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Sons of working moms grow up to do twice as much housework, says study

Mamas know how to delegate. Between responsibilities at the office and the responsibilities of managing the household, it's all but essential to enlist help from others. It turns out that is making a big impression on the sons of working mothers: According to a new study, the men who grew up with working mothers do twice as much housework as men who had stay-at-home moms.

As research shows, growing up with a working or stay-at-home mom affects children in different ways—with both experiences having ample positive outcomes. The latest study to affirms the perks of having a working mom was published in the journal Work, Employment and Society in April based on international surveys from more than 100,000 people across 29 countries.

They found that the adult sons of mothers who worked were more egalitarian in their own relationships. Specifically, in contrast to sons of stay-at-home moms, they devoted eight more hours weekly to caring for their children, doing domestic work and helping other family members.

And with the number of moms who remain in the workforce growing, this may help continue to move the needle on the still uneven balance of housework: According to Motherly's 2018 State of Motherhood survey, 57% of moms say they handle chores most of the time versus just 34% of moms who say these responsibilities are split equally with their partner.

Not only are these just good skills to have, but other research has shown that relationships are stronger when there is a more equal division of labor at home. (As one recent report found, splitting up the dishes has the biggest effect on partnerships.)

Meanwhile the same international report from April found that adult daughters of working moms do a bit less housework than their peers—probably because they are busy making 23% more money in jobs that are more likely to be in upper management.

Of course, the decision about whether to work or stay at home with the kids is always going to be a complicated one. But don't worry about how the children will be affected—because there are benefits either way.

"There's a lot of talk about why women work," Kathleen McGinn, the study's author and a professor at Harvard Business School, tells Time. "A lot of those questions presume that, somehow, it's detrimental to their families. That's a whole bunch of 'mother guilt' based on almost no findings."

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