46% of Mothers Are More Stressed by Their Spouse Than by Their Kids

a mother and child

There's no question that the joys of motherhood are unparalleled; few life experiences compare to the exquisite bond of bringing a new life into this world. But raising a child isn't without its stressors—from the innate worry a parent experiences to the financial and emotional stress inherent in raising kids, parenthood is certainly no walk in the park.

But as an exclusive Today survey points out, spouses may be an equal or greater source of stress for an alarmingly high percentage of mothers. After surveying 7000 U.S. mothers online in 2013, the study showed that the average mom would rate her stress level at an 8.5 out of 10 and that 46% of mothers felt that their spouse was a bigger source of stress than their kids.

"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 Connecticut-based working mom, of the survey results. "My husband, obviously he worries about their future, but he doesn't worry the same way." She admits that she tends to "project 20 years ahead with every little parenting decision," while her husband has a much more relaxed approach when it comes to the little things, like letting their daughter have an extra cookie.

The survey respondents also stressed the fact that they never seemed to have enough hours in the day to get everything done. Three-quarters of respondents felt that most of the parenting and household duties fell on their shoulders in addition to working full time, while one in five moms said that not having enough help from their spouse was a major source of daily stress. "Even though I have a committed spouse, I still feel like all the pressure is on me to get everything done. I work just as many hours as my husband does, but yet I do all the scheduling," said one anonymous commenter in the survey.

Hal Runkel, an Atlanta-based therapist, a married father of two teenagers, and author of Scream Free Parenting and Scream Free Marriage, argues that marriage is simply a "more difficult relationship than parenting," he told the news outlet. "Marriage is stressful by nature, even good marriages. It's easy to blame your stress on another person. Marriage is emotional weight lifting. It's exercise. And when you choose to exercise, sometimes it feels miserable." But he adds that "the stress of parenting with a partner is worth it in the end."

It's also worth noting that the stress of moms with spouses pales in comparison to that of single moms, who reported the highest levels of stress in the survey. "It's one thing to say you feel like a single mom sometimes; it's another to actually be one," the publication added. Head over to Today for more.

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