The Two Main Problems with Being a Stay-at-Home-Mom
I have been blessed to be a stay-at-home mom for 16 years now. I was able to stay with my kiddos while my husband went off to medical school, then residency, and now a full-time job. It is not always easy, and there are plenty of things that I find mundane and boring. However, I love my job and wouldn’t trade it for anything. That being said, there are many mothers struggling with staying home.
While it sounds glamorous and fun to be able to stay home and raise the kiddos, it is not always a walk in the park. (and even walks in the park are often painful and lined with tantrums and sticky lollipops you gave the kid to keep them quiet). For more about the honest truth of what being a stay-at-home-mom is like, Click Here.
There Are Many Reasons We Become Stay-at-Home Moms
First of all, let us recognize that many mothers that are at home all day with their kids aren’t there by choice. They wish they could get a job or go back to the job they had before kids. Many of them are only at home because they can’t afford daycare. Some are choosing to stay home because they have special needs kids or special circumstances that outsiders might not understand. Not all women want to be home raising their kids, and some didn’t even want kids in the first place.
Regardless of why they are home, it is not our place to judge whether it is “right” or “wrong.” I am a firm believer in doing what is best for YOUR family, and that looks different for every family.
Whether we are home by choice, or being forced to stay by our circumstances or partners, there are things that many stay-at-home moms deal with and are not discussing. While there are many minor issues that annoy us, I’d like to discuss two major problems common among mothers at home: 1) they feel isolated and alone and 2) many of them are depressed.
Yet people say that we are supposed to be happy, as we are the lucky ones that “get” to stay home.
Staying-at-Home Means You Often Feel Alone
Many stay-at-home mothers feel like they NEVER get to leave the home, and if they do, it is not fun. If have you ever run errands with toddlers and infant carriers, you know exactly what I mean. We usually opt to stay home, even if we are lonely or bored, just to avoid public tantrums and power struggles over the car seats.
As humans, we are built for interaction and social engagement. It is beneficial and needed for our soul. However, many stay-at-home moms are expected to survive solely on social media, which can have its own negative effect on our psyche. I live in a small rural area, where the grand majority of mothers either work outside the home or home-school their children. That means that I am alone with my kids 9 8 % of the time (during the day when the kids are off to school and my husband is working).
While I often love being alone, stay-at-home moms are technically not alone. We are surrounded, smothered, and attacked by attention-seeking little ones 24-7. We are touched, poked, prodded, kicked, spit upon, and even pooped on way more often than most of us like.
And yet we feel like the wall flower at a high school dance or like an introvert at a huge social gathering- IN a room full of people and yet totally completely alone. The attention is never on us, and if it is, it is usually because we “failed” to do something right for someone else. (ie: “Where is my shirt!” “Mom, I can’t find my socks!” “Sweetheart, what is for dinner?” “Why is the house such a mess?” etc.)
We get massive amounts of attention and yet it is overwhelmingly the wrong kind.
I love being with my kiddos, but sometimes I CRAVE adult conversation. Especially when it goes deeper than surface level!
Stay-at-Home Moms Feel Isolated
Along with loneliness comes the feeling of isolation. Not being able to just hang out with your friends, take a day trip, or go out for lunch can be downright hard.
Having to talk in jibberish and settle for brief phone calls or Facetime is not fulfilling our human need for daily interaction and social time.
Scrolling through our Facebook and Instagram feeds, comparing ourselves to the best of the best on Pinterest, and not knowing half of our friends, often leaves us feeling even more of a void rather than helping us feel connected.
And while binge-watching Netflix or Prime might satisfy our need for entertainment and distraction, they rarely leave us feeling inspired or heard.
This creates a longing ache to feel like we are enough, like we matter, like we belong. We need reassurance that we are doing an important job and that our efforts are not being wasted on deaf ears. (because in my house, it seems like more often than not my kids can’t “hear” me or at least pretend they can’t). I struggled for years to feel like I was good enough. I have finally conquered my demons and now have this unstoppable aching to save as many moms as I can.
For more on how to feel like you’re good enough, read this: How to Love Yourself in 5 Simple Steps In addition, my husband and I have created a FREE 10-Day Video Series Based on my book, The 10-Minute Refresh for Moms: Less Stress, More Joy. You can learn the basics of how to fit self-care into just 10 minutes a day! Find it Here I have just launched my first 21-Day Challenge help you if you struggle with this! Check it out here: Click Here
Stay-at-Home Mom Depression
The loneliness and isolation often lead moms to feel depressed and like they are not good enough. We struggle with feelings of guilt and shame, as if all the other mothers in the world are doing a better job than us and we are no good. We compare ourselves to others, think that they have all the answers, or that they have it better than us, or that we will never measure up.
While I couldn’t find any statistics about it, I know that stay-at-home-mom depression is a real thing. Many of my friends deal with it on a daily basis. Whether it is caused post-partum, has been a part of their lives since before having children, or is caused by the things already discussed here doesn’t matter. It hurts either way.
I am involved in several Facebook groups for moms and must say that I’ve been surprised at how much this elephant in the room has been discussed in social media lately. I’m grateful that it is finally an okay topic to talk about, rather than considered taboo. The last time I saw something about sahm depression, there were over 500 comments, most agreeing that they had it or had overcome it.
For years it seems that complaining about or pointing out the seriously painful side of being a mom has been frowned upon. We tend to look down on those that we feel “have it better than us” or like they should “just get over it.” People think, “What does she have to complain about? She gets to stay home all day eating ice cream and binging on Netflix.”
So many people are quick to judge, but only those that have literally walked a mile in their shoes (while carrying the kids and groceries, and purses, and diapers, etc.) could ever really understand the heart and struggles of a mother. To read more about what the TRUTH about what it is like being a stay-at-home-mom, Read this. (it might help you understand why so many mothers are depressed!).
While some struggling with depression really do sit and watch Netflix and don’t get out of bed or off the couch, why do we feel it is our place to judge? Instead of looking down upon them, why not try to help them? Why not look at their situation with kindness and compassion and reach out to them? We may never understand why some people find it so hard to face the day. We may not get the reason behind their suffering or depression, but we don’t need to understand it to be kind.
If you are struggling with depression, it could be as simple as finding the correct prescription or hormonal balance. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH SEEKING HELP! In fact, please do! When you take the time, effort, or money to invest in your well-being your entire world improves.
Mama, there is nothing wrong with you. You are loved. You are needed. Give yourself credit for the little things you do every day and know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! I started a Facebook Group for Moms to find a safe haven and a place where they can be uplifted and know that they are loved NO MATTER WHAT! You can find it here: More Than Moms
Happiness is not something you have to put of until tomorrow or someday… it is a skill set you can develop starting today! For more info about that: Click Here
How do YOU combat loneliness, isolation, or feelings of depression?