When we are young, we feel liberated. We have dreams of conquering the world. We just think that it’s easy to change the world! By the time we are out there looking for a decent job in the market, reality hits us hard. We still have dreams, but conquering the world and chasing it takes a backseat. And then some of us end up in a marriage. We decide to grow in number. We decide to embrace a new designation, that of being a stay-at-home mom!
Majority women post-delivery take a sabbatical from their ongoing professional lives. They decide to take care of the kid by being there for him/her 24×7. So, the dreams that they’d once dreamt of, some half fulfilled, half-broken are forgotten.
Now all that they do is change diapers, pick and drop a kid or two from the school and get exhausted taking care of the house, running errands, etc. etc.
First of all, it is important to understand that moms are moms. And we have never disputed the fact that stay-at-home moms are more stressed than working moms or vice-versa. Stay-at-home moms could have once been working and similarly, working moms could once have been home-bound.
So, when you read this blog, please imagine you are a mom, a real mom who is probably undergoing mood swings!
Importance of being a stay-at-home mom
We have known a few stay-at-home moms who chose to be one because they felt it was far more productive to have grown their small enterprise by working-from-home. There are quite a few advantages, but on the flip side, these moms at some point felt overwhelmed because they ended up doing a lot more than they’d imagined. Sure, they have a routine. Being at home helps moms plan and organize activities and prepare a daily routine for both the child and themselves. Having said which, stay-at-home moms feel more depressed because, after a long day, they have nowhere to go. They end up staying indoors, and because the comfort has been established, they prefer things that way.
How to feel fulfilled as a stay-at-home-mom?
As a mom, it’s easy to feel useless. But, as a stay-at-home-mom, it’s easier to feel isolated, boxed in, or imprisoned at home. This is what a friend was once going through. She was on the verge of depression! Imagine, having worked all her life, one day she had no option but to give it all up, a highly paid job, travel, good designation, everything! It was worth it. Having a baby is one thing and taking care of your child is another. Giving up on the same old routine or putting it aside for a while isn’t quite an unfair deal.
One day I decided to visit my friend. When she opened the door, I had to take a good look at the person who was at the receiving end. I thought it was not my friend who was opening the door for me. There stood a messy person, who once wore a deep red lipstick and had her hair all in place no matter what. She brought me a cold cup of tea, and announced in tears- “It is so boring!”
I asked her what’s wrong and she replied- “I now get up and not even shower all day. There isn’t much to look forward too. I am performing diaper duties and nursing all day long, and nights are sleepless. I’m going mad.”
That sounded so depressing. She was obviously so angry and sad and everything in-between. This was also impacting her marriage.
Easy and useful tips to strengthen your relationship and make your marriage work.
What’s also stayed consistent is the feeling of loneliness, isolation, and loss of purpose that comes as a free bag with motherhood. My immediate advice to her was to get a grip of herself (she obviously didn’t quite understand what it meant at that point. But, she thanks me now).
She desperately missed work, there’s no shame in accepting that or taking up a part-time gig. But for those who want or need to stay home, there are ways to work through the phase.
I was glad to have been around for my friend. She opened up to me. She also started her journal. For others. I’d recommend therapy sessions or joining online support groups. Also, setting a goal and small wins matter. So for my friend, her goal was to get back to wearing her fav red lipstick and getting back to reading books. She attending and online book club. She started enjoying it, decided to convert her journal into a book that is now a bestseller.
She worked it out, day by day, month by month.
Having something to look forward always (always) helps!
Therefore, never ever forget these 4 simple tips to feel fulfilled and content as a stay-at-home mom:
1. Take time for yourself: Read your favorite book, Give yourself 10 minutes of music therapy time, and if you love cooking, do it for your happiness (and not because you ought to fix a meal)
2. Find a hobby: If you have never had one, find one. Try 10 different things and see which one did you enjoy the most. Try and take time out for it to feel rejuvenated.
3. Make friends: No one is asking you to look for deep and meaningful friendships. You just need to find your tribe and have them there for you when you need an ear. Even if it means to convert your sister-in-law into a friend, do it, for your own sanity.
4. Celebrate motherhood: Yes! As profound as it may sound, and even if the idea of playing house-house might be repulsive, trust me, you can really have a good time with kids. They can be the reason for stress, but most often than not, they are also the reason to beat your stress.
Please do not hesitate to see a therapist if you feel like you need to share your feelings with someone. Please do not hesitate to express yourself. Be vocal, be audible, cry it out or sleep over it, but do not feel guilty or ashamed of your emotions.