I am feeling unaccomplished as a SAHM

Myesha - posted on 10/23/2011 ( 21 moms have responded )

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I am 32 with a 2 year old who has worked all my life. I got laid off in 09' and am now a stay at home mom. I feel like I’m getting depressed because I am used to working and although my husband says I’m a big help keeping my daughter and the house etc., I feel worthless and like I’m not accomplishing anything. I have a college degree and am not the "stay at home mom type" Although there are lots of fun things I can do with my daughter outside the house, I just can’t bring myself to getting dressed (both of us) and getting out and doing it. I sometimes get out the house every now and then, but feel like it isn’t enough. Not sure if this is a sign of depression but I feel so unmotivated. Am I the only one?

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Cat - posted on 10/25/2011

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I think in this society we attach "accomplishments" to a paycheck. I felt the same way at first when I quit work in 2005 when my son was born. But I have since realized that I'm doing a more difficult job than the job I had before. Somedays I wonder how working moms are able to do it. I not only keep the house, cook, do the laundry, pay the bills, do the taxes, pick up the kids from school and tutor them with the homework, but I have since become a co-teacher and assistant in their karate classes and my daughter's dance classes, and I also teach private dance class where I make a small amount of side money. (and I also take my own dance classes and do freelance writing on the side) I relish a day that I can stay home with nothing to do! While there are some days that I wish I was doing "more," I've also realized that my children will only be young once and I cherish the years I spend at home with them. I think that moms who stay home can find a lot of ways to feel accomplished. You can write, start a business, do art, or music. Life doesn't end when your job does! It's just beginning!

Michelle - posted on 10/23/2011

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I worked until 07 when my son was born. It's not the exact situation because I quit my job and chose to be at home. But I was most certainly not the stay at home mom type myself. I had zero domestic skills, zero desire to do anything domestic either. Just jumped in with this little person looking at me like I was crazy. I still don't always feel like I've accomplished something sometimes. But I do all the cooking, cleaning, child care, I learned to sew, and somehow keep my husband some what in check. It does help if you force yourself to get out and do stuff. For a while I felt useless too. But we have 3 kids and my husband travels for work often. I don't think we could hold our household if I worked (my husband brought this to my attention). You do contribute quite a bit to your family and if your daughter turns out to be a healthy, happy, productive adult that will be because of you and that is the ultimate accomplishment. Get out and enjoy your daughter. Make yourself do it. It'll help a lot.

[deleted account]

You have to look at being a sahm with the same discipline and dedication you had being in the workforce. I don't know what kind of job you had, but I'm fairly sure if you slacked up, you'd be fired, right?
So decide what you want to do for the week, then do it.

Like you, I'm not much the sahm type, but I knew I wanted to do it, and obviously, if I was going to do it, I wanted to do it well. I figured out what I missed from my working role, then figured out how to get those things in my sahm role.

I needed accountability and recognition, for starters. No one saw whether I played for hours with J or sat by the TV, no one praised me for my exceptionally clean house (we'd had a house keeper when I worked, so John had no idea how messy our house actually got....in fact, neither did *I* until it was my job to clean it!). So I found ways to get accountability and recognition outside my home--I took J to scheduled activities. Some of them I paid for, so that I would be obligated to take him. I scheduled to meet a friend or two at the free ones, so that I would be obligated to go--that gave me the motivation to get us dressed and out, AND it gave me some adult social interaction as a bonus. Not to mention the social development for J.

The other thing I missed was the satisfaction of setting and accomplishing goals. I mean, it was great when I set out to teach J something, and he learned it. And when I set out to clean certain parts of the house and finished, but there is only so much you can teach your child at any given age, and cleaning goals get mundane. So for that, I ventured into volunteering. Fundraising is an easy one because you can just set out for a certain number, put a plan to get it in place and go! Plus you can usually do it all with kid in tow. Just find a charity or organization you are passionate about and volunteer. You also get adult socialization from here, and it is less centered on kids, and more centered on intellectual ideas and current events because the people you are dealing with are less likely to be in the same parenting boat as you. So it adds variety :)

[deleted account]

You are accomplishing the most worthwhile thing...raising your daughter. :)

You may not be bringing home a paycheck, but you are adding value to your home. Value does not equal money.

