Housework straining German housewives

German fathers wish they had more time to spend with their offspring while a majority of German mothers feel strained by their portion of household chores, according to an annual study by German vacuum maker Vorwerk released on Monday.

Housework straining German housewives
Photo: Vorwerk and WDR

Fathers that participated in the survey said professional demands limit their face time with their children to just two hours per day during the week. That figure climbs to six hours on Saturdays and Sundays but half of the men polled said they’d welcome more time with their kids.

Meanwhile, 57 percent of the mothers included in the study said their daily chores are “somewhat of a strain” and a full third said their spouse’s reluctance to take on more tasks had led to “serious marital crisis,” according to the survey.

Still, only 17 percent of housewives who felt appreciated by their husbands dubbed their housework as “straining.”

In its effort to highlight the toils of hausfrauen, vacuum cleaner manufacturer Vorwerk has commissioned an annual study of German family life in each of the past four years. Previous studies have discovered that housewives prefer well-educated men to a good sex life and that most German men felt they were inept at housework.

The study this year interviewed 1,816 Germans over the age of 16 about their beliefs, actions and family structures.

Two-thirds of all women between 16 and 29 said they felt it was just as important for working mothers to not only offer support to their families but also ensure they were getting the support they needed from their offspring and spouses. Only a third of men from the same age group agreed.

This study comes amid broad reforms to Germany’s government family policies that appear to be reversing a trend of fewer births. Both mothers and fathers now have legal protections and public financial support when they take time off to parent.

The average number of children per German woman rose from 1.33 in 2006 to 1.37 in 2007, according to recent government statistics. The total German fertility rate in 2007 was higher than in any year since 2000, when it stood at 1.38 children per woman.

Some 685,000 children were born in Germany last year, up about 12,000 from 2006.