Blogs Make Moms Happier
No one ever said being a mom is easy. But here is some good news: researchers say that moms who read or write blogs are happier, as evidenced by higher self-reported scores for well-being.
So if you are here reading this, congratulations! Penn State researcher Brandon McDaniel is talking about you when he says:
It looks like blogging might be helping these women as they transition into motherhood because they may begin to feel more connected to their extended family and friends, which leads them to feel more supported. That potentially is going to spill out into other aspects of their well being, including their marital relationship with their partner, the ways that they're feeling about their parenting stress, and eventually into their levels of depression.
Happiness from Blogging but not from Facebook
Researchers surveyed 157 new mothers, all first-time parents, mostly with very young children but none over 18 months. We find it interesting that 61% of the surveyed mothers write blogs! 89% of the women writing blogs indicate that they are motivated to "document personal experiences or share them with others" and 86% want to stay in touch with friends and family.
Even more interesting, in light of the value of networking for staying in touch, is the finding in the study that other methods of social networking (e.g. facebook or MySpace) did not correlate with better feelings of well-being. We would be interested to see a study of the happiness of moms who keep diaries versus the happiness of those of us who splash our thoughts out onto the pubic domain as a possible avenue of further research into which aspects of blogging make new moms happier. Alternatively, a study comparing moms who read books on parenting versus moms who read blogs could help delineate whether happiness grows due to the sharing of advice about parenting, or whether the sense of connection to community adds to the value of shared advice.
Good Times Online
Another pretty interesting observation made in this study: using the computer and internet scored third behind childcare (9 hours per day) and sleep (7 hours per day) in reports on how new moms spend their time. The new moms surveyed reported spending about three hours per day on the computer.
The study -- conducted by Brandon T. McDaniel, graduate student in human development and family studies at Penn State and colleagues Sarah M. Coyne and Erin K. Holmes, assistant professors, School of Family Life, Brigham Young University -- will appear in an upcoming edition of the Maternal and Child Health Journal.
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