And there are a lot of stay at home moms with degrees. Every life experience you have makes you a better mom. Your education is not being wasted.

Maybe you could start a home business or something?

Laura - posted on 10/25/2011

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I feel the same as most of you I feel like I haven't done much since becoming a mom like all I do is cook and clean all day and that is getting boring. I wish I had more of an active life more fun things to do with my daughter during the day. I like a routine I enjoy having planned activites.

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Cat - posted on 06/04/2012

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@Amber, make a list of things you want to accomplish and make a plan to start doing those things, one baby step at a time. Start now. We all have things we want to do and while it's easy to say "I can't because I have kids now," really and truly, it's resistance talking. We all have reasons not to do the things we want- not knowing how to start, fear of failure, fear of getting out there and meeting people, fear in general. And the easiest thing to come up with is the "I have kids" explanation because that gives us an out, a reason that validates why we are not doing the things we want. Dig deep and try to really see what is stopping you from doing what you want. It can't all be just because of the kids. My greatest inspiration is JK Rowling who was a single mom on welfare and she managed to write one of the mist successful book series of all time while caring for her young baby, Jessica. If you really want to accomplish something you can do it. Planning for your future goals and accomplishments will get you excited and get you out of the "funk" you're in. We've all been there and know how you feel. Good luck and get started living your "life" today. :)

Amber - posted on 06/03/2012

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I have been feeling very down, unpretty,and just unmotivated lately. I have two beautiful children, a wodeful husband who works so hard to keep us happy, and we live a pretty great lifestyle. However, I have been thinking abot things i could be doing and what i could have done with my life and things I didnt do before i had kids and got married likeI have missed out on stuff and I am not that young either. I felt like this one other time with my first born so maybe it is just a trend with the second who is 17mths? Then it make me upset that i am thinking like this and why would i want to change what i have. I also feel that i cant talk to anyone or my husband which is unusual. I feel like he wont understand or may think I am not happy with him or what we have. Maybe I should talk to a therapist or maybe my hormones are just going crazy and making me feel depressed?

Emily - posted on 10/25/2011

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I am a medical professional with a master's degree and am a SAHM to my two children. It was really hard to go to working all of my adult life to being home with a baby (I was 31 when I quit working). I got pretty depressed too. What helped me was to find things that helped me get out of the house: met a friend to go walking two or three times a week; meet for play-dates, etc. I ended up going back to work just one day a week eventually, which I still do. I like it because it helps me maintain my license, gives me a break to use my brain, talk to grown-ups, the kids get to go to daycare and interact with other children, and I stay sane. I don't know if that's a possibility for you, but it might help you to feel a bit more accomplished. I liked some of the other suggestions given to volunteer somewhere, etc. That would give you something outside of your home to do that's entirely yours.

That being said: being a SAHM is THE hardest job I have ever had, and I work in a very challenging profession. I don't want a daycare to raise my kids, and I have to constantly remind myself that I am doing the most important job anyone can have: raising and loving my children into the people they will become. Our society doesn't value SAHMs anymore and thinks that anyone can raise wonderful productive children. That simply is not true. You are doing the most important job by being home with your child, even if you don't feel accomplished--you really are. No one can love your child like you do; know one knows her like you do--you are the best person to teach her manners, how to react to challenges, how to manage her emotions, how to follow directions and obey rules----all the things it takes to be an adult, you are training her and raising her up into the awesome person she will become! Be encouraged! You ARE important, you ARE valuable.

