Are Men Still From Mars?

A 2008 survey by the Families and Work Institute found 60% of men in dual-income families reported work-family conflicts compared to 47% of women. For the men that was a 60% increase from 1977. The increase was attributed to longer work hours, blurred work-home boundaries and more childcare involvement. Men who worked 50+ hours weekly and men whose wives also worked outside the home were at the highest risk for work-family conflict – the same conflict “super women” have experienced for decades. Maybe it’s time for dads to put on their capes and “be faster than a speeding bullet”.

Men feel conflicted, but stay-at-home moms feel as overwhelmed as work-outside-the-home moms. A 2011 survey of 1,200 mothers by Forbes Woman found 89% of stay-at-homers and 92% of work-outsiders felt overwhelmed by work, home and parenting. Eighty-four percent of stay-at-homers didn’t get a break when their partner returned from work and 50% said they never got a break from parenting. However, 96% said their partners took breaks. Sixty-eight percent of stay-at-homers and 70% of work-outsiders resented unbalanced responsibilities and 33% of all the moms thought their partner should do more at home. Maybe it’s not accidental that mom upside-down spells “wow”.

Wow – although heart attacks are the leading killer of men and women, women tend to have different symptoms. Although women experience chest pain, they are likelier to experience shortness of breath, nausea and pain in the back or jaw. Women are also likelier to have “coronary microvascular disease” – small blood vessels that feed the heart squeeze shut when damaged. Women are likelier to die in a year after their first attack. Only 33% of cardiovascular treatment studies include both genders even though federal policy says they all should. This is another type of “heart failure”.

Although heart attack kills both men and women, cancer kills more men. A National Cancer Institute study analyzed data on 36 types of cancer from 1977 to 2006. Leukemia and cancers of the colon, rectum, pancreas and liver killed 1.5 to 2 times as many men. Bladder cancer killed 3 times as many, esophageal cancer 4 times and lip and throat cancer 5 times. It’s thought that men’s lifestyle – more smoking, drinking and work-related carcinogens, as well as fewer doctor appointments – might explain these differences. Considering men have a 17% greater cancer risk than women, perhaps they should get more in touch with their feminine side.

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