My fellow mothers, here's what a new survey says about us.
When my kids were younger, I definitely found going to the office, some days, was more relaxing than being with my kids. Sitting at my desk, clacking on my keyboard, was a piece of cake next to dealing with temper tantrums. Now that my kids are older, spending time with them isn't as physically exhausting but with teens, it can be mentally exhausting.
I may be exhausted, but spending time with my kids also brings me intrinsic rewards I don't get from work. Do you feel the same way?
According to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data, mothers report feeling “very tired” in 15% of child-care activities, compared with 6% for fathers. Mothers also report a higher level of fatigue than fathers did in paid work, housework and leisure time.
I think this survey reflects what Katrina Alcorn asserted in her recent Time Magazine article, Motherhood Gave Me a Nervous Breakdown. She says women are more at risk for the health effects of stress and fatigue because we're juggling so darn much and we're tired. Very tired.
Yet, even though we're tired, we're finding meaning in what we're doing -- at home, with our kids, and at the office.
Pew says mothers are more likely than fathers to feel what they are doing is highly meaningful when they are taking care of the house or engaging in leisure activities. Mothers rate 46% of their housework activities as “very meaningful,” while fathers do the same for 28% of their housework activities. Likewise, mothers rate 63% of their leisure time as highly meaningful, compared with fathers at 52%.
Mothers and fathers are about equally likely to find meaning in caring for children: 63% of child-care activities are “very meaningful” to mothers, compared with fathers at 60%. Paid work has similar meaning to fathers and mothers as well.
Not only do we find meaning in what we're doing, we're happier than fathers when taking care of our kids. Some 37% of mothers’ child-care activities were “very happy” moments, compared with about 29% of fathers’ child-care activities.
So, we may be tired, but I think this survey reflects what most moms believe: we love being working moms!