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Multitasking Stresses Out Working Moms More Than Dads
Date:12/1/2011

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Ever unload the dishwasher while helping with a child's homework? Ever keep one eye on soccer practice while checking your voice mail and trying to figure out what to make for dinner?

That's called multitasking, and in a fast-paced world, American working moms do a whole lot of it -- and seem more stressed by it than working dads, a new study shows.

According to the research, working mothers spend 9 more hours a week multitasking than do working fathers, or about 48 hours per week for moms compared with 39 for dads.

And, when they have to multitask, women don't particularly enjoy it.

The research found that when women are trying to do multiple things at once, they report feeling stressed, while men don't seem to mind it as much. Researchers say it could be because men's multitasking at home more often involves work, while women's involves combining household chores and child-rearing, which may leave them feeling conflicted and guilty.

Among working mothers, 53 percent of multitasking at home involves housework compared with 42 percent among working fathers. Additionally, 36 percent of women's multitasking at home involves child care compared with 28 percent for fathers.

"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," said study co-author Barbara Schneider, a professor of sociology and education at Michigan State University.

The study is published in the December issue of the American Sociological Review.

Researchers used data from the 500 Family Study, which provided comprehensive information from 1999 to 2000 on U.S. families living in eight urban and suburban communities across the nation. The 368 mothers and 241 fathers in the current study typically have
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