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The Joy of Keeping the Home


emmiedahl

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Slate recently did an article on the mental health of stay at home moms vs. working moms. A study found that 28% of SAHMs are depressed, compared to 17% of working mothers and 17% of working women without children. In addition, "stay-at-home moms fare worse than these two groups by every emotional measure in the survey, reporting more anger, sadness, stress, and worry."

Two thoughts that immediately came to me:

1. When I read these fundie mommy blogs, depression and anger seem to be a common thread. These are desperately unhappy women.

2. I wonder how much more depressed a SAH daughter is. After all, she has less purpose and recognition that a mommy even.

Thoughts?

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/ ... ingle.html

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Here's a perfect case study, although she is in the anger phase right now.

brandy.blogspot.com/2012/05/what-needs-to-be-said.html

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She's in anger now.

I think she saves the depression to share with her private p.m. army.

Seriously the anger and depression is evident, I doubt that I've read the blog of a balanced well adjusted fundy.

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i like staying at home..i like to putter around, do my own thing, cook, etc..but its not for everyone. i don't think it necessarily requires a big ass notebook either.

:whistle: i made one once, but i never used it. i mean..i know what needs to be done every day and i ended up spending more time making the thing and printing out the pages than actually cleaning!

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She's in anger now.

I think she saves the depression to share with her private p.m. army.

Seriously the anger and depression is evident, I doubt that I've read the blog of a balanced well adjusted fundy.

I think all of the fundie bloggers I read fall under "obviously depressed" or "obviously angry". If you have to talk yourself into being happy, and have an internet audience to assure you that you truly are, you just are not that happy.

Some women are really happy to stay at home, but a lot (me included right now) do it because there is no other feasible choice.

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Then there are women like Terry and Sarah Maxwell, and Kelly Bates who can never be permitted to express anger.

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I think the SAHM depression happens because these women are stuck in the same surroundings every day. My mom was seriously depressed when she was a SAHM and nursing student. She got a part time job so she could get out of the house and interact with other adults. She didn't even really like socializing with other moms at playgroups, parks etc because all they had to talk about was their kids. I think she needed something in her life that didn't revolve around 3 kids 3 yrs and under.

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My mother has been a SAHM for 19 years( ever since I was born ). She would have probably when back to work as soon as my sister and I were school aged, but then I was diagnosed with autism at 3 years of age. My mom had to be there for me as I did my therapies and went through school. She needed to make sure I wouldn't burn the house down or try to escape or anything. Now that I'm an adult ( and high functioning! ) and my sister is now of high school age, my mom has signed up to go to college. There's this new program that provides for almost everything for those low-income health career students and my mom saw this as a sign to go back to college. My dad had even encouraged to go back to school! So happy my mom is now going to go back into the workplace soon!

I think why some SAHMs end up depressed is because only one of the parents is working. There is only one income coming in and some SAHMS may worry about the father losing his job or getting hurt on the job or anything else that may cut the only income out and force the family into poverty ( or further into poverty in some cases ).

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My mother has been a SAHM for 19 years( ever since I was born ). She would have probably when back to work as soon as my sister and I were school aged, but then I was diagnosed with autism at 3 years of age. My mom had to be there for me as I did my therapies and went through school. She needed to make sure I wouldn't burn the house down or try to escape or anything. Now that I'm an adult ( and high functioning! ) and my sister is now of high school age, my mom has signed up to go to college. There's this new program that provides for almost everything for those low-income health career students and my mom saw this as a sign to go back to college. My dad had even encouraged to go back to school! So happy my mom is now going to go back into the workplace soon!

I think why some SAHMs end up depressed is because only one of the parents is working. There is only one income coming in and some SAHMS may worry about the father losing his job or getting hurt on the job or anything else that may cut the only income out and force the family into poverty ( or further into poverty in some cases ).

They did analyze the income issue and found that in lower income families, a SAHM mom is still more likely to be depressed.

I think the take-away for me is that it is not always better for a mother to be a home. Being in a home all day with a mentally unhealthy person is not good for a child. If a mother is actually happier working, then she should do so. It's just another way that patriarchalists live in a freaking dream land.

