There's no doubt parenting is difficult and exhausting, we all know that.
But is a day of parenting more exhausting than the gruelling 80 minutes of physical punishment professional NRL players endure during a match?
In a fun experiment V8 Juice challenged State of Origin star, Newcastle Knights player, Kalyn Ponga, to a typical day of parenting duties and running around to see who burns more calories in a day, and, well… the results say that parents work harder.
The Stay at Home Athlete challenge saw parents Damien and Tia Rea leave their four children, all aged under 12, and their dog, Ruby, in the care of the 20-year-old professional athlete to see just how much energy it would take to look after them in comparison to playing a game of Rugby League.
A camera crew and accredited sports dietitian monitored him during the full day of parental duties. Sports dietitian, Rebecca Hay tracked Kalyn's energy output as he did normal parenting duties, such as:
- Making breakfast
- Cleaning the house
- Changing nappies
- Doing laundry
- Shopping for groceries
- Taking the kids to the playground
In perhaps surprising results, Kalyn burned over 1300 calories more in looking after the kids than he would in an 80-minute professional rugby league game.
"At first, I thought looking after children for a day would be a walk in the park - but I was so wrong!", said Ponga.
During the experiment, the standout full-back, who many commentators herald as a future NRL immortal, wore a calorie and step tracking device to monitor his energy expenditure as he went about everyday parenting duties over a 10-hour period.
"Over the course of the day, Kalyn burnt 1988 calories - that's over 1300 calories more than he would usually burn in an 80-minute professional rugby league game, which we calculated at around 680 calories," said Hay.
"The Stay at Home Athlete experiment shows how everyday parenting tasks are more physically and mentally demanding than many would expect, and highlights the importance of parents staying on top of their game by including vegetables in their diet," she concluded.
Kalyn Ponga, commenting after the experiment, said, "I didn't expect the day to be as tiring as it was. It was an eye-opener to realise tasks like cleaning, taking the kids to the park and getting the groceries can be just as mentally and physically exhausting as a full footy game!
"The physical part, on top of the mental element of dealing with young, energetic kids has given me a whole new perspective on what it's like to be a parent and made me really appreciate my own mum! Parents are 'stay at home athletes' and deserve so much respect."
As part of the experiment, V8 also polled over 1,000 Australian parents and discovered that when it comes to estimating how difficult the challenge of being an everyday parent is, we are selling ourselves significantly short.
- Around one in five Australians (18 percent) think that a parent doing daily activities with kids burns more energy than a professional athlete during a rugby league match
- When it comes to everyday activities, the findings also revealed 57 percent of Aussie parents deemed cleaning as the household activity perceived to be the most tiring, followed by gardening (44 percent) and grocery shopping (23 percent)
Next time you're pooped after a day with the kids, don't beat yourself up too much. Remember that time the Rea kids wiped out a 20-year-old athlete and pat yourself on the back!