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Every Day, Your Mom Wasted 90 Minutes of Her Life On You, So Get Her a Present

In case you didn’t remember (three of my colleagues looked stricken when this topic came up), it’s Mother’s Day this Sunday. Here are nine reasons, courtesy of the latest American Time Use Survey, why you should buy your mom a present:

  1. Your mom probably helped you out with your homework (women spend an average of 6.2 minutes a day doing homework with children in their households. Men spend less than four minutes);
  2. It was probably your mom who had to listen to your teachers say how bad your homework was (women spend three times as much time per day as men going to school meetings and conferences);
  3. Your mom probably went to your school play (women spend an average of 1.2 minutes per day doing this with children, for men it’s 0.4 minutes);
  4. Your mom probably cleaned your boo-boo (34.1 minutes were spent by women taking physical care of the children that live with them – men spend less than half that time);
  5. Your mom probably listened to all of your teenage angst-ridden whining (on average, 1.4 minutes of a female caregiver’s day is spent talking or listening to children. Men only spend 0.4 minutes doing the same);
  6. Your mom probably watched you make hideous tacky expressions of that angst (women spend, on average, 0.3 minutes a day doing arts and crafts with children. Men spend a third of that time);
  7. Your mom probably ferried you to and from the mall’s food court (women spend 3.7 minutes a day picking up kids and dropping them off);
  8. And she probably was the one waiting for you while you were dragging your heels leaving (an extra 3.3 minutes of a woman’s daily life is wasted waiting for the children in her household);
  9. And all that while your dad was more likely to do the fun stuff (the only activities where men spend more time with children than women is playing. Men spent 21.7 minutes each day playing with children – for women it’s 20 minutes. Men also spend 0.1 minutes more time each day than women playing sports with children).


All in all, your mom wasted a pretty big part of her average day on you: 90 minutes and 6.1 seconds to be precise. So be nice.

Note: You can’t get out of giving a gift by dismissing the data as shaky; it’s based on the responses of 5,023 adults with children under the age of 18 in their households.

Mona Chalabi is data editor at the Guardian US, and a columnist at New York Magazine. She was previously a lead news writer for FiveThirtyEight.