The Unhappiness of June Cleaver

Liberated by feminism from the June Cleaver role model, I noted in my recent column, "Jack Welch vs. Feminists: The Dumb Debate Over Female CEOs," women have done a better job of striking a work-life balance compared to men whose identities, not having experienced the male version of the feminist revolution, remain wedded to rather backward notions of workplace success. But between stay-at-home moms and career moms, who is happier?

A recent Gallup poll found that it is quite clearly the latter:

The degree of difficulty of being a stay-at-home parent is evident in a new Gallup analysis of more than 60,000 U.S. women interviewed in 2012. Non-employed women with young children at home are more likely than women with young children at home who are employed for pay to report experiencing sadness and anger a lot of the day "yesterday." Stay-at-home moms are also much more likely to report having ever been diagnosed with depression than employed moms. Employed moms are about as emotionally well-off as working women who do not have children at home.

What’s more, found Gallup, it doesn’t matter if moms stay at home out of their own choice or circumstances. They are unhappier than working moms, regardless. Notes Gallup:

non-employed moms who are looking for work and those who are not looking -- to distinguish between those who may not be employed because of circumstance rather than by choice --  are [both] more likely to report anger, sadness, and depression than are employed moms. It is also important to note that these findings are not related to age -- that is, even when controlling for age, stay-at-home moms are emotionally worse off than employed moms…

Stay-at-home moms also lag behind employed moms in terms of their daily positive emotions: They are less likely to say they smiled or laughed a lot, learned something interesting, and experienced enjoyment and happiness "yesterday." Additionally, they are less likely than employed moms to rate their lives highly enough to be considered "thriving."

And does the income of stay-at-home moms matter? In other words, are rich stay-at-home moms better off than poor stay-at-home moms? Interestingly, both groups report the same level of sadness, anger, and depression. However, middle-income and wealthy stay-at-homes moms report more “laughter, enjoyment, happiness, worry, stress, learning something interesting, and having a high life evaluation rating” than poor stay-at-homes." In fact, on these counts, middle- and high-income stay-at-home moms for the most part do as well as employed moms. All of this suggests that although a rich husband can mitigate some of the ennui that comes from feeling unproductive and disengaged with the outside world, he can't mitigate it all.  Some aspects of one’s soul’s wellbeing simply can’t be outsourced.

Gallup summarizes:

While many mothers are rightfully dedicated to parenting as an important and fulfilling vocation, those who desire to work should feel encouraged by these data to pursue it. And for those who choose to stay home, more societal recognition of the difficult job stay-at-home mothers have raising children would perhaps help support them emotionally.

And that's where Gallup should have left it. But it couldn't resist slipping in some silly policy advice:

Of course, for stay-at-home moms who wish to pursue employment, the cost of child care may be prohibitive. Increasing employer-sponsored or other types of subsidized and low-cost child care may be a means to helping create more choices for stay-at-homes. (Emphasis added).

Ensuring that stay-at-home moms are in good emotional shape is critical not only for the sake of these mothers, but also for the sake of their children's and families' wellbeing.

Oh puhlese!

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  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Women need to make sacrifices for the greater good. They need to go back to the kitchen. And make me a sandwich.

  • Jerryskids||

    JUNE!!!!

  • JW||

    JANE!!

  • plu1959||

    JOAN!!

  • VG Zaytsev||

    JOON!!1

  • Jerryskids||

    Kids these days - don't even know the Beav's mom's name. Jimmy Haskell would be disappointed in you.

  • sloopyinca||

    I wonder if Eddie Haskell would as well.

  • ||

    TEEVEE PWND!

  • ||

    Jimmy Haskell was Eddie's much more suave older brother, who prompted June's most famous line: You were awfully hard on the beaver last night.

  • wareagle||

    middle-income and wealthy stay-at-homes moms report more “laughter, enjoyment, happiness, worry, stress, learning something interesting, and having a high life evaluation rating” than poor stay-at-homes.

    but no, money has absolutely nothing to do with one's level of happiness. By itself, money does not buy happiness but I would rather face life's troubles with it than without it.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    I been rich, and I been po'. Rich is waaaaaay better.

  • Alex||

    All I got out of this is that children suck, despite what their parents may say.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Agree, the true path to happiness is to not have kids.

  • fried wylie||

    or adopt kids who are old enough to enjoy playing video games with.

  • plu1959||

    Agree, the true path to happiness is to not have kids.

    And stay single.

  • ||

    And stay single.

    Bull. Shit.

  • JW||

    How about "don't get married?"

  • ||

    I've never been married, JW. I want a Mrs. Groovus someday.

  • JW||

    I wish you luck, my friend. I'm beyond finished with that particular institution.

    Never again will I be legally bound and trapped.

