Even When Both Parents Have The Same Job, Moms Still Take On More Parenting Duties, Study Finds

Ad failed to load

Despite all of the progress made for women in the workplace, there's still a lot to be desired. One argument, for example, from people who don't believe in the gender wage gap is that women just aren't staying in the workforce long enough to rise to the top of their profession. Sadly, they're sort of right. In fact, according to a new study, even when both parents have the same exact job, moms still take on more parenting duties and housework than their male counterpart.

The study looked specifically at households in which both parents were physicians and then had children. Senior study author Dr. Anupam Jena of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston told Reuters that before the couples had kids, both the man and woman worked similar hours. Then something drastic happened — and it's not just the amount of diapers new parents go through.

Jena told Reuters: “With the arrival of children, female physicians reduce their work hours by nearly 20 percent, or ten hours, per week. Male physicians don’t reduce their hours at all.” Yes, that's right: Men didn't change anything at all about their schedule, while the women scale back significantly throughout their child's life.

Ad failed to load

For the study, the researchers looked at U.S. Census Bureau data of physician families. They excluded same sex couples since they wanted to study gender differences and they also excluded parents of newborns, since they didn't want any temporary leave or reduced hours to take care of a newborn to affect the results.

So, essentially, the researchers were talking about families in which both children are somewhat grown — which means anyone could put together a bagged lunch or drop someone off at day care for the children. If, of course, that was how things went.

Ad failed to load

Both parents in the married couples were about the same age; The women were an average 38 years old, while the men were an average 39 years old. For couples without kids, the men worked about 57 hours a week and the women worked 52 hours.


But compared to women without children, mothers of toddlers worked 41.5 hours, which is about 10 fewer hours per week. Whereas men without children and men with kids worked about the same. (The men with children worked two hours less than the men without, but it wasn't significant enough to not be a coincidence, the study found.)

Ad failed to load

As children in these two-physician homes got older, the lag between women with children and those without got bigger. For the men, there continued to be no difference at all.

So what does this all mean? The researchers have a few conclusions. One is that familial and professional roles are "highly socialized," Jena told Reuters.

Essentially, it's the McDreamy-Effect, which is something I just made up based on a Grey's Anatomy plot-line. On the hit medical TV show, Meredith Grey, a surgeon, and her husband, another surgeon have three kids. Eventually, her career starts to lag because it is just assumed that his job as a surgeon is more important, as she runs around taking care of the kids and trying to keep up with childless, female peers.

Ad failed to load

The researchers also think that the difference could be for reasons besides this kind of socialization, but the notion that women need to parent more than men plays into all of them. There's the chance that women are simply getting more done in less time. Doing it all to have it all, so to speak. It could also be that the men have more administrative positions or on boards or teach in universities, since other research shows that in the medical world, those positions are often not even open to women.

Either way, it stinks. Unless all of these female physicians just went to medical school to not have a medical career, which seems sort of unlikely. Having a career and having a child shouldn't be mutually exclusive for women — especially married women with equally competent and able partners. Having children is a choice couples make together, so there's no reason that the consequences of that decision shouldn't be split as evenly as possible.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

A Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the te…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack