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The Supermom Dilemma: When the Drive to Do It All Hurts

The Supermom Dilemma: When the Drive to Do It All Hurts

A new study has confirmed what many Circle of Moms members already know: moms multitask far more than dads. As Katie S. wonders, “Why can't dads multi-task the way moms can? I'm so sick of hearing that I need to watch the kid so hubby can do XYZ. Mommies do it ALL  with a kid on their hips.”

So what’s behind Mom’s role as chief family multitasker? Is it that Dad is lazy, or is there some other dynamic at work? Here, Circle of Moms members share three theories on why moms are in a class by themselves when it comes to multitasking.

1. Dads Don't Feel the Need to Do it All

Moms are good at multitasking because they want to be able to provide for everyone's needs, and dads just don't have that same emotional drive. According to Circle of Moms member Catherine M., dads experience fatherhood differently than moms experience motherhood: "Dads don’t understand the physical and emotional aspect of being a mom. My husband doesn’t even do nights with our son, says that our son only wants his mommy."


As Catherine M. wisely theorizes, the fact that mom is in much greater demand is fine by many dads: “I don’t think men want to be able to multitask, because if they did then they would be required to do what women/moms do in a day."

2. It's Easier to Just Do It Yourself

No offense to the male population, but many Circle of Moms members say it comes down to simple biology: Multitasking is a "natural instinct," for moms, says Maggie E. Both she and Michelle F. have learned the hard way not to expect their husbands to multitask. Michelle always ends up frustrated with her husband's output, and Maggie warns that " . . . it just doesn't come naturally to [dads]. . . .You just give them one task to help you with while you do something else and all of a sudden you're stressed out over him not being able to do it all. It only hurts you, your mood, and relationship.”


3. The Treadmill Never Slows 

Many Circle of Moms members also comment that their families' lives operate on an always-moving cycle and that there's no way to press 'pause.' Megan S. feels like she's always doing "a million things, all day long." Each day is a new cycle, and it doesn't matter if you picked up all the toys in the morning, because they're on the floor again by the end of the day. "I still need to clean before I go to bed," she rues.

But even if you believe that the treadmill is what you signed up for (Megan concludes, "Oh motherhood!"), it's important to be aware that we pay a price for all this multitasking. As both Circle of Moms members' comments and the American Sociological Review reveal, moms who spend significantly more time multitasking at home than dads aren’t exactly happy about it. “That is because it’s not just the time that exacts a toll, it's that moms are feeling more frazzled and overwhelmed by all the juggling of roles,” says Barbara Schneider, co-author of the study and a sociologist at Michigan State University.

Catherine M. and Nichole B. wish their partners would step up a little more so that they could get some down time. As Nichole explains, "Ultimately, the stress mounts because multitasking moms also feel so isolated and misunderstood by their partners. My husband gets upset and doesn't understand that it is hard to do everything and take care of our seven-month-old, too. He doesn’t get how demanding it all can be and how after doing all this, I sometimes just need me time.”

Are you better at multitasking than your spouse?

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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