What makes Indian mothers happy? (Guest column)
Less than 50 per cent of Indian mothers are happy with their current state of life, reveal findings of Momspresso's "Moms Happiness Index 2019".
Happiness is an abstract concept, one which gets further complicated, when it comes to mothers as it becomes dependent on a multitude of factors. The first step in this direction is to understand the drivers of a mother's happiness and the factors that take away from it.
On top of this list is her own perception of her parenting skills -- 'How good a mother am I?' The universal trend that emerges is that mothers are hard on themselves, rating themselves much below what their children or husband would rate them for their mothering skills. Based on insights, we know that this self-doubt and also a tremendous amount of guilt despite doing everything right, comes from trying to deal with social expectations and lack of appreciation from the immediate family.
The next most important factor driving happiness is the support a mother gets from her husband and in-laws. Her happiness quotient is directly proportional to the level of support extended by the various stakeholders in her life. A key aspect of this also extends to how supportive her husband is in matters relating to her side of the family and standing by her decisions in disciplining their child.
A mother's happiness is greatly dependent upon how much time she has for herself. Not only does this include her being able to take out time for activities relating to appearance, health and fitness, but also if she gets the time to meet her friends, spend quality time with her family and do something significant for herself.
Financial empowerment is the next important determinant of a mother's happiness as indicated by the survey. An interesting finding is that while women want to enhance their self-identity and fulfil their dreams, the overriding purpose for financial independence as expressed by 80 per cent of the surveyed mothers, was to become a good role model for their children.
Then come the five key stressors for Indian mothers -- safety of the child, usage of the internet and various digital gadgets, food habits, discipline and studies.
While food habits remain a perennial stress point for most mothers, it is perhaps a sign of the times we live in that the biggest diminisher of a mother's happiness is the stress around safety of her child, followed by the challenges created by screen addiction. It is interesting to note how a higher proportion of moms working out of the house are stressed about screen time as compared to stay-at-home moms. The stay-at-home moms in turn, stress more about studies rather than working moms.
This year's survey has also given us very important insights about the gap between the levels of happiness among moms living in metro cities and those in non-metro cities. While the overall figures show that 48 per cent of mothers are very happy with the current state of their life, non-metro moms are clearly happier than moms in metros. Apart from the overall level of happiness, non-metro moms seem to be ahead on most parameters, including how they rate themselves as mothers, have happier marriages and more supportive families.
Unsurprisingly, moms in metros are much more stressed than moms in non-metro cities. More mothers in metros are also taking the entire responsibility of their child's school related activities, health issues and discipline. They get to spend less quality time with their husbands and certainly have much less "me time" to unwind and relax.
The final determinant of a mother's happiness is whether or not the society understands what's "hampering her happiness index" and works towards correcting it.
There is no doubt that a mother is at the center of the family and we truly hope moms can make the choice to put their happiness first, because that is truly the best thing they can do for their family.IANS