A 2018 post by Salary.com revealed that on average, a stay at home mom should technically earn $162, 581 per year. It noted a hybrid role consisting of over 30 typical jobs (housekeeper, day care teacher, dietitian, event planner, bookkeeper, etc) all rolled into one title: mom.
Yet there is still some stigma in our culture about being a stay at home mom. The opinions vary from enthusiastic support (You’re doing the best thing for your family!) to dismissal as a contributing member of society. In the end, it’s no one’s business but your own, but sometimes it’s difficult to discuss the obstacles we face, for fear of being dismissed as “just a mom”.
I should start by saying I am extremely grateful that we are in a financial position that allows me to stay home with my children, and that I do understand that obviously that’s not the case for everyone. However, I will also note that because of this, it’s often hard to discuss my challenges as a stay at home mom, for fear of comments such as “well at least you get to stay home”, and being treated as if my struggles are insignificant.
This article from Psychology Today really pinpoints some of the common emotional struggles of being a stay at home mom, as well as some tips to counteract those feelings.
The article covers feelings of frustration over lack of time to get anything done, loss of a sense of accomplishment to your day, feelings of boredom and isolation, as well as insecurity in your parenting decisions.
I’ll add that stay at home moms can also struggle with anxiety which can be triggered by any number of the above instances.
In terms of social isolation, that is especially true because it seems like after you have a child, you often see your child-less friends a lot less often. Furthermore if you do make “mom friends” it’s usually just the fact that you’re both moms at a play group that you have in common. It might be that the only thing you really have to talk about is things like sleep training, potty training, car seats etc, when really you’re just longing for adult conversation.
To top it all off, being a stay at home mom is just REALLY HARD.
It’s being “on” 100% of the time your kids are awake. It’s tending to tantrums, meltdowns, spilled milk, and throwing toys at siblings all while trying to prep dinner, do laundry, pay some bills, or organize the grocery list. To some these things may seem trivial, but when you’re in the thick of it, the frustration can seem monumental. If you’re lucky, and your child still naps, it’s not the “free time” you thought it would be. It’s doing all the household chores that you can, eating lunch if you can squeeze it in, and then starting to prep dinner.
My #1 tip for staying sane as a stay at home mom is to do something for yourself.
After an entire day of tending to everyone’s needs but your own, it’s so important to show yourself some love too.
Get your partner to watch the kids for an hour or two and just get out of the house. Sometimes I go out to just get a coffee and browse the local bookstore. I don’t even buy any books, I just wander and enjoy my coffee in peace. I’ve recently joined a local yoga studio and the calm it brings my mind after a long hectic day with the kids is amazing. Journaling is also a great way to work out any feelings that may have risen throughout the day.