I had a brief fling with being a stay-at-home mom. It was called “maternity leave.” Just kidding! No, I actually did try it out for a few years (freelancing during naptime and nighttime) and by the time my second child was two, I knew I had to go back. Captain Feathersword appeared in my dreams way too often. I found myself missing strange things, like the scent of printer cartridge. Oh, and money? I missed that, too.
Rejoining the rat race was a decision that caused me some major mommy guilt. But maybe I would have felt better about this choice if I’d known about this new survey by researchers at University of Akron and Penn State University.
The study, released today, found that working moms report better health than those who stay home. They’re less likely to be depressed and more energetic, too. I’m actually shocked by this study. It would make much more sense to me if a study were released that said, “Working Mothers Are More Likely to Be Criminally Insane,” or if a news story broke that said, “Working Mother, Age 38, Stretched So Thin She Seems To Have Vanished.” (That Working Mother, Age 38, would be me.)
My typical day starts at 5:15 a.m. and is a crazy fiesta of toddler tantrums, running out of hair detangler spray, forgetting to sign field trip permission slips, forgetting to eat breakfast, receiving texts from the preschool teacher during departmental meetings (another weird rash? again? seriously??), scouring the office breakroom for a last-minute baseball after-practice snack, and refereeing fights over whose turn it is to sit in what is the favorite of two completely identical chairs. Once everyone’s tucked in and the house looks halfway decent, I’m working again.
It sounds crazy—and yet…I am happy. Or let me put it this way: I am never bored. I am always doing something. Whether it’s rocking a sleep-resistant 21-month-old to sleep or Powerpointing the night away, I really don’t have a chance to acknowledge depression. And energy? Well, hmm. I’m living on fumes and caffeine.
I never really thought of this practice as “healthy” before…but you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way! So thank you, University of Akron and Penn State for giving me one less reason to doubt my lifestyle. In this world of raging working mother guilt, it’s a welcome discovery.
Jorie is the “Vitamom” who edits Momonomics.com. She has three kids, ages 21 months to 9 years. Her kids’ favorite baseball practice snack is Pirate Booty. She’s considering upping her omega-3 intake so she’ll stop forgetting to sign permission slips.