Money

Working moms are stressed out – but so is everyone else

Dec. 1, 2010 at 5:40 PM ET

A new and exhaustive look at how Americans are spending their time finds – surprise! – that moms who work are getting less sleep and have less free time than moms who don’t work.

But the research paper also says that a large percentage of all moms – regardless of work status – are having a tough time finding enough time in the day, with many reporting that they are “always rushed” and “multitasking most of the time.”

The research paper, released this week as part of a meeting called Focus on Workplace Flexibility, is based on data from the Census Bureau’s American Time Use Survey, an in-depth diary of people’s daily activities. The paper was written by Suzanne M. Bianchi, a professor of sociology at the Univeristy of California, Los Angeles.

The paper found employed moms with an employed spouse were getting 57.3 hours of sleep per week, on average, 3.2 hours less than their stay-at-home counterparts.

The working moms also had 9.3 fewer hours per week of free time than the stay-at-home moms. In addition, the working moms did 10.1 fewer hours of housework per week and spent 8 fewer hours a week on child care.

As moms struggle to fit all their work and family commitments, Bianchi notes that something has to give. In addition to sleep and free time, the author said moms who are able to afford it appear to be scaling back on work hours to meet parenting demands.

Date night also appears to be falling to the wayside: The diaries also suggest a drop in the amount of time spouses are spending together.

Dads also are juggling family and work. Bianchi reports that married fathers also have increased the time they spend on child care and housework over the past few decades. Still, women continue to spend more time than men on housework and child care, even when both spouses are working full-time.

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