Monday, May 11, 2015

Parents can't tell time anymore

It's quiet in the house. You've done your nightly sweep through the kitchen, but there are no dishes left out. The living room is cleared of enough toys that you can make your way through it without stepping on something. Somehow the laundry was done and the clean clothes are in the basket, but folded, so that counts. You baby is asleep and still tightly swaddled. A quick check of your work email indicates that there are no emergencies. Now what do you do?

Some of you are laughing. You are laughing because you've recognized that question as one of those unanswerable trick questions, because clearly that scenario has never happened. There is always a chore to be done, a child to check on, a load of dirty socks somewhere or an emergency blowing up your email.

What's a Mom to do? 

Evidently, she just works through it. And - it would appear - she is putting in more hours than Dad to get it all done.

A study from researchers at The Ohio State University asked parents to keep time diaries of their activities both before and after having a child. The parents were all considered highly educated couples, and they had a habit of equally dividing household chores as they both worked full time. Then, they had a baby.

Afterward, the time diaries revealed that after nine months of parenthood:
  • Women added 22 hours of childcare to their work week, while men added 14 hours.
  • Women still did the same amount of housework and paid work as before the baby, but men did 5 hours less housework after the baby arrived.
Yes, yes, yes...Moms do more. That's not really that surprising to me. What was surprising was each parent's perception of the amount of work they had added to their week after the birth of their child. Both Moms and Dads overestimated the amount of actual childcare work they were doing after the baby was born.

Clearly, all that lack of sleep threw their perception of actual time way off. It sounds like moms need more than just one Mother's Day a year to rest up.

If you had your way, what chore would you get off your to-do list forever? Tell me in the comments.

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