Being a stay-at-home mom for the past 8 years of my 32 year-long life, I am get used to one common struggle that is stay-at-home-mom depression. Yes! This problem is not only real, it’s becoming a crisis. It’s when you have a feeling like you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning; you many times feel exhausted, you lack joy as a mom and many other symptoms.
Luckily, there are things you can do to help avoid overwhelm. A few extra steps will stop you from feeling like you’re a full-time daycare worker without breaks of days off.
Symptoms of stay-at-home-mom depression
While there are several types of depression, they share many recognizable symptoms.
- Persistent feelings of sadness, worthlessness, emptiness or hopelessness
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities that used to be enjoyable
- Have difficulty in sleeping
- Frustration, irritability or restlessness
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty thinking clearly, remembering, concentrating and making decisions
- Weight or appetite changes
- Headaches, stomachaches, back pain
- What’s worse, recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
As a stay-at-home mom, you are nearly on call on the time, which can easily cause burnout. It is gradually draining on the body, mind and also heart. And all of this can lead to a very negative effect: it’s stay-at-home-mom depression
When dealing with stay-at-home-mom depression, you even don’t have time to scheduled lunch breaks! That’s real. You are changing diapers, making crafts, cutting food into bite size pieces, wipe away tears and specially listening to little cries all day long!
Being a mom is one of the greatest things in life. However, for stay-at-home mom, everything seems to be more challenging. Even when controlled for age, stay-at-home moms are still emotionally worse off than employed moms. They are less likely to describe themselves as thriving or to say they smiled a lot yesterday.
What causes stay-at-home-mom depression?
Is it true that staying at home and taking care of kids are main cause of stay-at-home-mom depression! Absolutely not! Stay-at-home-mom depression is actually the result of big, stressful changes in your life.
According to Melinda Paige, Ph.D., a professor of clinical mental health counseling at Argosy University in Atlanta, stress exacerbates any condition, mental health or otherwise. And the life of stay-at-home-mom is rife with triggers, from isolation to loss of purpose or identity. Also, lacking social interaction can also lead to the development of depression.
The actual job is really demanding
Laurel Mellin, PhD, Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco claims that being a stay-at-home mom can be very stressful. The actual job is really demanding and that’s one of the main causes of stay-at-home-mom depression.
Often, stay-at-home moms not only take on the bulk of childcare duties, but they are also doing more of the housework, errands, and handling repairs by default as they are the ones who are at home. and when chores pile up, the partner who is working sometimes doesn’t understand why. Stay-at-home moms report a frequent hearing “But you were home all day”, which partly leads to their burnout
Structure is also a big challenge for stay-at-home moms, and of course, not all times you are in control of when things happen. Trying to stick to a schedule can make you feel in contrl when it works. However, when a tanturm or a nap throws everything off, your whole day can go into a tailspin. Under those circumstances, being flexible will help you recover.
There is virtually no break from the routine
Not only is there so much to do, it’s usually the same tasks on repeat. This makes one day feel almost exactly like the next without a break. For working mothers, they face a challenge of these two major tasks, but the advantage is each gives the other some perspective. Stay-at-home moms don’t get that type of ongoing context.
You work alone
According to Dana Doftman, PhD, a New York City psychotherapist and co-host of the weekly podcast, Two Moms on the Couch, it can be perceived as a privilege to be a stay-at-home mom. She considers that moms who juggle both job and childcare may even be a bit jealous of stay-at-home counterparts.
However, it’s important to realize that moms who stay at home fulltime tend to report feelings of isolation. It is a loss of identity, and also a loss of social interaction.
Choice is an illusion
One of the main causes of stay-at-home-mom depression lies in this point. The most unhappy stay-at-home moms are usually those who want to work but are not working. Some women who want to work don’t work because of family of cultural pressures to stay at home. These moms tend to be more depressed than those who choose not to work and who elect to stay home.
How to cope with stay-at-home mom depression?
Here I have some suggestions that you can do to make your work environment more friendly and to ease anxiety and isolation.
Put yourself first
Ask most moms who comes first in their house and you will always receive an answer it’s the kids. However, how can you take care of everyone else when you are not taking care of yourself. Remember to put yourself first. This doesn’t mean you are not taking care of your family and doing what’s right for them.
It simply means you are the engine of the household and you have to be cared for as well as supported, or your whole family suffers. Researching on some foods to reduce anxiety and stress can help lessen stay-at-home mom depression.
Start a new hobby, join some classes for women, or pick up a work-at-home job if it is something you would like to try. There are a wide range of stay-at-home mom jobs that pay well. If you find any job suitable, don’t hesitate to apply. Those little things you can do for yourself will make a huge change in your emotional health.
And also, get some sleep, mom! Typically, we think of stay-at-home-mom depression as something that moms of newborns experience, especially due to sleep deprivation. Just keep in mind that, after all, no one functions well if they haven’t slept long enough.
Spend time with your partner
There’s a reason we call them “significant” others. Their role is significant because we go through the many stages of parenting together. Although it may be easy to do, never put your relationship on the back burner.
You might be exhausted at the end of the of the day, but don’t forget to make time for your significant other. Just a simple daily conversation with your partner might give you the emotional boost you need on the days you are feeling burnout coming on. Connecting with your husband every day can create a huge difference in your outlook for tomorrow.
Avoid negative people
It’s not strange to hear that other people are the cause of stay-at-home-mom depression. If your support system is not by your side, then stay-at-home mom depression may quickly be more serious. That’s why, if possible, you should avoid negative people who don’t have your back.
While it’s hard to avoid all negative ones, you can make sure the majority of people in your life are supporting you and they are always there for you. Sometimes, it’s necessary to exclude unsupportive people from your life.
Find your support system
Just as you need to avoid the negative people as much as possible, you may want to surround yourself with as many positive people as you can. You should have a team of people who are positive. They are not judging every decision you make for your family. Without a good support system, you may quickly become an overwhelmed mom headed straight for stay-at-home-mom depression.
Stop feeling like you are failing
Moms seem to own an inner critic who never sleeps. This inner critic makes them question just about everything, including their performance as parents. This is one of the dangerous factors leading to stay-at-home-mom depression. That constant criticism isn’t good for anyone and it makes you feel like you are failing as a parent. Now, you should be bold and tell your inner critic to shut up!
Stay-at-home-mom depression is real. Look for the signs of stress in yourself and find suitable ways to eliminate them. Don’t be afraid to seek help. Only when you have good mental health can you make everything better. Believe us and start to change if you are facing stay-at-home-mom depression.