Parents Talk: Does Letting Daddy off the Hook Make for a Happier Marriage?
One study claims marriages are better when dad is the "fun" one.
What do you think about one parent being the "fun" one? Please leave your response as a comment below.
I have a confession to make. I am not the fun parent. I'm the mean parent, the one who makes you eat your vegetables, put your clothes in the hamper and go to your room when you are naughty.
My husband? He's the fun one. He is the one who takes you to the park, pulls you on the sled and makes you hot cocoa when you get back home. He plays Hi Ho! Cherry-O and doesn't get mad when you cheat. And his bathtimes involve lots of splashing and whale noises.
Is this why we have such a great marriage? A recent study out of The Ohio State University seems to think so.
There's only one problem with the findings, though. The study's authors seem to think that if you don't share the roles this way, your marriage is likely to suffer.
Results showed that couples had a stronger, more supportive co-parenting relationship when the father spent more time playing with their child. But when the father participated more in caregiving, like preparing meals for the child or giving baths, the couples were more likely to display less supportive and more undermining co-parenting behavior toward each other.
The results were surprising, and may be disappointing for people who believe mothers and fathers should share equally in the caregiving for their children, said Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, co-author of the study and associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University.
Even worse? According to the study, the blame can likely be laid at the feet of the mother, who "undermines" the father.
…Fathers’ increased involvement in caregiving might also arouse negative maternal gatekeeping behaviors (a particular type of undermining behavior) as mothers consciously or unconsciously try to protect their authority over parenting.
Of course, once I read the article, I tried to think of any sort of "negative maternal gatekeeping" I might have somehow unconsciously subjected my poor husband to during our evening with the kids. I did tell him he didn't hold the baby right when he burped him. And I might have suggested that working without a diaper is just begging for a spit up.
But in the end, we ended up both giving baths—he bathed Vi in the big tub while I scrubbed down The Bass in the infant bath. Somehow, I think we all ended up having fun, too.