American Moms: Overwhelmed & Pissed OffS

The New York Times reports that the most-read story on Parenting.com is "Mad At Dad," a look at how angry mothers of young children are at their husbands.

While there's definitely a stereotype of the angry or desperate housewife, there's no arguing with facts: A "disturbing portrait of motherhood," the article is based on a survey of 1,000 mothers from MomConnection. The gist? Moms are pissed. They're mad that parenting is an uneven playing field, that the weight of the responsibilities fall on their shoulders, instead of the fathers'. The author, Martha Brockenbrough, includes some nauseating survey results: 46% of moms who took the survey "get irate with their husbands" once a week or more. Half of the moms described their anger as "intense"; 1 in 10 say it's "deep and long-lasting." 44% are "peeved" that their partners "often don't notice what needs to be done around the house or with the kids." 50% say "their husbands get more time for themselves." Brockenbrough writes:

"We carry so much of this life-altering responsibility in our heads: the doctors' appointments, the shoe sizes, the details about the kids' friends. Many dads wouldn't even think to buy valentines for the class, for example, or know when it's time to sign kids up for the pre–camp physical, or that curriculum night is next Thursday at 7:30 and you need to hire a sitter and bring a nut-free vegetarian appetizer that can be eaten without a fork. Even moms who work full-time take it upon themselves to store all this data in our already overstuffed heads. We're the walking, talking encyclopedias of family life, while dads tend to be more like brochures."

Of course, since the survey was for moms and about moms, there's no data about dads. Are they clueless? Or aware that they make their wives so upset? And what is the solution? Clearly, a woman simmering in fury is a terrible thing: Redford Williams, M.D., whom Brockenbrough interviewed for the piece, says: "Anger kills. It's not just that it can damage your heart - which it does - but it's also been found in epidemiological studies to identify people who are more likely to have a heart attack or drop dead from any cause." But the real question here is: How does all this anger affect the kids? Children pick up on the slightest subtleties in their parents' moods. Is it healthy to know that your mother resents your father? And is the anger contagious?

Are All Moms Mad At Dad? [NY Times]