Lisa - posted on 10/25/2011

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There are many of us who have become stay at home moms for reasons we never expected - loss of job, finances, daycare, health issues. After we had our first child, I took a different job where I only worked 4 days a week. Now with three kids 4 and under, if I worked full-time during the day, I would pretty much be working to pay daycare. So I make the most out of it. I take a shower every morning, get dressed, do my hair and put on make-up...even if we're not going to do anything. The more you sit around and degrade your role as a mother, the worse you're going to feel. Get out and show your daughter the world, go places with her, explore, go to play groups, the library, museums, the park, anywhere. Plan fun activities at home with your daughter. Put on music, dance, cook, bake cookies.

I work part-time a couple evenings a week. It gets me out of the house and gives me a break. Find a part-time job, even if it's working at a local coffee house. I have two degrees and have had a job since I was 14 years old and when I compare myself to my friends who have jobs, it's easy to get down in the dumps. But then I realize I get to do things with my kids that they don't get to. See if there are any local groups you can join. Our church as a woman's group that meets on Sunday nights...we all sit around and knit or crochet. It's a blast and the women are all different ages from 30 to 85.

You may be depressed or you may just be down in the dumps. Make a list of the things you want to accomplish with your daughter and your husband and start crossing them off. Think of the things that your daughter would be doing if she was in daycare and structure your day around crafts, playing games, etc. Treat being a stay at home mom as a career with to-do lists and appointments (playgroups, etc.), making plans and planning activities.

If you just sit around the house all day and do nothing, you will feel depressed and unaccomplished. If you make a point of accomplishing things, you won't feel unaccomplished. Make sense? I ramble alot. :)

Hope - posted on 10/25/2011

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I am going to say that you probably are depressed. In January 2010 I was laid off. In February I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I was so depressed it was ridiculous. I didn't seek help for my depression and my daughter was what pulled me out it. I'd suggest to you seeing your doctor because I wish I had talked to someone about being depressed instead of just wallowing in it.

That said you are contributing to your family. Remember that if you weren't watching your kiddo you would be paying (!!!!) someone else to do it

Cat - posted on 10/25/2011

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P.S. I think it would be a great idea to join or create a playgroup. I created one with several friends when my daughter was born. My daughter is now 9 and we still meet once a month and enjoy talking and sharing our gripes, and issues as well as our kids' accomplishments and funny stories. It's so great to meet with other SAHMS and know that you're not alone. And the kids have a great time getting together and playing.



We have even started a "Mom's Only" night once a month where we leave the kids with the dads and us moms go out to a movie and dinner. (or go to get inexpensive massages on some occasions) :)

Kacey - posted on 10/25/2011

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You do not have to blame yourself for these feelings. It seems to me that you have depression and need some help. Try to talk to your doctor and get on a medication, if you can. The last thing you want to do is to have a meltdown and let your children see you sitting in a corner, crying, in despair. I've been in that situation and have gone through many personal struggles as you've had. You need to find your strength. You clearly have accomplished a lot and I'm sure all moms feel like they're not good enough from time to time. Try to find work at home or something you can pour your heart and soul into. Reading, writing, painting, drawing..anything creative will let you "escape". I also have found that you must find faith in something spiritual. Find if there are any church groups or library groups you and your children can engage in. Find support and find friends to help you with your struggles. Best luck to you.. ♥

Cristina - posted on 10/25/2011

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I know it's difficult going from an interesting career to SAHM. I hold a Master's degree in International Policy and was working in an international environment, traveling often, meeting high-level officials, observing and taking part in international negotiations, etc. and now I am a full-time mother to two (ages 2 and 1) and awaiting our third (and last!) for next year. It's been almost two years that I haven't been in an office environment and there are certainly days where I crave having adult, intellectual conversations, feeling like I'm valued by other adults encouraging your work, and just simply meeting other interesting adults in a similar field.