  • Jerryskids||

    "The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracks wellbeing in the U.S., U.K., and Germany and provides best-in-class solutions for a healthier world."

    WTF does that mean? Gallup not only conducts polls but also advocates based on those polls? Isn't that a conflict of interest or at least the appearance of the same?

    Of course, self-reported claims of 'happiness' are somewhat suspect - employed moms saying they are happy might mean they are happy to get home from the soul-crushing hell of their jobs to their kids. Sort of like hitting myself in the head with a hammer - it feels so good when I stop.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Reason Rupe must be a conflict of interst.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    Non-employed women with young children at home are more likely than women with young children at home who are employed for pay to report experiencing sadness and anger a lot of the day "yesterday." Stay-at-home moms are also much more likely to report having ever been diagnosed with depression than employed moms.

    Having been around other people's children, I think the answer to this is not only readily evident, but we may have the makings of a strong candidate for Obvjectionablism's Fourth Axiom.

  • Jordan||

    No kidding. I'll never understand why people subject themselves to that shit. Dual-income, no kids is the good life.

  • Sam Grove||

    But if everybody did that....

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    What a drag it is gettin' old.
    Things are different today
    I hear every mother say
    Mother needs a little thing to calm her down
    And though she's not really ill
    There's a little yellow pill
    Which she runs to the shelter of her mother's little helper...

  • cavalier973||

    Gallup? Who listens to Gallup? What are the InTrade numbers?

  • Old Mexican||

    Non-employed women with young children at home are more likely than women with young children at home who are employed for pay to report experiencing sadness and anger a lot of the day "yesterday."


    Especially after learning that Amanda left Stewart when she learned that Stewart cheated on her with that bitch Samantha. Stay tuned for tomorrow's episode.

  • SIV||

    A quick glance shows the differences are relatively insignificant. Sadness and depression are the only ones in (low)double digits.Sad mom is still probably happier staying at home.


    Full time away from home working vs part -time and non-working mothers of pre-schoolers would tell us a lot more.

  • Old Mexican||

    Of course, for stay-at-home moms who wish to pursue employment, the cost of child care may be prohibitive.


    "And we have the numbers to show this!

    Hmmm....

    Huh, I guess we don't have the numbers to back up this assertion!"

  • A Serious Man||

    It sounded better than "women can haz free shit".

  • SIV||

  • John||

    http://www.theblaze.com/storie.....out-obama/

    Teacher in North Carolina tells student he could be arrested for talking bad about Obama. The recorded dialog is priceless. The kid gives me a little hope for America. Get this.

    Once again, the students pressed for equal discussion of the histories of both men, with one saying:

    "If you’re gonna talk trash about one side, you gotta talk trash about the other."

    The teacher just seemed to dig her heels in deeper and press her defense of Obama telling the defiant teen:

    "You will not disrespect the president of the United States in this classroom."

    Again the student persisted and invoked his First Amendment right.

    "I’ll say what I want."

    The still unidentified teacher read the student her rules…her Obama rules.

    "Not about him, you won’t!"

    The back and forth continued and the most strident of the two students reminded his teacher that President Bush was constantly treated to negative statements about him while he was in office:

    "Whenever Bush was president, everybody talked sh-t about him."

    To which the teacher responded:

    "Because he was sh-tty."

  • cw||

    Well at least she appears honest about her partisan hackery.

  • fried wylie||

    The still unidentified teacher

    I have a bit of a problem with random, unidentified teachers coming into classrooms and harassing the students.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    That teacher, like all teachers, is a hero, a saint, doing lord Obama's work joyfully and you are a monster for not supporting her. I bet your even against raising her pay or letting her retire at 55 with 110% of her yearly pay.

    You selfish pig.

  • Xenocles||

    ""Whenever Bush was president, everybody talked sh-t about him."

    To which the teacher responded:

    "Because he was sh-tty.""

    Well, she's got us there.

  • Len Bias||

    Jesus, the kid was smarter and more articulate than the teacher.

    Nice that he stood his ground even though she was screeching at him.

  • John||

    Smug, dumb and liberal is no way to go through life son.

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/n.....s-jeopardy

  • WarrenT||

    It was awesome to watch. He started out poorly but then caught a couple of good categories and ended okay, then blew it all in final.

    Good job Tommy! Who's a good boy?

  • General Butt Naked||

    None of them new who Eli Whitney was.

    People on teevee are fucking stupid.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    People on teevee think the south is barbaric and dumb.

  • kinnath||

    ....women have done a better job of striking a work-life balance compared to men whose identities, not having experienced the male version of the feminist revolution, remain wedded to rather backward notions of workplace success.

    What utter crap. Shika, your work continues to decline.

