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20th Mar 2024

New research shows parenting takes a heavier toll on women

Anna Martin

parenting stressed mum

Parenting is tough, but new research has shown it’s having more of an impact on women

The findings come after a study was conducted on a group of 500 mums and dads of kids aged up to 12 by Aldi and Coyne Research.

The key themes covered in the report include how parents perceive their own value, how they deem the family unit to value them, and how they feel society values their role.

The findings of the research study show that parenting does take a disproportionate toll on mothers – a fact that is recognised by both men and women.

Of those who describe themselves as their children’s primary caregiver, an overwhelming 84% are female while those who said that their partner was the primary child carer, 89% were male.

This strongly indicates that in a co-parenting environment, much of the responsibilities sit with mothers.

Credit: Getty

When it came to the societal perceptions and pressure of being a parent, only 4% of parents found it easy to fit in with the ideals.

Instead, more than half of all parents (53%) say that they find it difficult to meet these expectations, which suggests that parents’ own sense of worth and value to society is negatively perceived by themselves.

Notably, more females, (61%), than males, (42%), find it challenging to meet societal standards of good parenting, which again may reflect higher perceived societal pressures or expectations on mothers.

Yet men report feeling a much larger societal pressure to meet career expectations. More than half of men, 51, say they feel this pressure, compared to one in four mums, 25%.

Almost two-thirds of mums and dads in Ireland (65%) say that becoming a parent has had a negative impact on their finances, with both mums and dads feeling this to more or less the same degree.

Interestingly, however, almost one in six (15%) believe that becoming a parent has improved their household finances – with men feeling this marginally more than women.

When it comes to maintaining relationships, many parents reported struggling with this when they welcomed their children.

parenting stressed mum
Credit: Getty

Almost two-thirds of parents (63%) say that they are only able to give 10% of their time per week to “alone time” with their partner.

Unsurprisingly, parenting also impacted a majority of those surveyed when it came to their health.

More than half of parents surveyed (55%) said that since becoming a parent their physical health has gotten worse.

Strikingly, 63% of these are women, which again points to the disproportionate toll that parenthood takes on mums.