Oct 14, 2013

    Working mums more tired, but happier than dads

    JUGGLING work and childcare makes a working woman feel more tired than fathers, but she still finds those responsibilities meaningful, according to a study by the American Time Use Survey.

    It shows that mothers, including those who work full time, spend about twice as much time as fathers taking care of kids and cleaning up around the house, while fathers spend more time at work and in leisure, the Washington Post reported.

    According to the study, those mothers say they feel exhausted.

    Analysing the study's results, the Pew Research Center found that mothers, on average, feel more tired than fathers in all four major categories of life: Work, housework, childcare and leisure.

    However, mothers who participated in the survey feel happier than fathers when they are juggling work and childcare. And nearly twice as many mothers as fathers say they are "very happy" cleaning around the house, the Post reported.

    Meanwhile, fathers are stressed out by housework and find working less stressful. They feel happiest during leisure time.

    The survey found that mothers rarely let themselves fully enjoy their leisure time. And when asked what they did when they were free and what they would choose to do, most suggested housework.

    "Time (spent on) childcare is where we found the biggest gap between fathers and mothers feeling exhausted," said report author Wendy Wang, as quoted by the Post.

    "And when you look at what mothers and fathers are actually doing, it shows why: Mothers spend much more time than fathers doing physical care - feeding the baby, giving baths. They do more managerial and educational care, all of which requires a lot of energy," Ms Wang said.

    "Only when it comes to playing with kids do fathers (spend) almost the same amount (of time) as mothers."

    The Post noted that other studies have found that mothers enjoy less continuous sleep than fathers and that mothers feel more rushed all the time.

    The tiredness that mothers feel could, perhaps, be due to the constant switching of their roles, as women are still considered the primary caregiver at home, even for those who work, the Post noted, quoting Ms Ellen Galinsky of the Families and Work Institute.

    And parents are often expected to work as if they have no children, said Ms Galinsky. In particular, mothers are expected to parent as if they did not have to work.