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An interesting article in the NYT <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/science/23family.html" target="_blank">http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/science/23family.html</a> Basically, a research team filmed some families 24/7 and took frequent cortisol level checks, and the article is highlights of their findings. Personally, I love hearing that the stress that DH and I have is not unique to us.<br><br>
One of the things that jumped out at me in the article was this regarding household duties and how they caused stress: <i>Continual negotiations, for one. Parents generally were so flexible in dividing up chores and child-care responsibilities — “catch as catch can,” one dad described it — that many boundaries were left unclear, adding to the stress.<br><br>
The couples who reported the least stress tended to have rigid divisions of labor, whether equal or not. “She does the inside work, and I do all the outside, and we don’t interfere” with each other, said one husband.</i><br><br>
I'd love to decrease our stress level, but I don't see how that would do it. Thoughts?
 

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Well, less stress doesn't mean happier about it. I found that me assigning nights for cooking dinner greatly decreased my stress about meal planning. I take 5 nights per week, DS takes 1 and DH takes another. Balanced and fair? No. Less stress? Absolutely.<br><br>
DH has most of the "fix-it" type stuff. Fair and balanced? No. But at least we both know what is getting done and by whom. I'm guessing that it is only lower stress when both parties follow through and do what they agree to.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">The couples who reported the least stress tended to have rigid divisions of labor, whether equal or not. “She does the inside work, and I do all the outside, and we don’t interfere” with each other, said one husband.</td>
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That's really interesting.<br><br>
That is our situation and definitely the least stressful I could imagine. I'm also not resentful of it either.<br><br>
But if you don't like gender based division of labor, couldn't you just as easily strictly divide the responsibilities based on desire or ability? Or list the must-dos and take turns picking chores to be semi-permanent responsibilities until the list is divvied up?
 

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Thank you for posting, it was interesting. I do wish more had been written though-that was such a small snippet. NYT ran an article maybe a year ago about egalitarian parenting and still, the mamas did more housework. I find that interesting. I sah, but with both kids, housework, nursing, food, etc. (we all know what goes on!) I find I need so much help...how do we all manage to do so much yet feel like we've not? We've asked dh's parents to move in with us when we find a bigger home...that is the only way I can find that would be cost effective and helpful. Not to mention how much my kids adore them, that will be the biggest bonus. Both my parents had working moms/dads, and were lower in income. Their grandparents lived with them, and there was more space to roam, etc. They took care of each other I guess. I don't know how they did it either. I do think their parents had way lower expectations though. Mary
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>newbymom05</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15437199"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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One of the things that jumped out at me in the article was this regarding household duties and how they caused stress: <i>Continual negotiations, for one. Parents generally were so flexible in dividing up chores and child-care responsibilities — “catch as catch can,” one dad described it — that many boundaries were left unclear, adding to the stress.<br><br>
The couples who reported the least stress tended to have rigid divisions of labor, whether equal or not. “She does the inside work, and I do all the outside, and we don’t interfere” with each other, said one husband.</i><br><br>
I'd love to decrease our stress level, but I don't see how that would do it. Thoughts?</div>
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That <i>is</i> interesting! It makes sense to me when I think about it that way. Thanks for posting the link.
 

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I think this is SO true for us. We've had shifting roles this year, as I returned to work and DH became the SAHP but also works at home often, and then I got pregnant and felt like doing even less... resentment and guilt over what we each do can be huge. It's hard b/c DH just doesn't see or get all the things I think still need to be done, but then I always feel bad that he does so much already... I really like when we just know who's responsible for what, and can do it. It tends to be pretty fair, too; we do the chores we don't detest and that tends to work out. Can't wait to get back to that balance once this school year is over!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>maryeb</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15437467"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Thank you for posting, it was interesting. I do wish more had been written though-that was such a small snippet. NYT ran an article maybe a year ago about egalitarian parenting and still, the mamas did more housework. I find that interesting. I sah, but with both kids, housework, nursing, food, etc. (we all know what goes on!) I find I need so much help...how do we all manage to do so much yet feel like we've not? We've asked dh's parents to move in with us when we find a bigger home...that is the only way I can find that would be cost effective and helpful. Not to mention how much my kids adore them, that will be the biggest bonus. Both my parents had working moms/dads, and were lower in income. Their grandparents lived with them, and there was more space to roam, etc. They took care of each other I guess. I don't know how they did it either. I do think their parents had way lower expectations though. Mary</div>
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Yes, to me adding another person to help would be the best stress-reliever! My DH is one of 6 kids and he doesn't remember his parents ever being stressed. BUT...they had a full-time housekeeper, live in grandparent, babysitters and the parents spent most of their non-work time doing "grown up" activities--they were definitely more parent than child-centered. I can see where that would be a good thing for parents and their marriage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>cappuccinosmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15437455"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">That is our situation and definitely the least stressful I could imagine. I'm also not resentful of it either.</div>
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I lurk a lot in the SAHP forum and I'm always surprised to read about people who do ALL the housekeeping, yet are very happy with it. It seems like most of the complainers are those who have an uneven split, whether it's 60/40 or whatever.<br><br>
Personally, I don't think I could do it w/o resentment. OTOH, when my DH has had to travel for work, I'm always surprised that the end of the day finds me so calm. Maybe because I pace myself better b/c I know I'm the one who has to do it? I dunno, many days are like today, when I'm watching the clock waiting for my replacement to come in after 5p.
 

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Very interesting article! We haven't yet worked out the division of labor, but if it's anything like the regular housework I'm pretty sure I'll end up doing most of it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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Amusingly, I think what keeps our stress levels in check is that uhm... I'm the boss. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> Things are not catch as catch can in our house, but there is not a set division of labor either. I keep track of what needs to be done when and I either do it or assign the task to my husband as I see fit. He is incredibly cheerful about this arrangement because for him most of the stress comes from trying to 'pay attention' to too many things at once. He is happy to do the work but he sucks at doing the low-attention-constant-watching to see when the work needs to be done. That's enormously more difficult for him. Whereas I am a really awesome supervisor and I can keep tabs on dozens of things without difficulty.<br><br>
It also helps that in general I default to doing things myself because I am a total control freak and I find that I am happiest when things are done <i>just so</i> but I have an iron clad rule with my husband that I don't get to bitch about how he does things. So I ask him for help when I can't do everything and otherwise I do as much as I can. I'm not a martyr--my 'everything I can' is not anywhere close to everything. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Very interesting.<br><br>
I do the majority of the household stuff - so in that sense it's laid out .. it's all my job. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> I don't mind, I work way less hours than dh and have lots more time to do it.<br><br>
On the weekends we usually do a deep clean of the house together - we get all the laundry done and put away, floors mopped and vaccumed, everything dusted and bathrooms deep cleaned. We do that together so what I do during the week is mostly maintenance.<br><br>
Maybe I'm not stressed about it because I know all meal planning, grocery shopping and week day/night cleaning is my job, so I plan for it?
 
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