(Photo:Flickr/Tammra McCauley)

It’s not uncommon to see working parents multitasking when they’re home with their children, but a new study finds that women do it more often than men — and it stresses them out more, too.

The research, which was published in American Sociological Review, found that working moms tend to multitask on average 48 hours each week, whereas working fathers often multitask for only 39. Of the time spent multitasking, the researchers found that moms spend on average 53 percent of their multitasking time doing housework, compared with a reported 42 percent among working fathers. The study also found that 36 percent of working mothers’ multitasking involves childrearing, whereas only 28 percent of working fathers’ multitasking involved that.

And when trying to do multiple things at once, women report feeling stressed more often than men. The researchers suggest that part of the stress could correlate to the fact that most of the women’s multi-tasking involves household chores and raising their children, which could leave them with a level of guilt.

Said study co-author Barbara Schneider said working moms are multitasking about two-fifths of their waking hours.

“The hours men spend in household labor have increased, but when you include multitasking, then you are able to see women are still shouldering more of the household responsibilities than men,” Schneider said. “The bar for being a good parent, the normative values of being a good mother, have gotten very high, and that leaves mothers feeling a lot of pressure and stress.”

A previous study found that working moms who try to be “Super Moms” and take on many responsibilities end up suffering from depression. But on the hand, the researchers found that stay-at-home moms have higher overall rates of depression than working mothers, suggesting that a balance between work and family life is what is ultimately necessary.

Source: USA Today

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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