Mums are working overtime doing the brunt of both childcare and housework during lockdown 1 month ago

Mums are working overtime doing the brunt of both childcare and housework during lockdown

Is it any wonder you are wrecked?

If you are starting to feel like you are one Reading Egg password or Zoom birthday away from losing it, you are not alone, mums.

According to a brand new study, researchers found that in homes where there are a working mother and father, women are doing more chores and spending more time with children.

Sounds familiar? I know.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and University College London (UCL) interviewed 3,500 families, and found that apparently, mums were on average only able to do one hour of uninterrupted work, for every three hours done by dads.

"Mothers are doing, on average, more childcare and more housework than fathers who have the same work arrangements," said Lucy Kraftman, a research economist at the IFS.

Kraftman said the finding applied to families where a mother and father were both working, as well as to families where both parents were furloughed or out of work.

"The only set of households where we see mothers and fathers sharing childcare and housework equally are those in which both parents were previously working, but the father has now stopped working for pay, while the mother is still in paid work," she said.

"However, mothers in these households are doing paid work during an average of five hours a day, in addition to doing the same amount of domestic work as their partner."

These findings were echoed by Paula Sheridan, a career coach whose firm Unwrapping Potential works with professional women. Sheridan explains to BBC News that her clients "almost universally" report that they are the ones planning meals, creating timetables and downloading learning resources for children - along with dozens of other tasks.

"I'm the main wage earner and yet I also seem to be the one who stops work to make lunch and dinner, because he wouldn't think of doing it," one client told her.

Another told her: "[My partner] is furloughed and yet my work telephone calls are interrupted by the children asking questions, while daddy is just watching Netflix."

As we all know, being a parent involves many things, including making sure the kids have socks that match, pants that still fit and that everyone brushes their teeth before bedtime. It involves making sure there's food in the house, that dinner is made, and that childcare is arranged where necessary. And as children grow older, these tasks extend to things like keeping track of after-school activities and making sure the kids make it to birthday parties, hopefully with the right gift.

"It isn't a man versus women thing at all," Sheridan says. "The partner has no idea that all of this stuff even happens, because he has never needed to."

Mums still tend to be the ones organising how time is spent at home under lockdown, she adds.

As a result, mothers in two-parent households are only doing, on average, a third of the uninterrupted paid-work hours of fathers, UCL and the IFS found.