I just got my Working Mother magazine the other day and curled up on the couch under a thick blanket (it’s a lot colder here in the south than out in the west!) for a good read.
The big article this month centers around working mothers and depression. The article states this fact from the National Mental Health Association: One of every five working women will at some point suffer from depression. Unfortunately, 40% of these women will not seek help.
Next time you are at playgroup, look closely: Chances are one of the mothers is depressed. Or, perhaps it is you.
It’s easy to understand how this happens. Working mothers face stress from a multitude of layers: work, home, family, husband, kids, deadlines, timelines, guilt from working and being away from the home. The list goes on and on.
I can see how easily it can become to get bogged down in the day to day struggles, since the day to day struggles really never subside. It’s not like you wake up one day, your kids are a bit older, and suddenly life is easier. With children, new stages develop, new independences, new fights, and of course with work the stress is always looming.
So, what can you do about it?
Get help, talk to someone, take care of yourself, avoid burnout by giving yourself some down time, letting go of the expectation that you have to be the perfect wife, perfect mother and perfect working woman. Get sleep: We tend to skip that a lot. I am down to five hours a night right now, waking at five to exercise and work, staying up until midnight to meet deadlines. I know I have to slow down soon or I’ll hit that wall and crash. It’s hard to do when there is so much to do, though; we know it, as working mothers. Someone says slow down and we say, “I can’t. I have too much to get done.”
But oftentimes some of those things can wait.
If you are feeling blue, and you can’t shake yourself out of it, get help. If you are sleeping a lot, crying a lot, if you don’t feel that you are doing a good job in life in general, get help. The article lists some famous women who have been public about their fight with depression, such as Sheryl Crow and Gwyneth Paltrow. The disease hits all types of women, but it can be fought.
The article in Working Mother magazine is an excellent one, so pick up a copy if you feel like you may be hitting a wall. It’s important that we remember to care for ourselves above all, because the rest of the stuff is really useless unless we are doing okay on a day to day basis.
Have a great Thursday, working moms (and dads!)