I come back from office, hug my daughter, talk with her and keep looking at the watch eager to get on with my household chores. My husband comes home, my daughter runs to him with happiness and they both start talking, playing and running around the house having their fun time! I can see a ‘thousand watts bulb’ glowing in my husband’s face as he converses with our little one-the sense of completeness that he achieves when spending time with our kid can never be replaced with anything else. I do have the same, in fact greater, love for my kid but I don’t find myself being so happy and grateful to spend time with her despite knowing the fact that she’s growing up, growing up reallyyyy fast! This is one of the instances and there are several others such as spending the entire weekend with the child that’s a refreshment for men whereas its yet another chore added to the list for women. I am sure than many moms out there have experienced similar situations. How come we moms, who are the fulcrum of the family don’t take utter delight in being with our kids?
Men have improved since earlier times and dads especially are taking joy in being with kids these days. Times have changes and couples support each other in being with the child as both of them work nowadays! But when it comes to household chores the primary responsibility lies with the woman-she is held responsible for cooking, washing clothes, getting kids to complete their homework and likewise. Apart from fulfilling these the mother is expected to spend quality time with her child-even if she can do it physically her mind is rather tired and doesn’t support her body to be all cheerful and bubbly! This is not just a theory but a new research led by Penn State University proves that dads are happier, less tired and less stressed than moms when it comes to taking care of kids and according to these researchers, it all boils down to how and when childcare activities are split between parents.
Besides looking at the time spent by moms and dads in looking after their kids the researchers analysed the type of childcare activity, when and where it took place, who was present and how much care was given. Playing with the child as well as changing nappies is childcare activity but each of them have a different effect on the person doing it and this study focused on the impact created by different activities on the parents involved in each and their effect on the moods of each parent. The researchers split the activities into five dimensions: activity type was the first type and this included physical (basic needs like eating and sleeping), recreational (play and sports), educational (helping with homework or meeting with teachers) and managerial (planning doctor visits or transporting children). The other dimensions focused on when and where the activity took place, who was present during the activity and how much time the activity took.
It was seen that while dad’s childcare activities included mostly recreational ones that took place during weekends, mothers’ activities were likelier to involve infants and could be fit into the ‘solo parenting’ category which needed more efforts and patience. This difference in the type of activity performed and the context clearly shows the explicit difference in mother’s and father’s happiness levels and stress levels but not tiredness levels. Researchers could see that mothers spent major time performing childcare activities that could induce more stress but keep them less happy unlike dads whose activities purely brought in a feeling of refreshment and energy. Such stress can lead to depression in the long run having debilitating effects on the woman involved and for more information on this please visit www.firsteatright.com. Doesn’t playing on the ground help you breathe fresh air, increase your health quotient and also make you happy? But despite such startling differences in childcare activities performed, both the parents were happy, contented and satisfied with the time they spent with their children.
Despite changes in dads and their improved involvement with their kids we can see that parenting is still gendered. Its not that mothers willingly take on childcare jobs that are less exciting or rewarding but one must say that they are forced to! Every mom loves to play outside with her child and have fun if there is someone to take care of the household duties! It is time that couples reiterate on their shared jobs, split the tasks evenly and spend time with kids such that both parents feel it to be a rewarding and an enriching experience that could last a lifetime!
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