Jane of all trades: Women feeling pressure to ‘do it all’ during the pandemic

NEW YORK — With the pandemic changing many aspects of everyday life for over a year now, it appears women are becoming masters of multi-tasking. A new survey finds the average American woman says the number of household responsibilities she takes care of has nearly doubled since this time last year.

The OnePoll study of 2,000 American women revealed that while women had an average of seven household duties to take care in early 2020, the average respondent says she’s taken on six new responsibilities in the past 12 months.

Women Wear Many Hats

Among respondents who are in a relationship, researchers find that women’s partners might not be doing their fair share. Of the 1,813 respondents in a relationship, only one in 10 felt that their partner played the same number of roles that they do. Two in three (67%) think their partner takes on fewer roles around the house.

Commissioned by Conair in celebration of International Women’s Day, the survey looked more closely at just exactly how many roles women are playing when wearing a variety of different hats in their lives. Nearly half the poll (47%) say they feel the pressure to “do it all.”

The onset of the pandemic seems to have only increased that pressure, with the average woman taking on these six new roles across the realms of family, household, and work life in the past year. The roles respondents have taken on include primary caregiver for children (47%), daughter-in-law (38%), household head chef (19%), mother (19%), and business owner or entrepreneur (15%).

Given the prevalence of taking on new responsibilities, it’s not entirely surprising that the average woman only reported getting four hours to sleep per night. That’s just half of the seven to eight hours commonly recommended for adults.

The average respondent reported spending roughly the same amount of time (4.12 hours) working in a typical 24-hour day. Next in terms of time spent came caring for parents or children (2.69 and 2.26 hours, respectively), followed by supporting friends (2.18 hours). On average, women also reported spending 1.89 hours cooking each day and another 1.62 hours doing household chores.
The amount of time left over to unwind and take care of themselves comes in at just under two hours.

Women Wear Many Hats

“It can be extremely difficult to carve out time for ourselves, especially as the pandemic has meant an increase in the workloads of so many women who are both working and caring for their families – often at the same time,” says a spokesperson for Conair in a statement.

“Streamlining those routines, from getting ready in the morning to getting your family ready for bed, can really be key to keeping things manageable.”

The survey also probed the value that respondents placed on the different roles they’ve played in their lives, as well as how they manage moving from one role to the next. When it comes to the roles American women find most rewarding, answers include everything from being “a pastor” to “CEO” to “being a mom.”

Hanging out with their kids (58%) and maintaining a skincare routine (60%) are among the top ways that women reported easing the transition between the many roles in their lives. Also popular are meditation/mindfulness activities (28%) and changing up one’s hairstyle (28%).

“Juggling so many different responsibilities is never easy, but making sure you’re taking time out to pause and breathe in the interim is crucial for your mental health,” adds Conair’s expert. “Whether it’s taking twenty minutes to treat yourself to a blowout or calling a friend to chat about your day, it’s worth keeping in mind that no role is more important than being yourself.”