Even before the pandemic, polls found that stay-at-home moms reported more depression, anger and stress than the women who worked outside the home.
A few years ago, a Gallup analysis of more than 60,000 women in the U.S. found that more than a quarter of stay-at-home reported feeling depressed.
Even in today’s most modern and progressive societies, there’s a misconception that such moms have a whole lot of time on their hands.
“We have schedules, duties, projects, and routines,” says Sumanpreet Kaur Sekhon, a stay-at-home mom of a nine month old.
Being home alone with young children, for what seems like an eternity, may not always be the most ideal situation for prime mental health.
“As a mom who stays home, you just don’t have time to take care of yourself because you’re always busy taking care of your family, you do it because you don’t have a choice,” Sekhon said in an interview.
Depression is often overlooked among moms because not going to work every day is viewed as a privilege. That often means women who struggle may feel like they don’t have the right to speak out.
“I tell myself that so many women would kill to be home with their kids all day,” says Grace Gibbons, 29, a stay-at-home mother of two, from Vancouver.
She says that she sometimes cries while pushing her daughters outside in their little baby swing, and tells herself over and over that she should be happy just to be with her daughters.
“The mental load of motherhood is real, but my obsessive need to do something more outside of mothering can make it feel unbearable,” says Gibbons who once was a contemporary dancer.
“I care what people think of me though I desperately try not to,” she says.
The reality is, the very structure of stay-at-home mothering can make a woman prone to depression even more susceptible.
Gibbons tried medications and communicating more openly with her family about her struggles, but she still feels like she’s living in survival mode.
“I need to find my identity outside of motherhood,” Gibbons says.
“I am hoping to start dancing again, which I think would help me dig myself out of this darkness.”