Here’s a study that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Research shows that motherhood might actually be bad for your health. And how so? Many moms often feel tired, moody, and just so exhausted from the daily grind that they don’t have the time to take care of their own mental health and happiness.
According to reports, it’s the “invisible” household labor that is harming a mother’s mental health.The invisible labor of ensuring the well-being of children showed strong, unique links with women's distress. In other words, all of the emotional responsibility of being a mother is truly burning us out.
The research, which was published in the journal Sex Roles, found that while more men do housework and childcare than used to in the past, women are continuing to manage the household – even when they are employed. For the study, nearly 400 American women were surveyed. All had children under the age of 18 and all were married or in a committed partnership.
Almost nine out of 10 women say they feel responsible for being their family’s CEO and official planners. If that weren’t enough, another seven in 10 women said they were also responsible for other areas of family routines such as maintaining standards for routines and assigning household chores. Just over half of the women said they made decisions about investments, holidays, major home improvements and buying a car together with their partner.
What is more interesting is the fact that even second time moms will express the same and with every child, the experience is different and comes with its set of challenges.
It’s no wonder so many moms look like they could easily throw in the towel at any given moment. It’s both a physical and emotional marathon. Professor Suniya Luthar, one of the report’s authors, said this is an extremely large percentage given the fact 65 percent of the women were employed.
"Research in developmental science indicates that mothers are first responders to children's distress," she said in the study. "That is a very weighty job; it can be terrifying that you are making decisions, flying solo, that might actually worsen rather than improve things for your children's happiness.”
Thankfully, there is some good news. The study authors noted that gender norms have been shifting and men are contributing more to child care and housework than in the past.