A lot of you parents have suddenly switched gears to become stay at home/work from home moms and dads. You’re stressed and overwhelmed, I know. So, in light of recent events, this subject has been heavy on my heart. As a mom who has been staying home with her children for three years now I feel like I have a lot of advice to offer.
You’re probably stressed, frustrated, maybe even depressed. These are all things we as stay-at-home moms have dealt with over the years. We have been trying for ages to get others to understand and now some of you can. I’m here to offer you some insight and tips from a pro lol.
Although it’s only been a few weeks and it’s only temporary you probably have gotten a taste of this stay at home parenting life. Not so pretty is it? Can’t just sit around all day, at least not if you want to get stuff done.
I was a stay at home AND work from home mom at the beginning of my parenting career. Most stressful time of my life. Mostly because of the job. But I was fortunate to have a village of people to help me with the kids.
If you’re working from home, with or without kids, you need to have a designated workspace. If you don’t you’re not going to get stuff done, trust me. Working from the comfort of your bed is dangerous lol you’ll be counting sheep before you even start sending emails.
Get up like you would any other workday. Keeping up your routine will aid in keeping you on task. Eat or don’t eat. Make your coffee or tea. Do your morning exercise. Get your kids up and at ‘em, if they’re not on spring break, otherwise enjoy them sleeping lol. Everything should be business as usual, just maybe a little slower and less stressful.
Before getting to your desk, or the kitchen table, let your family know you are on the clock and not to be disturbed. Be forewarned there will be disruptions. If it’s not your kids it’ll be your spouse. It comes with the territory. Make sure to take your allotted breaks! Sometimes when you’re working from home you can get carried away and lose track of time.
Being a stay at home mom can cause you all types of feelings. Especially if you’re working from there as well. I’m here to tell you that your feelings are valid. It’s okay to feel frustrated, annoyed, sad, or indifferent. You nor your kids are used to being around each other 24/7 so both sides are expected to get exhausted. People being home more than usual means more mess, more meals to cook, more toiletries being used, more noise, etc.
There are also upsides to this sudden lifestyle change. Less work-related stress, less school-related stress, time away from bullies, time to reflect on life choices, time to grow closer to God. (If you weren’t calling on Him before I guarantee you will soon enough!) More time with the ones you love, more time to know and understand what your family members are feeling, more time to grow as a unit, more time to cook meals together, the list goes on.
During this time it’s best we focus on the positive.
Yes, this is hard right now but it won’t be forever. Right now, even before covid-19, I want so badly to work outside of the house but that’s just not in the cards for my family right now. I also know when I finally get back to working outside of the home I’ll be sad and wishing to go back.
Let’s switch gears a bit and talk about something very important that happens when you become a stay at home parent — depression. Yes, depression ya’ll. It’s real, it happens and you’re not alone. Just google ‘stay at home mom depression’, you’ll see.
If you are alone with your kids —meaning you are a single parent or your spouse is at work. It’s so very important to reach out. I cannot stress this enough. I’ve cried many tears while being a stay at home mom. It’s not easy. Yes, your kids are with you but you’re really alone A LOT. So it can get overwhelming at times.
A 2012 Gallup poll found that 28% of stay-at-home moms had been diagnosed with depression compared to 17% of employed moms (defined as mothers who have both a full or part-time job and children under 18). Not to say that employed moms don’t have depression. Just imagine those numbers now with more people working from home with kids.
So what can you do to combat these depressing and anxious feelings?
Go outside and take a deep breath if you need to. Put them down for a nap even though it’s early in the day. Let them play in their room with the baby gate up. Call someone. Text someone. Write a post on Facebook. Join a Facebook group. Take time for yourself, check out my self-care post here. Your kids don’t just need a mom, they need a healthy one. These are all things that have helped me over the years.
Stay at home mom depression is real and it’s painful. But you are not in this fight alone. If I have learned anything during these three years it is that we are all struggling somehow. I know reaching out may seem like you’re looking for pity but you’re not —you need help. Whether it’s a conversation or someone watching them for you. Don’t be afraid to ask or talk to someone about your feelings. Even if it’s just your spouse. You should express your feelings to someone somehow.
I know right now your world may seem upside down and you don’t think you will be able to handle it. You might have thought about giving up but I’m here to tell you that it’s not forever. Your kids won’t be loud and messy forever, they won’t be little forever, you won’t be stuck in that house forever. Stay strong and use all the resources available to you! We got this!