Home may be where the heart is but, according to a survey out this week, if you want to keep your blood pressure down, you'd be better off staying at work.
The poll asked 3,000 men and women who caused them the most stress in their lives. The results came back showing that, for most, their spouse winds them up more than their boss.
Why isn't this surprising? I spend more of my waking life with my boss than I do my husband. But strangely I have never once felt the urge to bash him over the head with a saucepan. Sure, he can be infuriating and difficult. Sometimes he's even downright unreasonable. The thing is, I expected nothing less. And he's never disappointed me.
But marriage gathers up all your expectations and flings them high into orbit. You're then forced to watch the fragments as they re-enter your atmosphere, crashing back down to earth every time your husband leaves his smelly socks next to the laundry basket, or picks his toes while you're watching Casualty. And that's what makes us seethingly mad: the expecting more bit in the first place.
The other day I asked my husband if he would mind cleaning the kitchen floor.
This is a job I do three times a week, and which I know takes approximately 20 minutes. But, apparently, all this time I have been wrong. This floor - the one my baby crawls across every day - has never, it seems, had a proper going over before. I am now enlightened to the fact that it takes two buckets to do it thoroughly. One for dirty water. One for clean. An hour later, buoyant from bleach fumes and self-rightousness, my husband is still conducting his sanctimonious scrub of the surfaces. And I am at the end of the garden furiously plotting his untimely death with a pair of secateurs.
A friend recently described a domestic scene that pretty much sums it up. One morning, as she charged from dishwasher to fridge to kitchen table, simultaneously balancing lunchboxes, toast and forms to sign for school, her husband - who was standing in the garden having a cigarette - poked his head through the kitchen window and said: 'We really should do something about your stress levels, darling.' If it wasn't so tragic it would be funny. Husbands eh? Giving us that little reason to smile every day...
Our top 10 wind-up phrases
1. I think I'm coming down with something
2. There's one odd sock in my drawer
3. Why are we always late?
4. You sound just like your mother
5. Where's the school again?
6: Have you seen my.... (keys, phone, credit card)
7: But I put them right here!
8: Why are the children behaving like that?
9: When's your birthday again?
10: Have you got PMT?
Which causes you most stress? Work or your partner