When I decided to leave the workforce to become a full-time stay-at-home mom, I didn’t exactly know what to expect. I wondered, Will I be wasting my education? Will I enjoy staying at home? These questions, along with many others, seemed to endlessly swirl through my mind. The truth is, I was excited, but also very anxious about my new chosen path.
Fast forward to today, after a few short years, and I am fully living out my role as a stay-at-home mom. I can truthfully say I made a great decision. Having the freedom and flexibility to stay home and do the things I love for the people I love brings me joy and contentment.
But as awesome as it is, and contrary to popular belief, being a stay-at-home mom is no easy task. Aside from being met with physical demands such as cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc., stay-at-home moms often face mental and emotional challenges that nobody sees. Here we’ll discuss some of the highs and lows of being a stay-at-home mom, (with tips to get through those lows).
When you become a stay-at-home mom, your sense of self-worth might take a hit. You may no longer feel the sense of accomplishment you once did when you held a professional job outside the home. Furthermore, not only is being a stay-at-home mom often overlooked by society, but there might be moments when your own family fails to recognize your time and effort.
The truth is, there will be times when you feel unseen, undervalued, underrated, and underappreciated—mainly because many people have no idea how hard your job really is. And not only will you have to deal with the pressures from outside forces, there might also be pressures and higher expectations that you place upon yourself.
The truth is, there will be times when you feel unseen, undervalued, underrated, and underappreciated—mainly because many people have no idea how hard your job really is.
Dealing with all these “pressures” can be overwhelming, so let’s explore them.
Why did you choose to become a stay-at-home mom? How does it add value to your family? These are the types of questions I now ask myself when moments of doubt and insecurity arise.
Take some time to process the identity shift. If you were unapologetic about your role as a career woman, then you should definitely be unapologetic about your choice to become a stay-at-home mom.
Focusing on your “WHY” and concentrating on the impact that staying home has had on your household will allow you to confidently embrace your journey as a stay-at-home mom.
For me personally, working outside the home involved a great deal of time, energy, skills, dedication, and sacrifice. Being a stay-at-home mom is no different. Instead of trying to make other people see my value, I now focus on the bigger picture.
Loving and caring for our families to the best of our ability is what we’ve been tasked to do. When you feel like your sense of self is slipping, do something that brings you joy. Taking the time to nourish yourself can help you overcome insecurities and improve your sense of identity.
Reaching Out for Support
The upside of being a stay-at-home mom is that we get to spend more quality time with the people we love. On the other hand, the lack of connection to coworkers, and losing daily social aspects that we get from being in the workforce can begin to take its toll. The truth is, you can be a happy, healthy, stay-at-home mom and still feel isolated and alone.
Reaching out for support can be a major key to helping you maintain your sanity as a stay-at-home mom, and it doesn’t have to be extreme. Connecting with other women on a similar journey, both online and in-person, can positively impact your life in so many ways.
By staying home full-time, every day can begin to feel like it’s on repeat. Trying to make each new day feel different from the last can be a daunting task.
Joining a community of fellow stay-at-home moms can be nurturing, encouraging, and motivating. Through sharing experiences, you can gain access to new ideas and strategies that can help make your journey more exciting and fulfilling. You can also vent to your heart’s content, and sometimes that’s all we need!
However you choose to seek support, just know that you shouldn’t walk this road alone.
As with any other occupation, a stay-at-home mom’s journey is filled with joys and struggles. Being connected to someone who “gets it” can help improve your sense of belonging and your overall emotional well-being.
Being a staying-at-home mom doesn’t mean that you don’t work. Getting other people to understand this can be quite difficult at times. Your family and friends might request more of you once you begin to stay home. As I mentioned before, you might also expect more out of yourself.
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make others happy—or be good at what you do—trying to live up to everyone’s expectations (including your own) can lead to feelings of burnout and resentment.
The key is to start small. Identify your priorities and go from there.
Do the best you can for yourself and your loved ones, but know that you can’t do everything. So keep it simple. Establish a routine that works for your household, but be flexible when things don’t go according to plan.
Setting boundaries can help to protect your physical, mental, and emotional space.
Here’s a list of additional ways that you can establish healthy boundaries as a stay-at-home mom:
- Define your limits
- Be okay with saying “no”
- Focus on what you can do
- Prioritize your self-care
- See rest as productivity
- Get the kids involved
When it comes to being a stay-at-home mom, the rule is… there are no rules. Finding yourself is about doing what’s best for YOU and your family. So trust your instincts.
This fellow stay-at-home mom is rooting for you!