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How much time do working parents actually spend with their kids? The data collected by Professor W. Keith Bryant and University of Utah researcher Cathleen Zick disprove the notion that children of two-income families are neglected and unnurtured.
"Learn to share" is one of the first things that moms and dads teach their kids. That act of sharing, beginning with simple toys and later including everything from the car to vacation time to income and household labor and responsibility, may be the one quality most likely to define a sound and satisfying family life. A more sophisticated word for sharing is collaboration, and it's not a coincidence that an academic collaboration has led to significant research on how, when, and by whom household labor is shared (or not) by family members.
The sharing of household labor is a topic close to the heart of working women and their families. This generation of American women who flooded the labor force did so with certain expectations: that husbands and children would share household duties to help compensate for her hours spent in paid work, and that employers would help provide day care for children, or at least understand when time was missed from work because children were ill.
One thing women did not expect was to be blamed for becoming income earners. Yet there was considerable speculation in the media about whether those absent moms were really doing the right thing by their children. The entry of women into the work force opened a new area of family study that begged for facts rather than hyperbole and stone throwing, an area that W. Keith Bryant, professor and chair of the Department of Consumer Economics and Housing, was eager to research.
In 1988, when Bryant began planning his 1989 sabbatical leave, he chose the University of Utah as his research home away from home. The choice was not random: the …