Against the Odds? Keeping a Nontraditional Division of Domestic Work After First Parenthood in Spain
Journal of Family Issues
US : SAGE Publications
1 - 25 p.
gender, family, life course, household labor
This article analyzes changes in the division of routine domestic work after first parenthood. We wanted to know whether and how it was possible for couples to resist the trend toward traditionalization that has been shown in the literature. To do so, we analyze semistructured interviews with 27 Spanish couples who were expecting their first child in 2011 and interviewed them again in 2013. The couples were selected from a bigger sample because of their nontraditional practices preparenthood. Our results show that 17 of them were able to maintain a nontraditional division of domestic work, whereas 10 traditionalized. In our analysis, relative resources and time availability did not sufficiently explain the changes in the division of work, but specific characteristics of the division of work before childbirth—men’s active participation, the routinization of tasks, and flexible standards—emerged as key factors to resist the trend toward more traditional arrangements.