The society doesn’t talk about the loneliness, isolation and even depression that stay-at-home moms go through at times. Thus the only outlet for a SAHM (stay-at-home mom) going through such feelings is to confide in a close friend. The problem with that though is if the close friend has never been through the same situation, it’s hard for her to relate to your feelings and give appropriate support.
A friend of mine recently shared her experience about being a SAHM for the past 3 years. She said she feels like she has lost her identity! That made me realize that the emotions a woman goes through being a SAHM are indeed very intense, to the point that not being able to vent out about them can potentially cause serious psychological issues.
Hence, I decided to anonymously share some of her sentiments here. I want to mention that I have been a SAHM myself for about 2 years as well, which is why I could relate to how she feels. But I figured that my understanding of her situation is not as accurate as she’d expect; and so I thought if I put her words out in the open, I’ll probably be able to help more women, who are going through the same experience, to feel consoled by knowing that they’re not in this alone.
Here are 4 major confessions from my SAHM friend.
“I feel lonely even when I’m not alone”
Nobody would be called a mom if she doesn’t have a child. That’s pretty obvious, right? And that child (or children) is the one the mom stays home to take care of. Then why is it that many SAHM feel lonely most of the time? Isn’t the child with them or around them (or on top of them) all the time?
Having a little munchkin with us and depend on us doesn’t fulfill our need to be social or have companionship as a whole. Of course children have their own ways to reciprocate feelings, but sometimes, we really need the attention of an adult. We need somebody who can reply when we speak to them, not just respond with a giggle or a cute smack on the face. We need someone who can understand our jokes and thoughts, or at least be present in the room to hear us out.
“Being a mom is often a lonely road,” writes Jessica Archuleta, a freelance writer who’s a mother of 10 kids and a SAHM for 22 years.
“I cry out of guilt every time I snap at my child”
We all get annoyed at certain times when our child is acting stubborn, making too much of a mess or not going to sleep long after it’s nap time. Since there’s nobody else around, we end up taking out our frustration on the little one, who innocently wonders what happened to mommy. Most often than not, the child would just show his sad little face and walk away to sob in some corner of the house.
It’s not an unknown fact that all mothers secretly regret lashing out on their child, every single time. Some would even cry out of guilt once the gush of anger settles down. We all know that making our child the victim of our dismay is not a good habit; and the guilt that follows makes us want to take corrective measures right afterwards.
“I miss getting things done in the corporate world”
For those mothers who’ve had few years of career before giving birth to their first-born can relate to this. My friend was a full-time marketing team lead in a fast growing organization for almost 4 years before her son was born. When she became a SAHM at first, she was hoping to be able to get back to her corporate life after a couple of years. It’s now been 3 years and she has started feeling that she’s not employable anymore.
Many women, while being a SAHM, miss performing at their jobs and having the usual 9:00am to 5:00pm work routine. Even though they’re doing a lot more ‘work’ by taking care of the house as well as their child, they miss being directly compensated for their deliverables and getting acknowledgment for their work.
Jenny Studenroth Gerson, an Atlanta-based writer and a mother of 2 girls, wrote about how tough the job of a SAHM is, in one of her articles. She mentions, “The invisibility of it all is so hurtful, especially when it comes from people who are supposed to care.”
“I feel hurt when I’m judged on my parenting skills”
The easiest to give parenting advice is before you become a parent yourself. That being said, I want to mention that those who give advice to SAHMs do not necessarily (or maybe never) have evil motives. But unfortunately, due to the hurt they cause, they may be assumed to do so. Sometimes, the advice comes in the form of questions, and that’s even worse. “What do you do sitting at home all day?” and “Do you think your college degree was a waste?”
We probably wouldn’t feel as hurt when someone points out a flaw in our parenting ways (or just utters out an ‘advice’), if the comment is directed to both the parents, instead of condemning the mother alone.
Perhaps Lauren Harkawik is right when she writes, “We need to give advice to dads too!”