SAHM Depression

 

,As a SAHM (Stay-at-Home Mom), I really appreciated the article published by The TODAY Parenting Team. They took the time to give an inside look at the realities of staying home with your children and how it truly can be depressing. I have been home with my babies for a little over 2 years now, and while I love being with them it is also very difficult some days.

Before we go any further, I am beyond thankful that I am able to stay home with my babies and that my husband is able to provide for us. I am so grateful that I am the one that gets to teach my babies, cook all of their meals, and never miss a milestone.

However, there are still days where my anxiety is just through the ROOF and I am ready to pull out every single strand of hair on my head.

But that isn’t really the point of this post…

I have seen TODAY’s article shared many, many, many times on Facebook, and for the most part it seems to be other SAHMs who know how it feels. On the other hand, from time to time I will come across the occasional share or comment that literally blows my mind with the negativity being spewed towards the mothers who can relate to the article.

I have seen people accusing mothers of causing their own depression, asking for it, or even allowing themselves to remain stuck in a rut. And that type of discussion is absolutely ridiculous.

I’m not typically this blunt, but if you haven’t been through it then I feel your opinion on the topic is basically invalid.

It is not a mom’s fault that she feels isolated.

I can’t tell you how many times I have invited people over just to get no response. If you want to make a difference in a mom’s depression, show up and be physically there for her. Don’t just assume that someone else is going to show up. In my own experience, I (as well as many other mamas I know) only have 2 or 3 people that I feel comfortable reaching out to. So if those 2-3 people say no or don’t respond, then I’m stuck.

Mom’s don’t cause their own depression by having kids or choosing to stay home with them.

Before having kids, it seems like it is the most glorious experience. On social media, the majority of people make it a point to only show the glamorous, and let’s be honest, rare moments of motherhood when everything goes right for 30ish seconds or so. [I could write an entire post on just this topic, but I’ll spare you today.] Basically, you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into until you’re there in the trenches.

The same can be said of staying home with your kids. When I was a working mom I thought stay-at-home moms have is soooo easy. One week of being a SAHM and I realized the joke was on me. It is an overwhelming job that can hit you hard and fast. And if we’re being real, it would be pointless for many moms to work in today’s society because of the cost of childcare! At the cheapest daycare in my area I would be looking at around $300 PER WEEK. Doing the math, if I were to work outside of the home, I would be working for pennies… And I can dig up plenty of those from my couch cushions. 

Getting out of the house when mom’s get cabin fever isn’t always a feasible option.

I keep seeing this unrealistic advice given to SAHMs who feel trapped at times.

Just get out of the house and go do something.”

Well, Karen, this one’s for you.

So many moms don’t have the financial freedom or ability to just leave whenever they need to. Aside from that, when you are depressed, leaving the house is often the last thing on your to-do list. Let’s not forget the moms that have an entire zoo crew that will stress them out even more if they go out in public.

So unless you plan to baby sit, this advice is probably best kept to yourself. 

Downplaying a SAHM’s struggle is not necessary on any level.

Being a mom is HARD. Period. Whether you work full-time and go home to take care of your kids, or work part-time and go home to take care of your kids, or stay at home full-time with your kids. We as mothers have a ton of responsibility no matter what our lives outside of motherhood itself look like.

Your personal experiences in motherhood IN NO WAY invalidate how anyone else feels about their journey. Some mamas have an entire village helping them, where some people have no one to turn to. Everyone’s circumstances are different, but mamas, Y’ALL ARE KILLING IT!

Another thing to remember is that when you were in different stages of your journey, you too felt like you were about to drown. Looking back now, you probably think to yourself, “Why did I do this/that? Why was I so stressed about this/that? I would give anything to go back to that time!” 

Think about it in the terms of a video game. When you’re on level 10 it may take you several tries to beat it, and you may even consider giving up. Later on down the road, when you’re on level 30, then level 10 may seem like a piece of cake! 

So level 30 moms, don’t minimize the level 10 mama’s struggle just because you have made it past that stage, because at one point, you were that level 10 mama too…

Mom-shaming carries NO precedence here!

In a world full of mom-shamers, I think it is extremely important for us to realize how serious depression is. It is not the topic for us to share our thoughts on what they are doing wrong to “cause” their problems. And it is certainly no one’s place to tell a mother she has no right to feel the way she does. Depression is not something to play with, and if you suspect that a friend may be dealing with it, please reach out.

My personal experience:

I have been a mom of one working part-time in retail and it was hard.
Then I was a mom of one, pregnant with twins, working part-time in retail and going to school full-time. It was hard!
I have been a mom of one, miscarrying twins while working part-time in retail and going to school full-time and it was HARD!
While working full-time at a daycare with 2-year olds daily, I was a mom of a one year old and pregnant and it was hard.
I have been a mom of two working full-time, with over-time, multiple shifts in one week and it was hard.
Later, I worked that same job with crazy hours with two kids while pregnant and it was hard.
I have been a SAHM to two kids while pregnant and it was so hard!
And I am now a SAHM to three kids, and guess what! IT IS STILL HARD!

Working or not, just being a mom is hard! And that’s the simple truth!

To the mama struggling: It’s Okay!

As mothers we are all doing what we feel is best for our family and our situation. I would LOVE to say I enjoy every single second of being a SAHM, but truth is that I don’t. And it’s okay.

It’s okay to say you’re lonely. It is okay to admit you’re depressed. It’s okay to say you’re tired. It’s okay to reach out for help.

What’s not okay is telling another mom that she should “just be happy” that she doesn’t have to work like you. And it’s not okay to make a mom feel as though she is at fault.

It’s (past) time to stand together in solidarity, and help our fellow mamas out. So reach out to your mama friends. Remind them how important they are. If you are struggling personally, don’t be afraid to reach out and don’t for a second be ashamed of your feelings.

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