Let’s explore behind the scenes of stay at home mom depression: Why does it occur, how devastating is it and what are the solutions? The information is researched and verified by Depression Open Talks.
Many people think that stay-at-home moms only have to take care of their children and enjoy themselves without working hard. However, no one mentioned what those mothers had to trade-off for this choice. Most mothers have had a different life before becoming mothers, but they have given up their careers and social relationships, feeling lonely and dimming their sense of self, to take care of their home.
In 2012, Gallup reported that more than 60,000 American stay home moms are angry, sad, or even depressed, and 28% of them reported feeling depressed, compared with 18% of working mothers and childless working women.
Stay at home mom depression is no longer a fact but an alarming situation, especially after the COVID pandemic. This article will discuss the reasons why stay-at-home mothers feel depressed and how to address that issue.
What Is Stay at home Mom Depression?
Society often tends to think only of the benefits that stay-at-home mothers (SAHM) have instead of accepting the burdens and sorrows they face. While there are many positives to staying at home with your children, it also gets you into a lot of trouble. In addition to taking care of the children, you will have dozens of things to do from morning to night, such as cleaning, shopping, preparing meals, managing finances, etc.
Unlike office workers who go to work at 8 a.m. and finish work at 5 p.m, the work of a full-time mother staying home will last from the time they wake up until they go to bed and from day to day. Stay at home mom depression can stem from a lack of social interaction, detachment from relationships, and pressure from the duties of caring for the family.
Even social prejudices cause them to underestimate themselves because they do not bring financial benefits to the family. They suppress their emotions and are not confident enough to voice their own thoughts, and gradually, these mothers feel lonely and depressed. Maternal depression negatively affects both the family and the child’s development.
Signs Of Stay at home Mom Depression
Symptoms of stay at home mom depression include not only persistent anxiety or anger but also common depressive symptoms such as:
Changing in taste, especially for junk food
Mothers who are depressed may lose their appetite or, on the other hand, discover that they eat better and find food more attractive. They can’t manage their weight as a result, and they alternate between being thin and ill and being overweight or obese.
Having difficulty sleeping or lacking sleep
The first common symptom of depression among housewives is sleep changes, as they depend on the hours of their children’s sleep and sometimes even stay up all night to take care of them. When mothers had a chance to sleep, they were unable to do so because they were no longer sleepy or feeling anxious.
One day, mothers have so many things to do, such as taking care of children, cooking rice, cleaning the house, etc., that they can’t handle it all and don’t know how to handle it when overloaded.
Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
Mothers often have thoughts of being at home without making money and becoming a burden on the family. With that mindset, they underestimate themselves and don’t think about their own pursuits. As a result, depression gets worse.
At this point, her emotions are no longer well controlled to the point of screaming, being angry, or being irritable. Pressure from many sides makes mothers think and perceive things more negatively.
Considering suicide, self-harm, or injuring children
The most dangerous instance is one in which the mother is unable to control her thoughts and behaviors due to a mental disease or sickness. Mothers may wish for death, abuse their children, or cause harm to others.
Having less energy
Sometimes mom feels bored with everything or loses motivation to continue her work. A mother who abandons housework is unconcerned about herself or her children.
What Causes stay at home mom depression?
What might make stay-at-home mothers more susceptible to depression? Did personal factors, family conflicts, or social prejudices have a great impact on them? There are numerous causes that can lead to this alarming situation:
The first reason to mention that is that stay-at-home parents have an endless list of things to handle in a day. While they are cooking, they must comfort a crying baby, or while cleaning the house, they have to dry the clothes.
While the women with other social jobs are enjoying a cup of coffee and some cake, the housewives are feeding their children. These moms’ to-do lists go on from early morning until late at night without a single section for personal interests, overloading them and leading to depression.
Ironically, being at home with children makes many mothers feel lonely, even though SAHMs rarely have “alone time.” They are less likely to get out of the house alone, do the things they enjoy, and confide in their friends about things that they cannot share with their children.
Mothers also rarely interact and learn about the changes taking place in everyday society. These social isolation-related sensations may serve as a depressive disorder trigger.
A lack of identity
Moms who work long hours frequently lack the time to care for themselves or pursue hobbies they once enjoyed. Additionally, a lot of mothers claim to feel terrible about having time for themselves. A life devoted to raising children and leaving little time for self-care can lead to identity loss.
For some women, giving up social work to become homemakers means becoming financially dependent on others. In addition to causing financial stress, a loss of income may also make some women feel burdened, confined, or as though they aren’t making enough of a financial contribution to the family. All these emotions may heighten feelings of anxiety and melancholy.
It is common knowledge that new parents get less sleep when they are taking care of a newborn. New mothers lose, on average, nearly an hour of sleep per night. Women are more likely to feel irritated or melancholy when they are exhausted and sleep-deprived.
Managing Depression in Stay-at-Home Moms
Schedule predetermined, designated times when you have alone time. Spend that time doing things you enjoy. For example, one day you will spend 2 hours singing or drawing, and Sunday you will go shopping for your favorite things.
Take care of yourself
The ultimate solution for a depressed stay-at-home mom is to take time for herself and her mental health. Simple things like putting on nice clothes every morning, putting in some fragrant flower petals, or wearing healing crystals can help ease the symptoms of depression. Mothers can also spend time relaxing by reading books or listening to music.
Besides, stay-at-home mothers often have only one person with whom they can interact: their children. However, they are too small to be your ears and cannot understand the uncomfortable feelings or the difficulties you must go through in this situation. The fact that the mother has a group of friends with whom she can confide and share when needed is necessary and meaningful.
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Furthermore, there are many effective therapies available to help mothers overcome depression, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and so on. However, the most important thing that you need to do is love yourself more by thinking more positively, eating right, exercising regularly, taking care of your appearance, and making time for personal hobbies.
Stay at home mom depression: Key takeaways
Stress or depression is not only present in mothers with outside social work but also in stay-at-home mothers. This condition is the result of a day’s work overload, a lack of social contact, and lingering negative emotions. However, mothers can improve their symptoms of depression through the measures recommended in this article, such as thinking positively, creating a happier lifestyle, and taking care of themselves.
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“10 Tips From Therapists to Cope With Stay at Home Mom Depression.” Choosing Therapy, 18 May 2022, https://www.choosingtherapy.com/stay-at-home-mom-depression/. Accessed 12 November 2022.
“Why Stay-At-Home Moms Feel So Sad.” Psycom.net, https://www.psycom.net/depression/depression-in-women/stay-at-home-mom. Accessed 12 November 2022.