Question: Mental health?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-23-2009
Question: Mental health?
47
Fri, 07-10-2009 - 1:11pm

I know that different women have different strengths and weaknesses, and what works for one woman may not work for another. And this board has devoted lots of energy to what's best for the children. But what about what's best for the mother?


I'm asking this because it's been a major concern in our family lately. Our children will be fine regardless of where they end up, and it's always been my opinion that happy parents = happy children. That said, have there been any studies done on depression and mental illness in SAHMs vs. WOHMs? My DH says that when I was WOH, I was always WAY more stressed out than I am as a SAHM, but that I really seemed to greatly enjoy my work. So that made me wonder... which group is more prone to depression and so forth? The bored SAHM or the over-stressed WOHM? (Yes, I know those are stereotypes!)


And on a side note, would you rather be calm and relaxed (if a bit bored at times) or would you rather be always on-the-go (even if it led to more stress)?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Fri, 07-10-2009 - 8:22pm
Now it sounds like you are a highly inquisitive woman with both OCD and ADHD. You sound like me. Fortunately I have found a career where my quirks can be accommodated, even rewarded. I never do anything by halves.....for instance, I took my kid to a space museum this spring, got really interested in what I was seeing, read about fifteen books on the space program and now have written and presented several public lectures on the use of religious imagery and rhetoric during the cold war as exemplified by the space program. I might even get an article out of it. But a year from now, I will probably be bored by talking about the space program and on to something else.


Edited 7/10/2009 8:27 pm ET by bordwithyou
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2001
Fri, 07-10-2009 - 10:49pm

Eh, I don't know. So I go with the status quo (working). But my mom...

she was a SAHM for awhile until I was 12.

She always wanted to be a SAHM.

Wanted nothing more than to be at home.

Working was miserable for her.

Except...as her daughter...I can say that the happiest I ever saw her was when she was working. Vibrant, alive, (single), happy.

Married and at home (two different marriages), she was miserable. Felt like she had no say. Depressed. ON serious medication. Doesn't feel she has a right to decide where money is spent because it's not "hers". Has TOO MUCH FREAKING TIME ALL DAY TO WORRY ABOUT STUPID THINGS. See, when she was working, her mind was busy with...work.

Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Sat, 07-11-2009 - 3:33am
Not all SAHMs are bored. Not everyone gets stressed from being on the go all the time. I really think each individual has to make the decision based on how SHE feels and what works best for HER (and her family etc, but in the context of your question it is about the mother's mental health).
Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Sat, 07-11-2009 - 3:42am

So you are a perfectionist. You may want to work on that, because it is not always constructive whether at work or at home.

The flat-felled seams made me laugh though. I used to sew a lot for dd when she was small, sometimes by hand (when I was without a machine), and most of her dresses had flat-felled seams. Nobody sees the inside of the garment, but I just feel better if it is neat looking (although flat-felled seams are more comfortable and last longer as well).

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-1999
Mon, 07-13-2009 - 12:25am

I think that if you did a straight comparison between parents who are not working vs. parents who are working with regards to depression, parents who are not working would probably also have higher levels of depression.

Photobucket


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-23-2009
Tue, 07-14-2009 - 9:52am

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about this lately, and as my husband's search for teaching positions has been starting to dry up, it looks like I'll HAVE to go back to work anyways. I'm not really adamant one way or the other--I can pretty much handle either one.


But I have taken steps to change my major. I was majoring in business administration with a focus in accounting (in my sophomore year at a junior college and planning to transfer to a 4-year university soon), but I'm changing my major to paralegal studies. I got to thinking about what I enjoy the most about jobs I've had, and my favorite ones (all temp assignments) were jobs as a legal secretary. I enjoy those because there's a lot of legal research and a lot of independent and creative work to be done there. As my husband pointed out, "You're very creative, and creativity in accounting generally gets you throw in jail!" So I'm really, really excited about the possibility of doing paralegal work because I think it will probably hold my interest a lot more than accounting.


And I'm job-hunting. Of course that may take several months with the way the economy is going, but I'm fortunate that there's not really any major rush. While our finances are tight, they're not unmanageable. I think that will be nice, as it will allow me a bit of space to find a good position without having to stress out about it too much. Maybe with a little luck, I can find a legal secretary position again!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2006
Tue, 07-14-2009 - 1:02pm
I have been lucky to stay at home on maternity leave for 6 months after each child ( I have two...) While I was very busy caring for my kids at home (and admitedly had some boredom kick in), it pales to the hectic schedule that began when I returned to work full time... all the housework and errands suddenly must be done after 8 pm or on the weekends. Plus, another form of stress enters your life. When you are WOHM, you have all the same household & family related stress PLUS work aggravation & frustration.
Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Tue, 07-14-2009 - 1:10pm
I am sorry it is so stressful for you. At the same time, I think it is inaccurate to say that it is like that generally. Not everyone is aggravated and frustrated by work. For some people work is a happy place for the most part. Also, in many families the spouses both pitch in with housework and childcare.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-1999
Wed, 07-15-2009 - 1:11am

I did the same thing when I was in school.

Photobucket


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-06-2009
Wed, 07-15-2009 - 8:54am

I can only speak for myself, but I think returning to work (part time)