28% of stay-at-home moms reported depression “a lot of the day” when asked about the day before.
In a Gallup analysis of more than 60,000 U.S. women, stay-at-home moms (SAHMs, non-employed women with children under 18 at home) were more likely to report depression, sadness, and anger than their employed counterparts.
The 2012 survey also asked both groups to share how much they smiled, experienced happiness or enjoyment, or learned something interesting during the day. While middle- and high-income SAHMs reported about the same level of emotional wellbeing as employed moms, low-income SAHMs (annual household incomes lower than $36,000) did worse on all of these items. Employed moms reported doing as well as employed women without children at home in all areas, possibly suggesting, says the report, that “formal employment, or the income associated with it, has emotional benefits for mothers.”
Employment isn’t always a possibility, but if you’re a SAHM—by choice or circumstances—seek out experiences that emulate the benefits of a workplace or combat negative emotions you may be feeling.
Need adult conversation?
- Join a mother’s group at a recreation center or place of worship that also provides childcare. Search for local groups at mops.org, moxie-moms.com, or meetup.com.
- Find a dependable sitter or do a childcare swap with another SAHM.
- Call a friend or connect with a mentor.
Need recognition or new experiences?
- Sign up for a class in a new area of interest; there are many online if leaving home isn’t possible or adds stress.
- Explore a new area of town with the kids. Are you stuck in your Wash Park habits? Head to Old Towne Arvada or Historic Littleton. Explore Greenwood Village parks or take a drive to Golden for a picnic.
- Volunteer in the classroom or for a favorite organization.
- Attend free classes or seminars at your local library.
Need inspiration or an outlet for frustration
- Exercise. Signing up for a fitness class (many provide childcare) will make you accountable for showing up, but if it adds more stress, just a simple walk or bike ride around the neighborhood will do.
- Listen to inspiring podcasts or play Ted Talks while you do household chores.
Need to reduce that overwhelming feeling?
- Prioritize the items on your to-do list. Eliminate the unnecessary or delegate some tasks.