Even if you work a 9-to-5 office job, you’ve no doubt brought a little bit of work stress home with you. On the rough days, it’s hard to completely separate yourself from that time-sensitive project, that demanding boss, and especially those catty coworkers. But have you had the chance to think about how all that negativity at work is affecting your relationships, especially with your kids?
Various studies suggest that bad moods inspired by workplace stressors — and coworkers, in particular — stay with us after we leave the office.
Rudeness from coworkers can have a significantly negative impact on a person’s home life and, as a result, their relationship with their children.
Led by Sandy Lim of the University of Singapore, a team of psychological scientists found that employees who deal with high levels of incivility at work are more likely to take out their negative mood on their families once they’re at home.
“Workplace incivility is a subtle form of interpersonal mistreatment,” the researchers wrote. “Uncivil behaviors are typically rude or discourteous behaviors that violate workplace norms of respect, for example, insulting remarks, addressing others in unprofessional terms, and the use of a condescending tone.”
These behaviors can happen in any workplace, but they are statistically more likely to be focused toward a specific kind of employee: working moms. And, unfortunately, there’s scientific proof to back it up. According to studies by the American Psychological Association, the number of children a working woman has dictates how she’s treated in the workplace.
“Mothers reported more incivility than fathers and childless women reported more incivility than childless men,” the study reads. “Mothers with three children were treated more uncivilly than women with fewer children.”
This workplace incivility is in addition to all of the other hurdles working moms face: outdated gender stereotypes, the pay gap, etc.
In other studies, mothers were more likely than non-mothers to be viewed as less competent and less motivated. Men did not have to struggle with this perception.
The University of Singapore study found a correlation between experiencing incivility at work with feelings of hostility, which were eventually brought back to employees’ families: “Our findings show that the experience of incivility was positively related to feelings of hostility, which was in turn associated with increased angry family behaviors, as rated by spouses.”
Scary, right? Nobody wants to accidentally hurt the people that they care about.
The next time you’re dealing with toxic coworker stress and you want to keep it out of the house, here are a few strategies you can implement.
1. Talk to an office confidant.
Your instinct might be to vent once you get home, but keep your work complaints at work instead. Lynn Taylor, author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job,” says it’s important to keep your professional life out of your personal life and vice versa. “It’s natural, for instance, to come home wanting to vent,” Taylor told Business Insider. “But this kind of thing can wear thin on your partner (or children) over time, as they may feel helpless.”
2. Go on a walk.
Take some time to de-stress with some solo action. Go on a walk around the block and take a mental break. The endorphins you release will trigger a positive feeling in your body, and you’ll be able to look at your situation with a clearer head. You might find that a short break is just what you need for a fresher perspective, and when you return to the office, that rude coworker will no longer dominate your day.
3. Spend time with your family.
Yes, you read that right! Even though you’re actively trying to keep stress away from your loved ones, research shows that motherhood can help women deal with tough situations. Spending some time with your partner and children can relieve stress — just make sure that you’re doing an activity that distracts you from work.