Being a stay at home mom is amazing – many moms dream of the ability to stay at home.
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When I got pregnant with my first child, I didn’t care whether I was going to stay home or go back to work; I loved my career. I stayed home for about a year, but when our second child came, we didn’t have a choice. I needed to work to afford the necessities of two children. I worked for about a year before I found out I was pregnant with twins. This changed everything. I had to stay at home to because working and having 4 children under 5 years old was too much – physically, mentally, and monetary wise. My paychecks would have all gone to daycare and diapers.
My husband and I figured that it didn’t make much sense for me to work just to keep our kids in daycare, so we sold our house, paid off extra bills with some of the equity, put a little in savings, and found a house that better fit our needs and budget.
I was excited that I was able to stay home with all four of the kiddos and not miss the twin’s ‘firsts’. In my head it seemed perfect. I got to have my own schedule, wake up when I wanted, get out of the house and do whatever I wanted to with the kids while everyone else was at work…
Then reality sunk in.
Being a stay at home mom is not as glamorous at it may seem. At first it seems great. No need to wake up to look good for work – I just stayed in my comfy clothes and enjoyed not spending the time to get ready. After a couple months of that, I started to feel even more tired and lazy. I couldn’t even muster up energy to play with my kids. It’s exhausting.
You have a million things you need to get done – get them cleaned, dressed, fed, play with them, make sure they aren’t getting into anything, take them to school, and take them to their doctors and dentist appointments. On top of all that, you have to take care of the household chores. It’s 24/7 non-stop. No quiet time. No clock outs. No vacation and sick time. Someone always needs you.
With the depletion of sanity, parents tend to fall into a SAHM slump – you barely take showers, you question the need to brush your teeth, you throw your hair up in a greasy messy bun, put some concealer under your eyes to cover the dark spots, make sure your three-day-old clothes don’t smell like BO or spit-up, and go on with life, because you are always busy doing everything else, and the only place you need to go to is your kids drop off at school, and you’re in and out of there so fast you just hope no one notices the sweet potato baby food you spilled on your pants this morning, or the fact that your pants are inside out (that actually happened…).
I used to feel good about myself – instead I started to feel moppy, depressed, and ugly. But I didn’t know how to get out of that funk, because I had no time to think about myself.
After some self-awareness and a need to change, I had to tell myself that it wasn’t what I wanted, as a mom/wife/women. So I starting making time for myself. I forced it. I didn’t allow myself to make excuses. Even if that meant locking myself in the bathroom for 15 minutes – I did it. I gave me some much-needed *me* time.
It changed my life. It changed my parenting. It changed my marriage. Now, I hope I help at least one of you get back to who you want to be. Think about what you like, and what makes you feel happy, and try and do it – at least one thing a day.
I love showers. I do my thinking in the shower. I decompress in the shower. I turn my brain off and sing stupid songs in the shower. Taking showers are my escape and I wasn’t allowing myself to decompress. So, I decided that I needed to push myself – no matter how tired I was, even if it was 2pm, I needed to make time to take a shower even if it was just a quick one.
At first I was stressed that I could be doing a load of laundry or dishes while the twins napped, but every time I get out of that shower, I thank myself. I feel happier. More motivated. More patient with my kids and husband. We all win when mom is able to shower… and forcing myself to take that time, for myself, has been SO very worth it.
On the especially good nights, when all the kids fall asleep without a fight, the husband has done the dishes, and my house doesn’t look like a war-zone, I like to give myself little spa treatments (Target has the best face and foot masks for cheap — or you can make your own. It makes me feel sexy again – and moms need to still feel sexy!
Maybe showers and spa treatments aren’t for you. But find what makes you happy. Get out of the house, go for a walk by yourself, get coffee with a friend, take the kids to the park, sit in a quiet room and listen to meditation music on Pandora for 5 minutes. Just make sure you do something, even if it’s small, that brings happiness to you – because you’re a rock star, and you can’t fill everyone’s glass with a hole in yours.
It may seem impossible some days to even think about yourself, but just give a little push and know that you will feel more energized and happy when you take care of yourself – and when mom is happy, everyone is happy.