There’s a common and sexist misconception in our society that stay-at-home moms have it easy. After all, they don’t have to rush off to the office every morning and work from 9–5. Nope. They get to stay home with the kids, enjoying daytime television and eating bonbons.
Of course, if you have ever been a stay-at-home mom or a stay-at-home dad, you know that stereotype is utterly ridiculous!
And in a very brave, very vulnerable Facebook post, one mom explained just how very wrong and very hurtful that misperception can be.
Stay-at-home mom Bridgette Anne got real with her Facebook followers about how difficult it can be to stay home with your children all day. From the physical demands of constantly cooking, cleaning and entertaining little ones to the emotional demands of being the sole caregiver during those long and often lonely hours, Bridgette Anne gives us some hard truths about life as a stay-at-home mom.
The post quickly went viral as her message of exhaustion and isolation hit a chord with many women across the globe. Indeed, some research suggests that stay-at-home moms struggle with feelings of depression to a higher degree than working moms.
In a Gallup poll from 2012, which surveyed over 60,000 stay-at-home women, 28% of stay-at-home moms said they experienced depression most of the day, compared to only 17% of moms employed outside the home. And 41% of stay-at-home moms struggled with anxious feelings, compared to 34% of moms who work outside the home. They also reported higher levels of sadness and anger.
Of course, this is not a “mompetition” — employed mothers also deal with anxiety and depression and they also have to grapple with the “double-shift” (the term used to describe all the cooking, cleaning and childcare women have to do once their regular workday is over, with employed moms doing three times as much household labor as employed dads).
However, stay-at-home moms face a unique struggle of isolation, very rarely enjoying adult conversation, privacy or intellectual stimulation throughout the day. They’re emotional service stations for every scraped knee, every toy battle, every meltdown in the grocery store aisle, and yet when they look around their messy home and see their tired reflection in the mirror, all they see is that they’re not doing “good enough.”
By bravely sharing her personal struggles as a stay-at-home mom, Bridgette Anne helped to spark an important conversation about the hidden hurts of motherhood, and how we can all do better at supporting and uplifting women. The truth is motherhood is never easy, and we all need human connection and mental health resources if we want to be the best parents possible.
If you are struggling with depression, contact the Crisis Hotline by texting CONNECT to 741741, anytime day or night.