Welcome to the New Year!
Okay, so being a stay-at-home mom is no joke. Can we all raise our hand and agree?
I know, I know—we chose this lot in life. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get challenging. And it certainly doesn’t mean we can’t acknowledge it.
So, here I am acknowledging it.
Miserable is a harsh word, but it makes for a great title. I am not miserable. But I do acknowledge that some stay-at-home moms are—and that I, too, have experienced those challenging moments.
I’m not talking about clinical depression or any mental disorder that requires medical attention. I’m talking about feelings of unhappiness, discomfort, and/or inadequacy.
Perhaps I can be of some help. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for nine years to two boys, ages 5 and 9. On top of that, I also homeschool, run a business, volunteer, the list goes on.
I’ve experienced a season where I hardly saw my husband due to his job, where I had to care for a newborn and a toddler while battling the baby blues, where I didn’t live close to family or friends, and where I felt isolated, anxious, and alone. And that is just naming a few!
I may not understand exactly what you’re going through, but I have an idea. Won’t you stick around and read what I’ve learned during those seasons?
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or an old faithful reader of my blog, I know that at least one of these points will speak to you.
Note: I don’t mean to assume you’re a Believer, I can only write from my personal perspective. If you’re not a Believer and want to be, please refer to the bottom of this post.
So, without further ado, on with the blog:
(This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclaimer for more information.)
10 Ways Not to Be Miserable as a Stay-at-Home Mom
1. Know Your Purpose.
Knowing your purpose is directly linked to knowing who you are. When you know who you are and what you’re doing here, you increase your sense of self-worth and wellbeing. This is essential because some negative opinions about stay-at-home moms can really hurt. But when we know who we are, and understand our purpose, those unsolicited opinions roll off our backs easier.
You are not “just a mom.”
You are not “lazy.”
You are not “outdated.”
You heard the call and you answered!
Many stay-at-home moms are called to this particular ministry to inspire people only THEY can inspire. And yes, I said “ministry.” In whatever we do, whether it’s working a corporate job or being a stay-at-home-mom, our primary focus should be to glorify God, love others, and spread the good news wherever we are.
There are stay-at-home moms in your city that don’t know Christ or who’ve fallen away from the faith—women only YOU can reach. This is why we shouldn’t only associate with people “like us.” I’ve made some of the best connections with people I’d never expect to have anything in common with.
So, stay on course and realize this lifestyle you chose has more significance than you think.
Your children are the future and they need YOU.
The stay-at-home mom community needs YOU.
And God is working through YOU!
2. Know it’s Supposed to be Challenging.
Being a stay-at-home mom is not for the faint of heart. You can’t be ready to quit at the first sign of adversity. If it’s truly a calling then, as with all callings, you can expect to face challenges. Challenges aren’t meant to break you, but to edify, improve character, and increase faith. Therefore, expect:
The desire to quit.
Feeling like it’s not worth the trouble.
When these things happen, it can be tough. But remember, we aren’t operating in our own strength, but God’s. When we expect challenges, we eliminate making permanent decisions based on temporary emotions.
Even more? When we expect challenges, our first inclination will not be to get “sad” when they appear, but to armor up and fight!
3. Establish Your Village.
We’ve all heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” No truer words have ever been spoken. We weren’t meant to take on the responsibility of childrearing on our own. It’s not healthy for us or our children. Children need to be exposed to varying personalities, perspectives, and environments to help them become well-rounded adults.
We need companionship and support to help edify us.
It wasn’t always this way but, these days, I’m fortunate enough to have the support of my family, friends, and community. But if you don’t live close to family or friends, sign your kids up for local classes and activities. The public library is a great place to start if you want to know what resources and events your city has to offer. They usually have pamphlets at their front desk, or you can ask a knowledgable librarian. Many events I’ve attended were not advertised online so a Google search may not be your best bet.
And dare I say, join a mom group?
I know, I know. It’s HARD!
You tried, and it didn’t work.
