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Health & Balance

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Women Feel Guiltier About Today’s ‘24/7’ Jobs

Study Shows Women Are More Distressed Than Men by After-Hour Emails and Calls From the Office

Draw Boundaries Between Work and Family continued...

“Women do it and do it well, but they feel resentful and guilty if it’s taking time way from their family,” she says.

Multitasking isn’t easy when you want to give everything 150%, she says.

“If you get a [work] cell phone call when you are at a birthday party with your child, and miss a kid hurting yours, it’s not so simple to just drop it ,” she says. “It is about guilt at not being fully present when you are with your family.”

So what can a working mom do to stop the guilt? “Impose boundaries,” Brizendine says. “If it’s an email issue, put your BlackBerry down until your kids are going to bed.”

Be Realistic About Responsibilities

The new study findings also resonate with Anne Parker, a wellness counselor at Miraval Health Resort in Tucson, Ariz., who regularly counsels women on the effects of stress.

“Women tend to feel more globally responsible than men and that means they feel more responsible for what happens at work and what happens at home,” she says.

There are things women can do to cope with these emotions in a more positive way, she says.

“We need to be more realistic about our responsibilities,” she says. “Are we running up against our own expectations or are we talking about responsibilities and expectations that are real in an objective way.”

Put another way: Are you suffering from the disease to please and just trying to do it all, or does your boss really expect you to return emails during family dinner hour?

When feelings of guilt do arise, take a step back and ask yourself, “What can I deal with right now,” she suggests.

“If your children need to be fed and you have an email from work, you have a choice,” Parker says.

“There is an idea of being available all the time that amplifies the stress particularly if you are already feeling responsible.”

Log off or tune out, she says. “Set hours in which you are not available to answer emails.”

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