At first, being a stay-at-home mom seems like a walk in the park. You don’t have a commute and or follow a dress code. All you have to do is play with kids, right? False. Stay-at-home moms have a tough job, and the stress is real.
That’s not to say working mothers aren’t stressed. The stressors are simply different and happen at different degrees. Plus, from the outside, society tends to look at stay-at-home motherhood as an easier task. But that’s just not true. A stay-at-home deserves the same kind of stress relief, regardless of their position.
Stress And Women
Women need to be extra mindful of stress. Compared to men, women are more likely to experience the physical side effects. Men have a “fight or flight” response, while women tend to nurture.1
This mainly due to hormones. For instance, postpartum depression affects 15% of mothers. Hypothyroidism, which causes fatigue and depression, is 5 times more likely in women than men. And then, there’s the monthly hormonal dance of PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and menstruation.2 3
Top it off with the responsibility of wearing many hats. A stay-at-home mom is a babysitter, teacher, chauffeur, cook, and everything in between. If her partner does not share the load, things can get tougher.
Stress Management For Stay-At-Home Moms
It’s impossible to banish stress, but with these tips, a stay-at-home can keep it under control.
1. Set Boundaries
Boundaries are vital for your sanity and health. If you don’t have them, you’ll take on the work of a couple of people. Don’t be afraid to say no. For instance, you don’t need to be a chaperone at every school trip.
Use that time to take care of other things around the house. Planning an activity with the neighborhood moms? You don’t always need to be the host. If you can’t handle more tasks, don’t take them on.
2. Stay Organized
Being organized isn’t for everyone. But when you’re a mother, the practice saves the day. Keep emergency numbers at arm’s reach – pin them on the refrigerator. Use a calendar to keep track of appointments and activities. The less you have to shove into your brain, the more you can focus.
3. Minimize Belongings
This might seem impossible when you have a kid or 5. But when you have a full house, minimalism is a game changer. Don’t be embarrassed to pass down clothing or toys. It’s better for the environment, your wallet, and cleaning.
Recycle “trash” for toys and activities. Toilet paper tubes, cereal boxes, and junk mail make for great supplies. This prevents an overflowing toy box while encouraging creativity.
4. Eat Well
Grabbing the third donut might be convenient, but it’ll do more harm than good. Support your body and mind by eating well. Cooking probably feels impossible. So why not get the kids involved? Make simple, kid-friendly meals with nutritious ingredients. Meal prepping with your children allows you to bond and educates them at the same time.
5. Delegate Work
Even young kids can help out around the house. Turn a clean-up into a game, whether it’s tossing items into a box or matching up clean socks. They can even help with simple cooking tasks.
6. Exercise Together
Physical activity keeps your mental health in check. You don’t need to sneak off to the gym, though. Run around in the park, or go for a nature walk. Try a gentle form of yoga together. It’ll benefit both you and your little ones.
7. Allow “Me” Time
Babysitters aren’t limited to working moms. Let go of the guilt and be open to babysitters. Consider a close friend or relative that you trust. During this time, focus on self-care, even if it’s just for an hour. Treat yourself to a massage or a lunch with the girls. You deserve it.
Being a stay-at-home mom looks different for everyone. Whatever you do, don’t feel the need to do everything. Respect your own needs. You’re only human!