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I think the SAHM depression happens because these women are stuck in the same surroundings every day. My mom was seriously depressed when she was a SAHM and nursing student. She got a part time job so she could get out of the house and interact with other adults. She didn't even really like socializing with other moms at playgroups, parks etc because all they had to talk about was their kids. I think she needed something in her life that didn't revolve around 3 kids 3 yrs and under.

I think it's that way, as that was one reason my mom decided to earn her teaching credential. Teaching is also considered the family business since her mom was a teacher, and one of my aunts was a teacher as well. She was also able to get home around the time my brother and I did, and she had the same vacations since she taught for the same school district we lived in. My mom actually hated one friend's mom because she only talked about her kids and criticized my mom for some things she did as a parent.

I think that another reason for the SAHM depression is that there's the constant worry of how to deal if their husband got laid off or became disabled, died, or decided to leave the family. It would push that mom into poverty if she wasn't at that level, and she would have to go to work when she really didn't want to in the first place.

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The article makes a good point about how being a SAHP isn't seen as "real work". It's "women's work"; why else are men derided when they choose to stay at home with their children?

I also suspect the depression is higher amongst fundies because they have no other choice. It's all they've been brought up to do, and even though they go on about how it's what God wants and that women who work are ebil feminists, they've been deprived of true choice.

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I'd be depressed if I were a SAHM. I'm just not cut out for it. I even get restless when my job is boring. Plus being on the financial brink would make me very anxious.

No offense to SAHMs. It's just not for me and I can certainly see why so many would be depressed.

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I could never hack it as a SAHM. I get bored easily and I have little patience. My type A personality would drive my son nuts. Hell, I get anxious and depressed when I don't get enough international travel (which I don't right now since my husband is in school and we're short on money). Wanderlust is a huge part of my personality. Even after spending 11 hours a day at my job all week, I hate to spend my weekends at home. So, yeah, being a stay at home parent is not my cup of tea. I'm a much happier person when I work and thus a much better mommy.

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There's a whole raft of factors, each one compounding the others. I'm surprised their aren't more Andrea (nearly typed 'Paula' there :? ) Yates stories, TBH.

-Lack of self-determination and personal empowerment is another major contributor, and the average fundy woman has (or at least sees herself as having) very little ability to make any real choices. Fundy womanhood revolves around keeping the headship and his children happy. The superficial aspects might change, but the basic power relationships don't (which is why I don't have much patience for my (fundy) mother's argument: "oh, it [their fundy community] isn't as bad as when you lived at home, they allow xyz now"-the fact that they have the right to decide what's acceptable, rather than than trusting the conscience of each individual, never changes).

-Job satisfaction-or lack thereof. Speaking from personal experience here. Nothing is more disheartening than the feeling that nothing is ever completed. As soon as one mess is sorted, there's another one waiting for you. That's if you're lucky enough not to have a toddler walking along behind you, actively undoing whatever it is you're trying to do. Drudgery is bad enough, drudgery that doesn't even have temporary results is worse.

-Happy is the only acceptable emotion and depression seen as selfishness. It's like some sort of twisted cycle of inverse cognitive behavioural therapy. There's no support for women who aren't coping, because their just being selfish and all they need is a bit of mental self-flagellation and to appreciate what kind of horrible sinners they are. Self esteem is of the devil.

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I saw that article too, and I wondered if one of the reasons SAHMs were more depressed is because of the ones that are from more conservative households who are taught that staying home with the kids is all they can ever aspire to. A lot of them are probably not suited to be a SAHM, and would be much happier doing something else, but they're not alllowed. All the miserable fundie bloggers are proof. If everyone could just accept that not all women are suited to stay home with their kids, we'd all be a lot happier.

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I thought Betty Friedan already covered this? In my opinion it's the same kind of thing, just made ten times worse by the religion. It makes rejecting gender roles or feeling satisfied into something against God or 'rebellion' as some of them call it. I think it makes the women far more likely to internalize this kind of thinking in that environment and think that they ought to change.

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I saw that article too, and I wondered if one of the reasons SAHMs were more depressed is because of the ones that are from more conservative households who are taught that staying home with the kids is all they can ever aspire to. A lot of them are probably not suited to be a SAHM, and would be much happier doing something else, but they're not alllowed. All the miserable fundie bloggers are proof. If everyone could just accept that not all women are suited to stay home with their kids, we'd all be a lot happier.

