Posted: Apr 24, 2013 9:00 AM
Being a stay-at-home mom isn't all park play dates with your new mom best friend. Though it can be a wonderful thing, staying at home full-time does have its disadvantages. Real SAHMs share their stories with us.

Feeling frustrated

Ann Staub with daughtersAnn Staub, mom of two daughters ages 1 and 8, says that while staying at home with her kids is rewarding “because I get to see them grow up,” it can also be very frustrating.

Ann says, “I have formed a bond with my baby that I feel she does not share with anyone else. This can be frustrating sometimes because there are moments when she wants no one else but me, but it is still a pretty special feeling.”

She adds not having a second income makes it difficult to go out and do things, making it easy to “become depressed and cut off from the outside world.”

She says starting a blog has “really helped me with depression, boredom and connecting with other people."

To counteract loneliness or boredom, start a blog like Ann, take up a new hobby or reconnect with old friends — even if you just invite them to come over and hang with you and baby!

Mood swings and mommy brain

Michelle Morton, mom of three, has been a stay-at-home mom for 17 years — so she's seen it all! She says, "No one prepares you for the mood swings and all the feelings that you will experience on a daily basis. You are better off not having any expectations and know that each day will be an adventure — no two days will ever be the same! You will have mommy brain, which means you will feel like you are in a fog and can't ever remember anything... What seemed like an easy trade-off really ends up being harder than you imagined."

Michelle Morton

However, Michelle encourages you to accept your feelings about stay-at-home motherhood, adding, "No matter how you feel, it is not wrong. What is right is what works for you!"

Finding me time

Tamara Clarke, mom to a 10-month-old baby boy, says, “I love being at home with my baby, providing his care and being flexible enough to assist my husband. However, my greatest challenge is finding balance between my gig as a full-time mommy and my ambition."

Tamera Clarke

She adds, "Although, I don't work a traditional job outside of the home, I still have goals to accomplish, and I want to earn money. I started a blog that focuses on expat life and tech. Since I don't 'clock in and out' at specific times, it's extremely hard to separate time that I need to spend building my blog.”

Tamara says she’s trying to counter this challenge by hiring babysitters to care for her son so she can attend functions she wants to cover for her blog. She says, “Being a mom is certainly my first priority but I'm hopeful that I can strike a healthy balance between my baby and my goals.”

The ever-evolving job description

Ainlay Dixon, mom of four kids, 14, 19 and two aged 10, says, “The number one problem of being a SAHM is that your job description keeps changing. Once you have really nailed breastfeeding, your baby morphs into a toddler. As soon as you have a handle on the 'me, me, me' of toddlerhood, you are thrown into the schoolyard with teachers, best friends and picky eating.”

Ainlay Dixon with family

It’s not all hopeless, however! She says, “Just as you are about to throw up your hands in defeat, suddenly, they are off to college and you realize you have raised a loving, sensitive, ethical person after all. And nobody even gives you a certificate of commendation.”

When you are having a tough day, don’t emphasize what you feel you’ve done wrong or “failed at,” as many moms do. Instead, look at all your successes as a stay-at-home mom, and welcome the opportunity to do it all again tomorrow!

Realize what’s most important

Christine Lorenzo, founder of SariBlue, was once on the executive team for a start-up technology company that had her traveling around the world. Enter a tough economic market and a divorce, and she found herself out of a job, raising her two girls, now 10 and 8, and starting a small business.

Christine Lorenzo with daughters

She says, “[It] seems like odd timing but through all the stress of less money and wavering job stability I had an epiphany that what was most important was time with the girls — they needed me more than we needed a large salary.”

Christine admits, “It is very difficult at times to be home, manage the girls schedule and 
needs, the household and try to carve out time for my 'job.' Really 
there is no such thing as me time.”

Where's the credit we deserve?!

Monica Weede with childrenMonica Wreede, mom of three, says, "I am sure many SAHM can agree that most men in general think that we get to stay at home, stress free, watching tv and eating bon bons all day. Absolutely not! I don't think that stay-at-home mommies get the proper credit they deserve. Us moms have many roles, like taking care of the kids, household cleaning and cooking! In my case, I work from home so it makes it more challenging for sure."

She adds, "I always tell my husband that a SAHM needs to get paid big time! In all honestly, this is a job, a huge one at that, and people do get paid for this type of job — a nanny, for instance. I don't know if it is just me, but I am physically and mentally stressed out alot.

BOttom Line^ Stay-at-home moms work hard and need to find some time for themselves. Whether they are building an at-home business or simply taking up a new hobby, it's important for SAHMs to maintain their identities outside of motherhood.

More on motherhood

5 Steps to being a great mom
4 toughest new-mom challenges
Do stay at home moms need a babysitter?