Parenting Difference: Mom Time vs. Dad Time
Wed, April 21, 2021

Parenting Difference: Mom Time vs. Dad Time

A common belief among households is that mom’s time is different from dad’s time. While new research suggests that a father's time also leaves a significant impact on children, a mother's touch is different compared to a father's / Photo by: 4 PM production via Shutterstock

 

A common belief among households is that mom’s time is different from dad’s time. While new research suggests that a father's time also leaves a significant impact on children, a mother's touch is different compared to a father's. More than this, according to Lauren Vinopal, journalist and writer from Fatherly, an online news database on parenting, different elements of the “Fatherly Effect” or levels of physical contact, nurturing, and reassurance remain different between a mother and a father. Research, as explained by Vinopal, seems to point out that the effects of fathers on children are more likely unpredictable and less immediately felt compared to mothers.’ This proves that a mother's impact on children is immediate, and this is more pronounced on the way children learn things at the earliest time possible. In contrast, it is when a child is growing older that the father's disciplinary actions impact social and sexual behavior. It's important to remember, though, that although this reality may be common in many households, it is never a one-type-that-fits-all kind of explanation. It's still difficult to conclusively determine the exact differences between a mom’s influence and a dad’s on their children and the reasons behind this, but there exists a general trend among a majority of families.

 

Looking More Closely: Men and Women on Working

In an article featured in the Wall Street Journal, a US business-focused, English-language international daily newspaper, it was reported that the American Time Use Survey was conducted in a close study of 32 families. The study found out that men and women work roughly the same number of hours in relation to their children but experience their time differently. “An hour spent on one kind of task is not necessarily the equivalent of an hour spent on another,” the WSJ article said. In work, men take on roles that usually involved paid hours, while women were involved in more unpaid hours. “Alone Together,” a 2007 source of information about the state of American marriage, shared that women believe child care is unevenly divided in their homes, and this imbalance is more likely to affect marital happiness than an imbalance in household work or work related to the children. Additionally,  the American Time Use Survey, women in dual-earning families are reported three times more likely to report uninterrupted sleep and are more likely to get up for children compared to stay-at-home fathers. 

On average, according to sociologists Shira Offer and Barbara Schneider, mothers spend 10 hours multitasking, more than what fathers spend related to spending time on housework and child care. Moreover, fathers that stayed at home were 30% less likely to multitask, finishing a Sunday paper versus mothers who stand up and refill cereal bowls for their children.

On average, according to sociologists Shira Offer and Barbara Schneider, mothers spend 10 hours multitasking, more than what fathers spend related to spending time on housework and child care / Photo by: Monkey Business Images via Shutterstock

 

How These Parents Differ

Children see their parents differently depending on how these adults act toward them. Children respect both parents, but more often than not, they see fathers as authority figures, as mentioned in Meeker Parenting, a blog about modern-day parenting. Children may confide in mothers but speak more carefully with fathers. The psychology behind this is linked to a father’s voice, often big, imposing, and deep. Moreover, young children see mothers as a permanent fixture whose love is non-negotiable, with children more freely acting out with mothers as they would be there either way. 

Psychology Today, an online magazine that offers help from a directory of therapists, psychologists, and counselors, stated that when it comes to children’s preference, dads generally come in second next to moms. This is a subconscious choice because of the evolutionary perspective that children are born from mothers, first coming into being and nurtured inside the mother’s womb. As well, women have been the lead in parenting communities. In an article published by Forbes, data found that the average spending of Americans on mothers during Mother’s Day is 40% more than the average spent on fathers during Father’s Day—$168 compared to $120.

Children behave better when dads are at home due to feelings of needing to earn a father’s love. Whether or not a father is cheerful, generous, friendly, welcoming, or the complete opposite, children feel they need to earn his respect and love. But, according to Becky Burch (2017), a contributing psychologist in Psychology Today, moms are less likely to play favoritism.

Lastly, across the development and early age of the average child, mothers spend more time with their kids than dads do. The Economist, an English-language weekly magazine-format newspaper, reported that in 11 rich countries, mothers spent 54 minutes a day caring for children in 1965 and 104 minutes in 2012. Men spend less time now, but more than those in the past, from an average of 16 minutes to 59 minutes a day. Although not all parents act the same way, with variations from one to another, trends show that a mom’s time in the family has a different impact on children than the dad’s. There are many dads out there that change more diapers than women, and many more women out there that are not able to divide time with work. Parenting is a serious matter and relationships with children must be worked at without any shortcut.

Children see their parents differently depending on how these adults act toward them. Children respect both parents, but more often than not, they see fathers as authority figures / Photo by: Monkey Business Images via Shutterstock