New Study Shows Married Women Do More Housework Than Single Moms

May 9, 2019  |  

Raising a responsible daughter.

Source: kate_sept2004 / Getty

One might assume having some assistance around the house may help moms have more time for work, rest or leisure, but unfortunately having a partner does not mean you have an extra set of hands to assist with chores.

A new study from sociologists at the University of Maryland, University of Texas, and University of Southern California found that married women end up doing more housework than single moms, Fortune reports.

Why? Put simply, men aren’t helping.

“Married mothers increase housework in part to meet expectations about home-cooked meals, clean clothes, and well-kept houses—behavior integral to contemporary definitions of appropriate behavior for wives and mothers,” authors Joanna Pepin, Liana C. Sayer, and Lynne M. Casper wrote in the study.

Even though people preach equality professionally, that sense of equal stake in the household hasn’t translated into our personal lives.

“Marriage remains a gendered institution that ratchets up the demand for housework and childcare through essentialist beliefs that women are naturally focused on home and hearth,” the authors write, leaving women drowning in housework over rest or sleep.

“The research is really showing that men are not necessarily contributing in ways that are bringing about equality in the home,” author Pepin of UT-Austin told Fortune.

It’s important to point out that sharing chores actually increases the sex lives and health of a couple’s relationship. A 2002 study found that “a division of household labor perceived to be fair ensures that partners feel respected while carrying out the tasks of daily life,” family ecology professor at the University of Alberta, Matt Johnson, explained in the research.

“Completing housework may or may not be enjoyable, but knowing that a partner is pulling his weight prevents anger and bitterness, creating more fertile ground in which a (satisfying) sexual encounter may occur.”

So it’s not just about who is in the house, it’s the contributions of that partner that help to create a healthy family environment, otherwise, your mate is just another person to take care of.

“Our findings suggest that it is not just an additional pair of hands that is important,” the authors write, “To whom those hands belong also matters.”

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