Who’s Worse Off? A Working Or A Stay At Home Mother?

working mother

“The biggest stress for a non-working mother is the fact that she is non-working. In spite of giving all her time caring for others and making endless efforts to make other family members life easy still nobody realises the worth of all little endless things, she does for others because her hard work cannot be measured in tangible terms ie money. All her hard work goes unnoticed and often treated worthless and that is the reason for her biggest stress.” Said Mrs Indrani Yadav, who’s a mother of 2 daughters and an ex-banker.

People have a lot to say about a stay at home parent. The battle between which is better- “Being a working vs stay at home mother” is never-ending and undisputedly the most commonly discussed one. Fighting the perception of being lazy, complacent, not contributing to the income of the house vs being a great contributor by nurturing kids day in and day out are a few perceptions a stay at home mother has to fight.

The numbers from a recent Pew Research study show that the number of women who are becoming stay-at-home moms is on the rise. “While 71 percent of moms do work outside of the home, 29 percent are staying home. That number is up 6 percent from 1999”.

  • The biggest factor that adds to their stress and anxiety is an unacknowledged partner/familial support.
  • Often their contribution goes unrecognized and unrewarded which leads to lowered self- image, distancing couple relationship and displaced anger/negative emotions in parenting. All of this ultimately accumulates and results in clinical symptoms.
  • recent Gallup poll revealed more stay-at-home moms report experiencing sadness or anger in their day than moms who work outside of the home. Of the 60,000 women surveyed, the poll included women with no children, working moms and stay-at-home moms. For example, the number of stay-at-home moms who feel they’re struggling is 42 percent, compared to 36 percent of working moms.

How To Manage Stress As a Stay At Home Mother

1. Battle the mental chatter – Being a stay at home mother is equally back-breaking and demanding as being a working mother. It is not easy to be working around the clock mostly unrewarded. Comparing oneself with other mothers, feeling helpless and judging oneself based on the work done around the house are some inherent challenges that a stay at home mother faces every day.Managing the time efficiently, planning ahead, asking for help, taking time off  (if that helps), dividing responsibility with the spouse and joining a support group to get that mental energy and validation are some ways of preventing exhaustion while fuelling up as a stay at home mother.  

2. Set Boundaries and stop when needed:- Since the work at home is endless and there is no option of leaving the tasks unattended. It is important to divide the work based on priority. Do not over-exert and feel pressured to do it all by yourself. Set physical boundaries and stop when your body needs rest.  Give yourself space/time to breathe and catch-up with yourself. 

3. Manage your feelings before they manage you:- Being a stay-at-home parent can be isolating, lonely and taxing. Make deliberate efforts to engage yourself socially through joining a parenting group, indulging in a hobby, doing social work or just simply stepping out of the house to have conversations with adults.

4. Feel accomplished in the little things you do- Understanding that the work you do reaps long term results feeds on personal fulfillment and gives life meaning can help you feel intrinsically motivated and grounded.  

5. Redefine purpose and growth for yourself:- It can be daunting to be subjected to societal scrutiny time and again. Finding your purpose and living a life in tune with it can not only be rewarding but can also pave the way for your child’s learning. As they vicariously learn about virtues like resilience, motivation and self- confidence observing you strive for the same. 

6. Self-care-  Take time to invest in things you love and the activities you enjoy. Disconnect from the household chores. If you feel you are slipping into depressive feelings reach out for professional help.

7. Assess your parenting decisions fairly:- The idea that you might not be fitting into the shoes of a perfect parent can be stressful. When you find yourself questioning your parenting decisions and worth as a parent try mindful parenting. Tell yourself that you are doing your best and that is what matters.We asked Mrs Indrani, on she dealt with the stress, and here is what she shared-The only way to deal with this stress is to think about your own self, do things you like to do or had always wished to do. Hangout with friends, take some time out for just yourself. stop bothering for all unimportant or at least less important things. Just focus on yourself for a change. My advice to others is though it is difficult yet it is sometimes important to be selfish and care for yourself rather than to wait for someone to care for you. Think about yourself before others. People who can do this can actually be comparatively happier.

If you know someone who is undergoing stress and self-image challenges, we can help them connect to our online counselor. Call on +919266626435 or chat on www.BetterLYF.com

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