It’s so easy for me to write about the 5 unspoken challenges for stay-at-home moms. I used to be one myself. The stay-at-home mom (SAHM) is the least understood and most unappreciated collection of people I have ever known. They are the silent heroines of Fairfield County. The unacknowledged sacrificers that make all things possible for others. And the SAHM pays a huge and silent price from which others benefit. I call them back-up singers. Nothing wrong with that, of course. But I encourage them to grab the microphone more often. SAHMs deserve applause. They have earned the warmth of being in the spotlight.
One challenge for stay-at-home moms is dealing with feeling unappreciated. Just last week I had a man tell me that he could not understand why his wife was so unhappy. After all, he commented, she gets to play tennis three times a week. This guy is a really nice person, a hard-working man, who simply has no idea what his wife’s life is like. It is not until a mother goes away for a week that the family begins to notice how many things just magically used to get done. Volumes of things. Expansive in variety. And time-consuming. An acknowledgement and an expression of appreciation goes a long way.
Over time, a power imbalance can set in for those who choose to give up their careers to stay home to raise their family. Sometimes, the primary breadwinner feels that he (or she) has more right to make what should actually be a joint decision. Due to a loss of a paycheck, and a loss of professional identity, the SAHM often feels the same way. She slowly begins to defer to the wage earner. She starts asking for permission rather than making decisions alone or together. There is a huge sacrifice made by people who choose to stay home with kids.
Society, by and large, snubs stay-at-home moms. There is a silent absence of respect for women who choose to stay home and raise their children. Working mothers think that women who stay at home have it easy. They don’t understand the loss of identity. A resume that stops growing and expanding. An absence of daily colleagues and mental stimulation. Confidence can ebb.
Of the 5 unspoken challenges for stay-at-home moms, loneliness is most painful. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/women-s-mental-health-matters/201511/the-emotional-challenges-being-stay-home-mom They are alone all days with kids. At night, their husbands don’t want to talk because they’re exhausted. SAHMs are on call 34/7. They don’t get time off. Even on vacation, they are the Go To person. Whether by phone or in person. And these redundant, yet critical, tasks bore people silly. There is nothing sexy about folding laundry and emptying dishwashers. Raising strong people and sculpting the leaders of tomorrow comes with no salary or benefits. The sacrifice made to invest time in children rather than in oneself is immeasurable. And it is also lonely.
If you are a stay-at-home mom, struggling with loneliness, reduced self-worth, or a lack of appreciation, call me. I can help you. Lisa Ryan LPC 203-226-8800.