SAHM State of Mind

Finding Fulfillment as a Stay-At-Home-Mom

Finding Fulfillment as a Stay-At-Home-Mom

Becoming a Stay-at-Home-Mom has left me feelings less than fulfilled. While my heart is filled with joy watching my kids grow and teaching them all that I can. My brain has felt quite as engaged. In fact, I feel like my talents are wasted on household duties and general management of the mundane. And I need more in order to feel fulfilled. Because being a Stay-At-Home-Mom isn’t just about caring for and educating children, it’s also a lot about household duties that inadvertently get dropped on your head just because you are stuck at home.

Recently, I came across a blog post that aimed at  helping  Stay-At-Home-Moms thrive in their environment. And as you gathered from the previous paragraph, I needed some help in that department. I know it is risky to say, as it’s still not an acceptable message in our society, but I do not feel BLESSED to be a Stay-At-Home-Mom. In fact, I mostly feel resentful about this role.

For me, being at home all the time, puts me in a hamster wheel that I cannot escape. When I’m home, I notice all the damn tasks that need to be done and I can’t get them out of my mind. They haunt me day and night. It’s even worse when these tasks cannot be completed by me and require my husband’s involvement. Then I make them haunt him day and night. As you can imagine, he is not happy about that fact.

Most of the tasks are the never ending monotonous realities of the everyday: dishes, laundry, light cleaning, putting things away, cleaning up our sons’ toys, making food, etc. I think I just fell asleep writing this list. But you can’t escape these things and have to do them. What’s worse is because they are just a part of the everyday minutiae, it’s hard to feel any sense of pride and accomplishment from doing them. And let’s be honest, we all need to feel accomplished in order to thrive.

How does working outside the home compare to being a Stay-At-Home-Mom?

Finding Fulfillment as a Stay-At-Home-Mom

Think about your work. You obviously have everyday annoying tasks that need to be done like e-mail, filing, putting things on your calendar, etc. You do them to get them out of the way and don’t expect any praise. On the other hand, you also have projects, career enhancing opportunities, networking events, chats with coworkers. Those things break up your day and give you the opportunity to shine, receive positive feedback, and get affirmations.

That pretty much does not exist when you are a Stay-At-Home-Mom. Most of your work goes unnoticed and even destroyed by the other members of the household. On top of that society constantly sends you a message that being a “homemaker” is not worth anything. Think back to how many times you answered “Oh, I’m just a Stay-At-Home-Mom” when asked about what you do. I know, I’ve lost count. And it makes me sad. It makes me feel like a worthless human being who is not contributing to society. Which in turn makes me resent all the housework even more and makes me feel like none of it is important.

But what if we can re-frame how we view our role as Stay-At-Home-Moms or “homemakers”. What if we approach it as a career? Would that make a difference in our satisfactions levels? I think it might for me.

How to thrive as a Stay-At-Home-Mom

SAHM State of Mind

In the blog I was reading, the author talked about not only doing her daily tasks but viewing them as a great service to the household. It all of a sudden makes the minutiae sound much more important. She also talked about developing new skills that can improve running her household.

That kind of blew my mind. I never thought about acquiring new skills that would enhance our life in the house. That is something that you would do at work in order to progress and make yourself a more valuable worker. Not only is learning a new skill great for self-development but it’s also a quantifiable and tangible accomplishment that you can’t just sweep under the rug. You have something to be proud of and can show off.

I think for a lot of us who became Stay-At-Home-Moms after years of being gainfully employed, viewing our new role as a career track may ease the feeling of defeat and lack of accomplishment. Another thing that can help is realizing that all the minutiae tasks are actually jobs. Sure, we don’t get paid for them when we do them but if we had someone else doing them, we’d have to pay them a lot of money.

The biggest expenditure would be childcare. We all know how much schools and babysitters cost. As a SAHM you spend the bulk of your time caring for your child(ren) and are thus performing a very important job. The rest of the tasks you do may seem small in comparison but cooking, cleaning and laundry would also cost a lot if you outsourced them.

I’m going to challenge you and myself to try and re-frame how we view being a SAHM. No more “Oh, I’m just a SAHM” type answers. We all need to stand proud and say, “Yes, I’m a SAHM and I run a household full of tiny humans and animals. And I am proud of my job!” We are the COOs of our households and we should be damn proud of all we do. Us staying at home allows us to save money, be present in our children’s lives and make sure our husbands don’t have as much on their plate outside of work. This way they’ll have the energy to come home and spend time with us and the children.

And if this doesn’t help you feel that what you do is meaningful, then pick up a hobby that will. There is nothing wrong with wanting something for yourself that you can excel at that has nothing to do with washing dishes. Or find a work-from-home opportunity that can help engage you and bring some money home. Here is a wonderful post by Mama in Progress called 11 Awesome Stay at Home Mom Jobs for 2020.

