Health Care Trends With a Social Media Twist
Lisa Belkin, senior columnist for life/work/family at The Huffington Post recently wrote something that resonated with me on so many levels. In “(Yet another) study finds working moms are happier and healthier,” she summarizes countless studies on working moms versus stay-at-home moms and which camp is healthier and happier in researchers’ minds.
Let me stop right here and say that stay at home moms do “work,” sometimes just as hard if not harder as those who have paying positions outside of their homes. As someone who’s stayed at home with her kids, who’s freelanced, owned her own business and now works for an agency, it’s a juggling act no matter what and, at least for this mom, there’s guilt, frustration and a sense of never having enough time that doesn’t go away no matter where my desk or my thoughts are.
As Belkin rightly points out, “this is not a question of logic, or, necessarily, real choice. If women stayed home (or went to work) specifically because they thought it would make them happier (or thinner), then these studies serve their purpose. I would argue though, that depression and the like is a side-effect of decisions reached for reasons that have little or nothing to do with whether a woman will be happy.”
I’ve been vocal in the past about my experiences with anxiety and depression, conditions that have followed me my whole life, long before I was a working stiff or a mom. I’ve been happy and sad – and every shade in between.
Kudos to Belkin for pointing out that the real roots here are far more likely to be money (the decision to go to work and earn some, or to stay home and not pay a caregiver); and welfare of children (the belief that a child will benefit from the presence of a parent, or the role model of a working one); and the realities of the workplace (the availability of employment for both spouses and the reality that if one must work extreme hours in order to keep a job that leaves the other to carry the homefront.)
In our house, we’re in the position for the first time of me being the one working as my husband takes some time off from the career world to reset and find the next best opportunity for him. He’s beginning to see that it’s not so easy to be home with our daughters – even if there is help – because you’re never able to be fully present in the job moment or the parent moment. All we can do is support each other, without judgment, and know there is no right or wrong answer. It’s a family’s choice, one that should be accepted and respected more than it is studied.