Father’s Day 2012: Study says household ‘dad jobs’ are less valuable than ‘mom jobs’

Sheryl Nadler
Shine On Blogger
Shine On

As Father's Day approaches and we all think up ways to honour dear old (or young) dad, a new study suggests his work around the home may not be as valuable as the household stuff moms take care of from day-to-day.

Insure.com -- an American website that provides information on insurance -- says if we were to calculate the average annual salary for what they consider to be "dad jobs," dads would earn $20,248 compared with mom's $60,182. "Dad jobs" include barbecuing, killing spiders and bugs and mowing the lawn. "Mom jobs" include cleaning, laundry and cooking.

Insure.com spokesperson Emmet Pierce, tells MSN.com his company's study is not scientific as much as it is a "lighthearted view of fatherhood. It's not that every dad conforms to this, but it gives a broad view of what fathers do."

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But is there a danger in stereotyping gender roles in this manner? Andrea Mrozek, manager of research at the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada based in Ottawa, says there is.

"I think that it's a very unfortunate portrayal and it fits in the context in our culture today where it is ok to slag fathers and dads," she says. "That's something we see across the board in the media and on TV shows. Fathers tend to be bumbling fools. I guess you could look at the Simpsons as one model of idiot dad who doesn't quite know what he's doing."

She takes issue with associating particular chores as either a "mom job" or a "dad job." "What we're working for is to have active involvement in both parents and many parents want this today and I think that it is happening to a degree," she says.

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That said, Mrozek does acknowledge there are some parenting tasks that will be dictated by gender — breastfeeding, for instance. And she also says men and women can and will perform the very same task differently — such as cooking for the family.

She point to a National Post story that looks at the difference between male and female parenting styles and notes, "Men hold babies differently, play with toddlers differently and ultimately forge bonds with kids differently, but 'different' doesn't mean wrong."

"Could we stop saying that fathers are worse because they do different jobs or do the same job differently?" asks Mrozek. "That would be a step in the right direction."

She says she's not a fan of studies that pit men and women against each other. "I would want to look at how parents are working together."

Watch the video below about a husband who puts his mother before his wife.