Are you with me?

Finding Fulfillment as a Stay-At-Home-Mom

Quote of the Day

“A stay-at-home mom is a working mom. Being a stay-at-home mom is a job.” – Cobie Smulders

Mental Health Tip of the Day

Being a SAHM makes for some challenging and long days at times. When you’re running on low, make sure you take some time to yourself and recharge. It may be that you just spend your child’s nap watching Netflix or hand the baby off to your hubby the moment he comes home, so you can go take a bath.

 

Update

I’ll be honest, I tried following the advice I set out in this article. I tried re-framing my thoughts and viewing staying at home through a lens of worthiness and importance. I tried learning something to help me excel more at home (decluttering, making organizational lists, learning how to make non-toxic cleaning supplies). And I still netted out at one thing: being a Stay-At-Home-Mom is not for me. I need an occupation distinct from my mom role.

So if you’re like me and stuck in a bit of a Stay-At-Home-Mom mommy rut and no amount of re-framing is helping you, please read my article How to Beat the Stay at Home Mom Rut on Steps to Self.

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Finding Fulfillment as a Stay-At-Home-Mom

30 thoughts on “Finding Fulfillment as a Stay-At-Home-Mom”

  1. I have been a “SAHM” for 14 years and have always had a job, too. I find that I have to do something that I feel pushes me in my career field or I’ll become resentful.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Marta. I think having the opportunity to be employed part time and still have time with children is definitely the sweet spot. A lot of us moms need something else besides “momming”.

  2. I know exactly how you feel, I was a stay at home mom for quite some time with my daughter and although I loved it I did also miss interacting with adults about things that weren’t children’s TV shows. Great article!

  3. I was happy to leave my job and become a stay at home mom, but I wasn’t working at a job I really loved and any of my income from that job would have just gone to childcare so it seemed silly to work just to pay someone else to watch my child. I now work from home part-time as an online ESL teacher and love it! It’s great because it’s something I can do from home. I’m proud to be a stay at home mom, but I do feel a little more accomplished having that little extra income.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Diana. I can definitely relate to your experience. That was the same reason I left my previous job and have tried to be self employed since. But I’ve also been cognizant of the fact that I don’t have as much time to invest into being self employed because I spend the majority of my time with my kids.

  4. This is such a great post. It’s so easy to get it in rut as a SAHM. I had to always remind myself that being a SAHM was a gift that I should be thankful for. Looking back I am so incredibly thankful I had that time with my kids.

  5. Being a SAHM is probably one of the most important but difficult jobs I’ve ever had. It can take years to learn how to professionalize it, and see the value in it. The mundane tasks are the absolute worst-especially when all the kids are small. It does help to have some kind of WAH job! I’ve found that by having a WAH job it makes those mundane tasks much easier to tolerate.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Shayla. I agree. Little kids create a lot of busy and take up a lot of energy. And having a WAH opportunity does help to take the focus off the mundane.

  6. I’m not a true stay at home mom, I’ve only recently begun to work from home. However, I do understand where you’re coming from. It is easy to get stuck in a rut. I’ve found making lists of things that need to get done helps a lot

  7. Being a SAHM when my kids were toddlers was probably one of the hardest things I have done. The isolation, lack of sleep, constantly having to take care of the kids. Now it is better. But sometimes the boring tasks like washing dishes and laundry get very tedious. I do appreciate being able to stay at home though.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Marysa. I can relate to everything you said, especially the isolation. I’m not good at getting out and being in public so being a SAHM has definitely made hermiting way too easy for me. But of course there are benefits to staying at home.

  8. I am a SAHM…and proud of it! It really upsets me, when I speak to mothers who work outside the home, and they refer to my situation as…you dont really work,or I wouldnt understand what it is like to work…TRY STAYING HOME FOR ONE WEEK…those mothers and fathers would not be able to do what SAHM do on a weekly basis. Yes,I used to work, outside of the home, and how easy it would be for me to return to that lifestyle. But, even thoghit is much more work…the rewards are priceless!

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience, Ceci. The judgement really does sting. No one should be judging anyone for how they choose or have to conduct their family life. Everyone works in life and raising a family is challenging whether you do it all yourself or have to work outside the home and need to enlist help. Kudos to you for being a proud SAHM!

  9. I have high respects for all SAHMs. Staying at home to take care of the family is not easy. They say it’s even equivalent to 2.5 jobs. Though, we all have our own preferences and circumstances. I wish that you pursue whatever makes you happy. 🙂

  10. I totally agree! I’ve been a stay at home for technically 18 years. I stopped working outside the home right after my youngest baby was born. It was tough going back to work i tried for a little bit but it really wasn’t worth it after childcare for 4.

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