Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Realities of Being a SAHM

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Being a stay at home mom (SAHM) has many sweet and wonderful moments.

But it also has many hard and difficult ones. I think a trick to surviving these difficulties is to acknowledge that they exist, figure out how to make them easier, and also to accept that they are a part of life. I don't mean for this to be a downer post. I mean for it to be a real one. We often talk about how blessed we are and how wonderful moments are. That is great! I think it is great to think positively. I have many posts on motherhood meant to inspire you. But when that is all we talk about, it then makes us doubt ourselves when we find ourselves in those hard moments. It helps to know that in reality, these things are hard! And they are hard for all of us. If you find it to be hard, then know you are normal. You aren't a failure. You aren't doing something wrong. You are normal.  Let's talk about some of these difficulties.

Cleaning Can Be Hard
Finding time to clean can be hard. Actually doing the cleaning can be hard. Watching your children undo your efforts from the last 60 minutes in about 60 seconds can be...hard. You are not alone! All parents struggle to figure out when to clean, how to clean, how often to clean, and how much to worry about the messes the children make. Here are some posts I have written about cleaning:
This was one of the hardest adjustments for me being a SAHM. Being an extrovert and going from spending my time surrounded by people in life to spending my time in my house all day every day with a baby (cute, but baby) who couldn't even smile at first was an emotional challenge to say the least. 

Things have gotten easier in this department over the years in a way as social interaction is more prevalent with things like texting, smart phones, and social media sites. Those things, if used, bring with them a whole new realm of difficulty as a mother, but they can sometimes be helpful in the department of getting some social interaction and not feeling so cut off from the world. You have to be careful that you don't allow social media to become a replacement of people who are physically present in your life, and social media has recently started to be identified as often leading some to depression and anxiety

There are some things you can do to help with this loneliness and isolated feeling. Let me tell you it is never worse than when your oldest is a baby. This is when the days seem to never end and you feel very alone. It does get better.

Take the time to call a family member or friend. Initiate conversation. Invite a friend over to your house for the day. Have girls night out with friends without kids. Go out with friends during the day with your kids. Have a standing day at the park with your friends. Get involved in church and/or community activities--these are great places to meet people. 

See also 

Boredom Can Be Hard
Hey, our kids are awesome. But their interest level as young children is a bit different than ours. There is also a great deal of monotony to each day. I have heard it said, "The hours will crawl but the years will fly." 

Figuring out your new social life will help this boredom. You can also look into Developing Talents. Find some things that you can do at home that will be of interest to you. Take some time to do things you like every so often. 

But also work to change your perspective to accept your season and that it is a hard time that won't last long. You want to stay connected with yourself, but you also want to Avoiding Selfishness. At my point in life, I don't ever feel bored--there is too much going on with the kids to feel bored consistently from day to day. 

Mealtime Prep Can Be Hard
Mealtime prep can be hard--especially dinner! That is when the children seem to lose their minds. See Managing Dinner Prep Time for my tips on this time period. 

Bedtime Can Be Hard
Bedtime is often a challenging time of day. We are all tired and parents and children have opposite goals. See Strategies for Making Bedtime Smoother.

Time Management Can Be Hard
How do you balance time among house management, time with kids, friends, family, husband, and yourself? I recently wrote about this: Balancing Household Responsibilities with Family Time

Feeling Jealous of Husband Can Be Hard
This is a really hard one! My husband gets to have a change of scenery each day. He gets to talk to other adults each day. He gets to have things like "Doughnut Thursday" every week. Husbands have an easier time leaving the house to do things--we moms feel like we need to make sure he will take care of the kids while we are gone. When there are scheduling conflicts and both have something going on, it is usually the mom who stays home unless other arrangements can be made. 

I feel jealous of my husband doing things like traveling for work. I know it is work and isn't necessarily fun, but it is a change of scenery and it is time of no taking care of kids, cleaning, or cooking. It is sleeping without having to keep yourself partially awake so you can attend to a child in the night if needed. It is leaving your bed unmade and coming back to it nicely done up. 

I really like the quote "Jealousy is when you count someone else's blessings instead of your own." A trick is to be happy for the other person--to love them so well that you feel happy for their blessings and successes. 

And it is all about perspective. There are things my husband can be jealous of. There are days I get to go spend several hours sitting at the park in the beautiful sun while my kids play and I talk with my friends. I rarely miss a cute thing my kids say or do and I am there for essentially every "first." 

Getting past the jealousy takes being happy for your spouse and finding the good in whatever your situation is now. Be happy in your moment. 

Yes, there are many things to love about being a SAHM. But we have plenty of difficulties to face each day. Hopefully these thoughts can help you do that.

What tricks do you have for battling these difficulties?


Stephanie Kirby said...

MOM needs date nights! I don't know how many is necessary, but I feel so trapped when all I do is cook and clean and take care of the kids. It's important to make the effort to go on dates. Going out for a few hours with my husband even just once a month could make a huge difference, I think. I haven't been on a date since last May!! :( Sigh.

Landonsmommy said...

Thank you for this post, I have been struggling with jealousy with my husband as we have an eight week old and it is good to be able to identify the feeling.

I have a question about my son and was not sure where I should post it.

He is 9 weeks tomorrow and we still have 2 middle of the night feedings. I am wondering if I should go to a 2 1/2 schedule to see if we can drop the MOTN feeding.(right now we are on a solid 3)

Also we are getting rid of the pacifier( I regret ever introducing it) so we are waking up early from naps(We are going down with little or no crying). When he wakes up early I can go in and resettle him by picking him up and shushing him. I am wondering if this is going to become a prop and I should just get him up.

Thanks so much for your blog, it has been extremely helpful.

Lauren Tamm said...

I don't have any great tips for battling these difficulties, but your ideas resonate so strongly with me. Thank you for this post!

Valerie Plowman said...

Good one Stephanie! I am glad you brought that up.

Valerie Plowman said...

Landonsmommy I think at that age, it is fine to help him resettle. There will be some who would need to be weaned from it, but most will

Valerie Plowman said...

Most will be okay with it. In the end, it is better to have him sleeping with your help than not sleeping.

Valerie Plowman said...

You are welcome!


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