November 8, 2013

Pew results find parenting and childcare is meaningful, but exhausting

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Childcare options

Parents don’t need a research study to tell them that they find spending time with their children more rewarding than paid work. For most, this feels like a given, along with the assumption that most parents find childcare more exhausting than housework, paid work, and leisure. However, a recent study does just that: the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) estimates how Americans spend their time and their emotional states during various activities.

The Well-being Module from the ATUS results polled American parents with children under age 18. These parents found 62% of their childcare experiences “very meaningful,” compared with 36% of paid work-related activities. In addition, parents rated 12% of their childcare activities “very tiring,” compared with 5% of paid work-related activities.

We at Cultural Care Au Pair want to see more parents feeling fulfilled by the time they spend with their children without feeling maxed out by the combined pressures of their professional and family life. Parents in the study reported feeling “very happy” in 41% of their leisure time and in 35% of childcare time. Perhaps by having an au pair’s help with some of the less fulfilling tasks related to childcare, parents can get more quality time with their children and feel happier doing it.

Share your thoughts with us on how having an au pair has changed either the amount or quality of time you spend on childcare. Do you have more fun with your kids because you have an au pair? Do you feel less exhausted by the time you spend with your children because you have an au pair to help?