Being a mom can be awesome—giving and receiving unconditional love, seeing your kiddos grow and change, and sharing endless cuddles, just to name a few—but it can also be pretty stressful. It's a lot of responsibility to be in charge of another human, and today's demands on mothers to be anything and everything for their children 24/7 make for a very hectic life.
So while it's not surprising that moms are sometimes stressed out, what is very concerning is that they're hiding it from their doctors. According to a new Doctor On Demand report, "Moms, Money & Mental Health," that sheds light on the key health issues affecting moms and the underlying issues preventing them from seeking help, 1 in 3 moms admit to lying to their doctors about their stress and anxiety levels. The study also found that 25 percent of moms noted that suffering from stress and anxiety impacts their ability to parent to the best of their ability. Whoa, that's not good!
"Moms can sometimes feel pressure to minimize their stress and anxiety because they want to appear to have it all together," says Doctor On Demand psychiatrist Nikole Benders-Hadi, M.D. "Between family, home, and work responsibilities, moms are busier than ever, and being able to juggle so many things at once can bring about a sense of accomplishment. The problem is, this level of performance is rarely sustainable."
While admitting that something is difficult can create a sense of failure, Dr. Benders-Hadi says moms shouldn't let it. "Especially in a safe and non-judgmental environment such as with your doctor, moms should feel free to discuss their stress and anxiety, so they can work together on finding a solution to make things more manageable," she says.
If moms don't get help, chronic stress can lead to low frustration tolerance, maladaptive coping skills, physical illnesses, and even depression and anxiety disorders, Dr. Benders-Hadi says. "A mom who is so overwhelmed and trying to hide it can take out her frustrations on the kids or other family members, potentially causing harm to those relationships," she says. "Kids may start to blame themselves for Mommy's bad mood, or begin to model being dishonest about their own feelings as a result."
One in three moms moms in the study cited finances as a major contributor to ongoing stress and anxiety. The rising cost of mental health appointments can make it challenging for moms to get the help they need—20 percent of moms are unable to seek help from a mental health professional for stress- and anxiety related-issues due to cost.
Plus, 63 percent of moms feel guilty making time for their own personal health, and 75 percent are unable to devote more than one hour a day to "me time." Um, moms! You've got to make time for yourselves. It's not selfish. You shouldn't feel guilty about it. And not only do you deserve it, you need it to be healthy.
And, attention dads, kids, and family members in general: Let's remember to recognize moms for all they do and encourage them to take care of themselves. It makes the whole family healtheir, too.