Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Staying home with our kids is depressing?

Oh man, sometimes I read an article and I wonder "What?  What in the world??"  Then I can find several other viable reasons for the "research results" other than perhaps we find our lives too mundane.  I read this article today and the rates of stress, anger, and depression were all higher in stay at home moms than in working moms.  The argument in this particular article is that we're isolated being at home with our children all the time and I can't argue with this point.  The feeling of isolation is definitely something I've struggled with.  But as my children have gotten older we've gotten less isolated.  They have more playdates, events at church, the library, and local parks.  So while yes sometimes the feeling of isolation has felt crushing it isn't in my experience something that hangs around and is constant.  I can't even imagine how much less isolated moms who send their children to public school feel because I imagine that there are plenty of interactions that take place in that sort of situation - field trips, open houses, etc.

That article also argues that we feel no relief from the constant mundane tasks of daily life - laundry, dishes, housework, etc. whereas a working mother gets to "escape" to her job.  Yeah ok, I can see that too.  But I would argue that this is an issue of attitude more than anything else.  I don't want to "escape" my children and family (most days anyway).  I want to (or should at any rate) embrace every moment I have with them.  Instead of viewing laundry and dishes as a constant irritation I should view them as opportunities to teach my children life skills, to put some routine into our days doing these things together.  Sure sometimes I fall into the trap of feeling stuck in the mundane but that's on me.  That's on the attitude I've chosen to take at that time.  That's not about whether I work outside the home or not.

One point that the article neglected to make that stuck out at me was this: Often when we choose to become stay at home moms the world takes on an attitude of "Well you chose this" and there is little support offered.  Whereas women who are working outside the home often have super supportive families and friends.  This attitude has driven me nuts for years now.  I cannot ever complain about my children having a bad day.  I cannot ever complain about feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.  Because I CHOSE this life.  Because to complain about my children means I take them for granted and I should just be glad that I have them.  And further as a homeschooling mother I am always hesitant to complain about struggles lest someone give me the less than helpful response to "Stick em in public school." But that's another post altogether.

I would however argue that people who work outside the home CHOSE that life.  Why should they get to complain about their whiny demanding boss when I can't complain about mine??  Why should they get to complain about being exhausted and feeling overwhelmed but it's not acceptable for me?

See the point I'm trying to make is that it is largely allowable and even encouraged for WOHM to vent their frustrations and I would think that would cause less anger/stress/depression.  They also get more outside support because they have to juggle a job, home, and children, whereas *I* only have to juggle home, and children.  But as a SAHM I'm kind of expected by the large part of society to suck it up and deal with it because I *CHOSE* to be a SAHM.  Venting is not only not encouraged most of the time but we have little support to vent to.  So yeah.  That's what I think about that.

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