Being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) is one of the most important jobs there is. Granted, there is no paycheck, and it's stacked full of the responsibility to raise another human being. With all those tasks, a SAHM is often the homemaker, too. It can be a lot. For some, it can be all-consuming and overwhelm them to the point of tears, some days.
When it comes to children, mothers often put them before themselves. Mothers make sure their children are up and fresh, and ready for the day; even if they aren't themselves. Making meals, cleaning up after those meals, laundry, paying bills, the duties seem endless at times.
What are SAHMs supposed to do when they just need a break? With all the chaos surrounding them, how can they manage to keep their sanity? It is important that moms find a good balance between their own personal time and time with their children.
Realistic Expectations As A SAHM
Keeping realistic expectations of motherhood is a great place to start when trying to stay sane amid being a stay-at-home mom. Keeping a schedule is great, but realistically there might be a lot of days when it all goes out the window. If children are anything, they are unpredictable. It's hard for anyone to tell when they might be sick, hurt themselves, have a temper tantrum, or be perfect little angels.
Clinical Psychologist, Tess Browne says, mothers with extremely high standards or expectations of themselves are more likely to struggle emotionally in early motherhood. Having expectations that are unobtainable or unrealistic, and therefore impossible or not easily met, puts them at a higher risk of self-doubt, self-criticism, and worry.
Letting go of the standards one had prior to becoming a mother can sometimes be hard, but it is unfair to a mother to try to keep up with them. Having achievable goals can give a mom a sense of success and accomplishment in her role.
Taking Care Of Yourself As A SAHM
Sleep is important. According to The Sleep Foundation, a mother's sleep often does not return to pre-pregnancy levels until the oldest child is six years old. During this time, mothers are at risk for insomnia, daytime sleepiness, anxiety, depression, non-refreshing sleep, and fatigue. Getting adequate sleep helps repair brain cells and gives mothers the energy they need to keep up.
Another important key for mothers is going outside. Fresh air and sunshine do a world of good for mental health. The American Psychological Association states nature can be like a balm for the busy brain. Exposure to nature has been linked to a host of benefits, including improved attention, lower stress, better mood, and a reduced risk of psychiatric disorders.
Taking even a five-minute break and sitting in silence can help. If you do follow a schedule, alone time should be on it somewhere. The laundry will still need washing, the living room will still need to be picked up, and the dishes will still be dirty; it can all wait.
What cannot wait? Your mental health and physical health. When moms never get a break, it can lead to feelings of resentment, anger, and frustration, just to name a few. Long-term effects can include depression and anxiety, and overall self-judgment.
Remember Why You Started
When all else fails, thinking about the reasons she became a SAHM may help a mother regain her sense of self. Taking a hard look at everything she has actually accomplished and how truly wonderful her children are, though they may not always act like it. Moms are amazing, and to dedicate one's life to staying home and taking care of them and everything else too is a sacrifice and not all are willing or able to make.