In a world where iPhones, Skype and laptops keep us tethered to our work 24/7, why is it that dads can blithely chat it up on a conference call during dinnertime, while moms feel like the worst parents in the world when our cell phones vibrate across the counter while we're dishing up a meal for our kids?
As much as we’d like to believe that we've made real progress towards gender equality in work/family balance and co-parenting, expectations for mommies and daddies remain different, at least in part because our expectations of ourselves have not changed all that much.
That's the inside story as revealed by new research from the University of Toronto and reported by Reuters on March 8th. The study's authors say that it's our our own guilt that makes us feel worse than men when we try to juggle both work and family demands. Their findings suggest that it’s not that a mom’s contact with clients, bosses and colleagues interfere more than a dad's, it’s that we worry more about work's intrusions on our family time, and this makes us super stressed.
"This guilt seems to be at the heart of their distress," Paul Glavin, of the University of Toronto and the lead author of the study, told Reuters. His research team's findings were consistent regardless of the age of the women, their marital or parental status, or their socio-economic level.
The scientists analyzed information on 1,042 American workers nationwide. Their findings are published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.
The more our work associates contacted us, the more stressed we get, the researchers found. In contrast, men who receive frequent work-related calls or texts don’t worry about the break-down of boundaries separating work and family life.
"I am having a heck of a time balancing work, motherhood, wifehood and self-time," says Circle of Moms community member says Dawn A. "Mostly, my self-time doesn't exist, and when it does, I feel guilty for not spending time with my family. Help!"
Circle of Moms community member Ashley K. agrees: "Working mom guilt is a heavy load to carry, and it's SO nice to know I'm not alone! I just made a promise to myself that I'm going for a pedicure during naptime this weekend!!
Do you feel guilty about tending to work matters on the home front?
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