HOT BLAST: Caring for children is exhausting (and other discoveries in Pew analysis)
Oct 08, 2013
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The Pew Research Center examines the role of mothers and fathers in a work/family/household balance. A few of the findings:
- Parents find caring for their children to be much more exhausting than the work they do for pay. At the same time, parents find much more meaning in the time they spend with their children than in the time they spend at work. American parents with children under age 18 find 62% of their child-care experiences “very meaningful,” compared with 36% of paid work-related activities. They also rate 12% of child-care activities “very tiring,” compared with 5% of paid work-related activities.
- Overall, fathers spend significantly more hours each week in paid work than do mothers (40 hours vs. 23 hours, on average), while mothers’ time in unpaid work (child care and housework) is much longer than that of fathers (31 hours per week vs. 17 hours). Fathers have three hours per week more leisure time than mothers do.
- Compared with other daily activities, parents do not seem to experience particularly high levels of stress during the time they are taking care of their children. Only 3% of child-care activities are rated as “very stressful,” compared with 4% of leisure activities, and 5% of work-related activities (housework and paid work). Instead, parents report that they are “not stressed at all” in 52% of child-care activities, compared with 20% of paid work and 37% of housework.
- Fathers and mothers are a bit specialized in household tasks, even though mothers are still doing more overall. On average, mothers spend about seven hours per week doing cleaning and laundry, more than three times as much as what fathers spend on these tasks (two hours per week). On the other hand, fathers spend about four hours per week doing household repairs and maintenance (such as vehicles and lawn care), while mothers spend about one hour per week in these activities.