“The neuroscience literature shows that the human brain is a sex-typed organ with distinct anatomical differences in neural structures and accompanying physiological differences in function.” (4)
So yeah, women and men are wired differently from the get-go.
When it comes to parenting, mothers and fathers approach it differently. In a 2015 study of the differences between men and women in attachment and caregiving representations and mindful parenting:
“…fathers presented higher levels of avoidance, more egoistic motivations to provide help, lower perceived ability to recognize others’ needs, and lower levels of mindful parenting than mothers.” (5)
That doesn’t mean they care less or don’t love and respect their wives or their children. Fathers just don’t assume the parenting role in the same way that mothers do. In fact, studies in mammal genetics have found that a maternal instinct is pre-programmed in females in utero, due primarily to the predominant female sex hormones. (6)
Many of the mothers surveyed by TODAY expressed frustration that their husbands behave more like children than active equal partners in parenting and in running the household. Fathers are more prone to sit back when the sink is full of dishes or the hamper is overflowing, especially after a full day of work outside the home. And they won’t lose any sleep if the cupcakes for tomorrow’s bake sale aren’t perfect. Like children, those things don’t carry a whole lot of importance for fathers.
Mothers’ resentment is often the result of the inequity in household duties. If resentment is left unresolved, the marriage can suffer; sometimes it doesn’t recover after the children have grown and are no longer in their parents’ care.
A study by the University of Padova (Italy) found that when one spouse dies in a long-term marriage, widowers often suffer depression and failing health while widows find their stress levels drastically reduced and are less likely to become frail. A contributing factor to this (perhaps surprising) result is the unburdening of the caregiver role that women take on for their spouses. (7)