Dealing with the pressure of being a stay-at-home mom is like no other. I was reading a question on a Facebook group yesterday from a new stay at home mom. In it, she talked about how she stayed up all night obsessing about the areas of her life that she was failing in. She wanted advice on how to cope.
Unlike the working mom, who is always lauded for balancing life and job and kids, the stay at home mom is held to an impossible standard of perfection. And we allow it.
Instead of getting advice that she was doing fine, she was giving cleaning day suggestions, activities, and structure ideas. As stay at home mothers we put a ton of pressure on ourselves.
The pressures of being a stay-at-home mom are just as much external as internal
Our house isn’t clean enough, we don’t have dinner on the table every night, we hold our baby too much and cuddle them, we don’t hold him enough and neglect, we do too many activities, and we don’t do enough activities.
Are we reading enough or does our kid know enough? We often hear about how the kids in daycare talk earlier, count earlier, have more structure in their day.
Those moms get time to work out before picking up their kids, they can take mental health days by sending the kids in and calling out. They have cleaning ladies.
Check out what it was like for me becoming a mother.
SAHMs are more than the 1950’s house wife
Yet, society sees the stay-at-home mom as the 1950’s house wife. Clean house, dinner on the table, well dressed babies. Or worse we are judged as lazy, uneducated woman with no ambition.
This is simply not the case though. Today’s stay-at-home mom, is college educated, and wasn’t forced into the kitchen but instead choose her children over a job, bigger house, vacations and in many cases – respect from others.
Today being a stay-at-home mom means that you are in the minority. Back in the 1950s, you had a community of women at home with you. Today, you are alone.
In the 1950s, the cost of living was the based on one person working, one job. Today, two people are working, plus someone usually has a side hustle or second job just to makes ends meat.
So for us select few that stay at home, we are seen through rose-colored glasses. We live a life of luxury. We have all day to clean the house — and no one seems to acknowledge that we make three meals a day, plus three snacks, play games and have play dates. We should easily be able to get dinner on the table. We have all day/week to plan meals, go to the grocery store. They don’t seem to know that we grocery shop with kids, cook with a baby on our hip.
Finally, we don’t run on the structure of a day care. No matter how much we try, a daily nap at 1 pm doesn’t always happen. Reading time while cuddled on the couch isn’t a guarantee, sometimes we are building a fort.
SHAMS do so much more, but our kids reap amazing benefits
So what do we have going for us? Is the working mom’s life that much better? Are her kids better off?
I will say no.
While we may not have a set reading time or a set nap time, my son has more variety in his day than most of his peers in daycare. He takes music, gymnastics, swimming and art classes. He goes to different parks and walks the nature trails.
But even more important, he spends his whole day with me, seeing life. He goes the bank, pays bills, goes to the grocery store, learns to clean up, he learns through each of these experiences.
And instead of only spending time with kids that are within a couple months of his age, he spends his day with kids that range from 8 years old down to a newborn. He learns to play and interact with all ages. This is a gift since once kids are out of college, the idea of spending your day with your same age group is non existent.
Finally, he is with mom. Research consistently shows that children are happier and more secure when they spend the first three years of their life at home with a primary care giver.
If you question this, go out during the day to a park and see how the day care worker interacts with the kids. See the individualized attention they are given. I am appalled at how children as young as a year are spoken to. They spend 8 hours a day without love. Think about that.
As mothers, we often feel like we’re not doing enough — and I can attest to that.
So in conclusion, I would like to encourage the stay at home mom, you may be lonely, you may feel broke, and you may lay in bed at night thinking about all the things you aren’t doing enough of, but you are doing great.
You are giving your child constant love. And in our world filled with anger, constant love is a great gift!