Working fathers feel more guilty than working mothers about the amount of time they spend with their children, with fewer dads viewing themselves as good parents, according to Pew Research Center findings released on Thursday.
About 46 per cent of fathers said they are not putting in enough hours with their kids, compared with just 23 per cent of the moms surveyed in Pew's analysis of long-term data, titled "Modern Parenthood Roles of Moms and Dads Converge as They Balance Work and Family."
About half of working dads and 56 per cent of working moms say juggling careers and family life is difficult, while 15 per cent of dads call it "very difficult." About 34 per cent of working fathers and 40 per cent of working mothers said they "always feel rushed." The authors argue that, alongside shifting gender roles in the workplace, come changes at home, with "added pressures of balancing work and family life, for mothers and fathers alike."
"For their part, fathers now spend more time engaged in housework and child care than they did half a century ago. And the amount of time they devote to paid work has decreased slightly over that period. Fathers have by no means caught up to mothers in terms of time spent caring for children and doing household chores, but there has been some gender convergence in the way they divide their time between work and home," write Pew's Kim Parker and Wendy Wang.
American fathers have nearly tripled the time they put in with children since 1965, but a gender gap persists: Moms spend about twice as much time with their kids as dads do – 13.5 hours per week for mothers compared with just 7.3 hours for fathers in 2011.
Not surprising, then, that these women felt better about their parenting than the men surveyed: 68 per cent of moms said they devoted "the right amount" of time to their children; only half of dads said the same. Some 73 per cent of mothers reported doing an "excellent" or "very good" job as a parent, compared with 64 per cent of fathers. And just 8 per cent of moms and 3 per cent of dads felt they were actually spending too much time with their brood, proving that laissez-faire parents are still few and far between.