Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-6b989bf9dc-476zt Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-13T20:40:47.439Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

15 - Allocation and Performance of Household Tasks: A Comparison of New Parents and Childless Couples

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 July 2009

Judith A. Feeney
Affiliation:
Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of Queensland
Patricia Noller
Affiliation:
Professor of Psychology, University of Queensland
Patricia Noller
Affiliation:
University of Queensland
Judith A. Feeney
Affiliation:
University of Queensland
Get access

Summary

W: You have to race around and do the housework in between sleeps, and if the baby doesn't sleep during the day–which has happened a lot lately–you get nothing done, and you end up tired and cranky.

H: And then we fight.

W: You take all your frustrations out on each other.

H: Because I work – I work really hard outside. And I come home and I'm just so tired, and she's like ‘I've had this terrible day, and I haven't got any housework done, and I need some sleep,’ and I'm thinking ‘I really don't need this right now.’ And I think, ‘How hard could it be? Like, you just feed him and put him to sleep and then you go and do your stuff.’

Recent decades have seen marked changes in attitudes toward gender roles and in women's involvement in the labor force. Given these changes, it might seem reasonable to assume that families establish much more equitable patterns of domestic work today than they did in the past. Evidence suggests, however, that this is not the case. With the transition to parenthood, in particular, couples often move toward a traditional division of labor, in which women do the bulk of the child care and other household tasks; further, partners do not necessarily see this situation as “unfair.” In fact, perceptions of unfairness are only weakly linked to patterns of task performance, and seem to be shaped by many aspects of individual and couple functioning.

Type
Chapter
Information
Understanding Marriage
Developments in the Study of Couple Interaction
, pp. 411 - 436
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2002

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Ahlander, N. R., & Bahr, K. S. (1995). Beyond drudgery, power, and equity: Toward an expanded discourse on the moral dimensions of housework in families. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 54–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Belsky, J., & Kelly, J. (1994). The transition to parenthood: How a first child changes a marriage. New York: Delacorte Press
Bittman, M. (1991). Juggling time: How Australian families use time. Canberra, Australia: Office of the Status of Women, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Croghan, R. (1991). first-time mothers' accounts of inequality in the division of labour. Feminism and Psychology, 1, 221–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dempsey, K. C. (1999). Attempting to explain women's perceptions of the fairness of the division of housework. Journal of Family Studies, 5, 3–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Deutsch, F. M., Lussier, J. B., & Serris, L. J. (1993). Husbands at home: Predictors of paternal participation in childcare and housework. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 1154–1166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Feeney, J. A., Noller, P., & Hanrahan, M. (1994). Assessing adult attachment: Developments in the conceptualization of security and insecurity. In M. B. Sperling & W. H. Berman (Eds.), Attachment in adults: Theory, assessment and treatment (pp. 128–152). New York: Guilford
Goodnow, J. J., & Bowes, J. M. (1994). Men, women, and household work. Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press
Greenstein, T. N. (1996). Husbands' participation in domestic labor: Interactive effects of wives' and husbands' gender ideologies. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 585–595CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hackel, L. S., & Ruble, D. N. (1992). Changes in the marital relationship after the first baby is born: Predicting the impact of expectancy disconfirmation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62, 944–957CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hiller, D. V., & Philliber, W. W. (1986). The division of labor in contemporary marriage: Expectations, perceptions, and performance. Social Problems, 33, 191–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Huston, T. L., & Vangelisti, A. L. (1995). How parenthood affects marriage. In M. A. Fitzpatrick & A. L. Vangelisti (Eds.), Explaining family interactions (pp. 147–176). Thousand Oaks, CA: SageCrossRef
Johnson, E. M., & Huston, T. L. (1998). The perils of love, or why wives adapt to husbands during the transition to parenthood. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 60, 195–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kluwer, E. S., Heesink, J. A. M., & Vliert, E. (1996). Marital conflict about the division of household labor and paid work. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 958–969CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lovibond, S. H., & Lovibond, P. F. (1995). Manual for the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) (2nd ed.). Sydney, Australia: Psychology Foundation of Australia
Major, B. (1987). Gender, justice, and the psychology of entitlement. In P. Shaver & C. Hendrick (Eds.), Sex and gender (pp. 124–148). Newbury Park, CA: Sage
Marvin, R. S., & Stewart, R. B. (1990). A family systems framework for the study of attachment. In M. T. Greenberg, D. Cicchetti, & E. M. Cummings (Eds.), Attachment in the preschool years: Theory, research, and intervention (pp. 51–86). Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Presland, P., & Antill, J. K. (1987). Household division of labour: The impact of hours worked in paid employment. Australian Journal of Psychology, 39, 273–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Press, J. E., & Townsley, E. (1998). Wives' and husbands' housework reporting: Gender, class, and social desirability. Gender and Society, 12, 188–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robinson, J. P., & Milkie, M. A. (1998). Back to the basics: Trends in and role determinants of women's attitudes toward housework. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 60, 205–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rothbard, J. C., & Shaver, P. R. (1994). Continuity of attachment across the life span. In M. B. Sperling & W. H. Berman (Eds.), Attachment in adults: Theory, assessment, and treatment (pp. 31–71). New York: Guilford
Ruble, D. N., Hackel, L. S., Fleming, A. S., & Stangor, C. (1988). Changes in the marital relationship during the transition to first time motherhood: Effects of violated expectations concerning division of household labor. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 55, 78–87CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Sanchez, L., & Kane, E. W. (1996). Women's and men's constructions of perceptions of housework fairness. Journal of Family Issues, 17, 358–387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sanchez, L., & Thomson, E. (1997). Becoming mothers and fathers: Parenthood, gender, and the division of labor. Gender and Society, 11, 747–772CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schwartz, P. (1994). Love between equals: How peer marriage really works. New York: Free Press
Shelton, B. A. (1990). The distribution of household tasks: Does wife's employment status make a difference? Journal of Family Issues, 11, 115–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Snyder, D. K. (1979). Multidimensional assessment of marital satisfaction. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 41, 813–823CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Spanier, G. B. (1976). Measuring dyadic adjustment: New scales for assessing the quality of marriage and similar dyads. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 38, 15–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Terry, D. J., McHugh, T. A., & Noller, P. (1991). Role dissatisfaction and the decline in marital quality across the transition to parenthood. Australian Journal of Psychology, 43, 129–132CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Thompson, L. (1991). Family work: Women's sense of fairness. Journal of Family Issues, 12, 181–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Twiggs, J. E., McQuillan, J., & Ferree, M. M. (1999). Meaning and measurement: Reconceptualizing measures of the division of household labor. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61, 712–724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weiss, R. L. (1980). Strategic behavioral marital therapy: Toward a model for assessment and intervention. In J. P. Vincent (Ed.), Advances in family intervention, assessment and theory (Vol. 1, pp. 229–271). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press
Wolcott, I. (1997). Work and family. In D. de Vaus & I. Wolcott (Eds.), Australian family profiles: Social and demographic patterns (pp. 82–89). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies
Wolcott, I., & Glezer, H. (1995). Work and family life: Achieving integration. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×