For all of you ladies that juggle a 40+ hour work week but have considered staying home to raise your kids – this one’s for you. And for all of you stay-at-home mommies who wonder if you’re missing something in your life – this one’s for you too.
A recent Gallup study of 60 thousand U.S. women in 2012 found that non-employed moms are more sad and angry than working moms. Go ahead, read it again. Apparently, all chaos, stress and BS aside, us employed moms are happier than the women we’re green with envy over, those who get to be with their children on a daily basis. Uh,WTF?
The study also claims that stay-at-home moms are more likely to have been diagnosed with depression than working moms and strangely enough, employed moms are just as emotionally stable as working women with no children(again, WTF). Stay-at-home mommies also experience less positive emotions, smile and laugh less and learn less interesting things, the study says.
But regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, being a stay-at-home mom isn’t easy, and neither is being a working mom. So I guess the question is – which one really makes us happier? Well, according to the data, it’s being a working mommy.
Though the percentage differences aren’t exactly earth-shattering (see figure above), it’s still apparent that for stay-at-home moms, life is a bit harder on the emotions. Particularly when it comes to feeling fulfilled or being happy. While 63% of employed moms feel like they are thriving, only 55% of stay-at-home moms feel that way. And while 28% of stay-at-home moms feel depressed, only 17% of working moms feel that way.
So that leads us to the question – what really is the best situation for the modern mommy? If anything, the study further justifies the fact that being a kick-ass combo of both “working mom” and “stay-at-home mom” (i.e. “work-at-home mom”) might really be the best option.
For moms experiencing sadness and feeling unfulfilled, holding down a side gig or launching your own full time at-home biz could do wonders for emotional wellbeing. In addition to keeping your mind busy, it can make you feel like you serve another purpose on those days where dirty diapers get the best of your ability to reason.
The study also dissected the emotional stability of the low-income stay-at-home moms who have a combined household income of fewer than $36,000 . Not surprisingly, these women are worse off than employed moms at every income level in terms of sadness, anger, and depression.
In fact, low-income stay-at-home moms do worse in all aspects. They are less likely than employed moms at this income level to say they smiled or laughed a lot or experienced happiness or enjoyment, and are also less likely to say they learned something interesting.
It’s easy to draw a myriad of conclusions from this data, which can be sliced and diced in many different ways. The point here really, friends, is that regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, some days you’re just going to want to dig an underground tunnel over to the other side. But that’s not to say one side is better than the other – it’s all up to what you really want in life.
However, from personal experiences I can tell you one thing – and that’s that there’s always plenty of time to work, but there’s never enough time to spend with your children. Ask yourself – what matters most to you? Fostering a career, developing a human being, or a mix of both? In my own personal opinion – it’s the mix that offers the most rewarding life. And if we’re capable of doing both and kicking ass at both of them – why the hell wouldn’t we?
“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” Elwyn Brooks White