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

k doesn't seem half as bad when the whole family works together to get chores done. Moms in particular feel positive about working together as a family, she added.

"Doing these things together, whether it's cleaning up or wrapping presents or whatever it is you need to do; when mom isn't the one out there till 9 p.m. trying to get it all done, these are the kinds of things that make a family run smoothly as a unit," Schneider said.

Moms also need to ease up some on themselves. Be aware that multitasking can leave you stressed and feeling pulled in too many directions, so try, as hard as it is, to do just one thing at once and accept you may not be able to do everything you wanted to do.

More flexible schedules and workplace cultures that support families -- whether that's allowing people to work from home or limiting expectations that employees will take work home -- can also help working parents, she added.

"The bar for being a good parent, the normative values of being a good mother, have gotten very high, and that leave mothers feeling a lot of pressure and stress," Schneider said.

Ann Bookman, an adjunct senior lecturer at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management in Waltham, Mass., said there are many anectodal reports of women feeling overburdened by the demands of combining family and work life. The study, Bookman said, suggests that the demands of multitasking may be at the root of some of their stress.

"This incredible focus on maximizing productivity at every moment has tremendous social and public health costs," Bookman said. "That's why a study like this is so important. It's not just that we have a sense that we and others are feeling overwhelmed. If you take a sample and very carefully analyze the numbers, you can begin to see in very graphic terms that women are still the primary caregivers and we are asking them to do just as much in the workforce."

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