Friday, December 16, 2011

New Research Shows Working Moms are Less Depressed

New Research Shows that 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.
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  1. Excellent post and very well thought out! I think you hit the nail on the head regarding the 'judging' aspect. When my son was born, my husband and I both decided that we would both work. #1, we needed the money and #2, we didn't want one of us to regret the other because one got to stay home and the other had to work. Shortly before my return to work, someone said to me, 'How on earth can you stand to go back to work? Isn't it hard? Don't you feel bad someone else is raising your child?'

    As the old saying goes, 'To Each His Own...'...that woman may have thought she was doing something good, but in reality, she was judging me to my face and I realized that was NOT the type of person I wanted to become.

    Keep at it, Working Mama!

  2. Nice post...It looks at both sides of motherhood. I was a stay at home mom. That was the right choice for me, but by no means would I say it should be the choice of every woman.
    Being a stay at home mom did not mean I was home all the time. I volunteered to work with kids. I did that for over 20 years. Part of my work involved searching for runaways.
    Everywhere there is guilt being tossed at moms. It is time we as women quit judging one another and reach out to help and support the choices women need and want to make.

  3. I love that you picked this topic. Im a young mom and I went from working/partying full time to part time work and full time mother. Depression definitely comes from the guilt because I had way too many arguments with myself about getting a job or staying home. I hate day cares but I'm still young and need to build myself finically. As you can see Im still confused. The fact is that us women experience a life style change when we become mothers. We start missing the outside world and people our age and so you start to feel like were not doing enough. Ultimately depression comes from trying to find that happy medium. At the end of the day just know that your decision is the best one for you and your kids.

  4. Well said. This is such a touchy subject, but your straight-forward, non-judgemental approach is exactly what people need to adopt for working moms and stay at home moms to co-exist in a non-judgey world :)

  5. I love this post. You are awesome!

    This is my take. Being a SAHM is difficult for me because there is no daily feedback. If you are doing a good one pats you on the back and/or gives you a raise. But...on the reverse side....if you do a crappy are sure to know it. EVERYONE will tell you about that.

    I think the depression may have something to do with a feeling of "unfulfillment" and that can do a lot with outside "judging". A feeling that SAHM-hood is not enough.

    Well, I'll tell you. Staying home all day and raising my 4 boys is sure a heck of a lot harder than I ever thought it would be.

    Here's a link to a blog post discussing an article I found with a rather amazing description of SAHMOMMYHOOD.

    I just have to say this working moms AMAZE me. I can't imagine doing what I do...and adding a job to it. So...hats off to you.

    I think you are right...the key is non-judgement. Not one of us has ANY room to judge another woman for her choice. this post. Thanks for letting me put in my 50 cents. :)

  6.'s the post link

  7. You've definitely hit the nail on the head. When I wasn't working I was so STRESSED and DEPRESSED. It was so hard to just get out of the bed. But then I started my own business and even when I wasn't generating much income it still made me feel good to know that I was working towards it.

    Please come by and share your blog for my blog party next month

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    'This Lil Piglet's Blog Hop
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  9. Interesting!! Having done both, I much prefer staying at home. But in my opinion there are just too many variables for scientists to try and say which is best. I think the key to being happy is having a positive support system! Friends to have play dates with, people to watch the kids so you can have some "me time", etc. Good post!

  10. I found you on the blog hop, I am a new follower, you can find me at

    Great post, I am a working mom and it works for our family and fits my personality. I do think no matter what you do you face judgement and you face that evil mommy guilt in some form. I just wish as mothers we came together more. Being a mother is the toughest job we will ever do and we could definetly use all the support we can get from our peers.

  11. I think we can find a study to prove what we believe...if we want studies that justify happier moms staying home...those studies can be found...if we want studies that show working moms are happier,those studies are found with ease too. We do what works for us.

  12. Thanks everyone for all your interesting comments on this subject! I really enjoyed hearing everyone's take on this. I know it's a subject that is close to all of our hearts!

  13. I kind of understand the study a bit having gone from working full time to staying home. I prefer staying home for various reasons, but it is really hard.

    I'm stopping by from the hop and am a new follower. Would love it if you'd visit my Facebook page

    or blog


  14. Love this post! I am a SAHM and I agree that we all feel judged over our decisions. The fact is we are all moms just trying our best to raise our kids. And that is a hard enough job without the added stress of feeling judged.

    And even though I am a SAHM, my husband is self employed and there are times when I have to help him. Whether it be in the office or actually on the job.

    And the comments from the other moms here are also wonderful! I especially love the one about the evil mommy guilt :)

  15. THis is such a positive post. I have read a few blogs by moms who are working woman and I often read a lot of judgement in their appraisal about SAHMs. You are so right about the judgement bit. I think the world would be a better place without it. I love how you right :-) You're going in my must read columns on my blog!

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