/chef or some form of help. I will not lose my mind trying to be a superwoman. The status quo is not me on the struggle bus so you can succeed ... After seeing Prince Harry with Meghan... I am going to need him to have that same energy. I will go 100 for you if you do the same.
 

naturalgyrl5199

Well-Known Member
This deserves a frank convo because men and women and couples break up and break down needlessly.

Exactly! I am not surprised by the article but it could not be me. We will be getting a nanny/housekeeper/chef or some form of help. I will not lose my mind trying to be a superwoman. The status quo is not me on the struggle bus so you can succeed ... After seeing Prince Harry with Meghan... I am going to need him to have that same energy. I will go 100 for you if you do the same.
Definitely demand it in word and deed on day 1.
 
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kupenda

Well-Known Member
I’m very interested in the quote that says men who are the primary breadwinners are the most stressed. That’s wild to me, what with the way they talk about how it’s their job etc.

I’m also disappointed that the woman in the article said she has to tell her husband she needs help around the house. What do men offer again?
 

madamdot

Well-Known Member
So here is what I will say - having children can put women at a real disadvantage across the board. It is one of the most vulnerable points in a women’s life - physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and financially. A lot of women see real negative changes in their husband once they are pregnant. Abusive men ramp up abuse at this time because now they think they have the woman trapped.
This is why I advise women getting married not to get pregnant immediately if possible. I know it’s not always possible.

Before I got pregnant our household duties were close to 50/50. I would even say my husband did more. He did not shy away from housework and is pretty Type A.

When our son was born I noticed a real shift. It was like I was now Momager. I hated it. My husband still did a lot around the house but he stepped back with the baby. Don’t get me wrong, he did all diaper changes etc. But there was a shift because he assumed I knew more about the baby and deferred to me.

I sat him down and explained that I didn’t know more than him. It’s just that society says I should and I am more likely to Google or join a mom groups to learn. So all the questions he had, I had too. So he also needed to put in the work to figure stuff out. Incompetency or ignorance would not work.

We were married 10 years by the time our first was born and it was still very difficult finding that balance. He is probably the lead for most things kids related now. He is completely able to do everything for the children including caring for their hair. The style may not be the neatest but he know how to wash, condition, detangle and moisturize.

But we still struggle against societal norms. It’s insidious. Even per-Covid the kids school would reach out to me even though I was downtown (a 30 minutes commute) and my husband was at home (a 3 block walk).
 

Everything Zen

Well-Known Member
I just have a stepdaughter but for me it’s a struggle with meal planning. She and her dad look at me like I have seven heads on my shoulders when I ask what we’re going to have for dinner. If I don’t plan the meals they start digging through the freezer for something to thaw that night at 8 pm. Then they don’t read the instructions and we have nasty barely edible food. I finally put my foot down and got Home Chef meals and the stepdaughter has stepped up and done a few of them surprisingly well but make her put together a meal on her own and I walked out of the office this afternoon to find frozen spinach ricotta ravioli (which I bought of course bc they would never) and “potatoes” thawing. Those potatoes were bags of garlic knots rolls- none of which you thaw before cooking. It’s really upsetting because they’re quick to wrap their mouths around anything I cook. Just lazy and trifling.
 

ScorpioBeauty09

Well-Known Member
So here is what I will say - having children can put women at a real disadvantage across the board. It is one of the most vulnerable points in a women’s life - physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and financially. A lot of women see real negative changes in their husband once they are pregnant. Abusive men ramp up abuse at this time because now they think they have the woman trapped.
This is why I advise women getting married not to get pregnant immediately if possible. I know it’s not always possible.

Before I got pregnant our household duties were close to 50/50. I would even say my husband did more. He did not shy away from housework and is pretty Type A.

When our son was born I noticed a real shift. It was like I was now Momager. I hated it. My husband still did a lot around the house but he stepped back with the baby. Don’t get me wrong, he did all diaper changes etc. But there was a shift because he assumed I knew more about the baby and deferred to me.


I sat him down and explained that I didn’t know more than him. It’s just that society says I should and I am more likely to Google or join a mom groups to learn. So all the questions he had, I had too. So he also needed to put in the work to figure stuff out. Incompetency or ignorance would not work.

We were married 10 years by the time our first was born and it was still very difficult finding that balance. He is probably the lead for most things kids related now. He is completely able to do everything for the children including caring for their hair. The style may not be the neatest but he know how to wash, condition, detangle and moisturize.

