Now I'm going to stress you out by telling you that recent research suggests babies can hear their parents' arguing even when they are asleep, and its probably not great for their emotional development. Yeah, I know, its not a nice thing for me to do on a Monday morning but I listened to this piece on NPR and I figured I'd spread the contagion of stress and anxiety around, in an attempt to alleviate my own.
In the study, researches performed brain scans on sleeping infants who were wearing headphones that played people speaking. All the words were nonsense, but they were spoken in a very angry tone, a moderately angry tone, a neutral tone and a happy tone: and the brain scan machine monitored what was going on in the sleeping infants' brains. So, researchers know that babies can perceive when you're fighting with your spouse over why he never soaks the pot after cooking when IT IS ONLY TAKES TWO SECONDS AND MAKES LIFE SO MUCH SIMPLER! -- but what they don't know is exactly how it affects the babies later in life, probably because it depends on many variable factors. Duh.
So, I guess the take-away is, don't fight in front of your kids, or when they're asleep either. Don't fight at all, ever, even when they kids are off at a sleepover out of state because chances are, any day there'll be a new study reporting that even 50-100 miles away, after they fall asleep, your children retain the ability to hear you arguing and it will fuck them up irreparably. You can do that, right? Its not like the pressure of having to be totally perfect all the time will make you more likely to argue, is it? You ARE a Stepford wife, after all.
What can I say? This is what happens when I'm not allowed to raise my voice. I get reaalllly sarcastic.