In my own and friends' homes, I have experienced how exhausting and draining it is when a man and a woman have to do parenting by committee.

What really messes it up is risk management.

Mothers' well-reasoned actions to avoid all forms of risk to their children are entirely correct from an evolutionary perspective; the mother who let her child wander away from the fire 600,000 years ago had her child eaten by wild animals.

Those genes were not passed on. The mothers who said "No, beware, dangerous" got to keep their children and were able to pass on their genes.

The man who 600,000 years ago thought, "That bear looks a bit dangerous, better go home" was not allowed to kill a bear and was not allowed to share a hut with a woman.

A man's strength and confidence is, in general, very attractive to women. There's a reason for that - the most suitable genes should be passed on.

Today we have no fires and no bears. Evolution is slow and humans are stuck with the same brains they had thousands of years ago.

Today we are most afraid of snakes, thunder, open spaces, spiders, darkness and heights. All really good things to stay away from - a few hundred thousand years ago.

Here today is the woman who shuns all forms of risk, and the man who must accept some risk.  No gathering around the fire in the garden, no bear or snake in the living room, no darkness after sunset.

The man, the risk manager, acts as a parent with the confidence and ability to assess risk that he intuitively has. The same risk assessment he uses as a stockbroker (85% men) pilot (94.8% men) and heavy current installer (99.4% men)

The woman acts as a parent with the care and caution that is intuitive to her. The same avoidance of risk she uses as a preschool teacher (97.5% women) in childcare (94.4% women) and as a nurse (94% women).

When these two perspectives on risk management come together to share responsibility for the care of one or more children, it can cut deeply.

No man can defend his actions all the time, and how can he explain his intuitive ability to assess risk - an ability he honed throughout his upbringing through high-speed cycling, tree climbing, open water swimming, high altitude balancing acts.

After all, the man's actions involve risk. It is intuitively judged by the man to be virtually zero - no man takes a risk where his child could be harmed. It is perceived by the woman as a completely unnecessary risk. Better not to.

The consequence may be parenthood on the woman's terms. Watch out, watch out, don't go, sit down, go here, come back. It's easy to hear all these exhortations when you meet women with their children in town. When you listen to men with children, it's not as common.

What we miss is that children mirror their parents. It's the most basic function of human beings. They're compliant,' say child psychologists. When the father behaves confidently, the child intuitively feels it and follows the father's actions. Doesn't run away, checks in, makes sure it's OK.

The mother's risk management in a society of cars, power lines, children's pools and solvents in the home risks making the child insecure - mum is scared, there is something to be scared of here. And the child follows that behaviour too.

That is why the father's presence in the family is needed for his children - he must have the mother's trust. He would never expose his child to serious danger.  In the same way, the father must have respect for the mother's actions - she is right in her perspective, no risk is better.

Parenthood is not exercised by committee but by trust.

That children hurt themselves a little bit is perfectly fine. That's how you learn risk assessment. Comfort, put on a band-aid, maybe a cast in the worst case. They usually heal 100%. A 10-foot fall in kindergarten? No wonder "According to the city of Stockholm, the child is fine under the circumstances, but will stay overnight in hospital." Children are very resilient.

I cut off my fingertip at a scout camp. Unbelievable amounts of blood. I'm a lot more careful with knives these days, I can tell you.

Parenthood. The greatest experience life has to offer.


Källa: Yrkesfördelning kön, 2017. Boston Globe baserat på US Department of Labour data

Omslagsfoto Scott Webb