Love to Help Ya With the Kids, Honey, but There's This University Study ...
Researchers at The Ohio State University say kids are better off when mothers change the poopy diapers and prepare the meals while fathers confine themselves to giving piggyback rides.
OK, dads, here's what you do. Print out this story. The next time your wife tells you she'll wash if you dry, wave the story over your head and say, "Excuse me! Ohio State study! Hello?!"
Be sure to tell us -- and your marriage counselor -- how this works out for you.
The study may not fly with America's moms, but researchers insist children form tighter bonds with both parents when Mommy is the drudge and Daddy is the fun parent. Sounds like life after divorce, right?
Researchers say it may be a good idea to get started early. According to an Ohio State press release, researchers looked at 112 couples with 4-year-old children. Both mothers and fathers were asked how much they do around the house in terms of household chores and playing with the kids.
Parents were then watched as they worked together to play with their children and do various chores. Researchers were looking for how much parents helped each other or got on each other's nerves.
Turns out Mommy and Daddy don't work and play well with others -- at least when doing household chores.
"Results showed that couples had a stronger, more supportive co-parenting relationship when the father spent more time playing with their child," the press release says. "But when the father participated more in caregiving -- like preparing meals for the child or giving baths -- the couples were more likely to display less supportive and more undermining co-parenting behavior toward each other."
In other words, don't ask a man to help with any of the parental grunt work. He's probably just going to be a big jerkface about it.
The press release states "the results were surprising ..."
Wait a minute. "Surprising?" Really? Have any of these Jane Goodalls actually observed the human American male (buttus sitticus gigantus) in his natural habitat?
Actually, the surprising part is that kids might truly benefit from this good cop/bad cop routine.
Then again, Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, the co-author of the study and an associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State, is not taken in -- even by her own research.
"I don't think this means that for every family, a father being involved in caregiving is a bad thing," she tells Forbes magazine.
The point is that moms and dads don't work well together on chores. If dads weren't such jerkfaces -- or did chores by themselves with no one around to hear them whine -- it might be a different story.
So, dads, when you wave this study in your wife's face, wave it fast enough so she can't read the fine print.
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.