I’m not really sure what to think of the Smithsonian Magazine’s Men and Women Think on Family Matters Equally, But Women Get More Stressed. On the one hand, I am skeptical of the applicability of the findings—do the results from a self-reports survey of 291 fathers from affluent families in the U.S. really give us any purchase on how men think? And is it somehow wrong that people react to situations differently? On the other hand, that mothers continue to be more stressed about family matters might actually point to systemic inequities in our society. The article suggests that fathers don’t get as involved because their careers don’t allow them to do so or their bosses and coworkers informally penalize them if they do. Maybe. Equally problematic is the way that our society—both women and men—continues to expect mothers to do the heavy lifting and stigmatizes them if they don’t.
While fathers play a much larger role in family life today than even a generation ago—and many fathers are the primary caregiver, we are a long way from parenting equality, either in time, effort, responsibilities, career/job sacrifices, etc.