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New Survey: Dads who share in household duties have better relationships

Consumer Reports News: June 17, 2010 01:44 PM

Men at Work: It pays to pitch in around the house.
A new survey of more than 1,000 American fathers from Procter & Gamble reveals that 91 percent of dad's feel that their relationship with their significant other is better when they share household chores equally. The online survey, conducted by Kelton Research earlier this month, "illuminates just how much fathers want to contribute at home, and how they see their relationships improve as a result of that contribution," says P&G.

Some other findings from the survey:

• 48 percent of married dads feel fulfilled from learning to cook, do home repairs, and perform other chores.

• 35 percent of dads are keen on learning more about advanced home renovation, while 33 percent want to get information on basic home repair, and 33 percent want to get up to speed on landscaping and gardening.

The P&G survey comes out at an obvious time in advance of this weekend's Father's Day, and it mirrors others that we've seen over the years that extol the benefits of men pitching in more around the house.

As a father of three who does all the shopping and cooking, yard work, and a lot more at home and whose wife works in a fast-paced, high-pressure job in TV news and still manages to take on a heavy load at home, I appreciate the overall message in the survey, though in 2010 I don't really find it newsworthy that nine out of 10 dads recognize the importance and benefits of doing our part around the house. (Indeed, who are those 9 percent of respondents whose relationship isn't improved by splitting household work?) Also, the other survey figures above seem a bit low. Or are most of my fellow American dads already skilled at those household chores?

The survey is also a way to introduce Manofthehouse.com, a new site that looks like it could be an effort from the editors of Men's Health to reach a demographic that's older, more sophisticated, and less hormonally motivated than that magazine's typical audience. Manofthehouse.com isn't from Men's Health and isn't a down-home site created by a couple of suburban dads. It's from P&G Productions, a division of the consumer-products behemoth, and Barefoot Proximity, a marketing firm that's itself part of BBDO Worldwide, a global advertising/marketing giant.

Manofthehouse.com offers the typical service-journalism menu of advice on food and cooking, money and career, technology and gear, family and parenting, looking and feeling good, relationships (including sex), all aimed at the modern American dad. It's an appealing site with some good and sometimes obvious information delivered by guys you might enjoy throwing back a couple of pints with while watching a baseball game at the local tavern.

As for this weekend and Father's Day, I'm planning to bang out my yard work on Saturday so I can take it easy on Sunday, though I know I'll happily be preparing a nice meal for dinner that evening.

Happy Father's Day, and enjoy sleeping in if you're granted the opportunity. Perhaps someone will even make breakfast or brunch for you. Appreciate any gift you receive, even if it's a rough-around-the edges handmade one from your son or daughter or a necktie. Catch some World Cup soccer action or throw a ball around with the kid(s), and don't forget to leave some time to hang with your family.

But remember, after that, it's back to work—at your job and around the house.

Steven H. Saltzman

   

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