On second thought, maybe dads shouldn't help with the kids

When mothers perceived fathers to be competent caregivers, the more time those dads spent solo with children, the lower was mom’s self-competence rating. But when mothers considered spouses relatively incompetent caregivers, increased father-only time with kids was unrelated to mothers’ self-competence.

As for why a mother’s self-competence took a hit from perfect dads, Sasaki suggests pressure to keep up with societal norms plays a role.

“In American society, women are expected to take a main role in parenting despite increasingly egalitarian sex roles,” Sasaki said. “Thus, we believe that employed mothers suffer from self-competence losses when their husbands are involved and skillful because those mothers may consider that it is a failure to fulfill cultural expectations.”