Stay-At-Home-Moms More Worried, Sad & Stressed, According To New Poll

As if the “mommy wars” need even more ammunition to make women feel bad about themselves: a new Gallup poll found that stay-at-home-moms were more likely to be unhappy than working mothers.

Gallup surveyed nearly 61,000 women between the ages of 18 to 64 who had at least one child under the age of 18. A quarter of SATMs said they felt a lot of sadness “yesterday” and one-fifth said they felt anger, compared with only 16 percent and 14 percent of working mothers, respectively. Gallup said SAHMs were more slightly more likely to say they felt stressed “yesterday” than working moms (50 percent to 48 percent) and more SAHMs said they had been diagnosed with depression as well (28 percent to 17 percent). 

What does it all mean? Eh, probably nothing.

Conclusions can’t be drawn from such pieces of data because individual circumstances vary so much. SAHMs face problems that aren’t faced by working moms and vice versa. (And don’t even get me started on how the poll only surveyed SAHMs without including the growing demographic stay-at-home-dads.)  You can’t exactly quantify who has what is “worse” in anything more than a general sense. My educated guess would be that SAHMs reported more sadness and a diagnosis of depression because their lifestyle is generally more isolating — anyone who has spent any amount of time around a parent of small children knows how desperate they are to have a conversation with a grownup!  Meanwhile, working moms may have aspects of their life that make them feel happier on the whole — more money, perhaps — but I would bet my own money that when it comes to a working mom needing to use up all her vacation days to stay home with a sick child, her personal levels of stress and anger would go through the roof. Circumstances amongst age, race, marital happiness, etc. could factor in so deeply that at face value, the results of this poll almost seem useless.

And yet … there’s no end to fascination on the issue, even though it’s 2012 (attention, Rick Santorum) and women’s employment in the paid workforce has drastically increased. But whether working moms or SAHMs are “better” parents continues to be a favorite topic of the culture wars — specifically its own little subsection,  the “mommy wars.” They were reinvigorated recently, both with TIME magazine’s obnoxious “Are You Mom Enough?” breastfeeding cover, but also with poorly-worded comments by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen that stay-at-home-mom of five Ann Romney shouldn’t be speaking for issues facing women in the economy because Romney “never worked a day in her life.” The media has spilled endless ink and chatter of both incidents and both the Obamas and the Romneys have tried to capitalize on how their worldview is informed by their particular life choices. (Michelle Obama tweeted that all mothers are deserving of respect; Ann Romney said during a speech that we “value” working moms.)

Look, America, we need to settle this once and for all:

Being a SAHM sucks because your chances  of getting barfed on by a small child are drastically increased.

Being a working mom sucks because you have to deal with loud sneezers and bullshit idiocy from Rush Limbaugh.

Everything is terrible, okay?! It all evens out. What works for you is what’s right for you. 

[Gallup Poll]
[The Economist]

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