Beat The Stay At Home Mom Blues
I know you. You work so hard day in and day out to keep your family happy and healthy. You clean and cook and play and offer emotional support. But what about you? You matter.
It is easy to lose yourself in your new role as a mom. You don’t have time to eat, shower, enjoy hobbies...at least you think you don’t...
Stay At Home Mom Depression - The Struggle Is Real
I suggest starting at the beginning of this series.
Part Two In Series
I wanted to create this step by step guide on how to get out of the stay at home mom depression slump. You are an amazing woman, and you give 100% of yourself everyday. If your battery is constantly running on empty or your entire day revolves around everyone and everything but yourself, read this.
This is a mom that takes on every task and challenge at full throttle, does not stop to rest or eat or take care of herself. To the outside world she is remarkable, but she is tired, worn out and has lost her identity outside of being a mom. This kind of mom puts her all in to her role as a parent, but at what cost?
2. Momma Bear
Momma Bear refers to a mom that has probably experienced some sort of trauma during pregnancy or labour and delivery. Maybe a preexisting anxiety disorder was intensified by her new role as a mom. She thinks she needs to hang on to all aspects of her children’s lives with a steel grip. No one can take care of her children as good as she can and she worries constantly about their well being even in a safe setting.
3. The Postpartum Depression Mom
Again this probably started with trauma during pregnancy or the first year as a new mom. This mom never got the time to recover, and has been running on auto pilot ever since. The thought of being away from her kids for an hour terrifies her because outside of them, she wouldn’t know what to do with herself.
Can You Relate?
If you have experienced anything similar to the SuperMom, the Momma Bear or the Postpartum Depression Mom, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can be a mom and an individual at the same time!
How To Find "You" Again
Here is a list to build yourself back up to the person that enjoys life and knows how to exist outside of her role as a mom.
1. Take the depression and anxiety test linked here.
If you score high, continue to follow the steps listed in my Depression Help article. Do not skip this step. After you have completed those steps, come back to this guide. If you did not score high, keep reading.
2. Get your house organized
I know this is a big task. I want you to put other outside commitments aside for now and spend nap time or the evening tidying and organizing your surroundings. I want you to watch this video here:
Tips for Living Simply & Minimalism with Kids
Declutter and get your house feeling fresher. Take your time and remember to eat and stay hydrated.
3. Find Reliable Child Care
If you do not already have a daycare or babysitter that your child can visit, set this up now. If you feel you cannot afford this, try enlisting a friend or family member. We are talking about ONE day to start.
Look on Urbansitter.com, Google, a local Daycare, talk to other moms about who they use. Set this up, do a tour with your child and put a date on the calendar. ONE day. If you identified with any of the 3 Mom terms you saw above, remember that the fear and panic at the thought of your child being at daycare is the 'Mom term' talking.
4. Have A Date - With Yourself
Now that you have completed the steps in the depression checklist (if needed) and your house has been ‘simplified’, send that kid to daycare for the day. I want you to give yourself a makeover.
Make a coffee, drink it while you do your nails. Have a shower, shave and apply a homemade hair mask. While the hair mask is setting, sit in front of the mirror. Pluck those brows, moisturize and put on perfume. Now rinse that hair mask and do your makeup. Get dressed in normal clothes. Do your hair.
Now take yourself out of the house somewhere that would be nice without the kids. DO NOT run an errand. Go shopping, go for a walk. Smile at everyone you see.
The point is that YOU did it. You are a person in this world, and a very important one.
5. Go to a Playgroup
If you have an early learning center around, go there. If not, look in to churches. Many of them have an open to the public playgroup once a week.
When you get there, smile at the other moms. Even moms that look put together may feel just like you underneath that perfectly curled hair. Talk to them. Maybe look for the mom that is alone just playing with her child. Give her a compliment and start a conversation.
Keep at this. The point is to get out in the Mom community.
When I was suffering with Postpartum Depression, someone gave me this advice. They said to take baby to a playgroup, get out there in the world. I was terrified. I got to the playgroup and sat down amidst the circle of other parents. I saw them all smiling and playing with their kids. Almost immediately the walls started closing in on me. I don't fit in here! They all look happy...what am I doing wrong? I figured they were all judging how terrible I was at this mom thing, I grabbed my baby and I ran out to my car crying.
It is OK to be scared. It is not OK to isolate yourself. I promise you, those other moms don't care what you're wearing or how big those bags are under your eyes. And if your baby starts causing a fuss, they will think you are brave and admire your ability to deal with it.
6. Find a Sitter
Take that babysitter you found earlier and go for dinner. If you are a single mom, ask a friend. On this date night, do not look at your phone for babysitter updates on whether your child finished their grilled cheese or made a poopy. Act silly, laugh, breath, and let yourself relax.
Does it say anywhere in anything you have read that Moms should be slaves at home and are not allowed to have fun? No. Do not feel guilty getting a babysitter. Even for an hour. Get out there!
How is it going so far?
Let's recap. You have identified what type of mom troubles you are suffering from with the defined list of 3 Mom terms. You have checked your mental health with a professional if you are suffering from depression and anxiety. Your house is in better shape, you have cleaned yourself up, and you are starting to venture out of the house without your kids.
Great work! I am so proud of you!
Remember to stay patient. You probably lost yourself somewhere between pregnancy and the toddler years. That’s a long time! You are not going to feel better after one day. Keep going....
7. Find a Passion
Brainstorm ideas you can be passionate about outside of your kids and partner. Something just for you. Here are some of my favourites:
-walking with headphones and music or audio book
-blogging or journaling
-making gifts for other people like scrapbooks or crafts
-making essential oil products like lotions and bath bombs
8. Take the Time
Implement an hour a day to do your hobby. Maybe you get up an hour earlier (yuck!) or use nap time. The dishes aren’t going anywhere and blind yourself to any window smudges or dust you may see. Don’t be SuperMom!
9. Balance Your Life
I want you to picture yourself as a computer hard drive. Every computer has a hard drive filled with programs, software, internal memory, etc. If you were to make up a pie graph of this hard drive and the things that are taking up space, it may look like this:
Now I want you to be that hard drive. Make a pie chart of all the things that take up "You" on a daily basis. It may look like this:
Your task now is to find your balance. What is taking up too much of your time and what should probably take up more. Is cleaning taking up a lot of space but personal hygiene or self care is at a 2%? Tweak this pie graph and play with the numbers until it works in your favor. Now print it and put it somewhere you will see it everyday. Work towards this goal because you matter so much.
I want you to contact me. Email me in private or comment on this post, doesn’t matter. Tell me how you are doing. How far have you come on this finding yourself again journey? Where are you struggling?
I am So proud of you!
Being a mom is the hardest job I have ever had. It took me 2 years to find myself again after the birth of my son. Remember, this is an ongoing process. Emulate for your children how important loving yourself is. No one benefits from a depressed mother. Invest in yourself and I promise you will be glad you did.
Growing As A Mom