Welcome to the third in my series:
The Struggles and Joys of Being a Stay at Home Mom
I want to start off this post by saying a couple things:
- I am not licensed or certified as a therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor. If you are depressed or feel you need emotional support, please reach out to someone who is qualified to help you. This post is only regarding challenges I have faced as a stay at home mom, and what I do to help relieve that temporary stress. This post should not be seen as or used for professional or medical advice.
- This post is in no way intended to put down or lessen the roles, challenges, or joys of being a working mom. I've been a working mother myself, and I know all too well the struggles that come with it. In today's world whatever path you take is filled with turbulence as well as beauty. In my book, all moms who are doing the best at what they do and with what they have are super moms. At this point in my life, I am a stay at home mom. So this topic is just close to my heart right now.
Welcome to Part 2 in this series, "The Joys and Struggles of Being a Stay at Home Mom". This series is my way of reaching out to other stay at home moms and letting them know they are not alone. There are plenty of us out there who deal with the same struggles you are facing. We all love our kiddos, and we all love spending our days with them, but that does not mean our days are all sunshine and snuggles. Today's topic...guilt.
So Many Forms of Guilt
I have experienced so many forms of guilt since I started this journey as a stay at home mom.
- Not spending enough time with my kids
- Keeping them home with me instead of in preschool with other kids
- Not teaching them enough
- Not having a clean enough house when my husband gets home
- Letting my kids eat too much junk food
- Letting them stay up or sleep in too late
- Letting them keep a pacifier too long
- Not getting them potty trained sooner
- Letting them breastfeed too long, or not being able to breastfeed long enough
- Not having dinner on the table early enough
You name it, and I have probably felt guilty about it. When it comes to any of form of guilt, it all boils down to feeling guilty for not being a better mom/wife. But let's be honest...
Guilt is About Their Standards...Not Mine
Other people's standards are just that. Other. People's. Standards. I make all sorts of judgments about myself by comparing my house, my kids' bedtime, my schedule, and a million other things to what society, "experts", and social media say are the norm. Why should we experience guilt because someone else says we should do it differently?
Here's the thing...those people do not live my life, work my schedule, manage my budget, or know my circumstances. Nor do they take care of my family, my business, or my household. So who cares about their standards, really? As long as my kids are happy and healthy, I don't think it matters if they sleep till 9:00 after they had trouble going to sleep the night before.
There isn't a mom out there who is perfect. That "perfect" mama also doesn't have a perfect home, husband, or kids. Perfection does not exist in this beautiful life we live. If there is something you want to change about your life, your marriage, your house, your finances...whatever it may be...focus on progress not perfection!
Guilt From an Off Day
Everyone has off days. No one...and I mean no one...is on their game 365 days a year. And I'm pretty sure everyone has had one of those days where nothing quite seems to go as expected or how we had planned. That's life, right?
When I have days like that, I try to do something that I know will have a positive outcome. It disrupts the pattern of negativity that can sometimes consume me.
Take a walk with the kids or bake a special treat with them. Their 'happy' will overshadow the grouch fest going on in your head, Then it is easier to move forward with your daily productivity.
Also, try to remember to give yourself some grace. Take a few moments to think about all the good you are normally rocking, drop the guilt, and get back in touch with the super mama you really are.
Guilt Because I Don't "Contribute" Anymore
One form of guilt I have often experienced, and have only ever told my husband about is feeling guilty about not contributing financially to our household. This one was especially hard for me because I was so used to a regular paycheck.
I had a career I had worked hard to build. When I wanted to buy an anniversary gift, I just bought it. I did not have to buy it with the money my husband had worked so hard for.
Add to that the enormous guilt when we have gone through rough patches with money. To watch someone you care about work their tail off when you aren't bringing in a dime is difficult enough without the weight of barely making ends meet. I really had to dig deep to retrain my thinking on this issue. It weighed on me all the time.
My husband was actually the one that helped turn it around for me when he told me it was "our' money not "his" money. He told me that I worked hard every day, and while I did not actually get a paycheck, I contributed in other ways that were invaluable to our family. Hearing that got me in the right frame of mind to hear my inner voice point me in the direction of starting Mermaid in a Mason Jar!
I am certain the same is true of you. You cook, clean, handle appointments, go grocery shopping, do laundry, raise your precious babies...and you save daycare money to boot! Make a list of all the ways you contribute to your family every day. You may be surprised to see just how much you do for your household!
If you want to contribute with an actual paycheck, there are so many ways you can help contribute financially while still spending the day with your favorite tiny humans. There are TONS of resources out there to find legitimate ways to make cash from home. All sorts of companies pay for your time and input. Not to mention you could start your own business doing something you truly love. Whatever it may be! Get creative, do the research, and go for it!
Check out the other posts in this series:
- Not enough time/Too much to do
- Self care
- Struggle with identity
- Establishing a sustainable routine
- Juggling work and home
If you want to visit a specific post in the series, just click the link above, and you will be directed to that post.
A couple more things...
Loving the motivational quotes in the pics? Be sure you subscribe to get notifications, my newsletter, and exclusive access to all the FREE printables in the MMJ Member Library, which includes the printable motivational quotes from the pictures in this series!! Plus, look for Mermaid in a Mason Jar on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to join an amazing community of women just like you!