Do you agree with this?

Katherine - posted on 05/22/2012 ( 23 moms have responded )

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Taking care of kids around the clock can be hazardous to your mental health. It's a fact!

A Gallup survey of 60,000 women discovered that stay-at-home moms are more likely to have depression, sadness, and anger than working moms.

Sad, but not exactly a big shocker. It's a grueling existence. Something -- or someone -- always needs to be changed, cleaned, and preened. All it takes is a 10-week maternity leave for a new mom to realize that taking care of kids full-time is literally the hardest gig in the universe. It's no wonder so many woman are excited to get back to the grind. Basically, working moms are getting off easy.

They get up and out of the house every day and interact with the rest of the world. That means a steady stream of conversations that don't include references to the Wonder Pets and Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! That isolation is probably the most painful part of being a stay-at-home and, no doubt, partly the reason 28% are diagnosed with depression.

More from The Stir: Stay-at-Home Moms Have a Lot to Learn From Working Moms (VIDEO)

That doesn't mean career-driven mommies don't have their own set of woes. The survey revealed that 17% of working moms have depression too. That existence can be overwhelming for different reasons. Most find it impossible to give everything 100%. Something alway suffers, whether that's means missing deadlines or a school play.

And this whole mommy guilt thing is a killer. I am pained every time I think of one of my son's first sentences: "Mommy, don't go!" Ouch! Still, some women are better moms because they work. They feel like they have something for themselves, something else that gives a sense of pride.

That may make it easier for them to face the inevitable -- the time when your kids are indifferent to your existence. It happens to every mom, from the Carol Bradys to the Claire Huxtables. But the questions stay-at-home moms are left with is, "Now what?"

If nothing else, this survey proves one crucial point: all moms need something other than their kids to focus on. Charity, a part-time job or volunteer work can provide a sense of purpose that's always there as the kids grow up and even when they are long gone.

What do you think? Do working moms have it easier?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

User - posted on 06/06/2012

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If a stay-at-home mom or dad needs something more to fucus on then volunteer with your school, be there for your kids. This is part of the problem in todays society is that a lot of kids are NOT getting what they need in the home. We are paying for that dearly in Crime, we CAN'T ignore that. The schools are so over-burdened already these days and we can' t expect them to handle everything. Most definitely I do NOT believe that working moms have it easier, not at all. There are good and bad points to both sides. Stay-at-home moms can access so many channels these days with other moms for coffee and play dates. Lots of voluntary work is available through your local school if you ask. Learn a craft while your home with the kids, get a dog and walk with them to your local park, What do you think that women did in the Old days when they were at home with young children? We didn't have all the societal problems back then that we have today.

Kimmers_beatrice - posted on 05/31/2012

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Yeah, I find myself struggling to keep my cool sometimes. I have a 2 year old and a 2 month old that's colicky, so there's always something that needs to be done. The saying around here is "It never ends". As soon as I think I can get half a second to sit down, someone's diaper needs to be changed, or some spill needs to be cleaned up. I had PPD with my first and have been on Lexapro for a year, and had my second in March. The depression/anxiety/anger is fine most days, but I find that, regardless of the medication, sometimes it's all a lot for me to handle and my left eye starts twitching. For a long time I felt like I didn't have anything for myself. I used to tell my husband I didn't have anything to do, which is completely absurd considering I'm a SAHM of 2 small kids. But my husband has his guitar and other hobbies, and I only had the kids to take care of. It wasn't until very recently that I picked up my own hobbies. I decided to make my oldest daughter a scrapbook baby book. And I picked up crochet. AND I started working out at home (which has a ton of benefits like more energy and I feel better about myself). I realized that I needed something for myself or I wasn't going to have anything to give my family. Granted, my hobbies still center around my family, but at least I enjoy them, and I think that's all that matters. If you're out there struggling to feel normal again, consider picking up a hobby, it really helps.

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Lydia - posted on 06/22/2012

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i really don't think that you can really compare SAHM with working moms this way... it's impossible to say one is harder than the other. Although it is true that once you're a SAHM you have to actually have to make an effort to get out of the house... to somehow set yourself goals or set up a schedule and stick to it. whereas when you go to work, you have to get up and go out of the house. But it also really depends on the personality. Some people are happy with much less socializing than other. Some moms will be home almost always and not get depressed, but some really need to get out to stay sane. The same goes for working moms. It might be right that statistically get less depression, but the survey seems to block out other health issues, like burn-out for example. I bet you, working moms have higher rates of burn-out than SAHMs. What the real problem is that often we forget to take care of ourselves. We moms - no matter if working or at home - have to make good healthy choices for ourselves. Food, sport, rest, hobby... I don't mean to selfishly pursue those, but to find a balance that works. Many times it doesn't even mean to compromise your children's needs, it just means to also sit down and eat the healthy food you give to your kids, to take the effort to get the kids dressed and some snacks prepared and go out for a day at the park or the beach. You can do exercise as a game together with toddlers or just dance with your kids. It can mean to simply walk to the nearest park instead of driving. Or to turn the TV/internet off when the kids are asleep and choose to do a hobby instead of vegetating on the couch. It's to learn to make smart choices for your own good and to use even 20 minutes slots smartly! I have days when I really succeed in this and it always feels so much better and accomplished than on those days where I wasted my free time watching TV or hanging out in facebook.

