The Atlantic

Don’t Be Grateful That Dad Does His Share

When mothers feel lucky to have any help at all, it’s an impediment to the elusive goal of equity in the home.
Source: FPG via Getty

I’ve spent the past year interviewing married or cohabiting heterosexual mothers across the United States about the distribution of child-care labor in their home. Most of them did the lion’s share of the work and were angry with their partner. Yet many of them told me they were “grateful.” Over and over again, I heard women complain that they were doing more than their partner, only to then insist that they were lucky to have any help at all.

Take Andrea, a full-time marketing professional in Portland, Maine, and the mother of an elementary-school-age child. Although she sometimes feels that her husband, Patrick, who works for a health-insurance company, is “right there with her,” Andrea says he behaves like her junior apprentice

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