This Is 40ish: Work & Home

#ThisIs40ish

Work & Home

Our major money hang-ups, our workplace fantasies and the single worst thing we do as parents.

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54 percent of women fantasize about quitting their jobs at least once a month. 16 percent fantasize about walking out every single day.

We Ask

When are you just overwhelmed — and when do you really need to quit?

“I’ve seen a lot of women experience what I call career chafe, which is when your health is being eroded, your relationships suffer and there’s a real decline in your self-confidence. If your job doesn’t provide you with regular evidence of how awesome you are, it’s time to find another one. But we can all have those Sunday-night dreads. And our fantasies about quitting hold important clues about what career improvements we need. If you fantasize about being your own boss, what’s the attraction there? Is it more spontaneity or autonomy? Is it being the expert? Look below the surface for what you really want and see if you can make adjustments in the career you already have.” — Heather Petherick, career coach in Lethbridge, Alta.

23 percent have slept with someone from work.

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42 percent have bought something and hid it from their partner.

We Ask

Why do you do that?

“I started lying about my shopping habits in my 20s, after I got married and my money became ‘our’ money. I don’t care about spending, whereas he’s always worried about that rainy day. It’s caused problems. But I love shoes. When my husband would ask me about the $100 charge coming in from Nine West every week, I told him I was taking clients out to lunch. I managed to pass off the store as a restaurant for three years, until someone at work joked in front of him about Nine West’s fillet of sole. I had to come clean. My husband wasn’t overly happy. I still buy shoes, but I don’t wear a lot of them in front of him. I probably have 15 pairs that I hide at work.” — Jo-Anne, 45

83 percent say money causes tension in their relationships, and for 39 percent, money is the greatest source of stress.

We Ask

Can we get better at dealing with our money hang-ups?

No one likes talking about money: It can feel tacky and taboo, even in the comfort of a long-term relationship. Or maybe especially in the comfort of a long-term relationship, since more than a quarter of the women in our survey regularly lie to their partners about their finances.

Love and cash are such a fraught combination, in fact, that a 2013 Kansas State University study of more than 4,500 couples pinpointed arguments over money as by far the top predictor of divorce — yep, even more than fights about sex or in-laws. That was true regardless of income level; money brawls also lasted longer and included “harsher language” than other ones. No surprise, then, that 39 percent of our respondents say that money is the greatest source of stress in their relationship, causing significantly more conflict than sex, parenting, division of household labour or finding quality time together.

How can couples foster healthy relationship habits around cash? For starters, abandon the idea that one of you “sucks with money,” says Shannon Simmons, a Toronto-based financial planner. That’s toxic rhetoric that she says absolves heavy spenders of responsibility and saddles their sweeties with all the money woes. And you’ll need to divulge your respective financial histories. “Go over what you each make immediately,” she says. “Like numerical details — is it $50,000 or $60,000? And do you get a bonus?” Be real about budgeting habits, financial goals and debt (especially the credit card kind), since “you need to make sure you’re on the same financial wavelength.” If all else fails, go the mediation route: Simmons says that hiring a third-party financial planner can “take the heat off.”

Yes, unpacking your financial hang-ups sucks, but even in an age of separate chequing accounts, money issues should be among religious beliefs and weird sexual preferences in the canon of Things Couples Speak Frankly about Whether They Like It or Not. The alternative — keeping personal-finance matters too personal — signals a gross lack of trust. And that’s relationship suicide. — Katie Underwood

What keeps you up at night?

40 percent of women make as much or more than their partners.

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44 percent say that more money is the biggest thing they want in their jobs.

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Workload causes women the most anxiety on the job. What else sucks?

The Nitty-Gritty
  • Workload27%
  • Meeting expectations22%
  • Office culture16%
  • My boss14%
  • Multitasking10%
  • Deadlines8%
  • Email3%

42 percent blow too much money on eating out.

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45 percent of women totally poop in front of their partners.

We Ask

Um, explain.

“I have two kids who won’t poop in public and hold it until they get home — it’s a battle for the bathroom almost every night. Sometimes the only time I get to talk to my husband is in the bathroom, since our schedules are so busy. It probably drives him nuts, but it doesn’t embarrass me in the least. We’ve been together for 18 years. I don’t have much to hide.” — Erin, 37

73 percent do the majority of cleaning.

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Half of women feel guilty about the amount of screen time their kids get. What else causes parenting shame?

The Nitty-Gritty
  • Allowing too much fast food25%
  • Allowing too much sugar25%
  • Not giving enough baths16%
  • Favouritism13%
  • Other20%
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85 percent have never been to couples counselling.

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44 percent of women occasionally or often think about whether other couples are happier than they are.

We Ask

How can we stop measuring ourselves against other couples?

“When you see beautiful pictures on Instagram and Facebook of people’s vacation sunsets and romantic evenings, you can easily feel like you’re missing out. But, number 1, you don’t know how much of that is real. And, number 2, it may distract you from appreciating other ways of showing love — someone fixing the garbage disposal, or getting winter tires for the car. Sure, it’s not a Hallmark moment. It probably doesn’t photograph as well. We have to stop trying for someone else’s idea of happiness at the expense of our own.” — Sarah Bennett, co-author of F*ck Feelings

44 percent lie occasionally or often to get out of social engagements.

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51 percent say they’re always upfront about what they do at home alone. What do the other 49 percent get up to?

The Nitty-Gritty
  • Binge eat43%
  • Watch porn33%
  • Watch garbage TV31%
  • Drink20%
  • Smoke pot10%
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