"I worry all the time about their losing their jobs," a friend writes about her two sons and their wives, all somewhere in their late 30s and early 40s. "They are doing well but the fields they are in could implode any minute."
The problem: They need two incomes to maintain their lifestyle, and the pressures on them in the modern-day workforce are immense. One daughter-in-law's job expects her to be available 24/7--or night and day as we used to say. "She's on a 24-hour cycle--emails and text messages all day and night," my friend continues. "On the weekend. if she doesn't answer, she could be fired. If she does, she ruins her weekend." Either way, it puts pressure on the marriage, on child rearing and on my friend's relationship with her DIL.
Although she wishes there were a way to ease the stress for her grown children, all the understanding in the world doesn't ease the pain when she sees how tense her son's relationship with his wife has become.
Neither my friend nor I remember this kind of pressure when we were at the heights of our careers. Certainly, texting and 24-hour communication wasn't as readily available. Maybe there would be sniping in the marriage anyway. But the complications of 24/7 jobs seem to make things worse. For them--and by extension--for us.