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Why Stay at Home Mums Might be More Depressed - New Poll

By Yvette Vignando - 23rd May 2012

A Gallup poll in the United States of over 60,000 women found that mothers who stay at home with their kids, when compared with working mums, experience

- more worry: 41% compared to 34%; and

- more depression: 28% compared to 17%,

as well as slightly more anger, stress and sadness.

Today, I discussed this in more detail on Channel 9 show, Mornings. View the short video here.

I think there are a number of reasons for this figure. Some of them would include feeling undervalued, a feeling of lack of control over your environment, less or no feedback about all the work you do, the work feels like it's never done, often you are under more financial pressure, there is less time to yourself to socialise, exercise and pursue your own interests. And that's just to name a few.

On the other hand, being a stay at home parent with children can also be one of the best things we do in our lives, and a decision that we rarely regret, in spite of the challenges. And I suspect dads that stay at home with their kids, although not as prone to a post-natal style depression, would also experience some of the feelings expressed by the women in this poll. I know I have at different times.

My opinion is that both women and men should do what works for them emotionally, intellectually and financially - and those things will fluctuate as our children mature. We're more likely to raise happy children and have happy families if we are feeling fulfilled and if we are living according to our values. Sometimes of course, a parent's 'choice' to work or stay at home is not a true choice and circumstances force a decision one way or the other.

Here's my discussion of it on Mornings today. And I did recommend this book: Beyond the Baby Blues - as an excellent Australian resource for parents experiencing perinatal depression.

What do you think about these figures? Do you think as a society we need to get better at valuing parents who stay at home? How would we achieve this?

If you are a parent experiencing depression, please see your family doctor for expert referral and advice. Support is also available in Australia from:

Tresillean

Karitane

Lifeline

Parentline NSW

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