I have a confession to make. I always thought that stay at home moms were lazy. GASP! I know, crazy right? I guess you never really understand something until you’ve done it. Now don’t get me wrong, there are lazy stay at home moms out there. The moms that stick their kids in front of the tv all day and don’t cook or clean. The moms that play games on their phones or computers while their child is begging for their attention, those moms. I was so ‘gung ho’ about being the best mom I could be to Easton and wife to Logan. I wanted Easton to be engaged in new things everyday, read to, allowed to explore new places, and most of all, loved. And I wanted my husband to come home to a clean house and dinner on the stove. I didn’t think doing all of those things was too much to do. But what you’ll never understand until you experience it yourself is just how exhausting it all is, trying to be the perfect wife and mom.
After talking with several of my close friends that all happened to have little ones close in age to Easton, I learned that many of them were feeling the same way I was. So happy to be able to spend this time at home with our new babies, but drained from the mental and physical strain it was taking on our lives. One friend stated how hard it was not talking to any adults all day, only her baby. Another stated that she felt depressed somedays because of being cooped up in her house and not interacting with the outside world. I could totally relate! Feeling this way was making it hard to be the perfect wife and mom.
While browsing the internet on the topic, I came across this great post by Nicole Smith, titled, “The Darker Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom”. She pretty much nailed it on the head so I thought I’d share an insert from her post.
Stay at home moms can be very lonely. Despite what the books and movies and even prime time TV would have you think, many stay at home moms do not meet up for mommy classes, play dates and lunches with the girls. Most of our days really are spent at home with the children. With that isolation can come low self-esteem and depression. Talking to a babbling infant all day long can be very tedious and exhausting. It can be a lonely world we live in and so the first thing we want to do when our partner walks through the door is talk their ear off because finally someone who has a vocabulary larger than their weight understands the words coming out of our mouths. The Internet and television can often replace our closest girlfriends and is an easy trap for us to fall into. Many stay at home moms don’t even realize how lonely they truly are until depression sets in. If you were to walk into your local elementary school with all the stay at home moms lined up, you wouldn’t be able to tell the depressed ones apart from the other stay at home moms. Oddly enough, many of us will admit that though we get lonely, we don’t really do anything about it.
Resentment happens. This is probably the hardest one for many stay at home moms to admit but I will be happy to tell you that I for one can be resentful of my working friends and husband. It is not an easy thing to do some days; stay home and maintain the house, the children the family and keep it all running smoothly. Stay at home moms are under a scrutiny that if we admit to resenting our working counterparts, then we have some how made the wrong choice and we should get up and go to work. Well, it is not like that at all. We don’t resent and envy every day. We have bad days just like anyone else, where we wish we could trade lives with some other mom, or we wonder how things would be if we worked. It’s not bad, it’s just normal.
I can remember one day when Easton had been extremely fussy all day and hadn’t napped well. I think I heard him whining even when he wasn’t! Anyway, dinner time came around and I sat down to feed Easton in his highchair. I could already tell this was going to be a struggle as he arched back when I tried to put him in his chair. I took a deep breath and collected myself though and began feeding him. After a few bites he became agitated again and slapped the bowl of food out of my hand. Food went everywhere!! I was so over it and so upset that I yelled, “NO” at him. He of course, taking after his mother, began to cry. Logan came in from the garage and asked what was going on. After I told him, he said “ok, but that’s no reason to yell at him”. He then took the bowl of food and told me he would finish feeding Easton while I took a break. And of course, wouldn’t you know, Easton sat there like a good boy and ate all of his food. Was I frustrated? Yes. But I was more upset at myself that I had yelled at Easton. I felt bad the rest of the night and the next day. Major fail in the perfect mom department.
Through that experience though I learned that I definitely didn’t want to be that parent that lost their cool. I had to do something to keep myself happy in order to take care of Easton and Logan. Because what’s that saying? “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy!”
So that led me to create a list of things to do to help stay at home moms keep their sanity and beat the blues. I’ll admit, sometimes I have a hard time doing everything on this list ,but at least I have an idea of where to start if I feel myself getting too complacent on the couch or snippy with my boys.
- Get up and dressed everyday-ok this is a tough one for me because I love my pj’s, but I definitely feel like doing more when I’m dressed in decent (maybe even cute!) clothes.
- Have a routine- we all know that babies do best on routines so why not one for us?
- Go outside- a little vitamin D never hurt anyone and you’d be so surprised how much better you feel once you do!
- Schedule play dates and activities through the week- kids love playing with other kids and moms love having someone else to chat with. Plus you’re less likely to cancel if you’ve got something planned with another mom.
- Work out- even if it’s just for 20 minutes. I always feel so much better after a workout and ready to tackle the day, or some poop.
- Have a hobby- whether it be crafting, or blogging, do something fun that you like to do. (insert husband)
- Take time out from baby. (insert babysitter or husband)
- Don’t forget about YOU- mani/pedi, hair cut, a good wax, whatever it is, when you take time to make yourself look good, you feel good!
- Call friends when you need a pick me up! (Not the ones without kids, your other mom friends that can relate!)
- Get plenty of sleep! (I always kick myself the next day when I’m dragging because I stayed up too late to blog or catch up on tv shows.)
What about you? What sort of things help keep you out of a rut and supercharged? One of my friends told me when she’s feeling down she cooks! haha! I thought this was quite funny because I absolutely hate cooking but I realized, to each their own. Whatever it is that makes you happy, do it! Your little one and husband will thank you!