Researchers have confirmed what moms have known all along: Dads have more fun.
An analysis of three studies, now published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, looked at about 18,000 people and proved that parenting makes men happier but women sadder. Specifically, dads report fewer symptoms of depression than their childless male counterparts, whereas the opposite is true for women. Moms report more depressive symptoms than child-free ladies. Dads are also more satisfied with their lives than men who don't have kids and have fewer daily hassles than moms.
You don't say.
And even though spending time with their kids brings joy to both moms and dads, these interactions have a greater positive impact on the papas. The study's authors posit it's because dads are more likely than moms to say they play with their kids while they're with them.
Perhaps that's because moms are too busy doing the visible work of feeding, clothing, bathing, teeth- and hair-brushing, in addition to handling other household chores and the increasingly heavy yet invisible mental load, to squeeze in joshin' around. This analysis is in line with previous research that found that dads are kicking back and enjoying themselves while moms are more likely to handle housework and childcare.
In a press release, Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychologist at the University of California–Riverside who co-authored this latest study, suggested that parents of both sexes would do well to find more time to play with their kids, since it seems that playfulness is related to fathers' satisfaction and happiness with their role.
I'd love to. I just don't know when!
— Meredith Bodgas
This story originally appeared on Working Mother. Working Mother is mentor, role model and advocate for the country’s more than 17 million moms who are devoted to their families and committed to their careers. Through our website, magazine, research, radio and powerful events, Working Mother provides its readers with the community, solutions and strategies they need to thrive.