This article from Stuff describes findings from a recent study comparing work/life balance satisfaction of parents to that of non-parents. Turns out, more parents happy with their work/life balance than those without kids.
Are you being singled out?
By Bridget Jones | Last Updated 05:00 14/7/2013
It’s Friday, 2.30pm and a familiar battle line has been drawn. On one side, last minute emails and paperwork as the trenches are cleared for a war zone of another sort – the after school pick up, the ferrying between ballet and soccer and Brownies, dinner and homework and baths.
On the other side, all is still until the clock strikes five. Then the biggest battle for a child-free workeris getting to the pub before happy hour ends, right? The high-wire dance of balancing work and something called ‘life’ isn’t easy for anyone.
We have long heard about or been one of those parents juggling work which pays the bills and that which doesn’t. Meanwhile, the assumption has been that the childless massesget to do whatever they want, whenever they want. But the notion that working life is easier without kids is rubbished by new research from Massey University.
“It’s not about kids or no kids. Everyone has multiple roles they are trying to balance. It might be work and sports or, if you’re religious, your church – and that can be just as draining and hard to juggle as someone who has young kids,” says Professor Jarrod Haar, who oversaw the study at the university’s Albany campuson Auckland’s North Shore.
The research compared the work/life balance of more than 1300 Kiwi parents and non-parents and the results, Haar says, were unexpected: 52 percentof parents are happy with the way they balance work, kids and everything else, while only 42 percent of people without children could say the same.
But more than that: parents reported less job burnout (37 percent compared to 48 percent of non-parents), less anxiety (43 percent versus 54 percent), lower levels of depression (39 percent compared to 50 percent) and above-average levels of both job satisfaction (61 percent against 43 percent) and life satisfaction (61 percent compared to 48 percent of non-parents).
Not everyone wants to, or can, have children. But, according to the research, while parents have apparently convinced employers they need the job flexibility to adjust their hours to watch a school play, it is the child-free who are losing the fight to live a well-rounded life. They are often expected to work rather than taking time to, say, look after an elderly parent, or get home to feed their cat at a reasonable hour, or attend an evening uni course meant to be a stepping stone to a better job/career/life. Or maybe just go to a weekly dance class, because that’s what makes them happy.
How satisfied are YOU with your work/life balance? What would it take to be more satisfied?