Happy?

Oh, goody!  A study in the December issue of APA’s Journal of Family Psychology concludes that “working moms feel better than stay-at-home moms.”

Could it be?  Ah, yes, it’s a twofer, combining the emotion-prevoking Mommy Wars with yet another Study of Dubious Utility.

A Google search unearthed the opinion of a professional feminist, which I’m not exactly sure what that is, other than someone I’m not likely to agree with often, but by golly I agree on this one:

 ” . . . personally, I think there are some days when I am [happy], some days when I’m not. This isn’t a race. There isn’t a shortage of happiness in this world, and the way people are splitting ‘The Motherhood’ into two camps just [bleeps] me off.”

Well, yes.

Something else is annoying, though, beyond the dubious utility and the arbitrary division.

Who likes it when other people think they know best?  So when I hear this:

“lead author . . . says the real message of her study is this: get a job, whether full-time or part-time,”

my reaction is, don’t tell me what to do.

The vagaries of life haven’t offered me much in the way of universal truths, but one thing I can say with certainty:  staying at home doesn’t make me unhappy, and likewise working wouldn’t make me unhappy, either.

I make myself unhappy.

That’s right, I cause my own unhappiness–and sometimes outright misery–no matter what my daily circumstances, which have varied greatly in the last forty years, I might add, and through all those changes I have always managed to maintain an impressively unhealthy level of worry, anxiety, insecurity, and general malaise.

Furthermore, no amount of scientific study, psychological profiling, or helpful advice will decrease said level of worry, anxiety, insecurity, general malaise, and outright misery.  I’ll lower the levels when it suits me, if it suits me, on my own time, and in my own way.

Just so we’re clear on the matter.

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16 thoughts on “Happy?

  1. Country Thinker 13 December 2011 at 7:05 pm Reply

    How are we going to implement a totalitarian state with attitudes like yours? Be a good little sheeple and do as you’re told ;)

  2. Citizen Tom 13 December 2011 at 7:40 pm Reply

    Thanks for the link. Much appreciated.

    I suspect you pretty much zeroed in on the objective of the study. I doubt it has anything to do with research. The author’s message, not the message of her work, is be like me.

    Did God make us to make ourselves happy or should we be obedient to Him and allow Him to bless us? Depending upon — depending upon what we believe about God — what we think might be the answer to that question, we will choose to live very different lives. Nonetheless, some people cannot imagine why anyone would not want to imitate their choices, and it upsets them so greatly that when others choose differently they would forbid any other choice.

    • Bob 14 December 2011 at 12:21 pm Reply

      I think Tom nailed it. Women who voluntarily put their babies in day care are always looking for validation that their choice is just as good as or better than the alternative.

      I found it interesting that the “study” apparently took no consideration of the whether the children involved were healthier or happier based on whether they were being raised by Mom or by babysitters. Not surprising, but revealing. Who cares about the kids, anyway?

      If full-time mothers nowadays experience more depression than either their career-minded contemporaries or the full-time mothers of previous generations, it’s because society does not value them or respect what they are doing. Children are not as important as success in one’s career; therefore the mother who puts her kids in day care so her career won’t be derailed gets more respect and admiration than the mother who raises her kids herself. Government policies discriminate against single-income families. And since traditional families (father-breadwinner/mother-homemaker) often have lower incomes than two-earner families, our economic anxieties are generally higher. Full-time mothers often have to work much harder than mothers who have paying jobs, since we do so many time-consuming things to economize (cooking and baking from scratch, mending and repairing things instead of buying new, etc.) — so if we’re more exhausted than our contemporaries who can afford to eat out, buy new things when the old wear out, and so on, it’s no wonder. I could rant on and on, but I’ll shut up now.

  3. Linda 14 December 2011 at 5:51 pm Reply

    Ha ha, CT, yeah I’m a fly in the ointment.

    Tom, you are very welcome for the link, and thanks for adding the theological aspect of happiness. How we strive for it is indeed linked to what we believe.

    Bob, oh, excellent rant and most excellent points. The study does seem like yet another attempt to devalue traditional homemaking. To which the study authors would probably say, pooh, this is science and we didn’t cook up the result, and you just don’t like the truth. Etc.

