The demands of both work and parenting are rising. While working hours globally are falling (partially due to aging populations), those employed full-time are often working more. In the U.S., for example, full-time employees are working 47 hours per week, and four in 10 people work more than 50. And the bifurcation of those working both more and less is growing — with marked increases in those working “extreme” hours, particularly in high-skill professions. In addition, according to the World Bank, women now constitute 40%–50% of the workforce in many countries around the world, meaning work outside the home is impacting men and women more equally.
But we are also parenting more. Researchers at UC Irvine found that parents in 11 countries spend nearly twice as much time with their kids as they did 50 years ago, with moms spending almost an hour more
After a long day at the office, many of us find ourselves taking out our stress on friends, children, or significant others. And if we’re not careful, we allow our work stress to become home stress, often at the expense of our families and relationships or our health.
In the UK the Health and Safety Executive found that 43% of days lost to illness were stress related. Another study, by the American Psychological Association (APA), found that the two most common stressors among those surveyed were work and money, and the incidence of stress often results in irritability, anger, nervousness, and anxiousness — all behaviors that can cause tension when brought home after work.
We’ve previously written about how couples can help each other cope with professional stress. But even couples who cope well together can become overwhelmed if work stress becomes too prominent an element of their