We don’t need any national studies to tell us Miami has terrible traffic. We know this firsthand… and even though we are all stuck in the gridlock, studies show that women, mothers in particular, are the ones most affected by the long commutes. We met with a group of South Florida moms to find out why.
Miami is among the cities in the country with the worst traffic congestion.
It takes one of the Moms we talked to an hour and 45 minutes to drive to and from work every day. That adds up to 3 ½ to 4 hours a day sitting the car on a congested highway. That is half a day’s work sitting in a car and doing nothing but enduring the unrelenting stress of traffic. It’s almost like having a part-time job with an angry manager, only it doesn’t pay anything.
Another Mom with a similar commute has to drop her oldest son off at the bus stop at 6:00 in the morning before she goes back home to make sure her youngest son is ready for school. Only after he is off to school is she able to begin her hour and half long drive to work. Her commute begins at 6:15. It’s still dark out, and if it rains, Jennifer’s trip can total up to two ½ hours to make the one way drive from her house in Homestead.
A number of studies over the last decade put these Mom’s plight in a larger context. Commuting stresses out women more compared to men. A study out of the UK titled It’s Driving Her Mad, found that women feel the psychological impact of commuting four times as strongly as men.
It’s not just for specifically for Mothers. Both single and married women without children also share the overwhelming burden of a long daily commute. Although the pressures may not be as high as a Mother with children, it can still be frustrating to an unhealthy point.
Dr. Jeff Newport is a psychiatry professor at UM’s Miller School of Medicine, and he explains the reason for the increased stress among women is because of our culture and the way it has evolved over the last 50 years. History a disproportionate share of life’s burdens upon women.
Commuting for women gets added to an already heavy workload that often includes children, and the day to day household tasks that come with being a mother. For many, it’s after 7:00 before they get home from work, and they still have to run to the supermarket and get something for dinner, or they need to go out and get something for a project for school for their kids.
When you take the burden of that long drive and place it upon the mountain of responsibilities at home, then you hit a tipping point. Dr. Newport says that tipping point could result in severe anxiety, heart disease, even depression if not checked. For too many, it leads to weight gain.
It makes perfect sense. You’re stuck in the car all the time, you’re frustrated when you get home, and you eat to make yourself feel better. We all do it, just some more than others. Drinking is also another vice long commuters look to when they get home, so alcoholism is also a common side effect of long daily commutes.
When responsibilities become unreasonable, then your options are basically to delegate those things. So how do you get help? Dr. Newport says all you have to do is ask for it. If you would like to get in touch with Dr. Newport’s knowledge base for help on delegating and reducing stress around the household, Pennekamp Law will be proud to put you in contact with them.
Women, Wives, and Mothers all have lives outside their work and should be able to work in a way that allows them to be independent women, and be with their families on their terms, not terms delegated by work and traffic.
Call Pennekamp Law at (305) 998-5595 to learn more about this article, or to learn more about the legal services we offer to Miami residents that have been in a car accident. If you have been in a car accident in the Miami area, please give us a call as we provide you with a FREE Legal & Medical Review if necessary.
– Pennekamp Law