An article in the New York Times caught my eye today. It is called Heâ€™s Happier, Sheâ€™s Less So. I am going to grab a couple of excerpts here to share with you.
Last year, a team of researchers added a novel twist to something known as a time-use survey. Instead of simply asking people what they had done over the course of their day, as pollsters have been doing since the 1960s, the researchers also asked how people felt during each activity. Were they happy? Interested? Tired? Stressed?Not surprisingly, men and women often gave similar answers about what they liked to do (hanging out with friends) and didnâ€™t like (paying bills). But there were also a number of activities that produced very different reactions from the two sexes â€” and one of them really stands out: Men apparently enjoy being with their parents, while women find time with their mom and dad to be slightly less pleasant than doing laundry.
Alan Krueger, a Princeton economist working with four psychologists on the time-use research team, figures that there is a simple explanation for the difference. For a woman, time with her parents often resembles work, whether itâ€™s helping them pay bills or plan a family gathering. â€œFor men, it tends to be sitting on the sofa and watching football with their dad,â€ said Mr. Krueger, who, when not crunching data, enjoys watching the New York Giants with his father.
This intriguing â€” if unsettling â€” finding is part of a larger story: there appears to be a growing happiness gap between men and women.
Women are not actually working more than they were 30 or 40 years ago. They are instead doing different kinds of work. Theyâ€™re spending more time on paid work and less on cleaning and cooking.
What has changed â€” and what seems to be the most likely explanation for the happiness trends â€” is that women now have a much longer to-do list than they once did (including helping their aging parents). They canâ€™t possibly get it all done, and many end up feeling as if they are somehow falling short.
Many of the women in my life complain frequently about their inability to get it all done. This is not to say that all they do is complain, but rather an observation. I can appreciate it. I often feel like I am running like a rat on a treadmill, but sometimes I just jump off. I can’t live like that for too long without going crazy. It is just unhealthy for me.