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Every single day, in many homes close to yours there is a stay-at-home mom who struggles to face all the emotional challenges that come with this role. And yet too many times we prefer to ignore it. To avoid talking about it. To make it a topic that we don’t talk about.
But here is the truth: No matter if we talk about it or not, this is a reality in many families! And the fact that we don’t talk about this reality only makes it harder for the moms who are struggling with it.
Our society keeps promoting this idealistic picture of what being a stay-at-home mom looks like. We only talk about the blessing of being a stay-at-home mom. About the luck to afford it. About the huge joy of spending a lot of time with the kids.
And sometimes this makes more harm than good.
Picturing SAHM life like this hurts both stay-at-home moms and working moms. On one hand, it makes many working moms feel guilty that they are not able to spend so much time with their kids. On the other hand, it makes many stay-at-home moms feel like they don’t have the right to complain because they are already so “lucky and privileged”.
And even worse, it determines many people to undervalue the huge work and contribution that stay-at-home moms bring to their families and to the society.
So many people think that being a stay-at-home mom is like having an endless vacation and that it’s great that you “don’t have to work”. I keep hearing people telling stay-at-home moms how lucky they are that they don’t have to do anything all day. Or that they get to choose whatever schedule they want every day, without having a job or a boss.
If a stay-at-home mom complains about the real struggles that she faces she is often reminded about the blessing of spending all day with her kids as if this would make all the other hard things disappear.
At some point, it even gets to feel inappropriate to complain or talk about the hard challenges of being a SAHM. It almost feels like complaining makes you a bad mom because you are not “capable” to enjoy the blessing of spending so much time with your kids.
But a mom can love her kids with all her heart and treasure the time she spends with them and still feel like it’s very hard to be a stay-at-home mom.
The emotional challenges of this role have nothing to do with the mom’s love for her kids.
Too many stay-at-home moms get to feel defeated and depressed because they don’t have the support they need. Too many of them hide alone in the bathroom and cry, feeling like they failed because it shouldn’t feel so hard to stay at home with their kids. And too many of them are afraid to talk about their struggles because of all the people that will hurry to blame or shame them.
And one of the reasons why this is happening is that we don’t speak up about the hard part of being a stay-at-home mom. We contribute to this idealist picture of being a SAHM because we don’t talk enough about the emotional struggles behind it.
Being a stay-at-home mom can bring a lot of joy. Enjoying time with the kids every day, watching them grow, and being part of every important moment in their lives is so wonderful! There is no doubt that being a SAHM brings many blessings and builds happy memories that every mom will cherish forever!
We see these moments every day in our friends’ pictures, in Facebook posts, in lovely Instagram photos.
But we also need to talk more about the other side of being the SAHM that so many moms are struggling with: the frustrations, the loneliness, the tears, the helplessness.
photo credit: Evgeny Atamanenko / shutterstock.com
Talking about them will make them easier to handle. It will bring more awareness, more understanding, more support. And it might change the lives of so many moms who now are feeling completely overwhelmed.
Speaking up about this will make a difference for every single stay-at-home mom who struggles! Not only that she will no longer feel alone but the people around her will be more likely to offer her the support she needs!
The change starts with each and every one of us.
We need to start talking honestly about all the sides of being a stay-at-home mom. We shouldn’t be afraid to admit our difficult moments, our frustrations, our emotional struggles.
Changing the perspective of the “ideal SAHM life” will bring more appreciation for the hard work of every stay-at-home mom.
It will make stay-at-home moms stronger and more determined to find solutions together. It will break at least a little bit of the isolation that many moms are facing.
And it all starts with us!
We need to talk about SAHM depression. This will help those moms crying in the bathroom or late at night near a crib know that they are not alone and seek for help.
We need to admit how lonely can SAHM life feels sometimes. This will be the first step to creating more communities to bring us together.
We need to talk about the moments when we miss the sense of professional accomplishment that we once had at our job. This will raise awareness about the need for more flexible jobs for moms.
We need to speak up about how overwhelming it can be to take care of kids all day. This will make people realize the huge need for more affordable and reliable childcare options.
We cannot change the way other people understand what being a SAHM really means without changing the way we share our own experience with this role, with all the good and bad sides of it.
So if you are a stay-at-home mom and you sometimes feel isolated, undervalued, or helpless, please speak up about this!
If you are a SAHM and you feel that this is not the life that you wanted, please don’t be afraid to admit it! It doesn’t mean that you don’t love your kids or don’t treasure the time you spend with them because I’m sure you do. It just means that you have more dreams and expectations for your life. And you have all the right to have them!
If you find yourself feeling sadness, anger, or frustration when everyone around you tells you how lucky and happy you should feel for staying at home with your kids, please don’t let this make you feel like you failed. The emotional challenges of being a SAHM are real! And you deserve to get all the help and support you need.
photo credit: 279photo Studio / shutterstock.com
If anyone tries to make you believe that you shouldn’t dare to complain about the fact that you stay at home with your kids please let them know that you have all the right to do this! You are in no way less valuable than a person with a “normal” job. In many ways, you are doing one of the hardest jobs. Because motherhood comes with a huge responsibility and a non-stop schedule.
Being a stay-at-home mom is hard! It can make you feel tired, overwhelmed, lonely, angry, undervalued, frustrated, or depressed. This doesn’t make you a bad mom or a weak person.
Because the truth is that there are so many moms around you that feel the same even if they don’t talk about it!
You can be the one speaking up, asking for help, allowing you to be honest and vulnerable. The emotional challenges of being a stay-at-home mom are real. But every one of us has the power to let people know about this and bring more support and encouragement to all the moms who need them.
Writing this article was my way of doing this.
More articles on this topic
Here are some very interesting articles about the emotional challenges of being a stay-at-home mom. If you struggle with any of these challenges, I hope that you’ll find helpful ideas in these articles.
- The Emotional Challenges of Being a Stay-at-Home Mom from Psychology Today
- To The Stay-At-Home Mom: I Know You Struggle from Scary Mommy
- Yes, stay-at-home moms can be depressed from Today’s Parent
- Why Didn’t Anyone Warn Me About Stay-at-Home Mom Depression? from Mom.me
More from Playful Notes
- What helped me become a calmer mom and be gentle with my child even if I’m angry
- 5 tips for overwhelmed moms that made a difference in my life
- How I find time for me (and work) as a stay-at-home mom
photo credit preview photo: Evgeny Atamanenko / shutterstock.com