The Real Life Struggles of Stay-at-home Moms
Updated: Apr 5
Being a stay-at-home mom has so many benefits for your entire family. It allows you to spend more time with your kids, monitor their schoolwork, and ensure they’re making smart, healthy choices each day.
But, there are plenty of unfortunate stereotypes surrounding stay-at-home moms that have stuck around for far too long.
It isn’t an easy job, no matter where your focus is. In fact, it’s been estimated that mothers who stay at home work 98 hours each week – without a salary. So, what are the real-life struggles of stay-at-home moms?
Overwhelmed you say? Yes - overwhelmed. When you are a stay-at-home mom, there are no breaks. You are on "kiddo-duty" 24/7. The job is never done.
There is always something to do, which not only keeps mothers busy but can lead to feelings of being extremely overwhelmed. You might accomplish one thing but realize you have a dozen more tasks on your list – every day.
When you work in a place of business, getting something done can provide you with a sense of accomplishment. As a stay-at-home mother, getting something done just reminds you that you have more to do. Because you are looking at it all day long. And, I don't know about your child, but with mine, I clean up one mess while they proceed to make another. The cycle doesn't end.
A lack of accomplishment leads to a lack of motivation, but it can also leave you feeling depressed.
Loneliness and Boredom
Even if you’re home all day with your children, you might struggle with loneliness. Adults need ADULT interaction. Talking with your spouse each day when they get home from work might not be enough for you.
If you’re working hard each day to keep up your home and you aren’t able to connect with anyone except your children, it’s normal to feel lonely. It’s also normal to feel like you don’t have support. When you’re doing the same tasks each day, that can shift your feelings of loneliness into boredom.
You might have noticed these feelings becoming even worse due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Maybe you haven’t been able to get out as much as you used to. Feeling isolated at home isn’t easy for anyone, but that’s especially true when you’re the only adult there for the majority of the day. Pre-Covid, moms at home full time would be able to meet up with friends for coffee or attend social support groups for moms in person. Due to the ongoing concern about perpetuating the spread, these activities are greatly reduced and in some states, largely discouraged.
Questioning Your Parenting
When you’re home with your children 24-hours a day, you’re bound to have moments where you let your stress get the best of you. Maybe you’ve “snapped” at your child when they’ve asked you a question. Maybe you yell more often than you want to.
Or, maybe you just feel like you’re not getting enough done in the day or helping your children enough. Guilt can set in and fester. Be cautious of this, and cautious of what you tell yourself.
There are so many factors that can pop up each day to cause you to second-guess yourself. It happens to every parent. So, it only makes sense that it might happen more frequently if you’re around your kids all of the time.
While you’re undoubtedly doing a great job, that “feeling of failure” is real and raw and could lead to other mental health struggles.
You’re Never “Just” a Mom
Stay-at-home moms wear so many different hats, it’s hard to keep up. On any given day, you’ll need to be a teacher, a cook, a nurse, an accountant, etc. It’s not easy to keep up with everything when you have so many titles to juggle.
Something I hear often when working with couples is that the stay-at-home mom feels like she should take care of literally everything because, well, her partner is working full time to support their family and pay the bills. A note of caution with this reasoning. One earns money to pay the bills, the other is literally raising their children 24/7 to be logical, rational contributing members of society one day. So, instead, lets start thinking differently - and realize that BOTH parents are "working full time".
It’s so important to recognize the struggles of being a stay-at-home mom. The more those struggles are validated, the more people will see how difficult the job can be and how it can take a toll on your mental health. You don’t have to continue to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. I offer a complimentary phone consultation to all potential clients. To schedule yours in a matter of seconds, please check here.
To learn more about how counseling can help you on your parenting journey, please click here.
BRINGING BABY HOME: A NEW PARENT WORKSHOP IS GOING VIRTUAL!!!! A workshop for couples who are thinking about or planning to have a baby, who are expecting a baby or who have children already. Based on years of research and experience and developed by the Gottman Institute, this 12 hour workshop is designed to repair communication skills and jump start your relationship with your partner. For more information, please click here.
Jennifer Perera is a mom of two boys, a spouse and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has a private practice in Cranford, New Jersey and also sees clients throughout New Jersey via telehealth. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual and couples counseling. She also runs workshops for new parents, teaching them techniques and strategies to help them have a stronger relationship - built to thrive during the parenthood years. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with grief or loss issues surrounding pregnancy.