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Katrina Alcorn's picture

Thanks to everyone who took my "Who clips the nails?" survey. The results are in! Below is a summary. I'm posting the detailed results, comments, and analysis now and throughout the week on my blog:


Even though studies show fathers are changing more diapers and folding more laundry than ever, mothers are still bearing most of the "psychic burden" of parenting—the scheduling, organizing, and myriad little tasks that fall to the primary caregiver.

A month ago, I put together a survey asking parents how they divide certain responsibilities at home, and linked to it here. In the first week, more than 300 parents—moms, dads, gay, straight—filled out the survey.

The results

Even in households where both parents work outside the home, mom is still in charge of things like clipping the kids’ nails, researching daycare options, scheduling doctor appointments, and buying and sorting the kids’ clothes.

Is this fair? About half of you said yes, and half said no. But fairness is a complicated concept, one I will explore in more depth next week.

Here’s who responded to the survey

* 338 total respondents
* 302 identified as "a working parent in a household where both parents work"
* 95% female; 5% male
* 94% households = 1 mom + 1 dad
* 5% households = 2 moms or 2 dads
* 1% other (divorced but co-parenting, or 2 parents + grandma)

Detailed results

To keep the survey short, I picked 10 chores (more about how I chose those 10 in a moment) and asked who did them. Parents could choose one of three answers:

* "I usually do this"
* "My partner usually does this"
* "We split it pretty evenly"

The majority of the respondents (262 out of 338) were working mothers whose husbands also work. This is how many of these moms say they are primarily responsible for these tasks:

* 92% Buying and sorting clothes
* 88% Scheduling dentist and doctor appointments
* 84% Organizing kid birthday parties
* 80% Research daycare/schools
* 75% Clipping nails
* 69% Checking for lice
* 68% School communication, volunteering, etc.
* 47% Stay home with sick kids
* 46% Brushing kids’ hair and teeth
* 35% Drop off and pick up kids

Here’s how many people said they split those same tasks evenly:

* 54% Drop off and pick up kids
* 49% Brushing kids’ hair and teeth
* 43% Stay home with sick kids
* 29% School communication, volunteering, etc.
* 18% Research daycare/schools
* 13% Organizing kid birthday parties
* 13% Buying and sorting clothes
* 13% Clipping nails
* 11% Checking for lice
* 10% Scheduling dentist and doctor appointments

Here’s how many dads are primarily responsible:

* 13% Clipping nails
* 11% Drop off and pick up kids
* 10% Stay home with sick kids
* 6% Brushing kids’ hair and teeth
* 3% School communication, volunteering, etc.
* 3% Scheduling dentist and doctor appointments
* 2% Research daycare/schools
* 2% Organizing kid birthday parties
* 2% Buying and sorting clothes
* 2% Checking for lice

Keep in mind, these results are from families where both parents work outside the home.

To read the full story, including how I chose these questions in particular, please visit Working Moms Break.

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