Is six minutes a week of this enough?
Can it be true that Australian men spend more time during the week brushing their teeth than they do alone with their children?
A new study from the University of New South Wales has discovered that during the working week, Aussie fathers only spend an average of just over a minute each day alone with their children.
Australian mothers, on the other hand, spend three hours a week purely looking after their children – a much greater disparity than in other countries like America, Denmark, Italy and France, where couples divide the child-care more evenly.
These findings will infuriate those who want to shake off the perhaps unfair image of Australia as a land of old-fashioned male chauvinism.
According to the author of the study, Australian fathers appear to like the fun aspects of parenthood, but shy away from the drudgery. So while they tend to be happy taking the kids to the park or to sports events, they are unlikely to participate regularly in feeding, bathing, or taking the kids to school.
In short, Australian parenting is seen as a woman's job and a man's hobby.
Many people believe that the last twenty years have seen the arrival of the so-called ‘new man’ – the man who is willing to share the housework and child-care and is not afraid to demonstrate his sensitive side either.
The new man has a picture of his children on his computer desktop at work; he never misses the kids’ school plays and he passes on a drink after work so that he can get home in time to read their bedtime story.
This new study suggests that the new man feels a little more at home in Europe than in Australia.
Indeed, a poll conducted in the UK for the think-tank the Fatherhood Institute in January indicated that almost 70% of British women thought that men were as good at raising children as women.
That’s something for Aussie men to ponder while they brush their teeth!