Study: Moms Multitask More, Enjoying It Less

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A new study has confirmed what many women have long suspected, working mothers multitask more than working dads and have the stress to prove it.

The report, published last week in the American Sociological Review, involved a two-year study of 500 middle-class, dual-earner families from eight city and suburban communities nationwide.

The researchers found that mothers spend 48 hours a week doing at least two things at once compared with fathers, who spend 38 hours a week multitasking.

Women are typically juggling childcare, housework and some work from the office.

Men do their share of the home chores too and are more likely to be supervising their children's recreation.

The researchers also found that mothers get more overwhelmed than men by doing several projects at once, driving their stress level higher than their husbands and spending about 10 additional hours a week juggling multiple activities.

"It's not just the extra time that exacts an emotional toll," said Barbara Schneider, a sociologist at Michigan State University and the study's co-author told the Chicago Tribune. "It's that women feel more frazzled because they are judged by a different standard."

"Both moms and dads get personal satisfaction and stress from work and home, but when it comes to the kids, moms feel the bar of good parenting is set higher," Schneider said.

Schneider said moms are more likely to be criticized for dropping the ball -- a scrutiny fathers don't face.

"Mothers carry this deep, fundamental concern about their children's care. It's not that fathers don't, but dad is more of a helper, while mom is command central. Why? Because she's afraid people won't think she's a good mom," Schneider said.

Researchers noted that for even happier and healthier households, men still need to be more collaborative on the home front.

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