Parents’ time with kids more rewarding than work
According to a new report from Pew Research, parents find caring for their children “much more exhausting” than the work they do for a paycheck. The upside? The report also found that parents consider their time with their children to be more meaningful than the time they spend at their jobs.
The research uncovered that American parents with children under the age of 18 find 62 percent of their child-care experiences “very meaningful,” compared with 36 percent of paid work-related activities. However, they rated 12 percent of child-care activities “very tiring,” compared with 5 percent of paid work-related activities.
“This isn’t surprising to me, especially as a parent and a physician,” said Dr. Jennifer DeBruler, an internal medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group. “I always tell my patients that being a parent is the most rewarding experience of your life; but definitely exhausting, too.”
Just because parents are tired, though, doesn’t mean that they are unhappy. The research showed that parents are, on average, “very happy” in 35 percent of their child-care activities, compared with 19 percent of their paid work-related activities. In fact, the report shows that parents’ happiness level during their time caring for their children is only slightly lower than it is during their leisure time.
When it comes to who spends more time on which job, fathers average 40 hours per week in paid work while mothers average 23 hours; however, mothers’ time doing housework and childcare is much longer than that of fathers (31 hours per week vs. 17 hours). And fathers have three hours per week more leisure time than mothers do.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.