This may be one of the most obvious studies of our time, but for all the overworked and overwhelmed moms out there, isn’t it nice to finally be validated by science?
A new study from Cornell University, the University of Minnesota, and Minnesota Population Centre found that when it comes to stress levels, moms are definitely more stressed out than dads. It may seem obvious to those who are living it, but with babies come change and with change comes the age-old debate of who has it harder. Well now we know for sure: it’s moms. At least that’s what the study found after surveying more than 12,000 American parents over the course of three years.
The survey asked parents to evaluate their feelings and what they were doing during three random periods of the day to evaluate their overall moods and how their daily activities affected them. Those caregivers who stayed home with the kids and were tasked with more “mundane” activities such as chores, cooking and actual child care reported higher levels of stress, whereas the parent who worked (most often the dad) got to enjoy more leisure time and playful activities with the children when at home.
Helping to bolster that stress is the finding that moms reported less sleep due to waking up more often during the night, and less overall leisure time. Again, it may seem completely obvious, but it’s nice to know that “doing it all” does take it’s toll and it’s not just you, right?
“Mothers are doing different things with their children than fathers are, things that we know aren’t as enjoyable. 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,” said the study’s co-author Kelly Musick in a press release.
“As a sociologist, I wish we, as a society, could let go of some of the assumptions and constraints we place on the mother and father roles. The mom and the dad are interacting within a societal framework that is out of their control to a great extent,” she continued. “The solution is that we collectively rethink what we expect of fathers and what we expect of mothers,” she said.
We couldn’t agree more. No wonder moms talk about coffee and wine so much.
Bottom line? If you’re a mom and you’re feeling stressed out, know that you’re not alone. And science supports you.