Studies Show That Husbands Stress Moms Out Twice As Much As Kids Do

Moms have a lot to stress about. Are we going to make it to the school bus on time? What are we going to eat for dinner? Are my kids wearing fresh underwear? Are they…you know, breathing?

You’d think that most of the stress moms deal with is kid-related—but it turns out, it’s not. In fact, husbands may be an even bigger source of stress than kids are for Mom.

According to a recent exclusive survey by TODAY of 7,000 moms in the U.S., the average mom says her stress level is at about an 8.5 out of 10, and out of those women, 46 percent of moms said it was their husband that was making them more stressed out than anything else—including their kids! Dang.

We’ve all heard the joke that fathers are just as much a child as the actual kids are—I guess that isn’t really quite the joke anymore! While having kids is certainly stressful, so is having a husband, apparently.

The biggest problem here is in the different ways that women and men think. Women stress out about things in different ways than men do. For example, one mom said how her husband worries, it’s just not to the extreme she does.

“We both work full time and we both try to split the childcare, but somehow I’m always freaking out way more than he is,” said Deno Fleno, a mom in New Britain, Connecticut. “My husband, obviously he worries about their future, but he doesn’t worry the same way.”

Besides the future, most of the time, daily household chores tend to fall on the mom more than the dad. In the survey, moms say that a huge source of their stress is not having enough time in the day to do everything that needs to be done.

Well of course not—because one person can’t possibly handle all of that! But it turns out that three-quarters of moms who have a spouse say that most of the parenting and household duties falls on them, and one in five moms say that the lack of help from their partner is a huge source of their stress.

In another survey by the Working Mother Research Institute, 79 percent of working moms are responsible for doing the laundry, and moms are twice as likely as dads to take on the cooking.

Mothers who took the TODAY survey shared their anonymous opinions on what exactly their stress feels like that they feel from their husbands. It seems that most moms feel pressure to get more done than Dad does, or that they feel he can relax and they can’t, or that they feel like they’re in it alone.

Think it’s different for same-sex couples? It’s not. Lesbian couples with kids report feeling similar frustrations with their partner. Additionally, single moms reported the highest levels of stress in the TODAY study, understandably so.

So maybe it’s just that being parents and raising children is hard freaking work.

“It’s easy to blame your stress on another person,” said Runkel. “Marriage is emotional weight-lifting. It’s exercise. And when you choose to exercise, sometimes it feels miserable.”

These surveys gave us a lot of food for thought. What do you think of the results of these studies? Did you find it surprising? Do you agree or disagree with the results?