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How Parents Can Fairly Divide Household Duties

Raising children and running a household is a lot of work – no question. And for many parents it’s easy for us to fall into autopilot and just do what needs to be done. But how often do we stop and think about how equitable our at-home workload is? Are we sharing the load evenly with our spouse/partner? How much of your load falls on your lap because of your gender? Or the career you’ve chosen?

Breaking the stereotypes

It’s time to take a pause and have this conversation because statistics are showing that moms still take on much more of the duties, and we dads are letting it happen. Think about how we were raised. Many of our moms likely stayed home or had part-time jobs while taking care of household chores and anything related to the kids. On the other hand, dads worked 40+ hours a week, took care of finances, and did the outdoor jobs. These stereotypical gender roles get unconsciously woven into the fabric of our parenting and it takes some effort to break the cycle. 

Moms are typically still the household managers

Family life has changed significantly in the last few decades. More moms are in the workforce and more dads are actively involved in raising children. But when it comes to who-does-what, moms still tend to be the ones managing their kid’s schedules and activities, taking time off when kids are sick, planning meals, and lugging loads of laundry. Dads tend to be more involved in kids’ extra-curricular activities, discipline decisions, and we cling tight to our precious outdoor chores. 

Tips for a healthier household

Studies show that this division of labour can also be influenced by the type of work we do. The more career-focused parent tends to take a step back from household and parenting chores. And when both parents are similarly career driven, the work naturally becomes more equitable. Curiously, same-sex couples tend to divide labour based on each other’s strengths rather than being influenced by gender biases. Personally, I found it quite amusing to hear that I’ve taken on more of the “mom” roles in parenting.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that dads don’t want to take on more of the work, we just need a little nudge sometimes to change the habits we all fall into. As kids get older and life changes, so do the way we run our households.  After all, it’s good practice to check-in with your partner every so often, work together, and make some fair adjustments.

Frank Emanuele is a proud father of two boys, a special education teacher, and a director of Dad Club London.


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