Friday, December 16, 2011
New Research Shows Working Moms are Less Depressed
Ever since women entered the workforce in droves during the 80s, Moms have pondered the important question, What Will Make the Happiest? Should I Work or Should I Stay Home With my Kids? We may now have an answer. A new study published by Live Science reveals that women who work, either full time or part time, are healthier and have less depression than women who stay home with their young children. The study appears to be fairly extensive since it began in 1991 and followed women through every stage of their child's life.
As a working Mom, I have to say that I am a little shocked by these results. I work because my husband isn't done with his surgical training yet so we need the money. I also work because I want to and because I truly like having a life outside my kids but I am often crippled with guilt when I leave my kids for the day. Every single day I wonder if my kids would be happier if Mom was staying home with them. Guilt is a powerful emotion and it makes me wonder whether this study researched guilt and how it relates to depression?
On the other hand, my job is very flexible and I am often home with the kids, especially by the time they wake up from naps in the afternoon. I can very easily see why staying home with little children all day could make you a little crazy. The witching hour between 4 and 7 is crazy. The kids are often looking for ways to irritate each other or me, which means they cry and whine a lot, and sometimes everything I try seems to end in disaster.
I wonder if the depression that many Moms face is more related to feeling judged. I know that I feel judged often. I feel like people wonder if I love my kids enough. I know that my friends who stay home sometimes feel judged for not having a career. In my humble opinion, there would probably be less depression if there was less judging. Maybe we should agree not to judge each other, no matter what we choose for our own families.
Millions of women go to college and spend thousands getting a college education, only to quit working several years later to raise children. I say Kudos to them! This study only looks at the health and depression in the Moms, but what about the children? True, people often say that if Mom is happy the family is happy, but can kids ever really be truly happy at a daycare facility?
My only hope is that women everywhere know that they have the choice and it's okay to reverse their decision. If staying at home is making you depressed, get a job. Often once a Mom chooses to stay home, she can't imagine going back to work and putting the kids in daycare, so a vicious cycle begins and that is how women get depressed.
At the same time, if a Mom works and she hates her job and wishes she could stay home with the kids, then she should take steps to make that happen. Get a smaller house, buy less stuff, figure out how to work part time.
I have heard that Stay At Home Moms are a dying breed. Since I often wish I was a Stay At Home Mom, I sure hope they never become extinct. That would be a true tragedy.