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Are Dads Happier Than Moms?

posted: 10/11/16
by: Katherine Sosnoff
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When my husband and I had our son, one of the most surprising things about new parenthood was that its duties didn't hit us equally. I mean, this certainly should not have come as a surprise (I seem to remember only one of us was waddling around with an eight pound munchkin in their belly...), however, up until that point our lives had been on a relatively equal track - we both had our own careers and we shared responsibilities of our home and our dog. But it came as a bit of a surprise that the ?parenting' thing didn't always feel like that evenly balanced, walking the dog every-other-morning type of routine we previously had down pat.

Apparently, I'm not alone in thinking so. A recent study performed by the University of Minnesota, Cornell University and the Minnesota Population Center, showed a disparity in parental enjoyment between men and women.

Why are dads enjoying parenthood more than moms? Despite familial duties becoming a more equitable split these days, some of the traditional constructs around parental roles have stuck around. While both parents reported enjoying spending time with their kids, moms tended to be less happy with parenting duties as their responsibilities often fell in the "work" category (aka, dad is happily orchestrating a chaotic pre-bedtime pillow fight with the kids, while mom is scrambling to get everyone into the bath). Additionally, women tend to spend more time alone with their children, while men are often around other adults, making their interactions less stressful. Ultimately, while many dads (my husband included) are actively involved in parenting, women feel the burden of parenting in a different way.

I tend to think women are "doers" - it can be tough to relinquish control or to sit back and watch. I think we also put a lot of pressure on ourselves, but at the end of the day, our kids aren't going to remember a few dirty dishes in the sink or a load of laundry that just didn't get done. As the saying goes, "the days are long but the years are short" - so I try to remember that to make sure to fit lots of play in between all the things we do as moms to keep the trains running for our families.