Being a boy mom of 3 boys is a blessing however I also deal with stay at home mom depression. Why? I wish I knew! Shelter, food, water? Check. Transportation? Check.
My kids and I can walk, talk, sing, dance, and play. My boys love me, and I love them. I have everything I need to enjoy a happy life. But I am not happy! . . . And I am not alone.
If you are a mother suffering from depression and anxiety, you are in the right place. I am by no means a medical professional but I have years of experience living and coping with depression and anxiety.
Firstly, you are not crazy! You are not ungrateful. You are not lazy and you are not overreacting. And you are not a bad mom! You are suffering from a chemical imbalance. Now say “why me?” Go ahead. Get it out of your system. Done? Great! You don’t want pity. Empathy would be nice. But what you want and deserve most of all is relief.
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I used to feel so jealous when I would see other moms with their kids. They seemed so happy pushing strollers while holding a cup of hot coffee. Their kids were perfectly coiffed and dressed as if they stepped out of a popular catalog.
I didn’t envy their material things. I wanted their boundless energy and I confessed this to my therapist in one of the weekly sessions. She told me that most of them are probably her patients! You would be surprised. Sometimes it’s the ones who look like they have it all going on are the ones sitting on the chair for 30-45 minutes and then hitting up the pharmacy.
You don’t know what people are going through by outside appearances, don’t compare yourself to others, and please be kind to yourself. This is your journey. Not theirs!
Stay at Home Mom Depression & Anxiety: This what depression looks like
Stay at home depression is dealt with differently depending on the mom and situation. In my case, I feel that my life is monotonous. Cook, clean, drive. I feel robotic. Like there is nothing fun to look forward to. And if I’m not holding a mop or broom, I feel lost. Like I’m not adding any value to the world. Can you relate?
Stay at Home Mom w/ Depression & Anxiety Symptoms
Loss of Identity – I feel like I’m nothing but a mother. I have no purpose in life other than cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping.
Feeling Down – I feel less than a woman. I let my kids down. We don’t do things like other families because I’m always locked in my room drinking my feelings away.
Thoughts of ‘Why Can’t I Be Happy?’ – I don’t understand why I feel this way. Even antidepressants can’t save me. I have a constant feeling of what’s wrong with me?
Worrying about everything . . . All the time – I worry uncontrollably about everything. I watch my 17-year-old take out the trash. I won’t let them on the patio. I chop up my 8-year-old’s food. I won’t let him take Doritos to school in case he chokes and I’m not there. Every time I get in the car, I think I’m gonna drive off a bridge. I won’t let my child get his learner’s permit. And I won’t let him leave when he turns 18. The quarantine is a blessing in disguise because I get to keep my kids close to me.
Not Eating and/or Bad Eating Habits – I wish that my depression would take my appetite. Unfortunately, it has the opposite effect. I eat all day, the unhealthier, the better. And I drink constantly. When the good feeling starts to fade away, I drink until I get it back. I binge eat. I feel good while I’m eating. Once the food runs out, reality hits, and I feel terrible that I’ve hurt my body. It is a vicious cycle.
Financial Stress – I also overspend on food, clothes, shoes, games for kids, and other unnecessary things because shopping makes me feel on a high. And then, on the other hand, my depression, anxiety, and mood swings make it nearly impossible to keep a job.
Isolation – I stay in my bedroom 85 percent of the time. I only leave to go to the bathroom or to cook for my kids. I feel alone, but don’t want to be bothered. It’s confusing.
Feeling Stuck in Life – I feel that because I’m approaching 40 years old, that I should be further in life. I have been going through the same thing for years with no end in sight. I don’t have my own place, I don’t own a home and I don’t have my own business. And it’s all my fault.
Feeling ‘Nothing Makes Me Happy’ – I used to think that things would make me happy. I have tons of nice clothes and shoes piled sky-high in storage. . . Thinking it would make me happy, of course. I have tons of wigs, makeup, and jewelry. I’m still unhappy. Even the food I binge on fails to excite me. I used to enjoy writing, making music, and reading. That doesn’t excite me either.
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Things That You Can Do To Help Deal w/ Stay at Home Mom Depression
Seek professional help – I’ve sought the help of a psychiatrist, and of a therapist. I have weekly phone sessions with my therapist at the moment.
Contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) online or by calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357). SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
Take it one day at a time – My anxiety increases when I think about things I have to do tomorrow or the next day, or the next week, etc. I have to focus on today and right now or nothing will get done
Practice self-care – Walking outside in the fresh air helps. Sometimes I will even sit in my car just to get a break. And I enjoy giving myself manicures.
Improve time management – I keep a planner as well as a to-do list. I write down all the things that I would like to get done that day in order of importance. Whatever doesn’t get done, I add to the next day’s list.
Find your tribe – At the moment, I’m working on building relationships with other mothers on social media. It’s nice to know you aren’t going through things alone.
Find ways to express yourself – At the coercion of my therapist, I am starting a youtube channel. I also post weekly on my IGTV. Both of these outlets will be beneficial in meeting other moms in similar situations.
Why No One Understands Me
Sometimes I feel that no one understands me. I feel that because I have 3 relatively healthy children, I am not allowed to complain about depression, anxiety, or being fatigued. They make it seem like I am ungrateful. So I normally suffer in silence so I won’t offend anyone.
Misconceptions of Being a Stay at Home Mom w/ Depression & Anxiety
- Moms should not be depressed because of the material things that they own and/or for blessings they’ve been given – This can be extremely frustrating because sometimes they think that because I have a car, food, clothes, etc that I’m not allowed to complain or express discontent.
- Depression just goes away – The worst is being told to snap out of it. I wouldn’t be in it if it were that simple!
- You just need to be strong – I know that you mean well, but it’s very irritating to hear people tell you to be strong. Trust me, we know this! This doesn’t help.
- Don’t be judgmental – Sometimes working mothers say that they wish they could stay home with their kids, and they don’t understand how a SAHM can be depressed. So again, I choose to suffer in silence as opposed to offending a working mother with my privilege of staying home.
To Friends & Family: What to Do & Say to a Stay at Home Mom Dealing w/ Depression & Anxiety
- Get in the habit of checking on stay at home moms dealing with depression – Don’t just assume that we are fine. If you haven’t heard from a mom in a bit, a quick call will be greatly appreciated and will make her feel like someone actually cares about her.
- How’s mom? When asking how the kids are doing, don’t forget to ask the mom how she is doing as well.
- Be open and willing to listen – I have a family member who gets upset if I talk about my depression with them.
- Looks are not what they seem – Sometimes I get tired of pretending to be happy for your benefit.
Being a stay-at-home dealing with depression and anxiety is not the end of the world, even though at times it feels as though it is. Can it be cured? I don’t know. I wish I could tell you yes with all certainty. But you can still enjoy life with it. Just remember to take one day at a time. Be kind to yourself! Go for walks, listen to music, dance like nobody’s watching, and sing at the top of your lungs. You are doing amazing momma!
I’m here for you if you need to chat. Be sure to drop a comment below!