You might think that married women are spending less time on chores and keeping the house functioning than single moms are. After all, there's an extra set of adult hands to help out. Turns out, that's not actually the case.
A study from sociologists at the University of Maryland, University of Texas, and University of Southern California found that women married to men spend more time on housework than single moms because married women are more likely to "perform gender" at home.
"Married mothers increase housework in part to meet expectations about home-cooked meals, clean clothes, and well-kept houses — behavior integral to contemporary definitions of appropriate behavior for wives and mothers," authors Joanna Pepin, Liana C. Sayer, and Lynne M. Casper write.
After adjustments for differences in employment, education, race, and number of children or other extended family members at home, married women reported that they spend nearly three hours on housework, over 30 minutes more than unmarried women.
The study looked at data from heterosexual partnerships from the American Time Use Survey from 2003 to 2012. And despite having an extra set of hands around, the study pointed toward married women ending up with extra work at home that single moms don't have.
“The research is really showing that men are not necessarily contributing in ways that are bringing about equality in the home,” author Pepin of UT-Austin said, according to Fortune.
Married mothers also reported spending 10 minutes less daily on leisure and 13 minutes less daily on sleep compared to their single counterparts.
"Our research, and that of our colleagues, indicate moms put housework ahead of their own leisure and sleep because they feel personally accountable for providing a home for their families," Pepin and Sayer said in the Washington Post.
"Single mothers feel just as strongly about providing a good home for their children but don’t have the added pressure of living up to the idealized notions of superwomen wives who produce sparkling dishes, spotless floors and flawless meals, all while supervising homework, helping sell Girl Scout cookies and making sure the science project is finished on time."
More lifestyle news from GateHouse Media: