When I think of working moms – I’m only Mom to a very active chihuahua and some very unambitious houseplants – I think of just how much stress must be involved. And then I think about being a stay-at-home mom, and I think about how much stress must be involved. Regardless of my feelings, new research shows that working mothers may actually be healthier than their stay-at-home counterparts.
Adrianne Frech, co-author of the research and assistant sociology professor at the University of Akron says, “Work is good for your health, both mentally and physically. It gives women a sense of purpose, self-efficacy, control and autonomy. They have a place where they are an expert on something, and they’re paid a wage.” The report goes on to state that women who return to full time work shortly after having a child have better mental and physical health at age 40, including greater mobility, more energy and less depression.
But work, of course, is nourishing in other ways. To have a sense of purpose is essential to a fulfilling life, and while some women are able to get that from their family life, many other women need more. It’s worth noting that the “sense of purpose, self-efficacy, control and autonomy” described by the study’s author is typically only available to women who feel they have a challenging career versus an unhappy job.
Frech points out that this is another reason women should establish their own education and career before settling into family life. More education and better work experience leads to more choices, wherever you are in life.
Do you agree with the findings?