Well duh… there are no surprises there. A recent study has found that ‘women who work long hours have a higher risk of depression than men’. I mean seriously, knock me over with a feather. Of course, it has. The lead researcher undertaking the study concluded that ‘women may feel the strain of greater time pressures and responsibilities of combining long or irregular hours of paid work with unpaid domestic and caring duties’. Women do the majority of work in the home and the majority of caring for the children. Plain and simple. There are exceptions to the rule but in general, that is how things roll. Add a full time or part-time job into the mix and hell, it’s no wonder we can get a little down at times, more so than men. That’s because we’re doing about 3 times the workload that they are.
Just last week in my own house, I had to go away for work for a few days. It had been in the diary for months and my husband was supposed to take over the drop offs, pick ups, after school activities and the like while I was away. Or so I thought. About 3 days out, I was reminding him of the fact that I was leaving and did he have everything under control. He looked at me blankly and said ‘I’m in Sydney those days. Its work related’…He then proceeded to say when I asked him who would mind the kids was: ‘You sort it out, it’s your problem’ which I must confess led me to send a nasty email about why I was so cranky with his response. You see it’s not my problem. It’s our problem. They’re our kids, not just mine. That’s how I saw it, but clearly, he didn’t. And I know that what transpired in our house is not so atypical. When I told some girlfriends what had happened, they rolled their eyes and shared stories of similar experiences. So it’s no surprise that when we add a 55 hour or longer work week into the mix with the juggle of a household, the majority of parenting responsibilities and throw in a myriad of other things that we have on our plates we feel the strain. More often than not our responsibilities come with limited support, leave little time for ourselves and often involve taking home wages that aren’t necessarily equivalent to our male counterpart.
The study interestingly enough found that mothers tended to work fewer hours than women without children (again no surprises there) but that fathers were likely to work more hours than men without children. You have to wonder why that is? Is it because being at home is harder than being at work in a lot of cases? It’s monotonous at times, there is no reprieve, no coffee break, no reading Bloomberg on the computer, no making calls to mates. You’re in the trenches and its hard yakka. I’m not discounting that being at work isn’t. It comes with a whole lot of other pressures and a whole lot of other responsibilities, but if dads are working longer hours than men without kids, someone’s at home minding the kids and in most cases it’s mum. And if many cases, she’s in the workforce as well. No wonder we’re bound to get down. I’m feeling tired just writing about it.
If you’re struggling with depression, day-to-day living can be overwhelming, especially if you’re also responsible for the welfare of children. You can call Beyond Blue 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to talk to a trained mental health professional.