Traditional media has often showcased a fallacious image of the stay-at-home mom doing nothing but sitting on the couch watching TV with rollers on her hair and munching on chips all day––I wish! That couldn’t be further from the truth.
In reality, being a stay-at-home mom is far from this level of comfort. A stay-at-home mom is a chef, dry cleaner, nanny, housekeeper, nurse, driver, hairdresser, home school teacher, playmate mate, and so much more all rolled up in one—little wonder why many stay-at-home moms often appear exhausted.
Being a stay-at-home mom is one of the best feelings ever, but without the right support, you could end up mentally drained by expectations and stress. The undue pressure for mothers to always have it together is both unfair and borderline cruel. Many mothers keep living on survival mode until they crumble like a pack of cards, and even that comes with its own unfair share of judgment.
As a stay-at-home mom, realizing that you can’t “do it all” will make you a happier and more productive mother; because whether you’re doing chores all day long or busy working from home or a mix of both, societal pressure would still make you feel like you’re not doing enough.
Defining who you are and what you can handle daily will help you stay out of becoming depressed.
What are the triggers that can lead a stay-at-home mom into depression or other mental health issues?
These are just a few of the triggers that can lead to depression:
- Loss of purpose or identity
- Lack of social interaction
- Being unable to do anything you want to do, when you want to do it
- Trying to keep up with being placed on an unrealistic pedestal
- Stress and fatigue from handling way too much
To begin to take control of your mental health, you have first to identify the expectations that put you under pressure and may ultimately contribute to an unstable mental state. If you’re not a stay-at-home mom, you should still read through to see what role you could play in helping change unrealistic expectations stay-at-home moms face.
Here are 5 unrealistic pressures that affect the stay-at-home mom’s mental health…
#1. You should be glad always
Due to traditional beliefs, it’s almost like having a child takes away the right to express that you’re tired and need a break, and a crime to ever feel a little sad when you’re overwhelmed because being a mom is a natural superpower. You may have even heard that “you shouldn’t be saying things like this…” or “do you know how many moms would kill to be home with their kids? You sound so ungrateful…”
If stay-at-home moms are allowed to vent, step out for a minute and take a break without fear of judgment, they would bounce back refreshed and perform better as mothers. Is that not what we all want? So do the above and anything else to rejuvenate now and then. In fact, make it a routine, say weekly or monthly so that you always have something to look forward to. That alone is therapeutic for your mental health.
#2. You should have the home organized and under control at all times
It’s easy to wonder what a stay-at-home mom has been doing all day when you come to the house and almost trip from a toy laying fallow in a relatively scattered home. You fail to understand that children are so energetic that it’s quite hard to keep up.
If a stay-at-home mom is expected to have the house in a perfect state at all times, it’s easy to slip into depression after a while because of the pressure and stress of keeping up with the superheroine status. Such a mom feels she needs to have everything under control at all times; imagine having to keep the house clean at all times, keep the children fed and cleaned, homework is done, and food ready before the husband arrives from work as she puts the toys back in the room for the umpteenth time. After all, other women are doing it, and she’s worried she could be tagged lazy.
It’s time to snap out of time and realize that the stress and pressure may be causing you to feel depressed. Create a schedule and determine how much you can comfortably get done daily. I know it’s easier said but make sure you include some “me time” into your schedule, so you consciously take time to rest or do something for yourself. This will go a long way in helping you relieve any bottled-up stress. Keep in mind that self-care does a lot of good for our mental health.
#3. You should stay attractive for your spouse
While it’s definitely a good thing to stay in shape and remain attractive for your spouse, some people make it sound like this; “if you keep looking tattered without your hair or nails done, and with that big belly, your partner would soon replace you with a younger and more attractive girl, and you have yourself to blame for that.”
Unless you’re a stay-at-home mom who has help, I can’t begin to tell you how hard it is to go to the grocery store with the kids, let alone strutting into the spa for that TLC. For stay-at-home moms, questions like, “where will I keep the kids? How will I keep the baby in check while I get my nails done?” are all too familiar.
Snap out of this mindset and think instead of staying attractive for yourself as the traditional mindset is unnecessarily pressuring. When you’re unable to get your personal grooming done, you feel inadequate and not beautiful enough. Again, put personal grooming into your schedule and watch how much better you feel when you find time to do some personal grooming instead of constantly grooming others and forgetting yourself.
#4. You should contribute more financially
Some people believe that stay-at-home moms are lazy and financially irresponsible. The misconception that they sit at home doing nothing while the family is relying on one income can be stressful and eventually drain any stay-at-home mom of life. While some may argue that a stay-at-home mom doesn’t contribute to her family, they’re wrongly only thinking about contribution in the form of a paycheck. If they decide to view it with the children’s foundation in view, it’ll be clear that any stay-at-home is doing her quota to ensure the home succeeds in all aspects and the children flourish.
As long as this was an agreement between both parties or unforeseen circumstances like losing a job, no one should make any stay-at-home feel like a liability. The key point is for society to remove undue pressure from stay-at-home mothers and instead begin to celebrate their invaluable contribution to their families and society. This is the mindset stay-at-home moms should also develop. See yourself as the well-rounded asset you are to your family and never as a financial liability.
#5. You should do more than just stay home
In this feminist age, where a woman isn’t considered successful unless she’s a career or businesswoman who is professionally successful, it could be hard on the stay-at-home mom’s mental health. FYI, motherhood is a real job, and whenever anyone states otherwise, that should be seen as an inappropriate comment.
Being a stay-at-home mom is a choice that everyone should respect. While some see themselves making profits for their companies and growing their brands, some women only dream of raising responsible children who will be productive citizens who contribute greatly to society. If everyone focuses on doing their part and towing their path, life would be a happier place.
If you or someone you know is depressed or concerned about other aspects of your mental health, you should consider getting counseling in person or conveniently online through telepsychiatry clinics like Rave Psychiatry.
Cover Photo | Unsplash.com
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