Parenting Is Harder on Moms, Says Study That Shocks No Woman
byEricka SouterOct 10, 2016
Photograph by Twenty20
Guess what, ladies? Parenting is more
stressful for moms than for dads. Not exactly groundbreaking news for
any woman who has had a baby, but it's nice to have scientific backup.
to a new study from Cornell University, women experience more emotional
stress and strain than men while spending time with their kids. This
is no doubt because in most households, women are the primary caregivers
even when they work full-time. For the majority of moms, time with kids
typically means cooking, cleaning, bathing, discipline, calming tantrums
and keeping them entertained.
That's not always the case for dads, say
researchers who analyzed time-use surveys of 12,000 parents with kids
under 18. Respondents recorded what they were doing and how happy, sad,
stressed or tired they felt.
Dads often swoop in for the
fun parts of parenting rather than basic child-care and chores. That
means their quality time with kids is low stress and generally more
enjoyable. The study also found that moms do more solo parenting, have
more sleep disruption and less free time than fathers. Is it any
surprise that women exhibited lower levels of happiness and more stress
when hanging with their kids?
All that's not to say
moms don't enjoy parenting. Both men and women said that time with their
kids was very "meaningful." Why else would we continue to grow our
broods? But fact of the matter is, being a parent is a bit harder on
moms. Who makes sure the diapers and formula are stocked? Who monitors
the TP reserve? Who makes dinner? Who plays nurse when someone is sick?
it's important to note that this isn't the case in all families. The
number of men acting as primary caregivers is on the rise. According
to Pew Research, there are nearly 2 million stay-at-home dads in the
United States. And in more and more homes, two full-time working
parents strive to divide household chores more evenly.
Cornell sociologists note that there are still higher expectations
placed on mothers.
“The solution is that we collectively rethink what we
expect of fathers and what we expect of mothers," suggested study
co-author Kelly Musick. Until that happens, perhaps all parents should
heed this sanity-saving advice: Be sure to carve out some much needed
me-time, and don't be afraid to ask for help.