Working Moms and Dads

A new study has been released which reveals that working moms spend three and a half hours less per day on motherhood duties than non-working moms.  The study was conducted by a health economist from Cornell University who also conducted a similar study on the amount of time working fathers spend on parental duties.  It was revealed that working fathers spend13 minutes a day on parental duties, compared to the 41 minutes that non-working fathers contribute.

The study was focused specifically on parental duties related to children’s diet and exercise, such as cooking, shopping, and playing.  The findings are said to be consistent across all socioeconomic levels as measured by education, family income, and race and ethnicity.

While the study reveals that working parents spend less time, comparatively, on these tasks it does not prove that work necessarily dictates how mother’s and father’s spend their time.  Obviously working mothers and fathers have less time in their day to spend playing with their children or preparing healthy meals for them, but that does not mean they put less importance on those activities, or do not still insure those tasks and activities are being accomplished.  Many working parents must work extra hard, getting up earlier and going to bed later, in order to compensate for the time lost during their working hours.

The point of the study was to focus on childhood nutrition and physical activity, and possibly show a correlation between the decline of the health of children and rising childhood obesity rates and the fact that more mothers are working full time jobs. However, the lead author of the study also made a point to claim that it is not accurate to solely point the finger at moms; particularly since it was also shown that dads do very little to help.  Not to mention the fact that working mothers typically spend less time on themselves than stay-at-home moms.

The study, while interesting, could be a bit controversial as the topic of raising children is a very personal topic.  Many working moms might take offense to the implication that they care less about their children because they spend less time with their children.  However, the author of the study claimed an important thing to take away from the study is the fact that steps can be taken to enhance childhood nutrition and physical activity without advocating that women exit the workforce.