Parenting Toughest Job Around: Pew

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First day of kindergarten in Silver Spring, Md.

The old adage about parenting being the toughest job around is proven out in a report released today that shows American moms and dads consider caring for their children more exhausting than their workplace.

Parents with children younger than 18 also say they find 62 percent of their child-care experiences to be “very meaningful,” compared with 36 percent of paid work-related activities, the Washington-based Pew Research Center reports.

Modern parenting — shuttling children between activities and providing for their daily care — is also a recipe for stress. Parents rate 12 percent of their child-care activities as “very tiring,” compared with 5 percent of work-related duties.

“Parents find caring for their children to be much more exhausting than the work they do for pay,” the report says.“At the same time, parents find much more meaning in the time they spend with their children than in the time they spend at work.”

The findings are based on 2010 data from the American Time Use Survey that is conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some of the other parental findings from the study:

– Mothers feel more exhausted in all four aspects of life reviewed: paid work, housework, child care and leisure. That’s in keeping with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, Pew says, that show 15 percent of women reported feeling “very tired or exhausted” every day or most days, compared to 10 percent of men.

– Dads gets three hours per week more leisure time than moms.

– Dads do more household repair and maintenance than moms, four hours a week, compared with one. Moms do three times as much cooking and cleaning, 15 hours to five.

– Mothers and fathers are about equally likely to find meaning in caring for children, with 63 percent of moms and 60 percent of dads rating child-care activities as “very meaningful.”

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