  • fried wylie||

    Seriously. I would love to land a woman who's stuck at the office most of the day, while I stay at home and play video games and take care of the kids (IOW, play video games with them).

  • fried wylie||

    (to be fair, I've never been surveyed on the subject.)

  • plu1959||

    You know, I tried to make this point during some diversity training at the office. The men in my break-out group were encouraged to list negative things about being a man that women might not be aware of. I said (in effect) "If you're a man, you don't really have the option of not working." The (female) moderator sniffed, "That's your perception" and immediately moved on.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Women have choices, men have responsibilities. Try to get a woman to understand that though.

  • ||

    I have the feeling it would feel great for the first couple of weeks, then you'd be bored out of your mind.

  • Old Dave||

    I was a stay-at-home partner for two years (long story why). No kids. I loved it for the first six months, but then it got monotonous. Then I discovered martinis could help make the day more interesting. Not a good idea.

  • fried wylie||

    I already lack enough hours in the day to do everything I want to. Boredom is at least a million projects distant from me.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, same with me. Boredom would be a nice luxery to have every once in a while.

  • fried wylie||

    I'll add that most of my projects could double as homeschooling.

    "Well Johnny, 3d rendering is a complicated subject, so let's start simple...."

    "Electricity IS cool as shit Johnny, let's talk about harnessing its awesome power..."

    "How does your toy helicopter fly? Let's find out by building one..."

  • Drake||

    I thought that first paragraph was just pathetic. I've yet to be convinced that men shouldn't be ambitious or that I should care how anyone balances his / her life.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Women get the attention of more men in a workplace environment then they do being at home all day. Duh.

  • SIV||

    In a nutshell.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    I Soviet Russia, unhappiness stay at home with YOU!

  • ||

    Nyetska. In Soviet Russia, unhappiness houses YOU!

  • sablegsd||

    What a crock of shit.

  • originalgrissel||

    As a stay-at-home mom the results of this study are not a surprise to me. If you stay at home all day with small kids, have little interaction with other adults, are the sole care-giver, nurse, entertainer, disciplinarian, driver, on top of being responsible for cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry,etc, with no breaks, lunch hour, vacation or days off of course you are going to be sad, depressed and unhappy. That's especially true if what you do is not appreciated by a spouse or society in general.

    Working moms get to have conversations with people that don't include the words "Dora the Explorer" or "dirty diaper". Working moms and the work they do outside the home is validated more and is seen as more of a contribution by society, than the work of women that stay at home. The women's movement was supposedly all about women having choices, but that was only if you made the choices feminists wanted you to make.If you chose to stay home and raise your own kids, you get looked down on by all the feminists who claim they are about empowering women. Personally, I loved raising my own kids even if I occasionally felt unappreciated, I would not change the choice I made.

    The study I would like to see is whether children of working moms are happier than the kids of stay-at-home moms. It'd be interesting to see how the absence of moms vs the presence of moms affects the kids.

  • fried wylie||

    Working moms get to have conversations with people that don't include the words "Dora the Explorer" or "dirty diaper".

    I've worked in an office, I've heard those conversations.

    You aren't missing much.

  • fried wylie||

    (grass, other sides, color perception, etc.)

  • ||

    It'd be interesting to see how the absence of moms vs the presence of moms affects the kids.

    Does anyone know if Shikha Dalmia has children? This is actually germane to the story here. I also wonder if employing nannies and au pairs has a significant impact on the rearing of children v. homemaking mothers.

    Also, those so-called "tiger moms": how many of them are strictly homemakers? A study of how many stay-at-home moms who also run a part-time home based business would also be interesting.

    I am getting a hint here that Shikha is subtly swinging an axe in need of sharpening, though I could be wrong.

  • Azathoth!!||

    The conversations at work consist largely of Dora, and diapers, and yo gabba gabba. And clothes and things to do and what not. The same conversations you have with your girlfriends--though you can probably be a bit more explicit when talking about sex.

    The working mom thing is a relatively new development in humans, something still being adjusted to--or tried out. It may not last.

    But, consider this--

    Is it possible that stay at home moms unhappiness stems from the incessant drumbeat from much of the prevailing culture that they are essentially worthless? That they've thrown their lives away? That they are spitting in the faces of the women that work? That true fulfillment comes only from being a 'career woman'?

    I could go on. And on and on and on.

  • Banjos||

    I am having the time of my life staying at home. The problem with these bitches is that they never learned how to entertain themselves.

  • fried wylie||

    It takes a certain measure of intelligence to generate entertainment for yourself.

  • Old Dave||

    Oh, I don't know. Really, how difficult is it to switch on a vibrator?

  • Sam Grove||

    Next question: do blondes have more fun?

  • Sam Grove||

    Let me explain, having kids is deferred gratification. If you do it right, you get a lot of satisfaction later.

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