Scientific Study Reveals 5 Reasons Moms Are More Stressed Than Dads, as If We Even Needed 1
A new study reveals that moms are more stressed out about parenting than dads?! Thank you, lead researcher Captain Obvious for whatever longitudinal experimentation went into drumming up that conclusion.
We'd like to imagine that the person who performed this latest parenting study — which was just published in the American Sociological Review — had a husband at home who kept saying, "Prove it!" when she'd complain about doing more work. But it's more likely that she reviewed timed diaries of more than 1,200 parents for the rest of us ladies . . . so that we had something to print off, tape to the refrigerator door, and point to whenever things got rough.
So, if you've been long telling your partner that you have it harder, and if by some tragic fluke, he doesn't believe you, you now have scientific evidence to back your claims. Evidence that says:
1. Moms actually have less fun being a parent.
"The good news from our study is that parents generally enjoy being with their kids," University of Minnesota researcher Ann Meier, who led the research, said. "But the bad news is that mothers are more stressed and enjoy it less than fathers." (Is he still stumped as to why? Read on . . . )
2. Moms perform worse parenting tasks. Categorically.
Scientific research quantitatively confirms that women do less of the desirable parenting tasks: "Mothers are doing different things with their children than fathers are, things that we know aren't as enjoyable," Cornell professor and co-author Kelly Musick said. "Playing with their kids is a particularly enjoyable experience for parents. And dads are doing more play as a share of the total amount of time they spend with their kids."
As for moms, "They're going to play when they have time to play, but they're going to make sure they have everything else covered," she said. "Dinner is made, the kids are bathed, laundry is folded. They do play with their kids, but when you take account of all the things they're doing, it's just a smaller share of their time."
3. A mom's role as the primary caregiver hasn't evolved with her increased presence in the workforce.
On the other hand, because of historical precedence, fathers experience less — as researchers dub it — "role strain." That's a nice, scholarly way of saying "mommy guilt."
4. Time spent away from kids is less restorative for moms. (Because it involves kids.)
"Mothers are more likely than fathers to be called on by kids "around the clock," Meier said. "Fathers' sleep and downtime are less likely than mothers' to be interrupted by kids. This is part of the reason fathers are less tired than mothers when parenting."
5. Moms multi-task, and multi-tasking is empirically the worst.
According to this research, our own brains are working against us — preventing us from relaxing or focusing — because we are performing more "sentient activities" behind the scenes. We're ticking off things in our mental to-do list, organizing events, and generally handling more tasks at once because we're more often alone with kids than dads are.
There you have it: all things you already know. You might as well go ahead and add "scientist" to your résumé and start conducting your own experiments. Oh, wait, we just outlined five reasons why that does not sound like a good use of your time. Let's all stick with wine instead.