But we still struggle against societal norms. It’s insidious. Even per-Covid the kids school would reach out to me even though I was downtown (a 30 minutes commute) and my husband was at home (a 3 block walk).
This is exactly what I fear will happen when DH and I have children. :look: A lot because of my own anxiety and watching my mom do all the housework/childrearing and becoming resentful over time.

DH came from a similar arrangement and wants to be a hands-on dad so he can be closer to our children than his father was with him and his siblings. But I know I could easily end up doing most of the housework/childrearing if I don't speak up. DH is aware of my fears so we're going to lay everything out before we start trying.
 

Everything Zen

Well-Known Member
I'm sorry @Everything Zen. This killed me, "I walked out of the office this afternoon to find frozen spinach ricotta ravioli (which I bought of course bc they would never) and “potatoes” thawing. Those potatoes were bags of garlic knots rolls- none of which you thaw before cooking."
It would be funny if it wasn’t my life. I just finished work, fussed the child out the kitchen and made dinner myself. I require good food to thrive. :cry:
 

Everything Zen

Well-Known Member
This man ain’t fooling me- he done already shown his hand with these here pets. And they know it because they stay up under me because I’m the stable one that always has their food, water, treats on point and lets the dog out on time and gives her walks He takes better care of the house plants. My womb is a fossil.
 

free2bme

Well-Known Member
After I had kids, I felt I got a bait and switch. Damn near everything became my responsibility. It started with maternity leave because I was home all the time and my mom came to help me for 2 months. Between my mom and me, hubby felt everything was covered. After my mom left, I hired a fulltime nanny so it continued. It was like his mentality was the women got it handled. I also exclusively breastfed my kids so he used to act like he wanted to do more but I had baby feeding on lock. (There is more to taking care of a baby than feeding!!!)

My kids are now 16 and 14. Once they got to middle school, around 5th and 3rd grade I willfully began pulling back so he handles most the activities and planning for the kids. He monitors the school calender, researches and pays for camps etc. My daughter started music lessons at 3, I made sure he was the primary parent for that. My daughter is a piano and viola prodigy her Dad has handled all of that from jump.
It took a lot of letting go to get over the resentment I had in the kids early childhood years.
 

Evolving78

Well-Known Member
This is exactly what I fear will happen when DH and I have children. :look: A lot because of my own anxiety and watching my mom do all the housework/childrearing and becoming resentful over time.

DH came from a similar arrangement and wants to be a hands-on dad so he can be closer to our children than his father was with him and his siblings. But I know I could easily end up doing most of the housework/childrearing if I don't speak up. DH is aware of my fears so we're going to lay everything out before we start trying.
And if you have strong motherly/momma bear instincts, you will naturally try to take over or become critical when he doesn’t do something you feel is the appropriate way. You have to learn when to step back and let him and the child figure it out, as well to step in and intervene.
 

Everything Zen

Well-Known Member
^^^^ YASS LET THEM FALL ON THEIR FACE!!!! :look: unless the fur babies might suffer.

Let me tell y’all this one time when I was leaving for work. It was at our old tiny condo where the landlord was trash. (I would never do such a thing at my current residence) He took off because she was spending time with us for spring break. She wasn’t used to seeing people actually get up and go to work and had lots of questions but that’s a whole ‘nother topic. :look: Anywhoo- he turned the water on in the kitchen sink and went to go sit down at the dining room table with her. Now any woman’s spider senses are going to fire knowing that sink will overflow if you don’t pay attention. These two are too busy playing around to notice. Water starts overflowing the countertop and spilling onto the floor there is now a small lake in the kitchen heading for the dining room. Still sitting at the table… I saw all of it. :look: Y’all know I didn’t say a thing and left for work?
 

madamdot

Well-Known Member
This is exactly what I fear will happen when DH and I have children. :look: A lot because of my own anxiety and watching my mom do all the housework/childrearing and becoming resentful over time.

DH came from a similar arrangement and wants to be a hands-on dad so he can be closer to our children than his father was with him and his siblings. But I know I could easily end up doing most of the housework/childrearing if I don't speak up. DH is aware of my fears so we're going to lay everything out before we start trying.

You have to be firm and not everything will be 50/50. You also have to just let some things go. He is not going to be perfect doing things for the first time but don’t let him get away with incompetence. I think this where a lot of women fail.

I always have to do the pre-planning stuff with the kids like signing them up for activities etc. if I am unable to do it I will straight up tell DH that this is on my mind and it’s stressing me out so please do it. He doesn’t like to see me stressed.

He will always take over after that. So he takes the kids to all activities etc.

I have a demanding job so I often think about how involved he is (I left him with both kids to go on a retreat by myself) and how it’s still hard.
I can’t imagine what it’s like for women who don’t have useful partners.
 

