Since I became a parent, I’ve been feeling like a rare bird, an engaged parent who happens to be a male. Throughout my day, in the back of my mind, I object to the marginalization of male parents. A recent study may explain some of the marginalization. Nothing surprising perhaps, but it clarifies presumptions. In a recent study featured in the New York Times (here), social scientists gathered intensely close data about 32 families, noting what they were doing every ten minutes at home. The sexed nature of behavior pops out: “In addition to housework, mothers spent 19 percent of their time talking with family members or on the phone, and 11 percent taking occasional breathers that the study classified as “leisure.” The rates for fathers were 20 percent chatting, and 23 percent leisure — again, taken in fragments. Still, parents also had large amounts of solo time with their children, a total of 34 percent for mothers and 25 percent for fathers, on average.”
At least according to this study, male parents take 12 percent more leisure time than female parents, and female parents had 9 percent more solo time with their kids. The marginalization all adds up – at least in this study, most male parents spend substantially less time with their kids.