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If you’re feeling stressed, you may not have enough children

Moms are experiencing too much strain, and need a break. They could take a vacation -- or they could increase the size of their family
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Gord Woodward, May 8, 2013 4:03:00 PM

Feeling stressed, moms? Have more kids!

That cheery thought comes to you just in time for Mother’s Day straight from … the 1950s.

Related: Celebrate Mother’s Day on The Loop with fantastic gift ideas

Well, OK, the source was really a newly-released survey of women conducted by TODAYmoms.com, but it sure does sound like the idiotic advice doled out to females in bygone eras (“Shoulder pads look great” and “Of course he will change” being among the other beauts).

The survey shows that moms rate their stress level at a whopping 8.5 out of 10, or approximately half of what The Bachelor feels when appearing on the “Women Tell All” episode.

Women with three children have more stress than do women with one or two, or, shockingly, four or more. As with cats, having kids in low numbers is apparently manageable. And also as with cats, having kids in abundance is usually a sign of some mental infirmity, but those folks are so loopy that the “what the hell, let’s throw another one into the mix” attitude makes perfect sense in the endless conversations they have with themselves. (And with invisible people. And trees).

The trouble spot seems to be three. Moms report the most stress when wrangling a trio, which could be comprised of three children, or perhaps two and a husband, since nearly half of the women said their male partners were responsible for most of their aggravation (a charge men would deny, if we weren’t busy changing channels, or asking where our socks are, or for sex).

To be fair, though, moms also did cite their own gender as troublesome, with 60 percent saying that raising girls is more stressful than raising boys. The other 40 percent obviously do not have girls.

But those are all just numbers. The issue, regardless of percentages, is that moms are carrying way too much stress. In fact, one of their major stressors is stressing about being too stressed. So much for the notion that the “Supermom” is just a myth.

So what can we do to make their lives easier?

Well, let’s ask the experts, like psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor, who contributes to the TODAYmoms.com website. She says moms can combat their stress with a four-letter word (and here’s why we are skeptical of experts: last time we checked, “alcohol” had more than four letters). It turns out that she means “help,” which was probably not the first guess offered by members of the blog Moms Who Drink and Swear.

The good doctor says moms need to call on others for help. “We need to ask for what we need. The frustration comes when women feel like they have to do it all themselves.”
That’s valuable advice. But there may be a better stress solution, one identified by moms themselves.

In another survey, about their Mother’s Day wish lists, women had clear priorities: spa treatments, and an exotic vacation. Combine ’em both, and toss in a pitcher of margaritas served by Juan the hunky cabana boy, and watch her stress melt away.

Of course, men are probably going to have to watch from a distance. Because a stress-free vacation for her doesn’t include Dad, or the kids.

Mom’s ideal number, you see, is one.


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Gord Woodward

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