Everything Zen

Well-Known Member
Guess who has a follow up appointment for the orthodontist today at 1:30 pm? Guess who doesn’t show any signs of remembering even though it’s on her calendar? Guess who ain’t saying NOTHING and Guess who might have a jacked up grill and will pay any missed appointment fees out of her little money? (she still don’t have a bank account) but that’s another story :yep:

She’ll be 18 going into her Sr. year in September.

When I tell y’all I’m free!….




Update: She actually remembered. I’m so proud. :cry3:
 
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Everything Zen

Well-Known Member
You have to be firm and not everything will be 50/50. You also have to just let some things go. He is not going to be perfect doing things for the first time but don’t let him get away with incompetence. I think this where a lot of women fail.

I always have to do the pre-planning stuff with the kids like signing them up for activities etc. if I am unable to do it I will straight up tell DH that this is on my mind and it’s stressing me out so please do it. He doesn’t like to see me stressed.

He will always take over after that. So he takes the kids to all activities etc.

I have a demanding job so I often think about how involved he is (I left him with both kids to go on a retreat by myself) and how it’s still hard.
I can’t imagine what it’s like for women who don’t have useful partners.[/B]

My mom set herself up to fail like this and now complains all the time that my father doesn’t do anything. So now the expectation is that I will step in as the only child in their golden years and I straight refuse to enable the dysfunction and now she’s mad. I remind her of what granny said: “How you start is how you finish.”
 

LiftedUp

Well-Known Member
When I got married I tried being "superwife" because that's what I saw growing up, plus MIL is a SAHM so I assumed that that was expected of me. DH was the opposite, he told me that he's annoyed by the time I spent cooking and cleaning and that I needed to get someone to do it. FF after having children, I agreed to hire a cleaning lady and we purchase dinner (with enough for lunch the next day) a couple nights per week and we have a babysitter on call. We're both happier. I get more time to relax and he gets more time to relax with me. I have a pretty demanding job so it's worth it for me.
 

LiftedUp

Well-Known Member
I will straight up tell DH that this is on my mind and it’s stressing me out so please do it. He doesn’t like to see me stressed.
This was us. I hate cleaning so I'm an angry cleaner and though I do not despise cooking, I cook traditional Caribbean meals which takes a bit of time and lots of ingredients which has DH's head spinning every time he sees me cooking.
 

naturalgyrl5199

Well-Known Member
This is exactly what I fear will happen when DH and I have children. :look: A lot because of my own anxiety and watching my mom do all the housework/childrearing and becoming resentful over time.

DH came from a similar arrangement and wants to be a hands-on dad so he can be closer to our children than his father was with him and his siblings. But I know I could easily end up doing most of the housework/childrearing if I don't speak up. DH is aware of my fears so we're going to lay everything out before we start trying.
I think what happens, cause it happened to me after baby #2. With baby #1 she was a preemie so we were all hands on deck. No issues.
The 2nd baby was full term, so I noticed too late DH stepped back. I am partly responsible bc she was my 1st take right home baby and I wanted to be all in. I was overbearing with everything. I should have let DH get more involved but he stepped back out of respect and frustration. Looking back, I definitely would have been better mentally just giving him things to do sooner than later. When his college buddy wanted to zoom with us for advice a few months ago with their first baby, DH piped up and told her to be specific about what she wants her hubby to do. That's when I knew. It was me...

My mistake with #2 was not pumping enough during the early days. Had I just dedicated myself to pumping he could have helped more with the nights. Instead, he did keep her with him in the guest room so I can get uninterrupted sleep for a nice 3-5 hr chunk, and he attended to our 4 YO when she woke up occasionally, but he had to bring her to me for boob. She would have been perfectly fine with bottles that early in the game. But I had pumped a freezer full for the preemie (baby #1) so I was over pumping altogether. Long story short, men will be fine if you can pull yourself away and give them things to do. Snuggle duty, diaper changes, sing to them and rock to sleep, night time bottles, etc. and--most importantly CHORES. I did eventually put her on bottles occasionally by week 3 so we were out on dates for 4-5 hours. Enough for a movie, a bite to eat before needing to pump. Also enough for me to go to the spa or salon. So it tends to be more us than their refusal. When I reminded him at how he was such a good father he was all in and did whatever I told him. Most men are willing. We mama bears DO have to consciously and intentionally pull back. Cause I have a way I like for things to be done and once I showed him how I liked it, it got better.
 

