A Job Is Better For Mom's Health

12.14.11 New study finds working moms are happier and fare better health-wise than their stay-at-home counterparts.


A happy mom is a working mom, MSNBC.com and other news outlets report. According to a new study, published in the American Psychological Association's Journal of Family Psychology, moms who work outside the home at least part time report being less depressed and healthier than moms who stay home with young children.

However, "this benefit of working did not extend into children's school years," MSNBC reports. Stay-at-home moms face a higher risk of social isolation than working moms, increasing their chances of developing depression—not to mention the added stress of being at home all day with a child.

Moms who worked part time tended to have fewer work and family conflicts and were more involved in their child's schooling than their full-time peers.

For stay-at-home moms, "the stress may be relieved somewhat when their children start school, which may explain why the link disappeared when children entered preschool," MSNBC reports.

Yes, a mom's job can be stressful and thankless at times (a previous study put a $122,732 annual price tag on the work that moms do at home). However, we're sure everyone can agree that it's also one of the best times in a woman's life that no one would trade.

Our Mom Appetit blogger in the past has mulled over the question herself: What Will I Be When My Kid Grows Up? It can be a hard decision deciding whether to stay home or go back to work after your baby arrives—so many questions and unexpected emotions. Check out our Caution: Working Mom page for tips on how to make the transition when you return to work after maternity leave.

Also, as our Getting Back to Business page reminds us: Going back to work after having a baby is not an all-or-nothing decision. Only you can decide what's best for you and your family.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.