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After I had my first baby, I was so excited to be a stay at home mom. Cuddles all day? Yes, please! My son was my whole world. But it didn’t take long for my 20-year-old self to feel swallowed up in motherhood.
I had no hobbies, no friends, and no career.
My life went from a constant upwards progression to a flatline groundhog’s day of mom life. I had no goals, nothing to work towards, nothing that made me feel like more than just a mom. While I was happy that I could stay at home with my precious baby boy, I couldn’t help but feel like I no longer had a life and blamed motherhood.
I started resenting my husband who was just starting law school and his journey to his dream career. While was out progressing in life and making new friends, I wasted away at home changing diapers and cleaning up spit up.
I would get so frustrated at the smallest things. Like, if he didn’t recognize what a specific cry meant, or he didn’t know what area of the fridge I decided I like the bottles. Or when he wouldn’t immediately relieve me of parent duty the second he got home, or when he’d go out with his new friends.
I also stopped getting ready, I gained 50 lbs, and I lost any feeling confidence I had. And Then there was the mom guilt. How did this angel child get such an ungrateful mom? He deserves so much more than me. I am such an awful mom for resenting motherhood when I have the perfect child. How dare I wish for more than just motherhood.
Looking back now, I can confidently say I was suffering from postpartum/stay at home mom depression. I was jealous, stressed, and lost. And while I strived every day to be the very best mom, I felt like I was losing any sense of identity. It was crippling. As time went on, being the problem solver I am, I committed myself to finding a solution.
It started slow but I started crawling my way out of the hole I was in, I found a hobby in crafting and DIY, then the big change happened when I started my blog.
While scrolling through Pinterest one day, I found a post from a stay at home mom who told how she made a full-time income blogging. And I knew this was the answer to my prayers! I had always had an entrepreneurial spirit so the idea of starting my own money making blog and growing an online business from home was exactly what I needed.
So I started blogging at nap time and late at night. And a few months later I made my first dollar, then my first hundred, then thousand all while at home cuddling my baby. I found a drive in my life, and an identity other than a mom. It that allowed me to push to lose 30 pounds, connect with my husband, and ultimately be a better mom. I started making myself a priority, setting goals, and finding progression and happiness in life.
It’s always so much easier to look back after the fact and see what you could have done to solve your problems right? Now, living my dream life, I realize the steps I should have taken earlier to avoid stay at home mom depression and get to the other side. So I hope that I can share with you the 5 things I needed to hear when I was in the depths to avoid depression and motherhood resentment.
1. Focus on what you can control.
The first step to getting out of that dark hole is to focus on the things you can control. Could I make my husband magically read my mind? No. But I can make sure I let him know where I want the bottles in the fridge and why. Could I make that one mom down the road come to my house and beg to be my friend? No. But I could make it a priority to talk to her each time we run into each other and invite her and her child over for a playdate.
When you’re in the depths of despair it is so much easier to make excuses and tell yourself there isn’t anything you can do. But guess what? You are the only one who can pull yourself up and out of that hole. So each day ask yourself, “What can I do about this situation?” and “How can I make today great?”
2. Make yourself a priority.
When I became a mom, I believed the lie that good moms put themselves last. I believed that I had to dedicate my entire existence to being a mom and any thought I had to do something just for me was selfish and wrong. I didn’t want to breastfeed? I was a bad mom. I wanted to take a nap instead of going for a walk? I was a bad mom. But guess what? Those were all lies.
Really, the best (and happiest) moms know how to take care of themselves AND their kids. They make themselves a priority. So I am here to tell you, its okay to do things for you! It’s okay to take a break, and it’s okay not do “all the things”. I want to challenge you to start making yourself a priority. Think about what would make you happy and do it. As long as your kids are alive and safe you’re doing a good job!
Go get your hair done, go shopping, have a girls night, just do something for you!
3. Start a business/passion project.
Starting my own blog was what ultimately pulled me out of my mom depression and allowed me to feel whole in life. It allowed me to make money and still be a stay at home mom. I was able to become an entrepreneur and start my own business, fulfilling my longing for progression and growth in life so step 3 to avoiding stay at home mom depression and stop resenting motherhood is to start a business, blog, or passion project.
Are you crafty? Start an Etsy shop or take on the project of making that huge quilt you’ve always wanted to make. My suggestion? Start a blog! You can turn any passion into profits by starting your own profitable blog. Cat grooming? Crafts? Finances? They all can be turned into successful blogs.
There’s just nothing more fulfilling than being your own boss and running your own business while raising your kids from home. It makes you feel like superwoman. Being able to say you started your own successful blog and balanced motherhood is enough to make anyone feel like a million bucks. So look for that thing you love and turn it into a business or start a passion project.
The goal is to give yourself something to work towards. Something to help you feel successful and more than just a mom. And if you’re ready to start your own blog, you can get my free guide and checklist below!
4. Set goals.
Don’t go through life just trying to get to tomorrow. Give yourself something to work towards. Think of things you want to accomplish and set SMART goals to achieve them. Maybe you want to lose that baby weight or run a marathon, think of the life you want and work your way back from there.
Where do you want to be a year from now? What steps can you take each month and each week to get there? Create a yearly, monthly, and weekly goals for yourself starting today! Your goal for this week is to have a yearly goal written, a goal for this month written , and goals for each week this month written. Sound good?
But don’t just write any goals, it’s time to make goals you’ll actually achieve by setting SMART goals! Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timely goals. Here’s a free worksheet that will take you through how to set SMART goals on your own!
5. Talk to your spouse & let others help.
The thing about being a stay at home mom is that you are able to stay home because you have someone else to support/help right? A spouse, family, friends maybe. So, unlike so many other women, you are not alone in this! So talk to your spouse and make a plan. Tell them how you are feeling and how you would like them to help. Tell them what you need and let them help! Ask your family for help and let them. After having my first baby, my husband and I spend a few nights down at my parents house so we could have a break.
You don’t have to be super woman. You don’t have to do it all, and letting others help doesn’t make you a failure or weak. Those few nights at my mom’s house gave me back my sanity and allowed me to go back into parenting will a sound mind and a full night of sleep!
But most importantly, communicate with your spouse. Don’t let your internal resentment be the downfall of your relationship. Things can only get better if you communicate. Maybe you decided that once a week you get “you-time”. So when your husband gets home from work on Thursdays, you get a few hours off to work, have a bubble bath, sew, or even go to bed early while he watches the kids. Take a look at what you both need as parents and make it happen as a team! It’s incredible what it can do for your mood and mental health when you know you have someone in your corner. You don’t have to do this alone momma.
I can honestly say now, my baby is 2 and I have another on the way, and I am living my happiest mom life. I feel completely fulfilled and happy with were I am in life all becuase of the 5 steps above. I am the best mom I can be and the best version of me and you will be too. You are a great mom, and you deserve all the happiness in the world, don’t forget it.