4 months ago · lizzie · 0 comments · Sticky
Definition of parenting stress?
If you’re reading this article as a parent, I’m sure you’re not surprised to discover that parenting stress is at an all time high. Psychologists have labeled parenting stress as the distress a parent feels when you feel out of control, when you feel the demands placed on you are too high, or you don’t have the coping resources to achieve these demands (Deater-Deckard 1998).
Impact of Parenting Stress on Working Mothers
When we investigate the question – what is parenting stress – we need to look at the impact that work-life balance has on a mothers ability to cope.
Working women have been reported to be 40% more stressed than the general population.
I often talk about the fact that when women conquered the right to go to work, they were left with two jobs – one as a career and one at home. In our counselling and life coaching sessions, working mothers often tell me they ‘clock-off’ one job and ‘clock-on’ to the next job as they progress from the office to home life.
Regardless of who takes on the home duties (thank-you to many partners who are taking on more responsibilities at home) – someone has to do it! You either pay someone, or ask for help from a family member/close friend to clean your home, look after your children, cook and pay the bills.
Or… You/your partner/housemate – have to do it!!
Unfortunately, because mothers tend to take on most of the childcaring duties, they are usually the ones doing the second job at home.
A 2019 Study Conducted by the University of Texas, the University of Maryland, and the University of Southern California found that women with children and a heterosexual male partner undertook most of the housework.
The study identified the following predicted Minutes of Mother’s Time in Activities, by Marital Status based on a 24 hour period.
Source: Joanna R. Pepin, Liana C. Sayer, and Lynne M. Casper, “Marital Status and Mothers’ Time Use: Childcare, Housework, Leisure, and Sleep,” Demography 55, no. 1 (2018): 107-33.
The results showed that over a 24 hour period mothers across the board where spending around 2 hours per day on childcare. However, women in heterosexual marriages and those cohabiting spent almost 3 hours a day on housework. Whilst this was more than single mothers, both were spending a significant time over 24 hours engaging in household chores.
Most interesting was the study found that married mothers were sacrificing their sleep and leisure in order to keep a tidy home.
I can relate to this after deciding to swap my gym workout for housework this morning – just to be able to fit it all in.
Physical aspects of parenting stress
“Maternal stress has been linked to harsh parenting, maternal depression, and poor cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical development in children and may have long lasting effects on the well-being of both mother and child.” BeLeu, R (Associate Professor of health policy and administration at Penn State)
Research shows that high levels of parenting stress have been associated with increased risk of:
- parental depression
- marital conflict
- poorer physical health
- less effective parenting
Stress in general has a detrimental impact on your health and wellbeing. It inhibits your general functioning and has been related to long term illness.
Impact parenting stress has on your child
Parenting stress has been shown to lead to:
- harsher discipline or withdrawal
- inconsistent parenting
- insecurity in children
- increased child behavior problems
Parenting stress can be managed and controlled
In summary, stress is not good for anyone. It impacts your physical and emotional wellbeing and reduces your ability to concentrate Stress can cause long term health issues and has a detrimental impact on your child/ren. It also directly impacts the quality of the relationships you build with those you love most.
If you are experiencing significant parenting stress, download my free Calm with Confidence – Calm Parenting Program. This program has been designed to arm yourself with proven parenting skills that will support you to feel more confident and calm in your day to day parenting life. The best part is that it’s absolutely free.