Thank God it's Sunday? Mums less stressed at work than home

working woman
working woman 

Sit down for a few minutes, enjoy a nice hot cup of coffee before it goes cold, eat lunch uninterrupted, go to the toilet without an audience: this might seem like a fairly basic wishlist for the day, but for mothers of young children, each of these events is much more likely to occur when they're in the office than when they're at home. 

Not only that, but after eight hours at work your efforts are rewarded with a pay cheque and maybe even a pat on the back from your boss. At home the best you can hope for at the end of the day is for your children to eat their dinner without an argument, not complain about having a bath, and to go to bed without hours of begging or crying (or both).

That's why I am not surprised by a US study which has shown that women experience higher stress levels at home than at work. 

Pennsylvania State University researchers asked 122 men and women to swab their saliva six times a day for three days to test their levels of biological stress maker cortisol, and to write down their stress levels at various points during the day.

For the majority of test participants, and both men and women, cortisol levels were higher at home than at work. Study author Professor Sarah Damaske said this result was a strong finding and regardless of education level or job description. The only people who reported equal levels of stress levels at work than at home were those in very high income jobs. 

Professor Damaske believes most people report higher stress levels at home due to exhausting family routines each morning and night, which make the hours spent in the office in between act as a bit of down time.

In another finding that probably won't come as a surprise to a lot of mums, men reported being less stressed at home than women did.

Women are happier in the office, according to Professor Damaske, because after leaving work they realise they will be "cooking dinner and doing the dishes".

"Even though men are doing more (housework) than they did 30 years ago, it's still not an even distribution," she said, according to US website NPR.

But before we curse our families for keeping us run off our feet and making our home lives stressful, there is some positive news for mums doing the daily juggle.

According to the study, women without children reported higher stress levels at home than anyone, including mothers. This is presumably because even though taking care of children keeps us busy, the love and laughter they bring help us unwind - just a little.

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