ScorpioBeauty09

Well-Known Member
I think what happens, cause it happened to me after baby #2. With baby #1 she was a preemie so we were all hands on deck. No issues.
The 2nd baby was full term, so I noticed too late DH stepped back. I am partly responsible bc she was my 1st take right home baby and I wanted to be all in. I was overbearing with everything. I should have let DH get more involved but he stepped back out of respect and frustration. Looking back, I definitely would have been better mentally just giving him things to do sooner than later. When his college buddy wanted to zoom with us for advice a few months ago with their first baby, DH piped up and told her to be specific about what she wants her hubby to do. That's when I knew. It was me...

My mistake with #2 was not pumping enough during the early days. Had I just dedicated myself to pumping he could have helped more with the nights. Instead, he did keep her with him in the guest room so I can get uninterrupted sleep for a nice 3-5 hr chunk, and he attended to our 4 YO when she woke up occasionally, but he had to bring her to me for boob. She would have been perfectly fine with bottles that early in the game. But I had pumped a freezer full for the preemie (baby #1) so I was over pumping altogether. Long story short, men will be fine if you can pull yourself away and give them things to do. Snuggle duty, diaper changes, sing to them and rock to sleep, night time bottles, etc. and--most importantly CHORES. I did eventually put her on bottles occasionally by week 3 so we were out on dates for 4-5 hours. Enough for a movie, a bite to eat before needing to pump. Also enough for me to go to the spa or salon. So it tends to be more us than their refusal. When I reminded him at how he was such a good father he was all in and did whatever I told him. Most men are willing. We mama bears DO have to consciously and intentionally pull back. Cause I have a way I like for things to be done and once I showed him how I liked it, it got better.
Thanks for posting this out. Men need directions. DH doesn't know what to do when I speak in generalities. But when I get specific he's always willing to do what I ask. DH and I spoke about this last night. My job is WFH with generous maternity leave plus my parents will want to help too. As an example, I told DH I want him to feed our LO bottled breast milk so I'm not doing all of the feedings. I'll make sure there is enough pumped milk but if I'm not the only one doing feedings that will help and it will be a way for them to bond.
 

BonBon

Well-Known Member
At the very least my partners have tidied after themselves as they go, done their own laundry, washed up and cooked. We have a rota now for everything else with auto-reminders and everything is working well.

One of my friend's ex husbands would come home, take his clothes off and leave them on the sofa, eat out of a bowl and leave it on the table, use the bathroom and not clean after and so on. She had to clean after the kids and him. When she asked him to pick up after himself and help her with the kids mess he never did :nono: That kind of stuff grinds my gears. I need just need those things done automatically, but the rest of the tasks we can work out with communication.
 
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naturalgyrl5199

Well-Known Member
You better than me with that 100 times. Having to constantly call something out is tolerating the behavior. Call it out, if it doesn’t change, take action, unless there is some form of a lack of executive functioning going on.
I don't want anyone to think I married some slow incompetent person. (not saying that you're saying that about me)
My point about saying the same thing over and over has more to do with consistency. Which people tend to lack as a rule.

Rather than hash out all my marriage details I'll share a few things. *I* have some lack of executive functioning in a mild form of adhd. So I'm the one who needs constant reminders. And in many regards I was slow to figure it out, or it was slow to stick. Its hard for a whole adult to learn something until its ingrained. And I'm thankful I have a spouse who, despite being confused AF, hung in there until we figured things out. He really doesn't but thanks to a mother who catered to everyone's every need, he never developed the instincts to respond to mine fast enough. Especially after the post-partum period with baby #2--who might as well have been baby#1 cause the 1st one came home as a preemie and we learned basic baby needs in a hospital. So it was a learning curve in many ways for us both. Thank goodness we have a better understanding of the other's weakness, can call it out in a mature way--because we decided to be the iron to sharpen the other. It was a learning curve but we both came into this marriage with a lot of love and immaturity. So it was a sometimes ugly, embarrassing learning lesson. But we didn't give up on EACH other. I think if more people just DECIDE to see what the end is going to be like....more marriages and friendships would make it. I don't have a lot of patience but I had to develop it if I wanted to stay in a marriage and have children. I'm not saying anyone should tolerate total BS behavior from a partner. My husband has 100's of redeeming qualities. But like many men, he wasn't taught, and nor was I, (other than to say you need to STFU, or hold it in and once it boils over bust a cap in everybody with my words)...so you learn, and repeat yourself, and help each other, and hopefully laugh about it later. Ion know. Its been 15 years and I still don't know a lot about it I suppose. But now he tells his male friends about what to expect when wife is having a baby and why their wives are responding to certain things cause he has seen it. Cause no one told him. But we decided to give each other grace. Cause I'm a whole lot and so is he.
 
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