I wrote this for the mama that may feel exhausted, lonely, mom guilt, inadequate or unbalanced. I’m writing this to help you feel seen and understood.
I didn’t write this post to compare the struggles of a stay at home mom with a working mom, or even a stay at home working mom. I didn’t write this to compare a SAHM of 1 child to a mom of 6. I didn’t write this to say that one is harder than the other – because it’s not measurable. And let’s be honest, they don’t compare and they’re all HARD.
Whatever kind of mom you are, I hope you can resonate with some of these feelings and get some encouragement for how to work on overcoming them. I’m a work in progress too, taking the tips I share day by day.
With all of that said, I ask that you read this with support in the back of your mind, not comparison. It’s different, challenging and oh so rewarding for every mama. I am sending love to all moms doing what is best for them and their little ones. <3
5 Things I Struggle With As A Stay At Home Mom
feelings of inadequacy
I was 22 when I had my daughter Blakely. A senior in college. Unmarried. And no clue how to be a good mother.
I struggled with feelings of inadequacy for the first year of Blakely’s life. Am I fit to be a mother this young?
When I moved to Atlanta and joined a local moms group at a church near me, I was terrified. I was by far the youngest one in the room, and thought they would instantly judge me for not having a ring on my finger. “I’m too young,” I thought. “I don’t fit in. They’ll see right through me and know that I have no idea what I’m doing as a mom. I don’t have it all together like they do.”
I was surprised to find that the ladies at my table welcomed me with opened arms and showered me with encouragement and praise of my bravery. I realized that I had made progress in conquering my inadequacy without even realizing it. I put myself out there when I didn’t feel ready or capable.
Tips to conquer inadequacy:
- Think of motherhood as a job. Because it is. It’s non-stop around the clock work and you are the glue that is holding the family together. Your role is just as important as your partners.
- Follow encouraging parenting Instagram accounts and/or blogs that align with your values. Parenting is hard in each season, and there is always more to learn. Some of my favorite toddler accounts are: dayswithgrey, transformingtoddlerhood, busytoddler, and biglittlefeelings.
- Confide in other mom friends or people who have gone through the season you are in. They may be able to be a good listening ear and offer some helpful advice. Sometimes its enough to just feel heard and seen.
- Turn off social media when you are in a comparison mindset.
- Take time to come back to YOU. Take a group fitness class, go to lunch with a friend, read for an hour, binge watch a show… whatever that looks like for you. Block time in the day or weekend and make it a priority.
feelings of exhaustion
Someone once said that the only true 24/7 job is motherhood… and they’re not wrong. As soon as my feet hit the floor, I am in mom mode.
Even if I wake up 30 minutes before my daughter to have some quiet time, my brain is still thinking of what food I’m going to make her for breakfast and how I need to run by Target for diapers and that I should unload the dishwasher and fold the laundry all before she wakes up.
Moms are often overworked and undervalued. From constant diaper changes, to toddlers demanding attention all day, to achy backs from their reaching arms, to making sure they’re fed and hydrated to household chores & family errands. It can be physically and mentally draining caring for a baby or keeping up with a toddler (or multiple).
Unlike a 9-5 job, moms don’t get a break, paid time off, or sick days. You’re just mom all day and all night. And that’s what I’d choose over and over again for this stage in my daughter’s life. But the struggle of exhaustion is real. And it’s so important to be surrounded by support.
Tips to conquer exhaustion:
- Get outside, load the kids in a stroller, put on an encouraging podcast, and go on a nature walk. Take deep breaths along the way and clear your mind. Just 30 minutes of movement and nature can do wonders to help fight exhaustion.
- Prioritize your sleep. Maybe alternate with your partner on who gets up with the kids in the morning so one of you can sleep in.
- Don’t overbook yourself. Spread things out over the week that you need to get done and leave room for open windows of time. Having a planner helps tremendously for this.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If a family member can’t watch the kids, you’d be surprised how many high school and/or college aged girls would love to spend the day or evening with your little one. Get you and your spouse a little break with a night out!! Or have a day to yourself to recenter and come back to you.
feelings of loneliness
I was surprised to find just how lonely being a SAHM can be. When the only person you talk to all day is your toddler, it can get a little dull. I soon came to find that a mother needs adult conversation. A mother needs a village behind them.
It was really hard when I moved to Atlanta in March of 2021 and didn’t have a single mom friend. The first few months in this new city I feared putting myself out there and stayed stuck in my lonely (see blog post here I wrote on loneliness). All of my best friends from college were not only in different cities, but didn’t have kids. I realized that I needed people in my corner who could understand what I was feeling as a new mom.
