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Working moms are healthier, happier, study finds

Now I have been on both sides of this issue, and I can say that for the most part this study holds some truth.  What I think is most important to take from this article isn't the debate of wheither moms should work, but how much emotional-spiritual support are mothers getting.

Years ago I was involved with an organization here in Lansing, Michigan called the Family Growth Centers.  Their mission was to provide respite drop in childcare and parent education classes for the families of the Lansing Area.  To obtain funds FGC participated in a MSU psychology study of depression among young moms; what they found wasn't necessarily that work was the answer, but how satisfied the mothers were with their life.  The more connected a young mom was to the community the better she felt about her life, her mothering and her children, working or not.  It was activities that engaged the moms emotionally, intellectually, social that made the biggest difference.  With that information FCG created more support groups, classes and just plain social outlets for the moms and found the moms were better with their children,  the more engaged with life, and took better care of themselves.  

Working moms are healthier, happier, study finds
The researchers defined working part time as working one-to-32 hours per week. About 25 percent of mothers were employed part time during the study period, although mothers moved in and out of part-time work. Mothers reported whether they experienced symptoms of depression and rated their overall health as "poor," "fair," "good" or "excellent."
The mothers also answered questions about conflicts between their work and family lives, and how involved they were in their child's schooling.
Working moms reported fewer symptoms of depression and were more likely to rate their health "excellent," compared with nonemployed mothers, according to the study.
Mothers working part time tended to report less conflict between work and family than those working full time, the researchers said.
Mothers employed part time reported being just as involved in their child's schooling as stay-at-home moms, and more involved than moms who worked full time. In addition, mothers working part time provided more learning opportunities for their toddlers than stay-at-home moms and moms working full time, the researchers said.
Couples' emotional intimacy did not appear to be affected by the mothers' employment status: the level of emotional understanding between partners was similar for working moms and stay-at-home moms.
And while not every mother feels called to work outside the home, we as moms, all work as mothers.  The important fact to consider if you are feeling as if your happiness has suffered is to look at how engaged you are with life.   What can you do: Volunteer, seek out other moms for playdates, join local chapter of organizations that interest you?  We have to consider that much of any type of work will be monotonous and boring, it is what we can do to refresh ourselves, mind, body and spirit that can bring us back.

1 comment:

  1. This is interesting. I agree that engagement with life is the biggest difference, not working outside the home necessarily. I have always had to work outside the home and I go in and out with how I feel about life in general. I think sometimes I feel like my faith-life suffers, other times maybe my work-life suffers and sometimes, in general, social life suffers. Regardless, the highest priority is the children and caring for them, and without the support of my husband, none of it would go very well. I think that has a lot to do with it...whether a woman has a strong support system at home and feels as though whatever she does (be it work outside the home, or be at home mothering the children) is valuable to her husband.