If you follow me on social media then you're probably fully aware of my most recent dilemma. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been dealing with a relentless case of stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) blues. In all honesty, I found myself bored with the mundane day-to-day of changing diapers, settling squabbles between the boys, and the never-ending cycle of chores that come with being a "traditional" mom.
I found myself undeniably lonely, and longing for real interactions with other adults. And the worst of it all the absolute worst of it is the brand new realization that absolutely nothing is mine. Everything I have, everything I need or want has to be first discussed with my husband because the hard truth is that every cent of it is his hard-earned money.
My husband has worked diligently over the years to attain the position and income our family enjoys and that consistent and hard work has come to an influx in money that has made our lives even more comfortable than it has been in the past, which surprisingly came with a heavy dose of guilt on my part.
I feel bad for spending his money on the things I need and want. And even though he's extremely generous and has never once denied me a single thing I still feel weird about asking him for x amount of dollars for a bra, hair care, a new dress, etc. I appreciate him for being a good husband who is always willing and happy to meet my needs but the adult in me sometimes wants to meet her own needs. Am I being ungrateful?
Aside from the loneliness and neediness, I was struggling with the notion that I'm not feeling fulfilled in this SAHM lifestyle. Back when I was a working mom (as difficult as that was) there was always a sense of accomplishment being met.
I worked in an office and there were always deadlines to meet, standards to adhere to, metrics to work towards, evaluations, and the steps required to climb the corporate ladder. At the end of each workday, I walked out of the office with a sense of relief and accomplishment, and if I hadn't met the goals of that day I left with anticipation of what needed to be done the next day.
After I left the workforce I immediately returned to school to pursue the degree I'd left behind. It felt good working towards that end, and once I'd met it, there was nothing left to do but be a wife and mom.
Even though it's said to be a "luxury" to stay at home with the kids there's still that portion of grass that isn't greener. Many moms struggle with the bouts of depression that come from loneliness, boredom, and feelings of unfulfillment.
Today I'm sharing with you the 10 tips that help me stave off the bouts of SAHM blues.
1. Practice gratitude
When I'm feeling down about my lifestyle 10 times out of 10, I'm probably forgetting to practice gratitude.
I have so much to be thankful for, and if you're reading this then so do you! It's easy to slip into a funk over everything we don't have and ignore everything we do have.
Make an effort to stop thinking about what you don't have and take moment each day to focus on and say thank you for all the blessings that you currently enjoy.
2. Remember why you're doing this
Being a SAHM is tough work, but remind yourself why you chose this path. Personally, this lifestyle is the best option for my family. It saves us a ton of money on childcare and gas. It allows me to be the primary caregiver for my children and through this lifestyle, I don't miss a moment of their childhood.
I know all too well (because I have a child who's grown up and out of the home) that childhood moves fast. One day you're bringing them home, and the next day they want their teenage independence and they're out in the world making their own way.
Being a SAHM affords me the luxury of teaching them the morals and lessons that childcare and the world can not teach them while saving money and enjoying them while I have the opportunity. The best part is it's way less stressful than commuting and working a 9-5.
Remind yourself of why you chose this and let that be a motivator to keep going with full strength and joy.
3. Take good care of yourself
If I don't take good care of myself then how can I take good care of my family? I've learned over the years through trial and error that when I start slacking on self-care that takes a direct toll on the health and well-being of my husband and children.
I urge you to take the time to realize the things that equate to self-care for you. Perhaps it's the occasional spa day or flowers on the table. Maybe it's time for reading or the 3 gym sessions per week. It could be as simple as a shower before the kids wake up, and making time to put on lipstick and curl your hair.
Whatever is it for you make sure you prioritize it and stick to it. Caring for yourself first is caring for your family.
4. Remind yourself of your role in society
When I first became a SAHM it felt as though I was no longer contributing to society. I was no longer helping a fortune 500 company be great.
I wasn't learning a skill in college that would better mankind. I was simply at home, folding laundry, changing diapers, and yes watching unprecedented amounts of daytime tv, and a generous helping of Netflix dramas. I felt useless.
It took some time for me to learn the truth. I was/am contributing to society in the most powerful way a human can. I'm raising human beings! I'm teaching my children to be decent people, and that's no easy task in today's world.
I'm doing my part to ensure the world is a better place by bringing up children who practice respect for themselves and others, and contribute to society in meaningful ways. It's okay if you forget and occasionally have to remind yourself of this. I have to remind myself from time to time.
5. Create a morning routine
If you aren't a morning person, you probably aren't doing it right. Proverbs 31 (A wife of noble character) reminds us that a good mother and wife wakes up before the sun. This is not only a Godly thing to do, but also a beautiful act of self-care.
Waking up hours prior to the rest of the family affords me the time to just be me without the hassle of being a wife and mom. I use those hours for prayer and reading scripture. I meditate and sometimes I stretch, write, and stargaze.
There's something very special about those early morning hours of solitude that make me feel closer to God and everything heavenly.