User - posted on 06/06/2012

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NO, I don't feel that its hazardous to your health but EXCELLENT for your childrens health. What so many mothers don't think about is that you only have to stay home until your kids are in school FULL days. Most women today have had a GOOD young life and career before they ever think about getting married or a family therefore why can't you give up 5 to 10 years maybe of your life? Is having children not worth that? Making certain that they get the BEST start possible in life. Not to mention what daycare costs are, you have to have an excellent salary for it to even be WORTH using a dayhome or daycare. Someone else is raising your child and you are paying them, I have never understood that way of thinking. NO, I don't believe that society tells us that we have to be around our children 24/7 to be a good mom or dad. Although I do believe that if yo are going to have children, you can't be SELFISH and want as much for yourself as you want for them,. its not right. Children are a GIFT and bring us to much pleasure in life and yes you do have to give up some of your life temporarily to help them become the BEST individuals that they possibly can be.

Rachelle - posted on 05/29/2012

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It is wonderful to see both SAHM and Working Moms showing respect for each other here. Too often we only see and hear them bashing each other for their choices.
I have been a SAHM and have dealt with the depression that is so common among us. One thing that helped me was to get involved with a group called Mothers Of Preschoolers (MOPS). They are a wonderful group of moms and mentors (older, more experienced mothers) who get together once a week to chat, eat, do crafts, and hear speakers who are relevant to parenting. They have childcare for the 2 hrs you are there so your little ones can have their social time as well! The only prerequisite is that you are preganant or have a little one from birth to kindergarden. www.mops.org
I hope this helps someone!
I also would remind myself that this is only a temporary situation that I am fortunate to have for the time to enjoy my children. Working outside the home will come soon enough...along with an empty house.

Jennifer - posted on 05/29/2012

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oh i agree with it. i'm home all the time and ive been feeling down more and more every year. it sucks.

[deleted account]

Being a SAHM or a working mom both have their advantages and disadvantages. I wouldn't say that one is harder than the other and a blanket statement for everyone. I wouldn't want to work.

I was horribly depressed and anxious working before kids. It would be even worse now, with them. I never really did anything with my co-workers. I'd fake a smile and laugh, and really in the end I just wanted to leave and get away from them. They weren't horrible people, I just don't like being around people. It is nerve racking. I would have a break down if I had to work and take care of my family.

[deleted account]

I always said that even though people always talk about SaHM job being hard, I would still have to do all this if I worked outside the home. So I think that it definately is hard to be a working mom. I did work when my oldest was just over a year because I was pregnant and needed to rack up more hours for more mat leave. It was hard leaving her and sacrificing those last few months we had together and bond. But I never went back to work full time since that.

Now with 3 babies I am just recovering from my first health blunder. I am only 24 and my girls are 4, 2.5 and 10 months. I have been pushing myself to cope with them 24/7 and dfinately have not been taking care of myself. With a milk allergy for my oldest, celiac disease for the second and trying to make organic baby food, how was I supposed to put myself in there?

Either way a balance is so crucial. It definately took this experience of my health faltering to relize that I have to put myself first sometimes. Otherwise I just won't be able to be a whole me and have the mental capacity to give them what they deserve from their mom.
I just wish everyone the best balance for their families, however they choose to do it!

Missie - posted on 05/25/2012

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I was a housewife before I became a SAHM. I can not work due to medical reasons though. I can see how for some women staying home with no interaction would become depressed if they're lifestyle before they gave birth was full of interactions outside the home. My bestfriend's work let her return to work for 3 hours a week just to let her out of the house. At first it was hard for her to leave her daughter at home, but it's slowly getting better. Some people just need to be in the work place rather than stay at home. No matter how brief it is. I'd rather stay home myself though.

Rita - posted on 05/24/2012

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I have done both, as well as work from home. I prefer working from home -- I get all the perks of both (altho also plenty of challenges). SAH mothering without an outlet is draining, but working outside the home -- even if you get over the guilt -- brings its own set of problems, with daycare issues/expenses, only time you and the kids get quality time is in the evening when you're both tired or else when a kid is sick, it's always such a drag trying to get people up and at them in the morning, etc. I think depression, etc. isn't dependent on being a SAHM or WAHM or a work-outside-of-home mom. I think it depends on if you're doing what you want to do and if you feel balanced.

