Being a stay-at-home mom isn't all shopping, boozy lunches, and manicures, despite glamorous depictions in shows like some reality TV franchises, which can offer a version of a life most SAHM's can't even recognize. The truth is staying home to take care of kids is a tough gig. A 2012 poll from Gallup shows SAHM's are more likely to report being sad and angry "yesterday" than employed moms. Here are 5 mental health resources for stay-at-home moms, because you can't take care of your kids unless you take care of yourself first.
And more moms are choosing to stay home to take care of kids, according to 2014 findings from Pew Research. "The share of mothers who do not work outside the home has risen over the past decade, reversing a long-term decline in stay-at-home mothers," Pew reported. This makes it more important than ever that mothers who choose to stay home have the resources and tools necessary to maintain their mental and emotional health.
Here are a few ways stay-at-home mothers can get help.
1. Caregiver Stress & Burnout
Taking care of everyone else all of the time can lead to caregiver burnout, which can cause all sorts of issues with your emotional and physical health. Here's a handy quiz from Caring that can help you establish how burnt out you are and help you get back on track. You might be surprised by your answers.
If you're feeling sad, angry, or anxious and worry you might be suffering from depression, call for an appointment to see your doctor. Symptoms of depression include sadness, changes in sleep, anxiety, lack of concentration, or even unexplained physical problems, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you're having thoughts about hurting yourself or anyone else, call 911 or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. Talking to family, friends, or even a member of the clergy if that's what you need.
3. Financial Stress
Less income and more earning burden falling to one partner can create all sorts of stress in a household when one parent stays home to take care of kids. The other problem is that household labor is generally undervalued, which can cause the parent at home to feel underappreciated for their hard work. Parents has this handy tool to help you calculate the family's expenses and come up with a budget everyone can agree on, to help eliminate some of the guesswork and start some important conversations that help establish everyone's roles.
A survey from 2007 found that, in the UK, more than half of new mothers felt "lonely and isolated," according to The Daily Mail. Making some network for yourself to have give-and-take with adults is crucial to any stay-at-home mom's mental health. Whether it's a local mom's club, an online group, or even neighbors, don't be afraid to seek out friends, and reach out to other moms, who are far more understanding than you probably give them credit for.
Repeating the same tasks over again, tying shoes, washing dishes, picking up toys, can start to make a stay at home parent feel as if they never get anything accomplished, particularly if prior to raising kids you worked outside the home. The non-profit women's organization Seleni recommends, among other tips, taking a class to learn something new to get a sense of satisfaction from accomplishment.