“You’re not really good at being a stay at home mom.”
The words stung as they rolled off my husband’s lips.
The hardest part about it—he was right.
Our house was a mess—things were scattered everywhere. There was no sense of consistency or fun in our lives. I was emotionally and physically drained. I was failing as a mom. Oh and did I mention—we were living in our garage?
What does it mean to be a stay at home mom?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always dreamed of being a stay at home mom. I used to flip through Better Homes & Gardens and REAL Simple, imagining my own home to raise a family. A place to decorate, a full kitchen where I could cook and bake. And…of course a back yard, for hosting dreamy summer nights to entertain friends.
Before getting married, my husband and I agreed that me becoming a stay at home mom was the best decision for our family.
Yet, we also knew that decision could also be a financial challenge for us too. Personally, I had no idea how much that sacrifice would impact me and my dreams of what I thought it meant to be a stay at home mom.
Are you failing as a stay at home mom?
When my husband bravely said, “You’re not very good at being a stay at home mom” (actually I think his exact words were, you’re not very good at being a homemaker), we had been living in our garage almost a year.
There was a part of me that wanted to defend myself and blame living in our garage—for how I was feeling and why I was failing as a mom. Something had to change.
After five years of marriage, my dream of having a home felt like it was never going to happen. Our circumstances weren’t changing anytime soon and my dream was dying and I was slowly dying along with it.
But then, that conversation with my husband helped me to catch a glimpse of hope, because my heart desperately longed for more.
It was a huge turning point for me, recognizing that maybe being a great stay at home mom wasn’t because of the home I had—but it was more about God creating a home in me.
My husband wasn’t trying to throw dirt in my face. He was telling me I was failing as a mom—because he loved me. He knew I wanted to be better as a mom—because it had always been my dream.
How can a stay at home mom be successful?
My husband and I had a great conversation about what he was observing and how I was feeling. He talked more about what he really wanted for us and what he really wanted for me as a stay at home mom. For me to be successful—he wanted me to flourish.
He then said, “Babe, just figure out what it is that will help you—then try that.”
I felt a weight lifted off from me and I caught a glimpse of hope that things could change because I had my husband’s support.
Likewise I finally realized that I didn’t have to keep feeling like I was failing as a stay at home mom. I started to believe things could change—simply because I could change.
And that’s when I started to understand and start practicing the 5 Things Great Moms Get RIGHT.
Facing My Stay at Home Mom Depression
It took awhile for me to process, but I was able to really get honest with myself in every area of my life.
I started to see more clearly what was really behind those feelings of failure. I was really battling depression.
My faith—felt stagnant.
My self talk was damaging.
Whenever I would see other stay at home moms doing fun and exciting things, I would often compare myself, only to feel more overwhelmed with life and feeling worse about myself. It would just send me further into an emotional down spiral.
I had started to think, “I’m such a boring mom. And the things I’m doing, do they really matter?”
Eventually those thoughts left me questioning, if I even mattered.
I couldn’t even remember the last time that I had dreamed or hoped for something. What happened to me? This was something I used to love to do.
What’s the hardest part about being a mom?
Honestly I think this was what I realized was one of the hardest parts about being a mom. I felt like I was losing myself and the struggle with my depression made it feel amplified.
The bottom line was that a lot of my depression was directly related to my thoughts. My thoughts were causing me to neglect doing all those things I loved to do.
And, I was just letting life happen one day at a time—however it went.
I mentioned the single income reality with me being a stay at home mom…so was it the money?
Not really, but I always felt like I couldn’t spend money. I didn’t NEED anything. That sacrifice felt okay for me, even rational, because we were a single income family.
My husband always encouraged me to get out of the house—and I had lots of opportunities. But I had convinced myself that there wasn’t any way that I could do it.
Seclusion became comfortable.
To add to that, I didn’t feel like I could rely on anyone to watch our son so I could have a break. I always felt like I was bothering people when I did ask for help. Family was not an option—because I felt like a burden to them.
To sum it up, I was feeling like a failure as a mom and wife because of the choices I was making.
There was one core belief influencing my choices. I didn’t have what I needed to be a great stay at home mom.
One Thing You Can Change
If you feel like you’re failing as a stay at home mom—I can so relate to how you are feeling right now.
But, I can also tell you from experience, that if you don’t address why you feel this way, you actually might be the one holding yourself back.
Like my husband encouraged me, today I’m encouraging you. Those feelings of failure can go away. You don’t have to feel like you’re failing as a mom, anymore.
You can’t always change your circumstances, but there is one thing that you can change—yourself.
And if it worked for me—it will work for you too.
So what did I do? I started over with the RIGHT foundation for everything I do as a mom. It’s all in the guide 5 Things Great Moms Get RIGHT. Have you grabbed your copy yet?
P.S. There’s something really powerful when a man encourages you to flourish—especially when you feel like you’re barely holding it together. I love what Trevin Wax has to say in his letter, Dear Stay at Home Mom.