[deleted account]

Aww, Laura--we could swap. Around here, I'm a young mom. I'm in my 30's, which I thought was a pretty average age for the mom of a 7 year old, but most of the other mom's around here are older, in their mid to late 40's--they usually have several kids and rich ex husbands (I only have one kid, so he's going to grow up to be a self centered, lonely, sociopath). The other "moms" are the trophy wives who are actually childless 22 year olds married to the divorced fathers--who are the ex husbands of the mom's in their 40's. My town is crazy. I'm just sort of hanging out in the middle with no one my age and I'm apparently the only happily married chick in the whole town.

Thus, most of my social activities do NOT revolve around other moms....

Laura - posted on 05/24/2012

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I so try to be that way. My 10 yr old Chloe has become my best friend. We do everything together it seems. I'm so shy now and I use to not be. I've gained alot of weight and my self confidence and esteem is zilch! I've become so anti-social that alot of people may seem to think I'm "stuck up" when it's that I just seem to have lost myself somewhere along the way like you said and I just can't find "me". I just don't know how to approach people and won't. If they approach me and start up a conversation that's great, I come out of my shell and can usually join right in but I still seem to have some sort of complex because of how I now look. Where I live I'm an "older" mom. All of Chloe's friends mom's are in their early to mid 30's, go to the gym, work, seem to have boundless engery zipping here and there with their great bodies then here I am. A 45 yr old sloth, 90% grey hair that no color seems to cover. I have found out that I have an enlarged heart just when I was starting an excercise routine but have to wait till I get cleared from the other doc. I watch what I eat, I don't eat junk, I just don't know. Anyway, sorry I got on a little pitty party there. Thing is, SAHMs must learn right away to schedule time for "me time" to get away from the daily routine. I use to love going to the bookstores and grabbing a coffee and read (believe it or not) self-help books.

[deleted account]

Our society tells us that a sahm should be with her kids 24/7, and her life should revolve around them and their schedules--she looses herself. Society tells us that the only reason a mother should be without her kids is to go to a paying job. This, of course, is ridiculous, but it is what we expect from mothers in the sahm role. Sahm's have the same right to go out without their children, to forge adult friendships, to set and accomplish goals, to explore their own interests outside of bringing up their children, and they should not be made to feel guilty for doing so.

I made the same mistake the first 2 times I tried being a sahm--J was my life. The 3rd try, I got it right. I make sure I have time for my adult friends, to talk about something other than my kid. I volunteer in areas that I am passionate about to get fulfillment, and to feel like I am accomplishing something and contributing to society even if I'm setting my own hours and not getting paid. If more sahm's did those things, they'd be a lot less depressed.

Laura - posted on 05/24/2012

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In some ways they may have it easier, in some ways they don't. They do have the advantage of "getting away" and being around other adults and having adult conversations. Leaving the house even if it is to go to work, it is still a change of scenery. They have a chance to "miss" their kids and for their kids to miss them so that when they meet up at the end of the day the quality time is well spent because they are happy to see each other. On the other hand, a working mom may have to wrestle the kids every morning to get them ready for breakfast, daycare, school, whatever, while they themselves are trying to get ready. Take the kids, get to work on time, pick the kids up after work, go by the store if needed, get home, no time to relax because you have to cook dinner, get homework, just whatever is going on and it may just be a chaotic time where the mom would just love to stay home with her family. Then you have the stay at home mom like me. Yes, I use to work full time, hustle to daycare. I was also a workaholic. I would always call my husband to pick our daughter up because I always told myself "let me just finish this up," and would have to just force myself to leave work. Yeah I felt guilty but I needed that adult contact and distraction. Then it happened. The big nervous breakdown from pushing and pushing and pushing myself. I never went back to work. I now look back and feel guilty about all the long hours I put in when I should have been at home those evenings during the first 3 years of my daughters life. I never should have gone back to work after she was born but I just wasn't cut out to be a stay at home mom. Now that I am, I love it. Chloe is 10 now. It was hard at first and I found myself running out of things to do. Everyone I knew worked so I had no adults to talk to during the day. I got to where I never went anywhere except to the park. I had my husband go to the grocery store after work so I wouldn't have to. The only place I went was Dr. appointments. My child became my world. My oldest was still in school, so I would drive the 2 miles to pick him up and that was it. I became so withdrawn. To be honest though, after all this time has gone by, I'm still pretty much a homebody but my oldest is out of the house and Chloe is 10. We get out and do things since she's older but I can see where your mental state is challenged when you are a stay at home mom. I guess there really is no right answer to this question. The important thing is, whatever the mom decides to do, she needs to have a great support system like I had. Lot's of good help and to be sure to take time for herself to avoid burnout and depression.

