Monday, May 21, 2012

Being Happy At Home

Last week the Today Moms group on Facebook posted an article that I found very interesting. It says a recent Gallup survey shows that stay-at-home-moms are more depressed than working moms. They go on to say that the drudgery of at home life, combined with isolation and a lack of "feeling accomplished" cause sahm's to feel more sadness, anger, worry and depression. Working moms on the other hand, were more apt to report that they had feelings of happiness and enjoyment.

Reading the article caused me to feel a deep and profound sadness for those stay-at-moms who are suffering. I know first hand what staying home is like, and I can easily see how a mom might start to slide into depression. There is definitely an isolation factor involved, as well as a day-to-day drudgery that can really wear on some moms.

I count myself blessed to be a sahm who loves my career. That being said, as someone who is happy and content with my choice I think it's important to share some of the things that have made my life as a sahm the enjoyable experience that it is. I know it's not the right choice for everyone, but if you are a mom who stays home, you deserve to have it be a positive experience.

The most important thing I've learned from staying home is that not every day is going to be wonderful. It is so easy to feel guilty on those days when you don't get out of your jammies, the kids are whining, don't nap, the dishes and laundry are piled high, and it's been raining for 5 days straight. On those days, it's important to remember that nobody loves their job every single day. It doesn't make you a bad mother, it doesn't mean that you made the wrong choice, and it doesn't mean that you have failed in any way.

It does mean that you need to give yourself a break. When the chaos threatens to take over, figure out what you can do to help yourself relax. Maybe you need to check in with a friend or relative. Maybe you need to pop in a children's dvd and make yourself a cup of tea while the kids are occupied. Maybe you need to hand the little ones over to your husband when he comes home, and spend 10 minutes by yourself regrouping. Whatever it is, do it, and don't feel guilty. You need a mommy time-out every now and then, and there's nothing wrong with that!

I also find it important to stick to a routine. We're very flexible in my house, but there is a general structure to our days, especially in the mornings and evenings. It helps us all stay accountable to the tasks we need to accomplish.

I make sure to get dressed and put makeup on every single day. It helps me feel like a functioning human, and reminds me that even though i'm Mommy, i'm still Megan.

I plan an activity every day. Most days the activity takes place outside of our home. It might be a playdate, storytime, or simply a trip to the grocery store. Whatever it happens to be, it gets us out of the house, provides a change of scenery, and allows me to converse with other adults. If we have no plans, we go for a walk, or do special out-of-the-ordinary things at home. (Play-doh, baking, painting, etc.)

Utilize the social media world. My Facebook and Twitter friends have provided countless hours of support in my times of need. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, exhausted, or clueless there is someone out there I can turn to. I also text my friends and family throughout the day. It helps stave off those feelings of isolation that can creep in, especially when it's been raining for 5 days and the kids are all suffering from colds.

It's really important to remember the things you liked to do pre-children and make sure to incorporate them into your current life. I love drinking coffee or wine with friends. Once a month I go out with my mommy blogger friends, which helps me feel connected to other women, and free from the responsibilities of home.

We often have playdates scheduled around lunchtime, which allows me to chat with my friends while the kids are entertaining each other. Coffee is usually involved too. If we don't have plans, i'll make a trip to Dunkin Donuts and enjoy a piping hot cup of coffee made by somebody else. Just that small pleasure is enough to make me happy on a dreary day when i'm sleep deprived and feeling miserable. And a glass of wine at the end of a hectic day is one of my favorite ways to decompress.

I love reading and writing, so I make this blog a priority. I find time every day to catch up on a few of my favorite blogs, and read a few pages in a book. (I always have something I'm reading, although I admit that sometimes it's a parenting magazine instead of an actual book.) If there's something you love to do and are passionate about, you need to make sure you do it! I don't like hearing that there is no time. The laundry/dusting/vacuuming etc. can wait for a little while, because doing something for yourself each day is essential!

Lastly, make sure you have time with your spouse or partner. It doesn't have to be a date night, especially because those can be pricey and hard to arrange. Dan and I love our at home nights, where we order pizza when the kids go to bed and relax with a glass of wine and a slice. We've also been known to break out the scrabble board from time to time. (Yes, we are that awesome.) Keeping connected with your spouse is a way to share the ups and downs of your life at home with the kids, and having his support and understanding is crucial.

Staying home and raising my children is my biggest point of pride. I love knowing that i'm fulfilling my dream and doing what I've always wanted to do. I hope that there are moms out there that have found this helpful, because being a mom, whether working outside the home or not, is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week job, and we all deserve to be happy and enjoy this time in our lives.

*If you think you are suffering from depression, please seek professional help. If you're feeling sad, weary, or just down, reach out to someone. If you need support, I am always willing to listen. I love hearing from new people, and you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, or by email.


  1. As a stay at home mom, I kind of bounce back and forth in terms of getting caught up in the monotony. Although it's not monotonous, I just get stuck in a rut. When I make getting out of the house or activities a priority, the days are so much better! I love that stuff and would be heartbroken if I had to work outside the home and miss all these moments. It's easy to get to that depressed point though, but I'm surprised that SAHMs were more prone to depression. Either way, parenthood is hard and takes careful planning so we all get our mommy time.

    Kudos to you for putting makeup on everyday! It's one of my goals and I do feel so much better on the days I get showered and made up early in the day!

    1. Thanks for commenting Kasey! I was surprised & saddened to read that SAHMs were more depressed. It makes me wonder though about the specific details of the women they surveyed. Were some of them staying home because of depression? Were some of them laid off and therefore forced to stay home? Did they leave lucrative careers but not really want to, just thought they should? I feel like it's pretty broad to flat out state that it was the staying home part that caused the depression. But that's just me.

      I'm glad to hear i'm not the only one who loves my job, but has days that full of monotony! :)

  2. I think there are some different struggles and some of the same whether you work or stay at home. I feel overwhelmed by the pace of life a lot of the time. I work full time and I often think of what it would be like to stay home. Then I have a cray weekend with the kids and am ready for work on Monday. ;) I think it is a catch 22.

    1. I completely agree Kameron, there are similar struggles either way. I was really surprised to read the results of this study. I also think it depends on what kind of person you are. Some people just aren't cut out for at-home parenthood and some aren't cut out for working outside the home. It's definitely a very personal decision!

  3. Great post Megan. I have been a stay at home mother of four for thirteen years now, and finally my kids are all into a full school day! WooHoo! I loved being a SAHM, and was always grateful to be able to do so, but of course as you say not everyday is a great day at ANY job. The key elements for my early years were many of the same for you, my top two 1. Playgroup, it is as much for the moms as the kids. 2. Like you, I always had a daily outing, to the zoo, children's museum, aquarium, story hour, even just Barnes & Noble, again preferably with other mommy friends.


Thank you so much for leaving comments! They are always welcome, and I always appreciate the feedback. I do my best to respond to each and every comment. If you click the "subscribe by email" button underneath the comment box, you will get notified when I comment back. Thank you for visiting!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...