How parents “splitting” can be a good thing

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Exactly who should be taking care of the kids? Some say mom needs to stay at home, and that having a stay at home mom will instill children with good morals and keep them grounded. Others may think dad needs to be the main leader of childcare, assuring that children are well disciplined and respectful. If you ask researchers Carlson, Hanson, and Fitzroy, they would tell you parents should split childcare responsibilities equally, at least if they want to improve their sex lives.

The study conducted at Georgia State University decided it was time to settle this mom vs. dad debate once and for all. Researchers utilized data to investigate how the division of childcare responsibilities affects the relationship quality and sexual intimacy of heterosexual American couples.

The survey divided responses from 487 parental couples into three main categories:

  1. Couples with moms having most or all childcare duties.
  2. Couples with dads having most or all of the work.
  3. Couples with an equal distribution.

Each of these family dynamics were then measured on how happy couples were, how much conflict they had, how frequently they had sex, and how satisfied with sex they were.

Results suggest that the worst case-scenario for relationship and sexual satisfaction is when women are given the larger portion of childcare responsibilities. Individuals in those couples were the least satisfied with their childcare arrangement, the least satisfied with their sexual relationships, and had the lowest levels of relationship satisfaction and highest levels of relationship conflict.

Male-centered care arrangements surprisingly resulted in the lowest sexual relationship quality for men, but the highest quality sex for women.

However, relationships where childcare was equally divided between partners were both the most common and most beneficial for both partners, being linked to relationships highest in quality, lowest in conflict, and most satisfactory in sex.

Based on this research, couples should work together to make sure that child-care duties are equally split between them. This doesn’t mean that both parents should hold part-time employment or that families with a sole bread-winner will suffer in their relationship.  This equal sharing can be done by partners checking in with each other about what the expectations of roles and duties in the home are.  It’s hard for someone to know that they’re not doing their part if they don’t know what is expected of them. Open and clear communication about what needs to be done, and who should do it, can assure that each partner is the happiest they can be. Even if one partner is doing the majority of actual childcare, their partner can be actively involved in decisions that involve the children and communication about their children.  The moral of the story? Make childcare a joint endeavor in your home.  Your relationship and sex life will probably benefit.   

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Written by: Melece

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