Work Life Balance

Forget Equality – Moms Spend Way More Time Parenting Than Dads

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I was chatting this morning with a working mom – a cool and smart woman who, after having her children, switched to a job with flexible hours. It means she’s working around the clock – but at least it’s on her own terms. I could relate, and so we ended up talking about how difficult it is to balance everything (career, family, social life, maybe getting to the gym a couple times a week). This inevitably led to the ‘husbands’ discussion – how lots of dads out there are so hands-on and wonderful when it comes to parenting – but that most of the “domestic” responsibility still falls on the women.

It’s a contentious debate but, I have to admit, most working moms I speak with on a daily basis would agree that they and partners can talk about co-parenting ’til the cows come home. But, at the end of the day, they feel they’re doing most of the work (working a full-time job outside the home, and then a second one inside the home). A new national report called “Moms Who Do More” confirms this notion, revealing that nearly half of working moms say they spend more time each day parenting than on their careers – more than double that of working dads.

The reports also found that most moms see “me time” as being nearly extinct, with almost 7o% of working moms having an hour or less to themselves each day (around 20% say they less than 15 minutes – yikes!). Moms also spend far more time parenting than dads do – a whopping 7.5 hours per day on parenting tasks compared with 4.3 hours per day for dads.

So what is it exactly that makes co-parenting so difficult? I’m reminded of a discussion I had earlier this year with Rebecca Asher, the author of a wonderful book on the subject called Shattered: Modern Motherhood And The Illusion Of Equality. At the time, I asked Asher what modern motherhood means to her, and she answered, “It means struggling.” She then went on to say that lots of women want to enjoy their careers and their families – as well as a social life – but that they’re also responsible for everything on the domestic front, too.

This helps explain why moms are spending 1,150 more hours parenting per year than dads. In this post-feminist era, that seems awfully old-school.

(Photo: Creatas Images)