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We really couldn’t be more thankful for the dads in our lives. Today’s fathers spend three times as much time with their kids as men two generations ago. Still, despite this progress, the fact is dads trail moms when it comes to household responsibilities: Research shows the majority of new dads believe childcare should be evenly divided between both parents—but most Millennial dads admit that’s not reality in their own homes.


What’s behind this disconnect? To answer that question, we listened to eager-to-help dads who say they remain held back for various reasons. Then we talked to experts for advice to help us all achieve parenting parity.

Defaulting to mom starts early

Nick, a 24-year-old father of one, tells Motherly he had trouble soothing his newborn, so that generally fell to his co-parent. “It was much easier for her mother to calm her down,” he says.

Nick’s experience is not unusual, says licensed marriage and family therapist Jill Whitney. “Because mothers often nurse babies and spend more time with small children, their bond may happen with less effort,” she explains. “Some dads fall in love immediately with their child and connect naturally, but other fathers aren't as quick to know what to do. Sometimes this causes them to hold back and defer to their partners.”

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She suggests fathers schedule blocks of baby-duty time when mom isn’t available. “Then he figures out for himself what a certain cry means,” Whitney says. “Figuring that out boosts his confidence, which makes him more likely to participate fully.”

Their dads might not have been equal parents

For Brian, a 33-year-old new father of one, dealing with his daughter’s diaper changes didn’t come easy so he passed that on to mom. He’s not alone: Polls show two out of three moms say modern dads don’t do their share of diaper duty.

That’s not to say we haven’t seen progress. Back in 1982, 43 percent of dads had never changed a diaper—a number now down to about 3 percent. For the men raised by that generation, that may seem like a success. For the women who are still stuck with the majority of diaper duty, it probably feels like there’s a way to go.

“If his dad wasn't as involved as his mom, he doesn't have an internal template for what a fully participating father might look like,” Whitney says. “He may also compare himself to his own father and see the ways he's much more involved than his dad was—when his partner may see the ways things aren't really even.”

For Millennial dads who were raised by men who didn’t do diapers, the changing table may not be their comfort zone. But it is important to try: Research shows bathing, dressing and diapering helps dads build better relationships with their kids long after they’re out of diapers.

Dividing careers and chores—what’s realistic?

Modern dads devote 30 more minutes to daily household chores than their dads did, according to a recent Canadian study. However, moms just do more.

This is no surprise to 34-year-old father of six Simon, who tells Motherly he finds housekeeping, laundry and meal prep to be particularly challenging parts of parenting. He admits he thinks those duties are best left to his wife, a stay-at-home mom.

According to Dr. Gary Brown, a licensed marriage and family therapist and parenting coach in Los Angeles, sometimes it’s just not possible for working parents to do as much around the house as their partner. “I know of several families where the father is the primary caregiver and the mother is the primary provider,” he says. “It isn't practical to split parenting roles, unless both parents have equally demanding careers.”

Brown says he and his wife agreed that he should focus on his career (and earning potential) as a therapist while she took a step back from working as a registered nurse to raise their children. In his view, that worked out well for everyone. “From her perspective and mine, it simply made more sense for her to work part-time.”

Families who assume this kind of structure should just be prepared for the trade-offs: Studies have shown that when dads don’t do their share, the couple’s relationship suffers. Indeed, researchers have found the lowest quality relationships between parenting couples happen when 60 percent or more of the parenting responsibilities fall to mom.

That is true in both families with one or two working parents. According to the Pew Research Center, in American households where a father works full-time and the mother works fewer hours or not at all, the distribution of childcare and housekeeping labor is less balanced than in households where both parents work. Even in those dual-income households, moms are still doing about 54 percent of the work.

Dads have come a long way in recent decades—and, often, all it takes to realize that is a good look at a set of wonderful co-parents. Still, old attitudes take time to change: 53 percent of Americans believe moms are better at caring for children, a statistic that shortchanges Millennial fathers who are as enthusiastic about parenting as their partners.

We may not be there yet, but if today’s dads keep it up, our mutual hopes for equal parenthood may soon be a reality.

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If there's one thing you learn as a new mama, it's that routine is your friend. Routine keeps your world spinning, even when you're trucking along on less than four hours of sleep. Routine fends off tantrums by making sure bellies are always full and errands aren't run when everyone's patience is wearing thin. And routine means naps are taken when they're supposed to, helping everyone get through the day with needed breaks.

The only problem? Life doesn't always go perfectly with the routine. When my daughter was born, I realized quickly that, while her naps were the key to a successful (and nearly tear-free!) day, living my life according to her nap schedule wasn't always possible. There were groceries to fetch, dry cleaning to pick up, and―if I wanted to maintain any kind of social life―lunch dates with friends to enjoy.

Which is why the Ergobaby Metro Compact City Stroller was such a life-saver. While I loved that it was just 14 pounds (perfect for hoisting up the stairs to the subway or in the park) and folds down small enough to fit in an airplane overhead compartment (you know, when I'm brave enough to travel again!), the real genius of this pint-sized powerhouse is that it doesn't skimp on comfort.

