Stress and the working mom


American mothers are multitasking for 48.3 hours each week while their loving male partners multitask a whole lot less at 38.9 hours. Researchers from Michigan State University reported this in the American Sociological Review. Not only that, but they don’t like it. These women say the experience is negative while the men say it’s positive.

“This suggests that working mothers are doing two activities at once more than two-fifths of the time they are awake, while working fathers are multitasking more than a third of their waking hours,” said Professor Barbara Schneider, co-investigator. Lead author Shira Offer said, “For mothers, multitasking is – on the whole – a negative experience, whereas it is not for fathers. Only mothers report negative emotions and feeling stressed and conflicted when they multitask at home and in public settings. By contrast, multitasking in these contexts is a positive experience for fathers.”

For the moms, 52.7% of the mothers’ multitasking episodes that occurred at home involved housework. For the men housework was at 42.2%. For the moms 35.5% of the multitasking involved the children, for men it was 27.9%.

“At home and in public are the environments in which most household – and childcare-related tasks take place, and mothers’ activities in these settings are highly visible to other people. Therefore, their ability to fulfill their role as good mothers can be easily judged an dcriticized when they multitask in these contexts, making it a more stressful and negative experience for them than for fathers,” said Schneider.

One solution to alleviate the stress mothers feel is for others to share the load, dads in particular. This is also a place where employers and policymakers can help by giving dads more time with family.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, American Sociological Review


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