Or, you simply just don’t want to do it.
But hear me out, you will never find the perfect group of women. You, yourself, are not perfect. There will always be some women in that group you can’t stand the sight of. But I promise you, if you stick with it, you can establish healthy friendships. But, you must be determined.
Most women give up too easily. I, myself, gave up easily at one point. But by God’s grace, I was able to connect with other women. And if this introverted, socially awkward black woman can make friends in a 99% white support group in the Confederate South, you can do it, too.
3. Create an Income Stream.
Contributing to the household income can be a satisfying feeling. But you don’t have to leave your home to do it. Today, streaming additional income from home has never been more attainable. All you need is a skill you’ve honed and a computer with internet access.
Proverbs 18:16 reminds us that our gift will make room for us!
I know plenty of moms who’ve put their gifts to use to earn income. They have virtual shops where they sell one-of-a-kind crochet designs. They host webinars that help people manage their finances. They write ebooks and author resources. The possibilities are endless!
I, myself, create educational resources for teachers and parents around the globe, and it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. Earning money is just a bonus!
4. Make a Difference.
Some of the happiest moms I know are those who serve others. Ever hear the adage “the quickest way to get over your own problems is to help someone else with theirs?” Research shows making a positive difference in the lives of others increases our sense of self-worth and combats anxiety and depression.
I’ll be the first to raise my hand and attest to that. One of the reasons I continue to blog and create resources is because of the emails, DMs, and comments I receive from people who’ve felt I’ve positively impacted their lives in some way. Reading the words “thank you” and “this is just what I needed” never gets old for me!
Getting involved in your community is another way to make a difference. Find a cause you’re passionate about and go for it! That’s where it’s helpful to be a part of a mom group or club. When you belong to a community, it’s easier to be presented with opportunities to serve.
And I want to note that, above all else, you’re making a positive impact on the lives of your children when you serve your family. After all, your family should be your first ministry.
5. Step into Your Role.
You are the manager of your home. Yet, many moms stray from the true definition of “manager.”
But what does a manager do?
The purpose of a manager is to set goals, decide what needs to be done to achieve those goals, and delegate responsibilities to ensure those goals are met. You were not meant to do everything alone.
I’ll repeat it louder for the ones in the back:
YOU were not meant to do everything ALONE!
Don’t you dare do all the housework if you have children of age who are capable of doing chores.
Don’t you dare not consider asking your husband to contribute to keeping the house in order.
Of course, everyone’s situation is different. Perhaps you have an infant or a husband that’s deployed. Perhaps your village is non-existent. But if you can help it, never do everything by yourself. Even children as young as three-years-old can pick up after themselves and wipe down a table using a non-toxic cleaning spray.
And there’s no shame in hiring help if you can afford to. Hire someone to do your lawn care, shampoo your carpets, or deep clean your bathrooms every week. I’m not ballin’ like that at the moment, but if you are, go for it! We must stop shaming moms who hire help and we must stop making overworked, worn-out moms the face of motherhood.
6. Count Your Wins.
Let’s forget about how many times we’ve failed. Instead, let’s remember to count our victories. One method that helped me in the past was taking inventory on a regular basis. Every so often, I would ask myself what I did right and reflect on those things. When I started this exercise, it suddenly occurred to me how much I focused on my failures and how rarely I thought about my wins.
Consider this verse:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
Let’s emphasize, “If anything is excellent or praiseworthy.” You can’t be doing it all wrong. There has got to be something you’re excellent at and is deserving of praise.
When we reflect on our failures, we start identifying ourselves as failures. Which is simply not true. Romans 8:37 tells us we are more than conquerors! Furthermore, we must remember we are what we think. For “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).
7. Stop Comparing.
Whether you think you’re better or worse than the next mom, comparison is a joy stealer! I know it’s tempting, but please resist the urge.
Most people talk about comparing yourself to others in the form of feeling “less than.” I want to talk about the other type of comparison. It’s easy to see why feeling inferior to another mom isn’t healthy, but I would venture to say that feeling superior to other moms isn’t healthy either.