QFT.

I've been a SAHM for over twenty years. I worked before that, though, for a long time, and had I wanted to, I could have continued after my kids were born, but I wanted to be home, it's what I felt I was 'suited' for, as you put it. And I was. I loved it, still do, in fact.

In other words, I had a choice. But these women have no choice, or in some cases FEEL they have no choice. They might have chosen the SAHM route anyway, but the decision was never theirs to make. That would depress the hell out of me, too. :(

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My mum tried with me and couldn't. "You were hanging on my leg all day and I wanted to talk to grownups." I do not think this was wrong and I have a great relationship with my mum. She's very family orientated (taking care of me when I have been sick recently) and also we discuss union politics and all kinds of things. She is a fantastic mum.

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My mother has been a SAHM for 19 years( ever since I was born ). She would have probably when back to work as soon as my sister and I were school aged, but then I was diagnosed with autism at 3 years of age. My mom had to be there for me as I did my therapies and went through school. She needed to make sure I wouldn't burn the house down or try to escape or anything. Now that I'm an adult ( and high functioning! ) and my sister is now of high school age, my mom has signed up to go to college. There's this new program that provides for almost everything for those low-income health career students and my mom saw this as a sign to go back to college. My dad had even encouraged to go back to school! So happy my mom is now going to go back into the workplace soon!

I think why some SAHMs end up depressed is because only one of the parents is working. There is only one income coming in and some SAHMS may worry about the father losing his job or getting hurt on the job or anything else that may cut the only income out and force the family into poverty ( or further into poverty in some cases ).

That was such a hopeful post for me...I'm basically doing what your Mum did, my youngest has high functioning autism and one of us had to be at home because of similar problems to the ones you mention.

Actually it was what started my reading of more " fundie" Christian blogs, here was a group of woman who had a lot in common with my situation, and I felt and do feel if I was going to be at home I might as well do a good job of it. What I wasn't prepared for was how anxious making and depression provoking being a stay at home parent can be.

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I have never been a SAHM, I would have been bored to death if I had to. Since I have 3 children I made the choice of working part-time, which have worked very well for my family for 14 years now. Of course, I live in evil socialist France, where we get a lot of help from the state, for daycare and for helping mothers financially to work part-time :lol:

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I think all of the fundie bloggers I read fall under "obviously depressed" or "obviously angry". If you have to talk yourself into being happy, and have an internet audience to assure you that you truly are, you just are not that happy.

Some women are really happy to stay at home, but a lot (me included right now) do it because there is no other feasible choice.

The bolded is a definite. I've seen this by people on facebook. Old friends and schoolmates who constantly write how wonderful their husband is and how much they love their life and I can't help but feel like they aren't happy. The happiest people I know never say they are happy, you can just see it. You can tell they are happy, that they love their life for the most part.

I do think many fundie bloggers were unhappy before they became fundie, or were raised fundie and don't see any other way as acceptable. It's a sad commentary to the lifestyle when reading the blogs.

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My mom was a SAHM mom until my little sibling started first grade. I never thought she was unhappy (but I was a kid and oblivious), but after she started working she just seemed so vibrant. In hindsight I think it was depressing for her to be home all day, even though she loved us and did all the "right" things-cooked, cleaned, bonded and played with us. I'm ashamed to say that this just dawned on me, I think I will ask her.

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I think it all comes down to choice. If you freely choose to stay at home - be it to look after children or not - then you be much happier than someone who has the job of SAHM/SAHD thrust upon them. I think that being a stay at home mother/daughter is just one of the more obvious aspects of a fundie woman's life - however they have no choice in much of anything else either. No wonder so many are depressed/angry/judgemental/defensive.

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I think it all comes down to choice. If you freely choose to stay at home - be it to look after children or not - then you be much happier than someone who has the job of SAHM/SAHD thrust upon them. I think that being a stay at home mother/daughter is just one of the more obvious aspects of a fundie woman's life - however they have no choice in much of anything else either. No wonder so many are depressed/angry/judgemental/defensive.

This. If something causes sadness and anger...it's probably not right for you. If something is fulfilling, do it!

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