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  • Every few months, this debate flares up.

  • It's about women who work, which is to say, most women.

  • About how tough it can be succeed at work and still feel like a good mom.

  • And we often ask, what can governments or corporations do to promote work-family balance?

  • But what if we started thinking smaller?

  • What if one part of the solution was men doing more at home?

  • Between 1950 and 2000, the share of women in the US workforce jumped from 34% to 60%.

  • But women were still expected to do most of the work when it came to raising kids and running a house.

  • "The second shift of women working and taking care of the home was very stressful for the family."

  • That stress is partially what led to the trope of the frazzled working mom.

  • "I don't know how she does it."

  • People started to blame working women for the high divorce rates in the 1970s and 80s.

  • And now, with fewer people getting married and having kids, it's still popular to pit working women against family.

  • "If you were a real feminist you would support housewives and see them as the heroes and women who work, wasting their time."

  • "Do you all think working moms still get treated unfairly?"

  • But while the stress of the second shift may have contributed to divorce at first, things are changing.

  • New research is showing that men and women who share responsibilities at home are happier than those in more traditional marriages.

  • "Where men become more involved in the family, they're more attractive as a partner, they are less likely to divorce, they're more likely to have children."

  • Heterosexual couples in which men do more household chores are less likely to divorce.

  • And the more time men spend with their children, the more satisfied both partners say they are with the relationship.

  • Take couples who have kids, but aren't married.

  • In those relationships, men who were more involved with caring for the kids were more likely to make the transition to marriage, compared those who were less involved.

  • So maybe someday that iconic "frazzled working mom" trope will go the way of the fifties housewife:

  • A symbol of a time when women and men, were trapped inside a narrow definition of what it meant to be a partner and a parent.

Every few months, this debate flares up.

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A2 US Vox divorce working mom involved happier

Want a happier marriage? Share the housework equally.

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    Celeste posted on 2019/05/25
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