Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Going to work to relieve your stress

By now, you may have seen the study which indicates that adults find work life less stressful than home life. The study concludes that people who work enjoy better mental and physical health and that full-time working mothers report better mental health than mothers who work part-time or who are stay-at-home moms. The study also found that women report themselves happier at work than at home, and men report the opposite.

I am not really surprised by this for many reasons:

Clear Expectations
I know what is expected at me at work. I have clear goals and reviews and milestones to meet. Yes, there are emergencies sometimes, but they are not a constant. At home, I have no idea what is going to be thrown at me next: A middle-of-the-night wake up, a challenge to create a new dinosaur game, a random tantrum over a blanket... Who knows?

The Boss
Unless you own your own business, at work there is a clear chain of command who can take your worries into account and reassure you that you are doing a good job. At home: You are it. You are the top of the food chain and you have to make the rules and stick to them. And at home, you have to be the one with all the answers. (And my little guy has questions he needs answers to. Lots and lots of questions.)

The Hours
Although I often work nine hour days at the office, I earn vacation time and I also have sick time. Parenthood is all day, every day.

Sometimes it is really, really hard to limit your conversation to toys, children's characters and dinosaurs. Sometimes we need other adults to talk to, share with and learn from. I love the projects I work on with my team members. Yes, I have my husband with me at home, and although he and I are involved in the most important "project" of our lives, it's nice to get away from all that and try something new.

As for the last piece of the study where home is more peaceful for men than women, I have a feeling part of that may be due to the fact that women are still doing the bulk of the household chores. So, while men may be relaxing at home (hopefully not in a room by themselves), women may be cleaning or cooking.

This is the part of the post where I would be expected to point out that parenthood has some great perks, like getting frequent "monkey hugs" (which, evidently, involve wrapping both arms and legs around someone). Admittedly, I don't receive those at work (hugs, yes, but not of the monkey variety). But the truth is that this study points out a definite struggle that lots of Moms face. We know how to be wonderful Mothers. We know how to be amazing workers. It's combining the two where we face difficulty.

And there aren't any answers for us yes. But at least, we know we aren't alone, right?

What's more stressful for you? Work or home or juggling between the two? Tell me in the comments.

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