The benefits and drawbacks of Dads' help are being questioned.
When my husband got up in the middle of the night to meet our baby's needs, I was more than happy to let him handle the situation. I didn't feel any less of a mother and my self-esteem certainly never felt compromised or diminished because he pitched in. Isn't that the help I and most working mothers have been seeking for decades?
Sure, it took me a while to overlook the mess he made or the fact that he wasn't doing things my way. I certainly didn't feel less competent as a mother. What I felt was rested...and grateful...and a touch amazed that he was so willing.
Not so for the women in a new study by Takayuki Sasaki of the Osaka University of Commerce in Japan and colleagues at the University of Texas, Austin, Nancy L. Hazen and William B. Swann, Jr. In their study, "The supermom trap: Do involved dads erode moms self-competence?" reported in the Journal of Personal Relationships, employed mothers of 8-month olds and their husbands, all living in the United States, were asked to evaluate the effect fathers' involvement in childcare had on them.
Helpful Fathers Diminish Mothers' Self-Confidence. Really?
I'm having troubling buying into the concept that women's view of their own self-competence takes a knock when their husbands pitch in and pitch in competently. Seems we're all too busy, especially working mothers, to worry about who feeds the baby, reads bedtime stories, or makes school lunches. Admittedly I felt guilty for tasks I thought I should be doing, but not often. Having dad change diapers or spell me when I worked late was something I rejoiced about.
Haven't women, especially young employed mothers, gotten passed worrying about who's doing what? Doesn't a diligent, involved dad seem like a blessing to you?