Six Struggles of the SAHM
Feb 19, 2021
There is a lot of debate throughout the online parenting community, as to which of the parenting roles is the hardest; or includes the most work: The man with a paid job, or the woman who stays home to care for the family. While the downsides of a paid job are usually obvious and easily seen, the stresses of the stay at home mom are often swept under the rug. These roles can of course be reversed, but as a woman; I can only write from the perspective of a mother.
It is a sad yet real truth, that sometimes the stay at home mother doesn’t get enough appreciation or credit for her work. This article is about just some of the hardships that we all face on a daily basis, throughout our journeys as parents.
1) The Endless Workload
Many people think that SAHMs are lucky to be able to do what they do, and while they aren’t wrong; they often underestimate just how tough our role is. Although we don’t earn a paid income, practically every mom can agree that our work load never seems to end. From laundry, dishes, sweeping and every other cleaning task, to feeding, bathing, teaching, and keeping our children entertained; there are always endless tasks to be completed. SAHMs have to spend a lot of time on their feet, meeting every requirement, expectation and demand imaginable; not only from their children, but also from their partners and society itself.
2) The Isolation is Real
One might think ‘how can she be lonely? She has her kids all the time’ Well, let me tell you: As I’m sure you can figure out, socializing with children and socializing with other adults are two very different things. Playing with a child only feels fulfilling and entertaining for so long, and unless they’re at the right age; they don’t always make the best conversation buddies. It can be a real struggle to schedule time to see your friends and family, when you have complete opposite work schedules. While a SAHM is always home during the day, the majority of those she knows are off to work; and don’t have the ability to simply take their work with them. By the time their shifts end, she very well may find herself too exhausted to put in the effort to go out, or it may be too late and interrupt with the child’s sleep schedule. It can be hard to even keep an online or over the phone conversation, when you find yourself having to constantly care for and chase around your children; as it tends to cause disruptions.
3) The Loss of Free Time
It may not seem like that big of a deal, but I certainly know that adjusting to having very little free time to do the things that I want to do, or even just to have any time by myself; was a big struggle. It’s a hard transition, going from being able to freely enjoy the activities you do; to barely being able to do them at all. Although people may think that SAHMs have lots of time during the day to do things, practically that entire time is spent either cleaning, doing a form of work from home job, or simply caring for their children. By the time a SAHM actually gets the chance to have some time to herself, she’s often too exhausted or worn out to do much with it. I have struggled with feeling like I had lost myself and what I was, when I became a parent. Sometimes, it feels like all you are is the work that you do.
4) Juggling Self Care
When you become responsible for every aspect of care for another human being, it can be a great struggle to still find the time, and the energy to continue taking care of yourself. The SAHM has a natural tendency to put herself on the back burner, and put her children and partner on the front. Being a SAHM tends to leave a woman in a constant, repetitive state of exhaustion; and often her body and mind don’t get the care that they both need and deserve. Stress has a nasty tendency of building and piling up, especially on the shoulders of a mother; who literally has little lives depending on her ability to provide and care for them. It’s a lot of pressure to put on a single individual, and when a mother steps up to the task, she often unintentionally ends up neglecting her own needs.
5) Trial and Error: There is No Perfect Method
All parents today have a lot of expectations and ideals pushed onto them, whether it comes from family, friends, their partners, or society. Most people have a picture in their minds of what a perfect parent looks like, or at least should be. But in all honesty? The perfect parent does not exist. When a woman becomes a mother, it is taking a step into a world of the unknown; and there is almost always no single right answer. People may think they have it all figure out, but that doesn’t mean that they do; or that somebody else is wrong. As a SAHM, a woman is going to make mistakes, and this tends to cause emotional responses. Taking a step in the wrong direction is stressful, and often upsetting; nobody wants to have setbacks. Parenthood is a learning experience, and even though they shouldn’t, people tend to expect that SAHMs have all the answers.
6) Stressed, yet Blessed: An Emotional Rollercoaster
From the outside, it’s much easier to see and think about the positives of motherhood than the negatives. While it is true that being a mother is beautiful and one of the best blessings there is in life; that doesn’t mean that it isn’t tough or stressful. From highs such as joy, happiness and pride, to lows such as depression, anxiety and anger, the SAHM goes through it all. Usually, on a daily basis. The waves of emotions alone from parenting is exhausting, and takes a toll on both the mind and soul. Additional stresses such as Post Postpartum Depression, definitely don’t sweeten the mix. While it is important to see motherhood as a great and happy thing, it’s also important to both recognize and acknowledge the hardships that come with it.
To all of the stay at home moms reading this: Motherhood is never going to be a walk in the park, and you will never have all the answers. But here’s the good news: You don’t have to. Right now, where you are, you’ve got this. Although it’s hard, it is crucial to find some time where you can kick back and relax, or do some much needed self care. Although it is tough to find the time to do so, it will make you feel so much better; and help you to carry on down this rocky road of parenthood.