Ever wondered how many calories parents can burn just by parenting? Some people say that trying to corral our kiddos to get them out the door for school could shave off 3,000 calories in a morning. Is it true?
“The American College of Sports Medicine has confirmed that the various actions carried out by parents as they try to get their children dressed and ready for school can amount to a similar amount energy expended when running a marathon.” (Source)
Color me skeptical. Since it takes burning 3,500 to lose a pound, wouldn’t parents be losing a pound a day, five days a week? Come on, Internet. I’m not buying it.
If parents everywhere were burning that many calories sending their kiddos off for the day, we’d be a nation of happy, skinny people.
Skinny because most of us don’t take in anywhere near that amount of calories in an entire day. Happy because we could quit going to the gym.
Heck, with that kind of a calorie burn we could all start eating a breakfast of pancakes wrapped around cheesecake and covered in bacon.
However the experts say…
““Yes, it’s actually the equivalent to running a marathon and then fighting off an angry bear,” explained Professor Olan Wyche, head of the study which observed over 1,000 families and their morning school run routines.” (Source)
How Many Calories Do You Burn As a Parent?
Since the internet has told us we can burn as much as 3,000 or 4,000 calories getting kids off to school, I thought I would take a look at those numbers. Here’s what I came up with.
Child vs Parent – the truth.
CHILD: My socks feel funny! I’m not wearing these socks and to show you I mean business, I am now going to fling them across the room with wild abandon.
PARENT Calorie Burn: If you run up and down the stairs to get socks that don’t feel weird, you should be able to burn about 190 calories.
Now run up and down them again at least 4 more times. The upstairs is home to lots of things besides un-funny socks.
CHILD: My hair looks pretty, so don’t brush it. Don’t brush it. You’re not brushing it! OW! YOU ARE HURTING ME!
PARENT Calorie Burn: While you are in a cage match with your daughter and her beautifully uncooperative hair, take comfort in the fact that you’ll “brush away” about 30 calories.
However, if her hair looks like an actual farm animal might have slept on her head overnight, lucky you! You could burn as much as 1 zillion calories when you factor in the expert leg lock you have to put her in so you can get near her with a brush.
CHILD: I am NOT eating that. It tastes like mud, but not the good kind. What are these little black specks? I DON’T EAT LITTLE BLACK SPECKS!
PARENT Calorie Burn: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for your kiddos. You can burn a potential 125 calories making it for them.
Need to run back to the kitchen for what your child describes as, “Not THAT syrup. The syrup with the thing that’s red. You know! I’m going to cry now until you figure out exactly what I mean.”
Of course, the biggest weight loss advantage when making breakfast is the fact that you don’t have time to actually eat any.
CHILD: Where are my Legos? Where is my Play-Doh? Why do fireflies have butts that light up? Why don’t I have a butt that lights up?
PARENT Calorie Burn: Stepping over the deadly carpet Legos? Wondering how you wound up with Play-Doh stuck to your foot? Time to start your high-stepping, calorie burning parent-approved workout.
Raise up those legs to 10” to 12” off the ground when you’re walking from your child’s room to the special Mommy pillow you keep in your closet for screaming into. Time to go shopping for a new bikini, hot mom! You’ve burned 612 calories in an hour!
CHILD: This is a blue cup with a daisy on it. I do not use the blue cup with the daisy on it. We’ve talked about this before. It’s the RED CUP. Get me the RED CUP or I might actually stop breathing.
PARENT Calorie Burn: The red cup is always dirty. Always. That’s okay. Clearing dishes and washing them will cut about 100 calories.
Bonus 1,000 calories if you go to the store right now and buy at least 5 new red cups. (All of which will be dirty immediately and/or lost.)
CHILD: My left shoe is missing. I think somebody broke in and stole it.
PARENT Calorie Burn: Can’t find a left shoe in the entire house? First, blame the dog. The dog definitely took it. Chase the dog all over the house and into the backyard. Wrestle to pry the tiny sneaker from its mouth. Take it back in the house and attempt to put it on the child’s foot.
Do 5 repetitions of light headbanging against the wall when the child screams the shoe is wet and they are never going to school again. That should burn at least 25 calories, maybe more depending upon how frustrated you are.
CHILD: She just spilled juice all over me! Aaaaaack! Cry! Sob!
PARENT Calorie Burn: The whole time you’re cleaning up that sticky spill, which of course has reached far beyond your child’s lap, remember that you’re getting your skinny on. Sweeping the floor could put up 118 calories lost on the scoreboard, while mopping will knock off 129 calories.
CHILD: When I come home today, after a long day of dealing with Ms. Teacher, I do hope you’ll have my customary fruit snacks ready and waiting for me.
PARENT Calorie Burn: Grocery shopping is exercise so park far away and walk. Bring those groceries into the house yourself and shave off a healthy 250 calories.
Or… refuse to go to the store to buy fruit snacks. That should burn at least another 847 calories as you sprint away from an angry, fruit snack deprived human who looks just like you.
So, how many calories can parents burn parenting?
I don’t know. I’m going to round up and carry the one and divide by Oreos and tell myself I burned 8207 calories this morning. What kinds of shenanigans are your kids up to that burn your calories?