Want A Happier Marriage? Get A Job
When I was on mat leave with my second, I had the freedom not only to bond with my baby but also to go for long walks, take up Bikram, socialize with friends and not have to deal with crazy work deadlines. But following months and months of this seemingly dreamlike setup, I realized that I was bored and miserable. Sure, I was also calmer and more organized, but spending my days getting in and out of the car running errands nearly killed me. (Groceries! Carpool! Dry cleaners! Bank!) Truth be told, I actually missed having a paying job.
Ever since I’ve re-entered the working world, I’m more stressed out and tired than usual, and I run around like a chicken with my head cut off most of the time. But I’m also way happier – especially on the home front. Turns out I’m not alone. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, working mothers just may be happier with their marriages when they’re handling heavy workloads on the job.
It’s ironic, but it completely makes sense. For starters, research suggests that when working moms’ workloads increase, their husbands tend to help out more at home. This “may liberate wives from some of the burdens of juggling the two worlds of work and family life, increasing their satisfaction with the marriage,” says the study by researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and the University of California, Los Angeles.
For me, personally, it’s the idea of maintaining a career – and having an identity separate from that of ‘mother’ – that’s so appealing. And it doesn’t hurt that when we’re out of milk for the third time in a week, I feel less guilty asking my husband to go and grab some (ditto any type of household/parenting responsibility).
To be sure, being a working mother is definitely a juggling act. But, then again, isn’t parenting in general?