Equality in Child Rearing and its Relationship Benefits

By Daniel L. Carlson, Sarah A. Hanson, & Andrea Fitzroy

Today, both mothers and fathers are expected to play an equal role in child rearing and most couples want this for themselves. Yet, couples’ abilities to achieve equality in childcare remains elusive for numerous reasons, including difficulty arranging and paying for childcare, the absence of supportive families policies like paid parental leave and powerful gender conventions that push mothers into being primary caregivers and relegate fathers to the sidelines of their children’s care. Although couples want to share childcare, this may have negative consequences as numerous studies over the past 30 years have shown that couples who share breadwinning and housework in their relationships face numerous problems, including more relationship conflict, higher risks of divorce, and problematic sex lives. These findings, though, may have become dated as most of this research was conducted in the 1980s and 1990s. Moreover, few studies have examined how childcare arrangements affect couples’ relationships.   Continue reading “Equality in Child Rearing and its Relationship Benefits”