Juggling with family and household chores all the time can be really stressful, particularly if one has small kids to look after. All these responsibilities and robotic routine often leave mothers stressed out. The American Psychology Association (APA) conducted a primary survey in 2010 to determine if motherhood is more stressful than fatherhood. According to the results, a major percentage of mothers participated in the survey reported physical and psychological symptoms of depression and stress. More than 41% of the women in the research sample reported symptoms like severe headache, frequent mood swings and indigestion (American Psychology Association, 2011).1
Although many researchers have highlighted the fact that managing financial obligations along workplace stress puts the working parent (usually fathers) in a challenging situation, they overlook the responsibilities and challenges of motherhood.
Multitasking and the burden of responsibilities make mothers more prone to stress than fathers. This article will give a brief overview of motherhood stress and highlight the ways in which stress can impact mothers and their families. Moreover, readers will also be informed about the ways through which “Mommy Madness” can be managed.
According to Brooks (2013), 2 APA conducted a research in which it was found that married women suffer from depressive disorder and chronic stress more than single women. It was also found out that married women with kids reported that their stress has increased significantly after having children. The study highlighted that there are a number of stressors responsible for stress-related diseases in married women. Some of these stress triggers are:
· Managing Kids - Having two or more kids with close age gaps makes it challenging for mothers to manage children. It not only overburdens mothers, but also impacts early childhood development of kids, as mothers find it difficult to give adequate attention to every child.
· Marital Relationship - The study highlighted the fact that issues in marital relations affects women more than men. This is because men mostly spend most of the time in the workplace and therefore it is easier for them to keep their attention diverted. Women on the other hand keep over thinking and stress themselves out.
· Exceptional Cases - Mishaps like children with chronic illness or disabilities or financial crisis are also some of the common stressors responsible for depressive diseases and psychological disorders among married women (Schoenberg, 2011).3
Impact of Stress on Family
Berrill (2012), 4 in a research study highlighted the fact that stress on mothers directly influences the family environment and mental stability of children. Moreover, it also impacts marital relations, as a stressed woman might become unreasonable. Constant stress often leads to depressive disorders like bipolar II, hypomania, frequent episodes of mood swings etc. which can permanently damage the mental health of a person.
Tips for Managing Your Day
According to Iverson (2013), 5 mothers can easily manage their day and bring some sanity to their life by following time and stress management strategies. Here is a list of some easy and quick tips to help mothers give themselves and their family quality time:
1. Plan Strategically
This can help mothers in allotting time slots to each task. From managing kids to doing household chores, everything should be planned. It also allows mothers to keep track of time and enjoy a few more hours with their kids or husband.
2. Give Importance to Yourself
Most mothers give themselves secondary attention, which is not advisable. Researchers say that although kids don’t give adequate time to mothers, giving secondary importance can hurt your self-esteem and confidence, and many research studies have identified self-criticism as a symptom of depressive diseases.
3. Take Breaks
Taking small breaks during household chores boosts the energy level of mothers and increases their anxiety threshold. One of the most important ways to manage your day successfully is keep yourself happy and relaxed.
4. Spend Time with Your Partner
A number of authors suggested that an active sexual life can keep a marital relation alive, thus allowing a woman to discuss things with her husband. Discussing and counseling can significantly reduce stress levels, thus decreasing the probability of depressive diseases.
Is Stress Management Therapy Effective?
Schoenberg highlighted that consulting a psychologist or counselor for stress management can help a woman cope with the chaos of married life. A psychologist cannot only guide mothers about managing children and other responsibilities strategically, but also recommends therapies to strengthen nerves and tolerate pressure.
In case a woman does not have good relation with her husband, counseling sessions with an expert can help her vent out frustration and stress. A psychologist can also help mothers identify negative stressors and guide them about the ways to cope with them.
1. American Psychology Association. (2011). Parenting: Being a Supermom Stressing You Out?
2. Brooks C. (2013). Home Life Stresses Working Moms More Than Dads
3. Schoenberg N. (2011). High-stress motherhood.
4. Berrill A. (2012). Long car journeys, bedtime, and shopping with the family: Mothers reveal the things that REALLY stress them out.
5. Iverson B. (2013). Ten time management tips for working mothers.
Christie Hunter is registered clinical counselor in British Columbia and co-founder of Theravive. She is a certified management accountant. She has a masters of arts in counseling psychology from Liberty University with specialty in marriage and family and a post-graduate specialty in trauma resolution. In 2007 she started Theravive with her husband in order to help make mental health care easily attainable and nonthreatening. She has a passion for gifted children and their education. You can reach Christie at 360-350-8627 or write her at christie - at - theravive.com.