American mothers are stressed, tired and over-committed. However, they are more likely than women without children to be satisfied with their lives, according to a new Barna Group study.
The research was conducted for Barna Group's FRAMES project, where women with and without children were surveyed to find out how they feel about balancing family, faith, career and community life. Despite the disparity in figures, all noted that having it all is not easy to manage.
"Often, women will talk about having it all or not having it all … But part of the challenge is figuring out not that we need to be consumers in our lives – getting a bunch of stuff so then we can have it – but instead asking the question of belonging. What are the things God is asking me to give myself to and to belong to? … The Lord wants our stewardship to be radical and full but He doesn't want it to be frenetic, He doesn't want it to be the end of us," Kate Harris, executive director for The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation and Culture, said, according to Barna.
The report found that 58 percent of mothers with children at home were satisfied with life compared to 50 percent of all women who reported the same. However, only 19 percent of mothers reported being extremely satisfied in contrast to 26 percent of all women.
Part of the problem in not being completely satisfied, however, lies in women being dissatisfied with work and home. Of those surveyed, 59 percent said they were dissatisfied with their work and family life while the rate among moms increased to 62 percent.
"There's a lot of pressure on women not to say, 'I'm exhausted,'" Priscilla Shirer, author and speaker, told The Christian Post in a previous interview. "We have developed a mentality that we have to impress everybody and show them how much we can run without any reprieve or being able to catch our breath and all the while, we're the ones suffering."
She added, "It takes someone else to tell us we're under a lot of stress for us to realize that we actually are. We bear such a heavy load and part of that is because the family structure has dramatically changed in the last 50 years."
The study also points to stress as a factor in dissatisfaction which the majority (80 percent) of mothers felt overwhelmed by compared to 72 percent among all women.
Christine Hoover, a Virginia-based writer and church planter's wife, told CP that maintaining her writing career oftentimes puts a strain on her energy and time with family and although she finds life to be satisfying, she admits to feeling the stress of handling it all.
"For many years, I have been a stay-at-home mom and have been extremely involved in ministry … God was nudging me to write, something that I'd always wanted to do. I grabbed just a few hours a week for writing and it developed into a career of sorts, which I didn't really expect … It's made balancing family, ministry, and work very challenging," said Hoover.
The report also found that seven out of 10 women with younger children consider family their first priority. However, when asked what area of their lives they would most like to improve, including work, family and friends, 24 percent pointed to church.
To view the full report, click here.