You're The Reason Your Mom Does So Much Housework

by Emma Cueto

This Mother's Day, if you're one of the 21 million 18-30 year olds living at home, you might want to give your mom some extra special Mother's Day love. It turns out that moms with adult children living at home spend way more time on housework than women whose kids have found homes of their own. Heather Kraus, a statistician whose two kids have moved back home at the ages of 21 and 24, noticed she was spending a lot of time on housework now that the nest was full again, and decided to crunch some numbers.

Krus looked at data in the American Time Use Survey and found that women whose grown children live at home are getting stuck with a ton of housework, while men are doing about the same amount of housework regardless. It turns out that when kids over 18 return to the house, women spend about 18 hours a week on housework, as opposed to 10 hours a week when no kids live at home. It's not as much at the 25 hours a week they spend while raising kids under the age of 18, but it's a lot more than the five and a half hours men spend on housework when there are grown children in the house.

Interestingly, it doesn't actually matter for men much if the kids move back home at all. Although men spend significantly more time on housework and child care when they're raising children under 18, the amount of work they do when children over 18 are at home is no different than those times when the nest is empty.

In other words, your mom is picking up all the slack. And that means she has less leisure time, too. Having grown children at home costs a woman about seven hours of leisure time a week. Yikes!

So if you're living back at home, be sure to give your mom an extra thank you. Whether it's doing your laundry, shopping for your groceries, cooking your meals, or anything else, chances are she's spending a lot of extra time on household stuff now that you're back. And the least you can do is say thank you. Or, you know, make an effort to do your own laundry. Up to you.

And if you don't live at home, you can check out these gift ideas. If you're in a pinch.