Parents’ realities have done a complete 180 over the past two-three months. No longer having child care, teachers, and other support systems has caused parents to rewrite their routines and even their own rules. Everything is different now. Parents are foregoing their kids’ screen time restrictions and even investing in outsourced virtual learning. It’s difficult to manage it all.

CivicScience tracking revealed some changes among American moms and dads, in terms of their personal behaviors related to wellbeing and health during the pandemic. 

Cigarette Smoking Is On the Rise Among U.S. Moms

Though the percentage of smokers has very slightly increased overall among U.S. adults amid the pandemic, it’s gone up more so among moms compared to dads. (Note that, according to CivicScience data moms are more likely to smoke than U.S. dads anyhow.)

In the January to February month-over-month reading, we saw the percentage of mothers who smoke cigarettes go down as New Year’s resolutions kicked in. However, we’ve seen the number of U.S. mom smokers increase since then. From 17% in February to 22% in March, up to 24% in April. 

Dad smokers remain relatively flat for February and March at 15%, but have increased to 18% in April.

While Smoking Is Up, Wine Is Down

Over the course of lockdowns so far, U.S. moms are drinking way less wine, while dads appear to be somewhat increasing their wine consumption one month, but not another (an increase was observed in February and in April).

Moms Are Way More Stressed Than Dads

Increased smoking could be directly related to more stress felt by mothers. Can you blame them? Since February, stress among U.S. moms is up eleven percentage points. Among dads, stress initially increased by seven percentage points from February to March (a slightly bigger jump than among moms from Feb. to March), but it has since declined by three percentage points. Stress among mothers, however, continues to rise.

Heightened stress among moms could be due to an imbalance of at-home education responsibilities between spouses. The data show that U.S. moms of school-age children are bearing the brunt of this homeschooling labor, which is likely a source of the increased stress levels indicated above.

Meditation App Intent Is Growing

Moms are trying to get relief when and where they can. Intent to use mindfulness meditation apps like Headspace among U.S. moms has increased in recent months (it now sits at 10%), while disinterest among dads has increased.

Exercise and Self-care

While moms are stressed, conducting more schooling, and smoking more than dads are, a silver lining in all of this (if you can call it that) is that moms appear to be making way more time for exercise during the pandemic. We observe the biggest jump from March to April, perhaps due to more temperate weather.

What’s For Dinner? 

Moms are more likely to be feeding their families frozen entrees right now compared to a few months ago. 

However, moms are way less likely to say they aren’t eating healthy right now than they were before lockdowns.

Moms are stressed, and for good reason. While smoking may be up, all in all, moms appear to be eating better and exercising more. A draw to meditation apps is a clear indicator that stress levels are still high. Since the pandemic shows no definitive end in sight, there is a good chance moms will be looking for more ways to balance responsibilities and self-care.