Hardworking moms = happy marriages

Let me premise this post by saying that my comments are not intended in any way to belittle moms who stay at home. In fact, I think stay-at-home moms are some of the hardest working people. My mom was one and I commend her for it. I want to focus on the narrow topic of moms who have made the decision to work outside the home and the impact of their workload on their marriages. With that disclaimer aside, the Journal of Family Psychology published a study last month with interesting results. The study found that, while stress is generally bad for relationships, "[w]orking moms tend to be happier with their marriages when they are shouldering heavy workloads on the job," particularly when the moms enjoy their jobs. The converse is not true, however: "when dads’ on-the-job workloads rise, both they and their wives tend to become less satisfied with their marriages." This is true, according to the study, regardless of how much dad likes his job. Why? The study didn’t provide a clear-cut reason. It also didn’t define precisely what kind of "heavy workload" made working moms’ marriages happier. Importantly, it also noted that other factors — such as whether a spouse supports mom’s external workload and the quality of mom’s workload — are important in determining whether that heavy workload will increase or decrease marital happiness. The study also looked only at women who were more likely to be career-oriented in the first place. So, assuming a mom who is already career-oriented has a supportive spouse and a quality workload, why is her marriage likely to be happier when she has a heavier external workload?

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