Being a stay-at-home mom can be very rewarding, but also incredibly challenging. There’s the guilt about not bringing home a paycheck combined with, at times, significant loneliness. If you’ve ever felt joy when a salesman shows up unannounced at your front door, you know what I’m talking about! OMG! An adult to talk to during the day! (Right? lol).
Here are three emotional challenges that come along with being a stay-at-home mom and how you can overcome them.
- The Frustration of Not Finishing What You Start
Before you became a mom, you were always on top of things. Not only did you work full time, you also managed to keep the house clean and have the laundry done as well.
Now it seems like you can’t finish one project.
There are always dirty dishes in the sink, laundry is clean but sitting in the drier becoming more and more wrinkled, cheerios adorn every flat surface of your once pristine car, and your family is subsisting on frozen pizzas because grocery shopping is often too much to handle.
It’s perfectly normal for mothers, especially new mothers, to constantly need to shift the hierarchy of their priority list.
Consider working with friends on larger projects you could use help with. If you need to completely clean out and reorganize the garage before summer, when bikes and kayaks and other sporting equipment must be accessible, call up a friend or two for help. You’ll get the job done faster and have some much-needed adult time.
Also, see if a friend or family member can watch the kids while you spend an hour or two a week grocery shopping. This will help you stock up on the supplies you need for the week, and also give you some time to be all by yourself!
And finally, see if you can get up before your children. Even an extra half hour in the morning will help you accomplish one extra task a day, and that will make you feel great (A lot easier said than done, though, especially if you have a newborn).
- Isolation and Boredom
You were once surrounded by people in your office, cracking jokes and giving presentations in a plush conference room. Now you spend most days looking for socks and having full-on conversations with yourself. Out loud.
Being a stay-at-home mom can be incredibly isolating. And, though raising children is, on one hand, very rewarding, if we’re going to be honest, there are plenty of days when the boredom is mind-numbing.
Though it isn’t always easy finding time to nurture your social needs, it’s important that you make socializing a priority. Plan regular grown-up gatherings. Take a class once a week, or even a couple of times a month. Walk around the neighborhood every night with a friend. It’s great to get together with other stay-at-home moms. Not only can you have fun, but you can support each other as well.
- Questioning Your Parenting Skills
Stay-at-home moms eat, sleep, and breathe being a parent. There is almost no break from it, which makes it very easy to become somewhat obsessed and begin to question every parenting decision you make.
Connecting with other stay-at-home moms, whether in person or in a chat room, will help you gain perspective on your situation. Also, when you begin to worry and obsess over a recent decision you’ve made, step back and look at the bigger picture. Instead of always asking, “Did I do this or that right,” begin asking, “Is my family happy and healthy?” If you can answer yes to those second questions, then you KNOW you’re doing plenty right!
Sometimes, talking with a neutral third party, like a family therapist, can help you gain perspective on your life and how being a stay-at-home mom is affecting you on a day-to-day basis. If you’re interested in talking with someone, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.
Harini Sukumaran is a Qualified Mental Health Professional and certified Ayurvedic Practitioner who is passionate about helping children to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. Her passion also includes helping Women suffering from trauma, depression, anxiety and Pregnancy/Postpartum mood disorders. She received her Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology and Master’s in Marriage, Couple’s and Family Counseling with special concentration in Children (Play Therapy), Women and Families.