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you (Romans 12:3).
We must remember not to mistake arrogance with confidence. Arrogant moms tend to have a revolving door of friends because they depend on putting others down to feel better about themselves. But confidence doesn’t depend on the inferiority of other people.
Don’t be that mom!
I love this verse:
Don’t compare yourself with others. Just look at your own work to see if you have done anything to be proud of (Galatians 6:4).
It’s easier said than done. But it’s not impossible. What has really helped me to stop comparing myself to others was to live out Galatians 6:4 and focus on my own endeavors. Do you see why I recommended seeking volunteer opportunities and establishing healthy hobbies and friendships? You’ve got to be so busy enjoying an edifying life that you don’t have time to reflect on what the next mom is doing.
8. Monitor Your Self-Talk.
Self-esteem is measured by the way we think and feel about ourselves. I used to think of myself as a confident person, but I became amazed at the things I told myself when I wasn’t paying attention. A devotional by Barb Roose, titled Beautiful Already, was what inspired me to REALLY listen to the lies I told myself about myself.
Even today, I must still take heed and pay attention, lest I subconsciously fall into negative thought-patterns.
Why is this important?
Because when we don’t feel good about ourselves, we project those insecurities onto others—including our own children!
So watch phrases like:
I’m not good enough.
Nobody likes me.
I’m failing at motherhood.
My kids aren’t like those kids.
Remember when I said you are what you think? Whatever you meditate on becomes your reality. Of course, we must be real with ourselves if we need to improve in certain areas, but constantly putting ourselves down isn’t doing us any favors.
9. Practice Self-Care.
I’m going to repeat this airline cliché:
Put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you assist others.
Self-care means different things to different people. For me, it means ensuring I’m pouring enough into myself so that I have plenty left over to pour into others.
Can I be real? I went an entire week without practicing the self-care habits I normally do. I was a complete mess! There are many excuses women use as to why we can’t put themselves first. But the reality is, we make time for what’s important. The question is:
Why don’t we consider ourselves important enough to make time for?
These things are not luxuries. They’ve been proven time and again to improve our quality of life. They are necessary. I know moms who get up at the crack of dawn just to ensure they have time to exercise, meditate, and work on their hobbies. It’s that important to them. I, myself, know that I’m a better person when I practice self-care.
I know it’s difficult to develop these habits, but all you need is to take one step at a time. Can you commit to seven minutes a day of physical activity? Ten minutes a day to do something you enjoy? One day a month to meet with a friend? Wake up just ten minutes earlier to pray and meditate?
It all starts small! You can increase over time.
10. Appreciate Your Season.
I can say this, and still, most of us will not feel the truth of this statement until after the fact—savor the moment.
If you don’t stop and smell the roses in the spring, you’ll regret it and long for them in the winter.
Life is full of seasons. As a stay-at-home mom, I’ve gone through many of them.
When I was a nursing mom, I desperately wanted my body back. When I was a new mom, I desperately wanted my baby to sleep through the night. I think you can see where I’m going with this.
I remember talking with a fellow homeschool mom at the local skating rink. After exchanging a few comical mom stories, she stared into the distance and said:
“If my kids went back to being small like yours, I would play with them more. Take long walks and crunch the leaves with them. I would steal more kisses, more hugs. I spent their childhood waiting for them to get older, be more independent. Now that they are, I realize they are never going to be small again.”
Wow! I absolutely loved every word she said! You will NEVER regret spending more time with your children. How fortunate are we that we get to spend even more time with our children than the average American mom?
I want to sign off by saying, your feelings are valid! This post is not meant to guilt-trip or condemn, but to offer a bit of advice that has helped me over the years.
Of course, I am not an expert. I don’t know everything. All I know is that being a stay-at-home mom is taxing. But what greater purpose to labor for than for the wellbeing of our family!
Until next time, friend…
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