Choosing to be a stay at home mom isn’t always sunshine and roses. It is a rewarding choice but it does not mean that it is easy.
See as a SAHM, you’re “job” is to take care of your child/children 24/7, take care of your home, bills, the needs of your husband and everything else in between.
Society has painted this picture of what a SAHM should be like. You know the one, the 1950’s June Cleaver with the well behaved kids, the spotless home and the complete look adorned with a big beaming smile.
Living up to the expectations of a made up sitcom character can be overwhelming.
If you don’t live up to the June Cleaver standard of stay at home motherhood, you feel like less of a mom, less of a wife and less of a woman.
That is when the SAHM depression kicks in…
As a mom to four children, having them all behave perfectly, the house spotless and having myself put together beautifully all in one day has yet to happen in the last seven years since I have been a SAHM.
But, you know what has happened… SAHM Depression.
Not being able to live up to society’s standards has, at times, made me feel like a complete and utter failure. On a typical day, I am able to either have the house clean, the kids behaving or me looking good; but never all at once.
Why? Because I am not a sitcom character. Life is unscripted.
My life is chaos in the most beautiful form.
But when the SAHM depression kicks in, the beauty of what my life is fades from view. I focus on all the things I don’t complete or all the things I do wrong. And at times, I can lose sight of my faith and relationship with a God and Jesus Christ.
Then we have social media to add to the SAHM depression equation.
Filling your newsfeed are your friends who appear to have their life together. When you are a SAHM, social media is your connection to the outside world. But when the SAHM depression kicks in, you forget that people only post the positive aspects of their life so you begin to compare your life to those perfect posts on Facebook or Instagram.
Oh, and how can I forget the final factor of SAHM depression… The Mom Shamers. You know, the people that make you feel awful no matter what choice you make as a mom.
Breastfeed or bottle feed.
Homeschool or public school.
To vaccinate or not to vaccinate.
I could go on and on…
You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.
So, how do you pull yourself out of the dark hole that is SAHM depression? How do you find your value in a world that calculates your net worth in dollars and cents?
Here are my tips to becoming a mama warrior, not a mama worrier.
Tip #1: Remember you are only human.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
God created us as imperfect people. He gave us His son, Jesus Christ, who died for our worldly sins. In Jesus, you will find refuge.
When life seems overwhelming, prioritize your expectations for your life. Then take on each task one at a time. After all, it took God seven days to create earth, so cut yourself some slack. You are not going to fix all of your problems in a day. Be patient and kind to yourself.
Tip #2: Focus on the opinions of the ones who matter.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
When you focus on the opinions of everyone, you will lose yourself. You will lose your way and feel lost. Focus on the life you want to create. Listen to the people who love you but don’t feel you have to live the way they believe you should. The only opinion that truly matters at the end of the day is God’s.
No matter what choices you make, you and your family’s health and happiness is the most important thing.
Tip #3: Detox from social media.
“Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others.” Galatians 6:4-5
Social media can be a wonderful thing. But when you are suffering from depression of any form, social media can be your biggest enemy.
Like I said before, people share happy, successful moments on social media. Most of the time, they don’t share the dark, negative aspects of their lives. So, when you view these wonderful accomplishments or milestones, you begin to question your life. Your choices become closely examined and you begin to descend into a downward tunnel of self doubt and self loathing.
Stop it dead in its’ tracks by taking a social media detox. Whether it is a day, a week or even a month, taking a break from social media can help you focus on the life you are trying to build without comparing your life to others.
Tip #4: Reach out to someone.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16
Finding someone to talk to about your thoughts and feelings can be healing. When you suffer from depression, you do not control your thoughts but your thoughts control you. Having someone to talk to will help you release the thoughts in your head and make you feel lighter and empowered. The key is to find someone to talk to that you trust that will not make you feel guilty or make you feel like a burden. Even if you have to find a counselor, reaching out to someone talk about your thoughts and feelings is crucial so your depressed thoughts don’t develop into suicidal ones.
Tip #5: Take time for self care.
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16
As a SAHM, it is your job to make sure the needs of your family are taken care of. Unfortunately, more times than not, your needs take a back seat which can cause you to become depressed. You feel like a shell of your pre-mom self. Taking the time to make sure you feel good is important. You can’t properly take care of others if you do not take care of yourself.
Being a stay at home parent is so rewarding. Unfortunately, suffering from depression as a SAHM effects not only yourself, but those around you. Cling tight to your faith and you will be okay. Just remember to love yourself and the ones around you. Know that God is with you and you are loved exactly how you are. You will get through this. Just continue to move forward one step at a time.