Even though I am a working mom, I don't automatically assume that I am more stressed out than a stay-at-home mom. I do, however, know that I am way more stressed out than my partner (let's call him John, because that is his name). We both work and we have daycare covered and we are financially fine, but while I have turned into a whirling dervish of tension, he has turned into a TV junkie. I resent this to a degree that I am ashamed to admit -- most because I miss my TV!
So it turns out this is not just me. According to a recent study, working moms spend 10.5 hours more than working dads doing things for the family and that work tends to happen during what they are calling "the arsenic hours" of 5 p.m to 8 p.m., when working moms are trying to finish up at work and start the work at home. Oh and squeeze in a commute. So yes, they report more stress.
Here is what I can report:
John works five minutes from the house and from home two days a week. I have an hour commute each way. Most days it means that both John and baby are asleep when I leave, and like yesterday -- my birthday! -- I see neither of them before I go. The stress starts there as my 15-month-old doesn't even see me most days -- I don't feel guilty about that at all, not one bit. And people don’t judge me about that. Nope. And it doesn’t cause my hair to be in a constant state of rat's nest. No sir.
Then the questions start about dinner and logistics around 4 or 5. I am scrambling to get out of the office and fight the traffic -- all the while my hair is getting crazier and my shoulders are getting tighter. And I get home and feed us all and try very hard to talk to both my child and the man I chose to have dinner with every night of my life. And then insert crushing to-do list here. We play for a little while and I try to teach the baby something, anything, cause I am supposed to teach him stuff, right (right?), and then it’s bath and bedtime.
Here is where the real stress begins because I won’t give up bedtime (as it is the only time I actually see this child), but that means John walks happily downstairs to watch American Trash Pickers or War for Other People’s Junk or Scary Pawn Shop and relax while I DON’T GET TO!
Seriously. There was even a question who is more stressed? Money was wasted on a study? He slept later, he commuted less, he got fed. And he gets to watch TV -- something he did very rarely pre-child but I did like it was my job. He’s very involved, he’s very busy, he has a stressful job -- I get it, he needs to decompress. I don’t begrudge him that. But yeah, working moms are more stressed than working dads.
Are you more stressed than your partner? Are the hours of 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. hard at your house?
Image via Corey Ann/Flickr