Single mothers may have to face a lot of challenges but turns out, they at least have more free time and sleep more than married mothers. The findings are part of a new study titled Marital Status and Mothers’ Time Use by sociologists Joanna Pepin, Liana Sayer, and Lynne Casper.
The study surveyed 23,000 mothers–including married, separated, divorced, widowed or otherwise unpartnered–between the ages 18 and 54, with children under the age of 13.
Explaining how parenthood impacts a married mother’s life, the study mentions, “Transitions into parenthood among married couples increase mothers’ household and care work and reduce fathers’ household work, even among couples with egalitarian patterns before the birth of a child.” One of the major reasons behind this practice, as per the study, is the gendered nature of heterosexual marriages.
Single mothers, on the other hand, do not have to “perform gender” in adherence to the belief that women prioritise others over themselves.
The study also concluded that single mothers spent less time on household chores, especially when they live with a parent, relative or another adult. “It is not just an additional pair of hands that is important; to whom those hands belong also matters,” the study says while explaining that when the helping hand is that of someone else but the husband, the mother is able to divide labour better without the pressure of “performing gender” as in the case of a marriage.