The dangers of being a stay-at-home mom
Being a stay-at-home mom is a lot of work. While you are your own boss and not working for someone else, there is an endless list of things that fill your day. While staying home with your kids is a dream for a lot of moms, there are some dangers that come along with it. Here are some things to watch out for.
Most moms know that being a stay-at-home mom does not mean sitting on the couch watching TV all day long. You will be spending your time chasing after kids, making meals, doing laundry, cleaning, driving them places and other activities. But it can be easy to become more sedentary.
Sitting to watch TV with your kids does happen once in a while, as well as sitting to do their homework with them, sitting to fold laundry, sitting to read to your kids, sitting in the car, even sitting to play with your kids. You are not sitting doing nothing, but you are sitting more so than if you were at work. Even if you had a desk job before becoming a stay-at-home mom, you were probably moving around more than you are now.
Make a habit of fitting physical exercise into your activities with your kids. Go for walks, go to the park, take them to an indoor play area or bounce house. Whatever it is, make sure you are moving too. You will find that doing it as a family makes you more likely to schedule it in versus doing it alone.
Being with kids all day long may leave you wondering why you feel lonely, because let’s face it, you are never alone. It is different to spend time with your kids versus other adults. You act differently as a mom than you do as a friend. You start to miss that interaction with other adults.
If you attend organized playdates, try to stay and spend time with the other mom’s verses dropping off your kids and leaving. Or get a babysitter once in a while and go out with your girlfriends for lunch. Do anything you can to allow yourself to spend some time with friends and get out of the house.
Lack of progress
When you’re working or going to school there is progress. You learn something new, complete a class, get a promotion, and move up. When you stay at home with the kids, life can get stagnate. You don’t exercise your brain as much; you don’t challenge yourself like you used to. This can make you start to feel sluggish, or even upset that you are not using the skills you went to school for or were trained to do.
Use this time at home to make goals for yourself. Read a self-improvement or educational book. Take a community education class. Take up a new hobby that allows you to advance and progress in some way. Not only will it help you feel like you are improving your mind, but you will also be an example to your children to never stop learning.
Letting yourself go
When we are at home most of the time, it can be easy to fall into bad habits. Now that you are no longer getting ready for work, or doing things outside of the home, you may find yourself staying in your pajamas most (if not all) day. You may not get your hair done as often as before, get your eyebrows waxed, or get pedicures. Make-up may be a once or twice a week occurrence, instead of daily like before.
You may stop making much of an effort on your appearance at all because besides your husband and kids, no one else sees you, so why bother? It is easy to “let ourselves go” when we stay at home. What’s the point of making all that effort when no one will see it? Keep in mind however, that you will see it. You still need to feel good about yourself and your appearance. While you don’t have to wear high heels and dress suits, you can still do something (other than a ponytail) with your hair. Put on some mascara and lip gloss, and switch out the yoga pants for jeans. It will make you feel better.
When time constraints are in place, you tend to use your time more wisely. You know exactly home much time you have outside of work, and you plan and prepare to use that time in the most effective way. You schedule your gym time, your playdates, when you go grocery shopping, and what you do during the time you are with your kids.
Staying home with your kids gives you lots of flexibility. You can go to the gym when it is convenient for you; unfortunately, this may lead to you not going to the gym at all, because let’s be honest, it is never convenient. It is easier to put it off when you feel like you have all day to do it, but before you know it, the day is over and you still have not completed everything on your list of things to do. Having more time constraints tends to make you more careful with your time. Create a schedule for yourself and do your best to stick to it.
Some moms are super organized, they have play dates scheduled, educational activity time, and even set some time aside for themselves- they are a master at time management. But other moms may struggle. While they enjoy being with their kids, they may not know how to plan or manage their time, they may not be very outgoing and proactive about spending time with other moms or kids, and they may be struggling with their own identity as a person other than mom. Watch out for these dangers. Make sure you are not falling prey to some of the negative stereotypes stay-at-home moms fall victim to.
Megan Shauri graduated with a bachelors in Anthropology and a masters in Psychology. She lives in Orange County, CA and is a mother of twins. Contact her at Meganshauri@gmail.com