“The Domestic Handoff” – a Mixed-Methods Assessment of Fathers’ Time-Use in Female Breadwinner Families

Beth A. Latshaw, Appalachian State University
Stephanie Hale, Appalachian State University

Using a combination of microdata from the 2003-2011 American Time Use Surveys (ATUS), household time diaries and in-depth interviews, this paper empirically assesses a relatively unexplored topic: the time-use of male caregivers in female-breadwinner families. We use time diary and interview data drawn from a sample of forty fathers to critically examine the childcare, housework and leisure time of men who “stay home,” particularly in the evenings. We then compare the qualitative findings to macro-level ATUS estimates of time-use among married mothers and fathers with different levels of labor force participation. Findings suggest that full-time fathers essentially “hand over” the reigns of domestic responsibilities when their wives arrive home from work, allotting male caregivers a significant amount of time to pursue leisure, educational and employment-related activities. As a result, the second shift and leisure gap between mothers and fathers persists, even when women are the sole and/or primary earners.

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Presented in Session 51: Maternal Employment and Child Time in Diverse Families