Startling research on Mother's/Father's Day
By Michael C. DeMattos
By Michael C. DeMattos
A recent survey showed that what most mothers want for Mother's Day is a break.
For just one day a year, moms the world over want to mail it in.
That's right. No chores — no dishes, laundry, vacuums, brooms, mops, scrub pads or feather dusters. They do not want to run to the grocery store or any other errand, but many would not mind running up the tab at the local eatery.
You see, given their druthers, most mothers would rather have a nice, hot meal ... cooked by someone else.
This same survey showed that most mothers got their wish last Sunday.
While the survey methodology was questionable at best — the internal validity and external reliability were conflicted with the standard deviation, which disabled the quantitative nature of the qualitative study — the results were nothing if not consistent.
It appears that 100 percent of the mothers in question had breakfast in bed (or the sofa, in one case).
It seems that the breakfast menu, however, was determined less by what mother wanted and more by the skill set of her husband, son or daughter.
It appears that Belgian waffles with fresh strawberries and whipped cream was not on the menu, but scrambled eggs, toast and bacon made the cut.
After breakfast, most women napped. Additional research has shown that women nap about 2.5 hours a year. In fact, most women reported that their last nap occurred a year ago to the day. That's right, Mother's Day 2005.
Researchers found this hard to believe, especially when you consider cold and flu season. More interesting is the fact that men seem to catch up on lost sleep when they get sick, while women trudge on. Researchers are perplexed by this fact and plan yet another study.
Most husbands reported doing yard work or some basic housecleaning on Mother's Day followed later by a nice dinner at a local restaurant. Again, the types of chores conducted were determined by the father's skill set rather than the mother's desires, but not a single mother lodged a complaint.
One mother sheepishly admitted that she did all the house chores the day before, but that she "made up" a brief honey-do list to make her man feel good.
In fact, a cross-correlation showed that I did ... I mean he did ... feel proud of the work he accomplished.
As for dinner, dads, sons and daughters made sure that Mom got treated right. She was queen for the night.
This study stands in stark contrast to a survey conducted last year that showed that what husbands want most is to fish and golf on their special day.
But do not look for house chores to be completed the day before. Most fathers treated it like a holiday weekend. They golfed on both Saturday and Sunday.
So there you have it. Mothers want a break from the daily grind, preferring to nap and lounge around the house while men want to grind out a good golf score.
Again, the survey was questionable with a sample size of just eight: four husbands and four wives. There was no control group — heck, the participants were all my closest friends — but the premise and thesis are solid.
Mothers work hard and need more than just one break a year.
And the news for fathers was not bad, either. Treat Mom right and you will get your wish, too: a Father's Day weekend filled with fun and games.
Michael C. DeMattos is on faculty at the University of Hawai'i School of Social Work. He lives in Kane'ohe with his wife, daughter and two dogs.