Verbruggen Nails the Work/Family Balance Between Fathers and Mothers
I’m continuing today with Robert Verbruggen’s accurate and refreshing analysis of data on men’s and women’s work time, both paid and unpaid (IFS, 6/11/19). Here’s a quotation regarding men’s and women’s preferences that I included in Saturday’s post:
As David Barash put it in his book Out of Eden, “there is no society in which men do more fathering than women do mothering.” And as Steve Stewart-Williams noted in The Ape That Understood the Universe, it is far more common not just among humans but in nature writ large for females to be the sex that invests more in children. The reasons for this are obvious and many. The mother is always present at a child’s birth, for instance, making maternal bonding an especially reliable way to ensure a kid is taken care of; moms also can be sure that the children they deliver are their own, and thus don’t risk “wasting” (in evolutionary terms) their parental investments on a child who doesn’t share their genes. At a minimum, we shouldn’t find it surprising or offensive if women indicate a greater desire to spend time with their children, even if it costs them at work. And they do.
Actually, Dads Do a Bit More Work for their Families than Do Moms
I’ve complained a lot recently about various articles that continue to channel the notion – debunked by even a casual glance at actual data – that women work more than do men. As I forever point out, studies that ask men and women to keep track of what they do every day and the time spent on each task all but invariably produce similar results. Those results show that, when we aggregate men’s paid and unpaid work and do the same for women, each sex spends a statistically identical amount of time working each day. Articles saying otherwise invariably focus on women’s work in the home and ignore men’s work at the office or plant. Yes, women do more domestic work, but men do more paid work. Anyone claiming that women are hard put upon by that is simply in search of a complaint to make.
Now comes the Institute for Family Studies to make much the same points but with even more detailed analysis of even more data (IFS, 6/11/19). Researcher and writer Robert VerBruggen calls the idea of the lazy father a “myth” and rightly so.
Oregon Enacts Weak Parenting Bill
Oregon has passed a bill that some may consider an “equal parenting” bill. That may be a slight improvement over the status quo, but my guess is it’ll mean little-to-no change in parenting time orders. Governor Katherine Brown signed it into law.
Here’s the pertinent language of what is now the law in the Beaver State.
"In developing a parenting plan under this subsection, the court may order equal parenting time. If a parent requests that the court order equal parenting time in the parenting plan, the court may deny the request if the court determines, by written findings, that equal parenting time is not in the best interests of the child or endangers the safety of the parties."
Maternal Gatekeeping and Nebraska Courts
The ever-excellent Jennifer Harman co-wrote this piece with Nebraska family lawyer Nancy Shannon (Lincoln Journal Star, 6/7/19). It’s an excellent article about maternal gatekeeping and recent responses to it by Nebraska’s courts.
Maternal gatekeeping is a common occurrence in one form or another. Much of it consists of barely noticeable but still effective behaviors that serve to block Dad’s everyday access to his child. “That’s not the way to diaper the baby, John; here, let me do it,” illustrates the phenomenon. Many mothers report having to check their instincts to avoid coming between the child and its father. Failure to do that can, over time, sideline fathers in the lives of their children.
Marriage and Happiness; The Guardian and Accuracy
Are married adults happier than unmarried adults? Yes (IF Studies, 5/28/19). The Guardian newspaper doesn’t like the fact, but it’s true nevertheless (The Guardian, 5/25/19).
Sociologists have for decades understood that married people report much higher rates of overall happiness than do never married or separated/divorced people. But not much recent research had been conducted on the matter. So W. Brad Wilcox and Nicholas Wolfinger decided to see if things had changed since Jesse Bernard did the original research 47 years ago.
Not much has.