I knew I had to make a change. And if not only for myself, for my daughter – so she could learn to socialize and make friends. Like I said earlier, I signed up for a moms group, I organized play dates, I attended moms nights out, and I even sparked conversations with other mamas at the park. Even with a fear of rejection in the back of my mind, I pressed on.
Over one year later I have made my big city feel smaller and I have a *growing* village behind me.
Tips to conquer loneliness:
- You guessed it: it’s so important to put yourself out there and find mom friends to do life with. Join a local moms group (MOPs is great!), join local moms Facebook groups, and/or organize play dates and moms nights out.
- It’s okay to be the one to reach out first to schedule a play date. One invite could change your life.
- Join a gym, studio, or something you love! You can meet people doing fitness classes, mommy and me classes, etc.
- Fill your week with fun new social activities. Doing the same old routine can make you feel lonely, so switch it up from time to time: take your kids to story-time at the library, a new local pool, try a new group fitness class, etc. You never know who you’re going to meet!
- Talk to someone… counseling has helped me so much since I moved to a new city.
- Think or journal about a past time in your life where you felt lonely and how you overcame it. Being a college freshman at a new school & joining a club? Moving to a new city & putting yourself out there?
feelings of guilt
Ever heard of the phrase mom guilt? It is real! Some guilt that I experience as a SAHM off the top of my head include:
- guilt that I’m exhausted & look forward to her 7:00 p.m. bedtime some nights
- guilt that I let her watch too much TV in one day
- guilt that I was on my phone too much and not as present as I could be
- guilt that I am not bringing in income for our family
- guilt that I am not using my college degree
- guilt that my daughter isn’t getting as much social interaction as she would in daycare
The list goes on.
Let me remind you, as well as myself, that no mom is perfect. We will all have days where we feel like we could have done something better. Perfection isn’t possible. Once we accept our imperfect self and meet ourselves where we’re at with no judgement, we can truly start to release the guilt we have built up.
Tips to conquer guilt:
- Say positive affirmations to yourself each morning:
- I am doing my best, and that is enough.
- My child is exactly where they need to be.
- I am doing what is best for my family.
- Make a list of all the guilt you feel and then find the source. Once we acknowledge it, it takes away its power.
- Include your partner and ask for help. Maybe you need them to do bath and bedtime some nights so you can have a moment of peace a little earlier. Be open about your needs.
- Talk to your partner, a mom friend, a professional or someone you trust about your feelings. Like I said, we don’t want these feelings to stay inside us and grow.
feelings of unbalance
Moms wear many hats. Mother, wife (or fiance, like me), daughter, & friend. Then we have to fit in other important things – our faith, our health, me time, etc. Sometimes trying to balance it all can bring us stress.
As a new mom, I used to pretend like I had it all together. My fiance Casey had just gotten this big job in Atlanta and had to move a month after Blakely was born. Though I (thankfully) still lived with my parents at the time, it was still hard not having him there. I got so used to just going through the motions and surviving another day in the newborn phase, I didn’t even realized how unbalance I really felt.
I was giving everything I had to my daughter and anyone else who needed me, and none back to myself. I quickly realized that it was affecting my mental health, on top of postpartum hormones, and that something needed to give.
I think a lot of moms have trouble with this one… asking for help!!! I soon realized that not only is it okay to ask for help, it’s healthy. Moms are superwomen, but we truly can’t balance it all on our own. It’s okay to lean on that village I mentioned earlier in the feelings of loneliness.
Tips for conquering unbalance:
- Make sure you are blocking time EACH DAY for yourself. This can be 30 minutes of quiet time in the morning before the kids wake up. Maybe an hour of working out. It’s so important to make time to recharge and give back to yourself.
- Look into moms morning out programs. This isn’t in the budget for us right now, but it would be a great option if it works for your family. Another option (what I do) is to drop them off at the gym daycare and get in a workout. This is more affordable and gives you an hour of you time.
- Learn to say no. I’ve found when I overbook myself is when I get stressed and feel more unbalanced.
- I know you probably don’t want to wake up earlier than you have to, but I’ve found that it changes the tone for my whole day when I start it with quiet time: reading my devotional, planning out the day, journaling, or even just sitting there soaking up the silence.
With ALL of that being said, I wouldn’t trade this job for the world. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post if you made it this far. I hope you are leaving feeling encouraged, uplifted, and like the supermom that you are. <3