In addition, while men's roles have changed a bit in the past thirty years, women's have changed enormously. Sociologist Arlie Hochschild found that men who did the most family work were those that had the most distant relationships with their fathers.38 This is probably because these men were the least interested in using their fathers as role models, and the most motivated to distance themselves from them. Men who are close to their fathers may behave more like them because of the guilt, loss, or sadness they would feel if they behave too differently from them.
While many guys use their wive's standards as an excuse to get out of work, some mothers create or participate in the creation of a Lazy Husband by gatekeeping the quality and quantity of his involvement. Gatekeeping is a term that sociologists use to explain how much a spouse allows the other spouse to participate in some activity such as parenting, housework, or managing the finances. People often gatekeep by complaining about the other's standards, by redoing tasks, or by refusing the other's offer to help. Women's gatekeeping can occur for many reasons. Some women gatekeep as a way to prevent their partners from butting into an arena where they enjoy a sense of authority. This may be taking care of the family's needs, or ensuring that the house and parenting are maintained to a certain standard. While gatekeeping is common in traditional households, it can also occur in homes where both parents believe that the parenting and housework should be shared equally. It commonly occurs when women feel guilty or inadequate sharing a role that they saw their mothers perform without a man's involvement. Evelyn: I just don't feel right making Rick do as much housework as I do. I know we both work full-time but my mother would have never let my father do the laundry or wash dishes.
It just doesn't feel right to me. Gatekeeping is an important behavior to understand because the ambivalence that generates it causes many women to be manipulated or warned off by their husbands' excuses or rationales. It may also make them less likely to assert themselves when they need to. A common reason why women gatekeep around housework is because they don't like how their partner cleans-- if he cleans! This difference in standards is a frequent battle in many homes. Paul: Harriet thinks I'm a slob and I don't think that's fair. I don't keep the house immaculate, but that doesn't make me a slob. I also only have so many hours in a day and if I get a free hour the last thing I'm going to do is spend it cleaning. Besides, whenever I do clean she just goes over what I did anyway, so why bother? Similarly, a mother might gatekeep a father's parenting out of a fear that he'll do it wrong. As a result, he doesn't get a chance to learn on his own. Jeff: I pretty much feel like whatever way I parent it's the wrong way for Michelle. "Watch out for his neck!" "You know, it's a lot faster if you lift up his legs with one hand and put the diaper under him with the other." "That's not the kind of baby food he likes."