According to researchers this week I have two reasons to be miserable.
First, a study in the US found that stay-at-home Mums are more likely to be worried and depressed than working mothers. Of course, if those chirpy employed ‘Moms’ saw the price of Swiss childcare they wouldn’t be laughing, but that’s another story.
I’m quite surprised it needed a Gallup poll to convince the world that motherhood is tough and prone to get you down. Imagine, if you would, the job ad:
Wanted: Mother (full-time).
Hours: 6am-8pm Monday to Friday. And Saturday. Oh, and Sunday. Also on call 8.01pm-5.59am.
Experience of the following roles may be useful: health and safety monitor, cleaner, hygienist, chef, teacher, moral and spiritual guide, counsellor, referee, bouncer, amateur paediatrician, chauffeur, jailor, play mate, party planner, human trampoline, artist in residence, amateur veterinarian (with special interest in gerbils and degus) and general slave.
Job share: possible (but unlikely).
Of course, the alternative is to go and get a job to pay for the childcare you need to get a job. No, it doesn’t make much sense to me either so I’m not going to bother, even though Gallup tells me I would be 7% less worried and 11% less depressed if I were employed.
Stuck at home in isolation; no-one to talk to - at least, no-one who understands a word you’re saying; struggling to accept your dependent status after giving up your job... no, no, I’ve moved on from life with a new baby, I’m talking now about being an expat wife in Zürich - that’s also fit to make you depressed, according to the second report I read this week.
The city’s Integration Service wants to provide counsellors for trailing spouses (as we’re charmingly known) to help them through those miserable early months when you arrive in a new place, don’t know a soul, wave your husband off to the office...
...and then try to go to supermarket but get on the bus in the wrong direction, can’t work out how to buy a ticket, don’t realise the supermarket doesn’t take credit cards, can’t find the bags, can’t make anyone understand you because your phrase book didn’t cover this cr*p...
...get shouted at by an old Swiss lady for no apparent reason, shout back until you work out that she’s just showing you where the bags are and her ‘aggression’ is actually just ‘German’...
...and go home feeling depressed because at home you were a brain surgeon and here you can’t even go to the damn supermarket.
So, yes, new Mums and new Expats probably do need help. Maybe from a psychologist or maybe just a tour guide for their strange new world.