Multitasking Parents And Stress

laundry basketA story on NPR revealed a study on working moms and their multitasking skills, relating to stress.

“Working mothers spend significantly more time multitasking at home than working dads. And those mothers aren’t happy about it.”

The hours from 4-7 or 5-8, commonly known to me as “the witching hours” because the kids are extraordinarily cranky during this time, are probably more accurately titled “The Arsenic Hours” by women in this study.

No joke. I would have to agree, that even as a part-time worker, I dread that three-hour block that includes dinner, bath and bedtime, cleaning the kitchen, folding the laundry and putting away toys (or trying to get my two toddlers to put away toys).  It is easily the most stressful time of day for me and I find myself doing way more running around than when I’m actually running for exercise. Personally, I’m not the greatest multitasker, but I do what I have to do.  Dealing with the daily tasks of the household are never-ending and when my kids finally settle in to bed, and I can “relax,” that’s when I have to start working (again). 

Interestingly, the fathers  in this study who arrived home during this “aresenic” time, did not have nearly as much stress, nor do they do the same type of multi-tasking. “…so they might be answering a work call while spending time with the kids.”

In my eyes, this isn’t really multitasking. This is just working and not watching the kids, but maybe that’s me. Also, it may depend on how old the kids are, and they might not need much ‘watching.’

However,  in my experience, (in my house, and many of the households I know) the balance of parental duties is certainly not even, especially in the early days. My husband does a lot, and now even more that there aren’t any infants around. But even still, I still find that if I’m not the one to initiate, dinner just might not happen. Or at least it might not happen until 8pm, and it might look like pizza every night.

What do you think of this study and how working moms multi-task? Single moms? What’s your take? Also, any Dads (stay-at-home or working) want to comment on their stress level during this time of day? Would like to hear from single sex parents as well on who is more stressed in your relationship and why?

Photo Credit: Candie N

 

 

 

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