April 5, 2012 by Carin
After I had my first child, it was pretty common for people to ask how I liked being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM). I think they were surprised when I didn’t respond with “Great”, “Awesome” or “The Best”. Being a SAHM has its benefits, for example on a good day I can get the laundry done, get some of the house cleaned, go for a run and take the kids to the park. But being a SAHM can also be really stressful and in my opinion, more stressful then going to work everyday. Why you ask. There are so many things you feel like you should be doing and not, things you should be saying to your kids, but not, some guilt surrounded around not contributing to the family financial well being and so on.
I often feel I should be doing more with the kids on a weekly basis. I don’t make trips to the zoo, the mall for activities or aquarium. I tend to bribe the toddler into the stroller for a run with a promise of a stop at the park or a chance to run a half mile home, which by the way she likes (this is not torture on my part!). I often feel I should be taking the kids to more educational things. But most mornings by the time we are all dressed and head out the door, it is a few hours away from lunch and nap time. Thus a meltdown is sure to occur at some point. I could put more effort into getting us out the door more quickly and making plans, but it always feels easier to just hang close to home. So, yes stress.
While I often tell the kids daily that I love them and how amazing they are in various ways, I will admit I get short with them as well. Day in and day out of the same shenanigans can wear on you. The same scenarios play out that result in whining, crying and tantrums. I try my best to keep my cool, but there are times my own temper gets the best of me. I feel good about my parenting when I can stay calm and talk calmly to the kids when a trying scenario starts to unfold, but there are times when staying in the calm zone is the hardest part of the day. I don’t know about other SAHM (or dad), but staying calm 100% of the time is tough and I want lessons from any one of you that don’t loose your cool. Cue stress for my lack of daily patience. How do daycare workers do it?
Those are a few things that cause me stress for being a SAHM. This stress in not the type that causes my hair to fall out for lose sleep over. But stress that I am not doing what a SAHM should be doing. Is going to the zoo or aquarium important, is being uber patient going to make my kids better behaved or having one income going to keep our kids from doing or having things their friends are doing? Yes, I am comparing myself to other SAHM that I hear about and all the amazing things they do with their kids. I wish I could be like them and maybe if I think about it enough I can come close. But for now I will own my stress and try to not let it bother me.