Might women’s happiness hinge on their employment status? A Gallup.com survey in May found that nonworking women with a child under 18 at home experienced more worry, sadness, stress and anger than moms who are employed full-time or part-time. The survey also asked women if they’d ever been diagnosed with depression and found that stay-at-home moms were more likely to say yes than working moms. “This suggests there might be something about working that is creating more positive emotions for employed moms, or there might be something about staying at home that’s creating more negative emotions,” says Elizabeth Mendes, deputy managing editor of Gallup.com. Either way, what’s clear from another study is that “intensive parenting” — in which children are situated squarely at the center of a woman’s world, with the belief that moms’ parenting skills trump dads’ — isn’t an advisable approach for working moms or those who stay home with the kiddos. Research from the University of Mary Washington concluded that women who insist “mother is best” are less satisfied with their lives.
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