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These things are causing mums the most stress this year, according to Mumsnet... 1

These things are causing mums the most stress this year, according to Mumsnet…

Being a mum may be one of the most rewarding things in the world, but very few people who’ve done it would say it is a stress-free job. 

Between the early-morning school runs and the late-night night terrors, mums certainly have their work cut out when it comes to keeping calm. What’s more, beyond the usual day-to-day pressures involved with being a parent, the last 12 months have presented unforseen stresses for mums who, like most of us, have had to drastically adapt to the outbreak of Covid-19 and the events that followed it. 

Like many of us, mothers struggled as they were forced to suddenly change their daily routines, avoid seeing loved ones, and take an unprecedented amount of concern over the health of themselves and those around them. 

As we emerge from the pandemic, we have looked into how the stress factors of mothers have been impacted by the events of the last year. Our study uses Mumsnet data to determine the biggest causes of stress for UK mums before and during the pandemic, and compares these to those that mothers are most worried about as we move closer into a post-Covid world.

 

The Biggest Causes of Stress for Mothers this Year (2021)

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Health topped the list as the biggest cause of stress for mothers this year, with a total number of 77 mentions of it in the top 1,000 Mumsnet discussions. This was equivalent to a huge 45% of the total queries we assessed. 

 

Following this was Relationships. This has been an age-old issue for those visiting Mumsnet, who commonly cite spousal relationships as their biggest source of stress. Common themes in discussion boards on the subject cited affairs, bills and chores as key issues within relationships in 2021. 

 

How Stress-factors Have Changed Since the Pandemic (2019-2021)

While Health and Relationship issues continued to be the two most predominant stresses for mothers before and during the pandemic, the weighting of the two drastically shifted as the pandemic gripped the UK. 

Prior to the national outbreak, Relationships held a firm first place in mother’s biggest stresses, contributing to more than a third of the issues mentioned in 2019. 

 

However, the following year saw Relationships drop right down in the concern of those using Mumsnet, with health overtaking Relationships and becoming the number one cause of stress for mothers a year later. During this time, Relationships dropped from making up 33% of mother’s stress to just 17% — marking a 46% drop. Meanwhile, Health jumped up by 37% — going from making up 30% of their stress in 2019 to 41% in 2020.  

 

Relationships vs. Health Concerns – Mapping the Shift (2019 -2021)

The study also revealed a major spike in the number of queries mothers were asking about their own elderly parents. In fact, the stress factor saw the biggest rise of all those that were tracked: between 2019 and 2020, queries under the category rose by a huge 133%. They then increased by a further 14% in 2021. 

 

This is no doubt linked to the direct threats posed by the Coronavirus, which disproportionately threatens the elderly. In light of this, it’s likely that many mothers spent far more time actively worrying about their elderly parents during the height of the pandemic in 2020 than they may have done in previous years. 

 

Mentions of “Elderly Parents”  (2019-2021)

 

Overall, it’s clear that the pandemic — and the events that followed — had a major impact on the things mums were most worried about. Though the things that were significant to many mothers using Mumsnet did not dissapear or become resolved after Covid-19 spiked (in fact, none of the stresses analysed were never mentioned in 2020-21) the importance of them shifted. Health and concern for the safety of families became paramount as lockdowns hit and infection rates grew, and other normal stressers, like Relationships and Money took a back seat. Whether these shifts are likely to remain perminent, or whether we will see a movement back to pre-pandemic stress patterns after the world moves closer towards becoming ‘normal’ remains to be seen. 

 

Full Study Findings 


2019

 

Stress Factor

Number of Mentions

%

Relationship

53

33

Health

49

30

Sex

18

11

Money

13

8

Parenting

12

7

Women’s rights

12

7

Parents

5

3

 

2020

 

Stress Factor

Number of Mentions

%

Change from Previous Year

Health

67

41

+36

Relationship

28

17

-48

Parenting

22

13

+85

Women’s rights

12

7

0

Parents

12

7

+133

Sex

11

7

-36

Money

10

6

-25

 

2021 

 

Stress Factor

Number of Mentions

%

Change from Previous Year

Health

77

45

+10

Relationship

30

18

+6

Parenting

18

11

+6

Money

16

9

+50

Parents

14

8

+14

Women’s rights

11

6

-14

Sex

5

3

-57

Methodology

To find our data, we found the top 1,000 most-popular pages on Mumsnet of 2019, 2020 and 2021 using Ahrefs. We determined which were most popular through looking at the pages which had the highest number of organic visits. For our annual comparison, we used a year-on-year comparison of June 1st-July 1st for the three years.

We then collated this data and scraped these pages to find the total number of mentions of each of the following query categories: Health, Relationships, Parenting, Money, Elderly Parents, Women’s Rights and Sex.

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