From The “Perhaps We’re Doing Too Many Studies” Department: a new study indicates that helping the wife out with childraising may be bad and so you should put that crying kid down, grab a beer, hit the couch, stick your hand in your waistband, and watch some professional wrestling on the TV.
Researcher Takayuki Sasaki of the Osaka University of Commerce in Japan, an institution which I’m sure is not at all swayed by decades of that country’s slavish cultural adherence to the Japanese concept of the “salaryman”, notes that societal expectations of the role of the female in being the primary caregiver may lead to pressure on moms to do just that, and when Dad steps in to help, mothers may feel pressured “to do more care-giving to ensure the survival of their feelings of self-confidence”.
I decided to explore this hypothesis. As a work-from-home dad, I share the duties of taking care of the kiddies with my wife, who is a work-from-home mom. In the interest of Science, I informed Beth that I would be turning any and all childcare duties over to her. To further boost her self-esteem, I would be engaging in activities (sleeping until noon, spending the day at the golf course, taking weekend trips to Vegas and leaving her with the kids) that would further magnify her traditional spousal role. She would then be free to feed, dress, bath, and clean up after our two children while simultaneously devoting 8+ hours a day to her paying profession. Thus her feelings of self-confidence would survive.