This mum shares her experience with depression so she can encourage other stay-at home mums to talk about their problems. Everything started when her youngest son was at home and sick. Like every other mum, she was awake all night while he was having a fever. It continued the next day. She showered him with TLC while he was lying on the bed, with pain in his stomach.
After a few days she was still at home so she began to feel depressed. Although she was tired and exhausted she also felt something else- she felt hopeless, she felt as her life was not important and that no one cared about her effort to heal her son.
When her husband came home she tried to tell him about the things she did that day-about the cooking, the tantrums, and the decisions on what medicine should she give to her son or whether she should take him to the doctor. But at that moment she felt as her husband was not listening, as he didn’t care so she started crying without control.
The tears were not because of that particular day, they were because of all the days during 10 years as a SAHM. Every mum loves her kids and gives them love every single day but it can be really exhausting and demoralizing. Sometimes stay-at –home mums feel like a doormat even if they are surrounded by a loving and supportive family. They feel as their hard work every single day is not visible and no one understands them truly.
So why SAHMs are not told that there are days like described above? They are all exhausted but they are doing it in the name of love, except that there are some dark feelings as well.
There are so many stay-at- home mums out there who feel like this. According to a 2012 Gallup poll, SAHMs are more prone to depression than working mums. In a study in which 60,000 women were observed, it was concluded that non-employed women with young children were feeling greater sadness and anger than those who were working and had young children.
“Stay-at-home moms also lag behind employed moms in terms of their daily positive emotions: They are less likely to say they smiled or laughed a lot, learned something interesting, and experienced enjoyment and happiness ‘yesterday.’ Additionally, they are less likely than employed moms to rate their lives highly enough to be considered ‘thriving.’” as Gallup reported.
Gallup cannot explain why SAHM are prone to depression. Maybe it is because going to work makes people feel more fulfill or maybe they just need to be more acknowledged and praised.
“For those who choose to stay home, more societal recognition of the difficult job stay-at-home mothers have raising children would perhaps help support them emotionally.”
This mum admitted that she felt unhappy and sad when her work at home was overlooked or taken for granted. Although she has a loving family her effort and work was noticed only when it wasn’t done.
She added that maybe society should see this job as every other job, should be valuated as every other job.
We are raised to believe that a successful woman is the one with amazing career, and SAHMs don’t have career. Don’t get me wrong. It is amazing to be a working mum, but there are mums who must or choose to stay with their children at home so they feel as they are not worth it any more, that their life is without meaning as it once was when they were working.
But this job is 24/7 without a break, with so little opportunities for self-care so it is easy to become depressive.
Fortunately, the things will change over the years as the kids get older and become more independent. We just need to learn how to function better and fulfill our needs as well. Some will start working again and some will find other hobbies and interests outside home and duties in the house- and this will surely make these mums feel much better.
There are mums who will need professional help especially if they cannot control depression any longer. They just need to see a therapist and there is nothing wrong in that.
There is no magic wand that will help SAHMs. Maybe they just want for the society to recognize and value their work or they just need to have supportive and loving family so they will know that they appreciate their work.
But what is more important is for SAHMs to admit that they have a problem which often comes with being a stay-at –home mum and very often life of SAHM is not perfect and easy as we thought it would be.