Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
Home > Mom's Life > Work > Working Moms > To Stay at Home or Return to Work?
|

To Stay at Home or Return to Work?

Francine Deutsch, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Mount Holyoke College, found that 58 percent of at-home and 53 percent of mommies working outside the home reported feeling frustrated, depressed, hopeless, or angry. That's what I found, too, when I delved into work questions: women in both camps are full of angst about their situations.

Among others, Dr. Phil and Dr. Laura deride parental selfishness, saying, "You chose to have a baby so now deal with the consequences." Yet, they didn't see what I saw: Hurting mommies were already sucking it up, already putting their children's and families' needs first even if finances required that they work. Over the long term, though, the repercussions of the disappointments moms stuffed inside were corrosive. The "put up and shut up" approach does not take into account that family life centering round a toxic mommy cannot forever be spared lethal effects.

Stresses of Staying at Home
Scores of moms I know relinquish work to stay home with little ones but are dissatisfied or frustrated a good portion of the time. They are clumsy introducing themselves, half-mumbling what they used to do for work in a previous life, or resorting to a browbeaten "Just a mom." Shut inside with two children with chicken pox for a week, I understand how very desperate the situation is for them, how on-the-precipice they feel, even though their husbands don't often recognize it.

Sally, a mother of two in Indiana, imagined she'd be the perfect stay-at-home mom because she's very nurturing. "I now realize I need to get out and have more time alone than full-time motherhood allows," Sally says. "More than that, there are times I don't enjoy being a mom. I never expected to have those feelings. I get so overwhelmed and frustrated, and I am not the person I want to be with them." Unable to accept her emerging Jekyll and Hyde personalities at home, Sally returned to full-time work. Indeed, researchers tell us, work seems to buffer new moms from depression, and stay-at-home moms have harder emotional travails.

After all, guilt is an equal opportunity employer. Mommies at home feel guilty for not making the most of their college educations and alternatively for not being able to master household tasks given their supposedly freer schedules. Frequently, moms at home expressed their frustration at feeling sluggish and stuck, unable to complete a multitude of projects with which they'd charged themselves. "I could gaze at my daughter all day long," says a former lingerie designer with a six-month-old dumpling. "It's almost easier to succumb to doing one thing rather than fourteen. Except at the end of the day, I can't believe how little I've accomplished."



|

From What No One Tells the Mom by Marg Stark. Copyright © 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book, visit Amazon or click on the book cover.


September 1, 2014



Don't forget to hydrate! Forego sugary juices and sodas and pack a bottle of water in your child's lunch. If your child likes a little more flavor, spice it up with lemon, lime, cucumbers, or fresh fruit.


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.

GO

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

14 Back-to-School Fashion Trends for 2014
Send your kids back to school looking sharp! Check out 2014's hottest back-to-school fashion trends, from clothes to shoes and accessories.

Put a Stop to Bedtime Struggles
Steer clear of tears at bedtime with these helpful bedtime tips and this printable bedtime routine checklist for kids.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!