Parents generally enjoy being with their kids but mothers enjoy it less than fathers because they do more of the “work” and less of the “fun” parenting duties, says a study.
The researchers found that mothers reported more stress and greater fatigue than fathers due to parenting tasks.
This experience gap is attributed to the differing tasks of each parent.
“Mothers are more likely than fathers to be called on by kids ‘around the clock’. Fathers’ sleep and down-time are less likely than mothers’ to be interrupted by kids. This is part of the reason fathers are less tired than mothers when parenting,” said one of the researchers Ann Meier from University of Minnesota in the US.
Meier and her colleagues Kelly Musick at Cornell University and Sarah Flood at the Minnesota Population Centre used time diary data from more than 12,000 parents that linked to their feelings in the 2010, 2012, and 2013 American Time Use Survey.
The team examined the types of parenting activities mothers and fathers performed and individual well-being during the activities.
The researchers found that not only do parenting activities between mothers and fathers differ, the environment surrounding the activity differs as well.
“When mothers are with their kids, they are more often by themselves. When fathers are with their kids, they are more likely to have other adults around, offering some back-up. This helps us understand why fathers are less stressed when with kids,” Meier explained.
Sleep also had an effect on parents’ differing levels of happiness, Meier said.
The findings were published in the journal American Sociological Review.