I used to be a stay at home mom right after my daughter was born. I had always dreamed of being one, and I had such big expectations and plans for how it would go. Unfortunately my life as a stay at home mom didn’t turn out at all like I had imagined. It was a disaster actually, and I ended up very depressed. So what happened to make it so bad?
As a stay at home mom I felt extremely alone and cut off from the whole world. I had big plans of having the house always pristine and meals home cooked for my little family every day. I wanted to be the perfect little housewife and mommy. But I wasn’t. The house wasn’t always clean and meals weren’t always cooked.
But I learned a lot from the experience and also from going back to work. Keep reading to find out what I would do differently and the advice I have for other stay at home moms who may be struggling, too!
You need to have time for yourself.
Have someone watch the kids and get out of the house! Do something you love that makes you feel like you. Meet up with a friend for coffee or a movie you’ve been dying to see.
I didn’t do this near enough when I was a SAHM. In fact, I don’t remember doing it at all! I would feel guilty any time I spent time or money on doing something that was just for me. But taking time for you is a must! It’s hard to care for others when you’re not taking care of yourself.
Even if you can’t make it out of the house or find someone to keep your kids, do something little when you can. Whatever makes you happy. Take a bubble bath after the kids are in bed. Paint your toenails a funky, fun color that makes you smile. Read a really good book that you get completely lost in… at least for the couple minutes your kids will allow you. Anything you love that’s just for you!
Get out of the house.
I became the biggest homebody as a stay at home mom, and it made me so depressed and lonely. I don’t even know why I did it, honestly, but after a while I almost felt scared to leave my home on my own.
I’m not sure if anyone else is like this, but I’m shy to begin with, and I would always worry so much about being out and about on my own with my baby. What if she started screaming in the middle of Target and I couldn’t calm her down? What if I couldn’t get her stroller unfolded and looked like an idiot in front of the other moms in the park? I’m such a “what-if” kind of person.
I wish I hadn’t let those silly fears hold me back. I’m always so afraid of what people will think or that they may be watching me when I feel so unsure of myself. If you’re anything like me, don’t let fears keep you from doing what you want to do. Get out and have fun!
Have a realistic routine.
Routines are super important, especially for small children. But don’t get too over the top with it that you can’t actually follow it. It’s okay to have a very simple, flexible routine.
I use to try so hard to fit in every educationally stimulating activity that I possibly could. And I planned out a very thorough (and ridiculously busy) cleaning schedule. That kind of thing burns you out. Quick. It just doesn’t work, and your day becomes so crowded with things to do.
Simple is better. Try to do some brain boosting activities with your little ones, but make it fun and engaging. Read and sing songs with your child and implement learning into their everyday play. Talk about colors and count toys. When planning a cleaning schedule, make it easy to keep up with. Do a little bit at a time. It will still make a difference, but you won’t be overwhelmed by cleaning all day long.
Don’t compare yourself to other moms.
.This one I actually still catch myself doing. It’s so easy to be scrolling through my news feed on Facebook and see the pictures and statuses of other moms I know who seem to have it all together. I can end up getting pretty down on myself if I’m not careful.
Let me just let you in on a secret: they don’t have it all together. No one does. I guarantee they have days when they feel just as clueless as you sometimes do. I have to constantly remind myself that the posts I’m seeing are the good moments, and not the whole picture. We all second guess ourselves and wonder if what we’re doing actually matters. Well, it does. And you’re doing a great job! God chose you to be the mommy to your kids for a reason, it wasn’t a mistake. No other woman could be who you are in your kids’ lives.
A final note
Being a stay at home mom is hard work! I really believe that it’s taken for granted in this day and age, but it’s an important role. It took me a long time to see that. For so long I felt ashamed of being a stay at home mom. I was afraid people would look down on me or think that I was just sitting at home on the couch watching reality TV all day living off of the money my husband worked so hard for. Now I just don’t care what people think. I know that what I’m doing matters, and my husband and I always refer to ourselves as a team. We have very different jobs, yes, but we both work hard.
I’d love to hear what you’ve learned from being a stay at home mom (or any kind of mom, for that matter)! In what areas have you struggled? How have you grown?