Modern Families: Housework & Stress

Modern Families: Housework & Stress

How does the division of household work (like cooking, cleaning and laundry) affect a relationship? According to a University of Southern California study published in the Journal of Family Psychology (2011), for dual wage earners with at least one child, the spouse who does most of the housework at the end of the day experiences higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Normally cortisol is highest in the morning when we need to get going and lowest at night; chronic spikes of cortisol can negatively affect weight, cognitive functioning and immunity.  Says Darby Saxby lead author of the study, “The quality of relationships makes a big difference in a person’s health. Dividing up your housework fairly with your partner may be as important as eating your vegetables.” For further reading:

Time spent in housework and leisure: Links with parents’ physiological recovery from work (journal article abstract)

Study Examines Stress Levels for Couples

Irreconcilable differences at the end of the day: Men, women and housework

Morning Solutions for Busy Families

Morning Solutions for Busy Families

We are a house of slow starters in the morning. No matter how early we get up (or make the attempt) when it comes time to leave we are rushing out the door with a flurry of “Do you have your back pack? Shoes? Socks? Shoes??????” as my 6-year old son lounges on the floor reading or playing with his train set, oblivious to the fact that school start times are not negotiable.

So, having gotten tired of trying things that didn’t work or only worked for a short time like making lists (Brush teeth, put on clothes, etc), repeating the message x10 (“Please brush your teeth. …Have you brushed your teeth?”) I decided to try something new the other day to get my son’s attention. Actually it was his idea that we communicate via walkie-talkie Monday morning and that, in turn, gave me the idea to follow-up on the morning routine in a more playful way. Me: “This is command central. Do you read?” “Are your socks and shoes on?” This elicited not only giggles but a speedy response. Why hadn’t I thought of this earlier? Since that morning we’ve used the walkie-talkies again and again; instead of feeling frustrated I’m getting out of the door 5 minutes early every morning!