How do parents cope with the stress of making a living while also trying to make a life for their families? A lot of us don't handle the stress well -- this writer included -- and a newly published paper by a Harvard graduate student suggests that too many of us will pay for it by getting sick or, well, worse.
The report by Noam Kirson warns of some dire potential health risks for two-parent families in which both parents work:
paper finds a strong positive correlation between female labor force
participation and negative health outcomes for middle-aged men and
women, and suggests that this correlation is mediated by
household-level stress. At the cross-country aggregate level, I show
that labor force participation of women is associated with increased
mortality rates among both men and women. At the individual level, I
find that married men whose spouses work are more likely to die within
10 years, to have high blood pressure and to self-report worse health
The constant push-pull between work and home obligations has created stress in our own household that really surges once we add holiday preparations into the mix. To me this is like hurricane season for stress; I just have to ride it out every year and wait for the calmer days of January and beyond.
I also force myself to exercise more during November (not that you could tell if you saw me walk down the street), and I take Vitamin D supplements, as recommended by the wise Dr. Mike Merrill.
I know that our stresses at this time of year are picked up by our children, and that isn't good. It seems unfair that the holiday season is almost like a zero-sum game in which all of the wonderful things our children experience seem to be paid for out of our psychic accounts.
I guess I just need to up my vitamin dosage and chill a bit. Here, let's just stare into the fire for a minute: