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Mom needs a break and not just on Mother's Day

May 11, 2014: 6:00 AM ET
leisure

Mothers tend to have 3 fewer hours of leisure time each week than fathers. Men spend more time watching TV.

The best gift for mom this Mother's Day is probably some much-needed R&R.

Moms are still doing more at home than dads.

Among parents with children under age 18, mothers tend to get three fewer hours of leisure time each week than fathers, according to the Pew Research Center.

That's the equivalent of dads getting 20 extra days off a year (if you think about it in terms of a typical 8-hour work day).

So how are fathers spending their extra hours?

Mostly in front of a screen.

Fathers spend an average of 17.5 hours watching TV and other media each week, 2.8 hours more than women.

Related: Men aren't pulling their weight at home

All of that said, it's getting better for moms.

Today's fathers are more engaged in housework and child care than any other previous generation, and overall, the "chore gap" is narrowing.

Fathers do an average of 17 hours of child care and housework a week, up from just seven hours back in 1965 and 13 hours in 1985.

Mothers still do the bulk of that work, averaging 31 hours between child care and chores.

Related: Chore wars: 10 places where men help the most

The quality of the free time that parents get also varies.

Men report being stressed a mere 1% of their leisure time, but women say they are stressed 6% of their down time.

For moms, recreational activities are often interrupted or combined with child care and household chores.

One more reason to let mom put her feet up today.

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