With the proliferation of day cares and working mothers, is it any surprise that a survey of women’s moods found that “most women enjoy being with their children less than they say they do?”

Norbert Schwarz, a psychologist at the University of Michigan and an investigator in the study, said that under the conventional assessment system, women typically insist that being with their children is their greatest joy.

But using the new Day Reconstruction Method (DRM), described in the Science report, Mr. Schwarz said, “Women indicated spending time with their children is a mixed bag — that they represent some of their best moments and also some of their worst moments.”

Mr. Schwarz explained that DRM involves breaking the day into a sequence of episodes and rating each moment or activity as a kind of snapshot. He said the women were told to think of their day “as a continuous series of scenes or episodes in a film” and to give each event a name to help them remember it.

The women then rated their activities for positive and negative associations. A positive score of six was the strongest and zero was the weakest.

Participants gave intimate relations the highest score, at 5.10. That was followed by socializing, at 4.59, and relaxing, at 4.42.

They ranked taking care of their children at 3.86 — below exercising, watching television and preparing food.

The ranking for child care was not far ahead of activities at the low end of the scale, such as housework (3.73); employment (3.62); and commuting (3.45).

I guess if I were a mom who commuted to her job every day, leaving her kids in circumstances all day long where other kids and caregivers provided influences that sometimes aren’t what I’d want, the resulting behaviors might be an added burden rather than a joy.

I’d be interested to see what kind of differences there are between mothers who stay home during the day with their children and those who work outside the home, leaving their children in day care or school. Homeschoolers vs. traditional schoolers would be an interesting comparison, also.

As a homeschooling father, I hear my share of exasperating stories about how our children have behaved throughout the day (most of which I wouldn’t hear if they were in a traditional school setting). But at least we know first-hand how they are behaving and we can take measures to correct it. And as for those positive episodes that my wife has with my kids throughout the day, well, many of them are off the charts, they are so good. Better that she experience them instead of someone who isn’t their parent, who couldn’t appreciate it nearly as much.

Let me see the adjustments for those factors, please!