Tracie - posted on 05/23/2012

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Nobody has it easy. Both jobs are incredibly difficult for different reasons. We really need to support and connect with each other more.

Meaghan Van - posted on 05/23/2012

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I know exactly how you feel. I too am a SAHM. and the loneliness is extreme. I feel so mentally under-stimulated, and sometimes I hate myself for being snappish with my two year old tornado, who when eager to help inadvertently makes more work for me. I too worry about the "now what?" question... and My hubby and I are looking into me doing a course from home now, so that I will be ready to go back into the workforce when the kids go to school. I too have a wonderful helpful hubby, who understands that sometimes my depression gets the better of me... and doesnt mention when the house is a mess and supper not made and just loves me instead and gets a take away for that evening, and is just extra supportive. I am a very very lucky woman that way.

I agree with what Hillary says, that it is more of a matter of need vs. want. My husband and I agreed right at the outset that if we were to have children that they wouldnt go into daycare (unless absolutely necessary) that I would raise our children and be there for them... I agreed whole heartedly...but I have found it much harder than I thought it would be. I would LOVE to go back to work... I crave adult conversation, and friendship in ways i never thought i would. But that being said I do love being here for the kids and seeing all of the ways they are growing... I just think it is something that cant be fairly judged, and is more a matter of respect being showed to both groups.

Beth - posted on 05/23/2012

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I think being a SAHM comes with the combined issues of being alone with young children for the bulk of their time, and feeling under-appreciated for the vast amount of work that goes into making a home work. I don't feel like working moms have it any easier, they have other burdens to bear. But yes, being a SAHM is a very difficult thing to do, and the world views it as "easy" or "lazy". That can really chip away at a woman's self-worth and lead to depression.

Hillary - posted on 05/23/2012

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Funny that this popped into my email today, I just had this conversation with my husband yesterday.lol. I was a single mom and worked until my oldest was a year, I have now been a SAHM for the past nine years. I don't think either one is harder. They both just have different challenges. Working, I felt like I was missing out on so much of my son's life, I felt guilty not being there for all his firsts, and I felt guilty that I was tired after a long days work and didn't have the energy to be the mom I wanted to be. But at the same time, I did enjoy being around other adults, forming friendships through shared interests not just because we were mommies. And I felt good once my husband and I were together that I was helping to contribute to our finances. Being a SAHM, I get so lonely sometimes, I spend so much time being nothing but mommy that I sometimes feel I have lost who I am, and most of my friendships are now forged through my kids and their friends. I feel guilty losing out on the second income and when my husband has been at work all day I get stricken with a feeling of guilt if I need his help around the house. (he is awesome though and usually helps without me asking, he never makes me feel bad for needing help if it's been a hectic day or just because) But I haven't missed any of my younger three kids firsts, I have never felt guilty for not feeling like I can't give them all I have. I think both are equally hard, they just each come with a different set of challenges and issues. And of course, one of the biggest things no one looks at when comparing the two, is working moms who WANT to be at work compared to working moms who HAVE to work. I think the satisfaction and difficulty level would be different if it was a mom who chose to work and loves it as compared to a mom who has to work just to survive but would rather be a SAHM. Same with SAHM's, there are some who do it not because they want to, but because child care costs are so high, so I think their happiness and difficulty levels would vary as well.

Stifler's - posted on 05/23/2012

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In a way yes they have their day filled so they're not at home mindlessly eating. Being a SAHM is hard for the boredom and what do we do all day factors. But I can see that it would be way more work, doing the housework, cooking, getting up at night, then going to work after all that.

Erin - posted on 05/22/2012

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I love being a SAHM. But I don't think either one has it easier. SAHM's don't seem to get a break from their job but working moms go to work all day and then come home and take care of their families too. So neither one really gets a break from working. Either way, both are working 24/7.

Katherine - posted on 05/22/2012

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I'm both. So it's exhausting, plus I'm a single mom. I love work though, it's totally my respite. It's peace and quite for me. I feel guilty for feeling that way :( I've never been one to be a stay at home mom. I just have to do SOMETHING. I was supposed to be PT but now I've been working FT. It's hard all the way around.

America3437 - posted on 05/22/2012

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I have been both. I stayed at home till my kids were in school and hated it. I got over the whole housewife thing real quick! I knew every word to every Blues clue, Barney, Dora song. I found myself wanting to have adult conversation so bad that I even talked to the church people who come knocking. I don't however think working mom's have it easier! I do everything a stay at home mom does plus work full time. There is no rest for either of us. I sure miss my soaps though!

Kaitlin - posted on 05/22/2012

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I think working mom's have more of an emotional/guilt burden (I'm leaving my kids, but contributing) but are able, in most situations, to leave work at work.
SAHM's have the toil of continual 'work' with no break, but they do get to watch their children grow up and care for them just the way they want.
I don't think either mom has it easier. Decent article.

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