The Incredible Amount of Hours Moms Really Work

familyDon't think I'm bitter, but my first reaction to hearing about the "Moms Who Do More" National Report, which found that moms spend 1,150 hours more on parenting per year than dads, was "And ... ?" As in, Are you going to tell me something I didn't already know? Obviously moms give up more time to parenthood than dads. This is the #1 thing couples fight about when they have small children. (Trust me, even arguments about unloading the dishwasher are in fact fights in the battle of You Have More Time to Yourself Than I Do!)

So, yes, as a mom, I know how unfortunate and frustrating this can be. But I don't think it's anybody's fault -- I'm not dad-bashing here -- and I kind of don't even think there's anything we can do to change the situation.

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Of course we can try to divvy up responsibilities between moms and dads as fairly as possible, and we can make a point of not falling into warped, pre-feminism gender roles: "No, dear, I'll change the baby's diaper! You've had a long day at the office."

Beyond that, however, it doesn't make sense to exhaust ourselves trying to reinvent the parenting wheel. I think we're better off accepting the fact that, as helpful as husbands or whoever might endeavor to be, the "mother lode" of family-sustaining work will always fall to us.

And a mother's work is never done.

I honestly feel like biology has more to do with it than anything else. As women, we're hard-wired to sleep lightly, respond to the sound of our young in distress, "nest," nurture, and otherwise mother our children from birth through ... actually it doesn't seem like these tendencies ever go away. Men have biologically-based impulses, too, to protect and support and provide for their families. But if you've ever watched a dad snore obliviously through a newborn's 3 a.m. shrieks, you know what I mean.

So yes, moms trade more than dads for the privilege of being a parent. But we don't just get to be a "parent," we get to be "Mom." And that makes those 24/7 shifts worth every minute of lost sleep.

Do you think moms spend more time parenting than dads?


Image via Vivian Chen/Flickr

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