    I love the way I can post my wonky view of things, and then you readers fill in the holes with some substance. Its much appreciated.

  4. edge of the sandbox 15 December 2011 at 5:18 pm Reply

    Is it a well-conducted study? This write up tells me nothing about the methodology. The study can actually show something different than the attention-grabbing headline — or not show anything at all. Do women in all groups have the same number of kids? An old co-worker of mine used to say that a mother can be no happier than her most unhappy child. With more children there is more reason to be unhappy.
    I noticed that they said that SAHMs report more symptoms of depression. It could be that more depressed women are unable to get jobs, which doesn’t mean that raising kids at home causes depression.
    All this aside, yes, raising kids is the hardest job I ever had. It certainly forced me to reevaluate what I mean by happiness.

    • edge of the sandbox 31 December 2011 at 3:23 pm Reply

      I meant to say “well-constructed”. I’m not against psychology, but I’m amazed by the number of studies that either have too small samples and just badly designed and don’t answer any particular questions. Or studies that don’t support the conclusions they purport to support because they found no statistically significant differences, but we, the public, wouldn’t know any better because one pretty much needs to have a background in statistics to be able to evaluate that. I’m sure all of the crap studies are at least partially subsidized by the taxpayer… I get the impression that psychologists need to conduct fewer studies, but make sure to do them well.
      Happy New Year!

      • nooneofanyimport 2 January 2012 at 3:13 pm Reply

        I’m pretty much against psychology, lol. Ever read Szasz’ book Psychology: The Science of Lies?

        best
        Lin

  5. AFVET 16 December 2011 at 4:26 pm Reply

    Raising children is a job, raising Patriots is an endeavor that is worthy of the effort.
    There is a distinctive difference.
    Merry Christmas Linda to you and yours.
    May God Bless.

  6. [...] NoOneOfAnyImport: Happy? [...]

  7. Always On Watch 19 December 2011 at 8:32 am Reply

    By pushing women into the workforce, the Left has accomplished something that’s going to affect all of us to one extent or the other: the elderly and disabled have to hire caregivers. With the aging Boomers, the result of this caregiving crisis will be higher and higher taxes, and those taxes will force even more women, mothers included, into the work force. It’s a vicious cycle.

  8. loopyloo305 19 December 2011 at 11:00 am Reply

    Congratulations and Merry Christmas my friend!
    I wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the Liebster award.
    You can find out more about it at My Blog : http://loopyloo305.com/2011/12/19/liebster-award-5/

  9. Yos / Si Vis Pacem 19 December 2011 at 11:40 am Reply

    Right… stay at home moms aren’t working? “Get a job.” What a larf. It’s the most important job in America.

    Merry Chanukah! er, Happy Christmas! Um, Cheers!

    Ran

  10. Jim Fister 19 December 2011 at 12:15 pm Reply

    At the same time, if the woman put the kids in daycare to go outside the home to take care of some other kid for less money than daycare costs, they’d probalby consider that a job. Being a mother is a job that may not pay in cash, but the dividends later are huge.

    Either way, it’s your choice, and I respect your freedom to make it.

  11. nooneofanyimport 21 December 2011 at 10:50 pm Reply

    Missy S: I have no idea how well-conducted this study is. My feeling is, the study is a waste of time no matter how well-conducted. All of it just seems like the junk you get when life is so good that folks don’t have to worry about the basics like safety, food and shelter.

    Thank you Ron, and Merry Christmas back atcha Mister.

    AOW, yes, it’s not just the kids that miss out on a female adult at home, is it? And you are right: the more we alienate ourselves from our family, the more we should expect to be alienated when we are elderly and in need of care.

    Ran: Happy Merry Chanukah and Christmas back atcha!

    Thanks for respecting my freedom to make this decisions, Mista Fista. Especially b/c that’s the point of my post: work, don’t work, either way: it’s your choice to be happy or not.

    Merry Christmas everyone.

  12. Lynn Comp 27 December 2011 at 12:49 am Reply

    Happier? Really? Must be lack of sleep or something…personally I think if you’re a mom, you’re drugged up on guilt and that colors your perceptions to think “surely, someone else might be happier” – nah. As I’ve always said : all moms are “working” whether or not we get paid in cash…
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

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