Nearly every surface your baby touches is padded with plush cushions to provide side and lumbar support to everything from their sweet head to their tiny tush―it has 40% more padding than other compact strollers. When nap time rolls around, I could simply switch the seat to its reclined position with an adjustable leg rest to create an instant cozy nest for my little one.

There's even a large UV 50 sun canopy to throw a little shade on those sleepy eyes. And my baby wasn't the only one benefiting from the comfortable design― the Metro is the only stroller certified "back healthy" by the AGR of Germany, meaning mamas get a much-needed break too.

I also appreciate how the Metro fits comfortably into my life. The sleek profile fits through narrow store aisles as easily as it slides up to a table when I'm able to meet a pal for brunch. Plus, the spring suspension means the tires absorb any bumps along our way―helping baby stay asleep no matter where life takes us. When it's time to take my daughter out, it folds easily with one hand and has an ergonomic carry handle to travel anywhere we want to go.

Life will probably never be as predictable as I'd like, but at least with our Metro stroller, I know my child will be cradled with care no matter what crosses our path.

This article is sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's been more than a year since Khloé Kardashian welcomed her daughter True Thompson into the world, and like a lot of new moms, Khloé didn't just learn how to to be a mom this year, she also learned how to co-parent with someone who is no longer her partner. According to the Pew Research Center, co-parenting and the likelihood that a child will spend part of their childhood living with just one parent is on the rise.

There was a ton of media attention on Khloé's relationship with True's father Tristan Thompson in her early days of motherhood, and in a new interview on the podcast "Divorce Sucks!," Khloé explained that co-parenting with someone you have a complicated relationship with isn't always easy, but when she looks at True she knows it's worth it.

"For me, Tristan and I broke up not too long ago so it's really raw," Khloé tells divorce attorney Laura Wasser on the podcast. She explains that even though it does "suck" at times, she's committed to having a good relationship with her ex because she doesn't want True to pick up on any negative energy, even at her young age.

That's why she invited Tristan to True's recent first birthday bash, even though she knew True wouldn't remember that party. "I know she's going to want to look back at all of her childhood memories like we all do," Khloé explained. "I know her dad is a great person, and I know how much he loves her and cares about her, so I want him to be there."

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We totally get why being around Tristan is hard for Khloé, but it sounds like she's approaching co-parenting with a positive attitude that will benefit True in the long run. Studies have found that shared parenting is good for kids and that former couples who have "ongoing personal and emotional involvement with their former spouse" are more likely to rate their co-parenting relationship positively.

Khloé says her relationship with Tristan right now is "civilized," and hopefully it can get even better with time. As Suzanne Hayes noted in her six guiding principles for a co-parenting relationship, there's no magic bullet for moving past the painful feelings that come when a relationship ends and into a healthy co-parenting relationship, but treating your ex with respect and (non-romantic) love is a good place to start. Hayes describes it as "human-to-human, parent-to-parent, we-share-amazing-children-and-always-will love."

It's a great place to start, and it sounds like Khloé has already figured that out.

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Kim Kardashian West welcomed her fourth child into the world. The expectancy and arrival of this boy (her second child from surrogacy) has garnered much attention.

In a surrogacy pregnancy, a woman carries a pregnancy for another family and then after giving birth she relinquishes her rights of the child.

On her website, Kim wrote that she had medical complications with her previous pregnancy leading her to this decision. “I have always been really honest about my struggles with pregnancy. Preeclampsia and placenta accreta are high-risk conditions, so when I wanted to have a third baby, doctors said that it wasn't safe for my—or the baby's—health to carry on my own."

While the experience was challenging for her, “The connection with our baby came instantly and it's as if she was with us the whole time. Having a gestational carrier was so special for us and she made our dreams of expanding our family come true. We are so excited to finally welcome home our baby girl."

A Snapchat video hinted that Kim may have planned to breastfeed her third child. What she chooses to do is of course none of our business. But is has raised the very interesting question, “Wait, can you breastfeed when you use a surrogate?"

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The answer is yes, you sure can! (And you can when you adopt a baby, too!)

When a women is pregnant, she begins a process called lactogenesis in which her body prepares itself to start making milk. This usually starts around the twenty week mark of pregnancy (half way through). Then, when the baby is born, the second phase of lactogenesis occurs, and milk actually starts to fill the breasts.

All of this occurs in response to hormones. When women do not carry a pregnancy, but wish to breastfeed, they can induce lactation, where they replicate the same hormonal process that happens during pregnancy.

A woman who wants to induce lactation can work with a doctor or midwife, and start taking the hormones estrogen and progesterone (which grow breast tissue)—often in the form of birth control pills—along with a medication called domperidone (which increases milk production).

Several weeks before the baby will be born, the woman stops taking the birth control pill but continues to take the domperidone to simulate the hormonal changes that would happen in a pregnancy. She'll also start pumping multiple times per day, and will likely add herbal supplements, like fenugreek and blessed thistle.

Women can also try to induce lactation without the hormones, by using pumping and herbs, it may be harder but some women feel more comfortable with that route.

Inducing lactation takes a lot of dedication—but then again, so does everything related to be a mama. It's a super personal decision, and not right for everyone.

The important thing to remember is that we need to support women and mothers through their entire journey, no matter what decisions they make about themselves and their families—whether Kardashian or the rest of us.

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