In those hours I feel so close to heaven that I can almost touch it. Enjoying the morning hours alone ensures my husband will awaken to a happy wife, and my kids are guaranteed a patient mother.
6. Start a new hobby that's just for you
Life shouldn't be about chores and work only. It's important to set aside time to do something you enjoy. And although you truly enjoy your Netflix series you should also have something to enjoy that doesn't include a screen.
Challenge yourself to find a hobby that encourages you to learn something new. If you already have a hobby then challenge yourself to discover a new hobby. My hobby has been making rosaries for the past year and a half, but to be honest, I've found myself bored with it as of late. Luckily for me, I've discovered a new hobby. I've truly been enjoying getting out and discovering everything there is to do in Central Florida.
If you don't have a hobby get one!
If you're bored with your hobby, start a new one!
7. Make the most out of the weekend
Don't let your life become all work and no play. Make the most of your days off and let yourself look forward to them. For me, getting through the workweek is a lot easier to do when I have something to look forward to.
I've learned to make fun family plans for Saturday and spend every waking moment of that day simply enjoying life's pleasures with the ones I love, and Sundays are dedicated to worship and rest.
When my weekdays of chores and child-rearing start to feel mundane, I like to look forward to the weekend and all of its pleasures and rest.
Don't let your weekends be simply another day. Make the most of them, plan family activities, get out of the house, enjoy each other's company, experience new things, and then on the 7th day, you rest.
8. Exercise regularly
Exercise has been proven time and time again to be the solution to most of the problems that humans face. Are you feeling depressed or anxious? Then you should exercise. Want to improve your self-image? Then you should exercise. The same is true when it comes to beating the SAHM blues.
Exercise serves as a way of staving off any form of depression and anxiety including those created by being a SAHM. Personally, exercise is a form of self-care, a hobby, and a goal to work towards. I personally have a gym membership and this affords me time away from the kids and the opportunity to say hello to people outside of my immediate circle.
Exercise doesn't have to be done in a gym (I simply prefer it for the weights and equipment). It could be as simple as a walk to the park with the kids, or a simple part of your morning routine. Just make sure to get it done on a regular basis.
9. Enjoy Social Media Responsibly
Social media can be both a blessing and a curse. It can be a way to meet new friends and make meaningful connections, as well as a way to self-sabotage by comparison (which is the death of joy).
Learn to use social media responsibly by taking a break when need be, and always remembering that what you see on the gram (and elsewhere) are often exaggerated versions of people's lives, and very seldom are they authentic representations of what life is truly like.
Don't compare your own home to the picture-perfect Pinterest homes. Those photos were taken with the intent to post a photo and generate likes and follows (which generate money and power). That person would never post what their home looks like when their toddler has thrown all his toys onto the floor and colored the walls with Crayola crayons. That beauty blogger doesn't post the harsh reality of inevitable 30-year-old weight gain, and that fitness expert hasn't shared with you the extent to which she is missing out on her children growing up due to the excessive amount of time spent on her image.
It took me a few years of using social media to learn how to use it responsibly. The worldwide web doesn't come with a users guide or a surgeon generals warning label (although it should) and it's up to you to learn to use it in a way that's helpful and not harmful.
Everything on social media is curated and every user posts as a means to end (fortune, fame, money, etc). Learn to use it as a source for meaningful connections but take everything with a grain of salt, and a healthy dose of understanding.
Most importantly know that it's 100% okay to withdraw and take a break when need be. My most recent break from social media lasted 2months and during that time (and every time I withdraw) I experienced a tremendous amount of growth.
10. Create new Goals and Work Towards Them
My SAHM blues usually kick in when I've accidentally fallen into a rut of doing nothing with myself. The majority of people over the age of 3 months feel best about themselves when they work towards and accomplish small goals.
The truth about motherhood, being a wife, and raising a family is that it's forever ongoing which means that the opportunity to meet specific goals is few and far between. For this reason, it's important to set tangible goals with a deadline and work diligently towards them until you meet them.
When you meet that goal, set a new one and work towards that. My current goal is to make connections with people from all walks of life, and as a true introvert this is a goal that requires serious effort, but I'm getting there. I'm meeting new people and expanding my circle of friends. New goals can be literally anything. Take some time to write down the things you would love to accomplish, pick one (or two), and get to work towards them.
I haven't yet figured out how to eliminate the feelings of guilt I have for not making my own income, and I'm actively working towards that (it's a goal of mine). Currently, when the feeling starts to be incredibly distressing, I push the thought aside and work at the 10 things listed above.
I'm working at finding ways to generate income while continuing to be a SAHM and when those feelings start to get the best of me I remind myself of 1 Timothy 6:10 "Money is the root of all evil" This helps me prevent the desire for my own money from ruining the beauty of my current situation.
If you happen to be a SAHM who's learned how to make money while caring for your family full-time please let me know how you do it.
If you're a SAHM who's learned to be content with not making your own income please share your best advice and coping strategies with me. I'd love to hear them.