To stay sane, it helps to go out often and associate yourself with a network of moms in the same area/situation. I'm organizing a group of expatriate moms and many of us are highly educated, ambitious women who've suddenly found ourselves with the laborious tasks of caring for our little ones. It's been such a great resource and gift to be with others in similar situations, to support each other and just watch our little ones grow up together. We take language, music and fitness courses together (with the option of having kids involved or going solo) and that can be personally enriching.

Also, it's good to remind yourself everyday of your blessings - if your kids are happy that you've spent a day with them, that you can afford to be a SAHM (in my situation with wages so high in Switzerland, it didn't make any sense to hire a nanny), that you can spend this time fulfilling other obligations (take some time if you can to exercise and leave the kids at the daycare or pamper yourself), etc.

Balance is extremely important at this juncture so make sure you are getting enough date nights with your hubby if you can find others to babysit every now and then, take weekends away and keep your friends and make sure to see them.

I hope this helps and remember you're undertaking the most important job in the world! You're the most important person to your family right now and what you do now will influence them for the rest of their lives ;-)

Kerry - posted on 10/25/2011

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While I don't think I have ever posted a reply since joining Circle of Moms, I was compelled to write to this post. I think the problem is your perception of what a stay at home mom is and what perceive as valuable. The only way you will feel accomplished is to do something. I saw another post here that had a very good suggestion and one I would recommend as well, volunteer your time, get involved in something that you are passionate about. Being a stay at home mom doesn't mean you are chained to your child and home all day and night. If your husband works 9 -5 type job, start a book club or volunteer doing something at nights, or do these things around his work schedule. I started a Mommy & Me at my church when my first child was born, I met other moms, and formed a support system, which is what you need. It's very insulting when people say, I can't be a SAHM, I have a college degree, as if all SAHMs do not have college degrees or they don't have something to offer? I believe the feminist movement was about getting respect for what moms do at home and that raising children and taking care of home is just as valuable as the husband going to work to provide financially for the family. You need both one isn't more valuable than the other. Whether you believe it or not, your child is happy you are home and with her. Be an example to her, show her that it is important to be educated, think for yourself, be an equal partner in a relationship and that taking care of your children is not something useless but something rewarding, and even fulfilling.

Arlene - posted on 10/24/2011

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Try. not to feel that way! Your child so appreciates you and you are allowing them to be with Mommy, which is where they want to be! I did feel a little bummed about not getting out of the house or having extra spending money so I started selling Thirty One bags. It is nice to get out a few nights a month and make a little cash. Maybe something like that could be an option for you!

Nicola - posted on 10/24/2011

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It sounds as if you are accomplishing a lot with your daughter and at home even if you don't feel as though you are but maybe if you ad something else in that you can do with your daughter but that is low cost and contributes it would help you feel even more valuable what about a vege patch if you have the space you and your daughter could learn together if you aren't a gardner maybe you could learn to sew and make clothes for you both or for her toys. I get incredibly bored being a sahm but feel much better when i can do something like this. another thing which you could do is join the p & c of the school your daughter will be going to and help them with funraising activities 2 year olds are very portable after all. Good luck and if you still feel you might be depressed talk to your doctor about it. they really can help.

Jasmine - posted on 10/24/2011

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OMG, I know exactly how you feel. I was feeling this way on and off for the past two years...we have three boys. My older two just are in school (ages 6 and 3), and I have an 18 month old at home. What I found to help me was to run my home like a business, family meetings, chore charts, menus for the week, cleaning schedules. It works so well because everyone can go to the board and see what's what. Because of the boys busy schedules outside of school, we have to be very organized. What I found was that if I don't lay everything out, my husband is COMPLETELY lost. It's actually kind of funny. I call myself the house manager. Making sure the house runs smoothly ensures success in every realm of our lives. You have to make things work for you. If you are at home for now, make the best of it. I'm going back to school for my Masters in January, a goal I've set for myself to accomplish in 3 years. At first I was apprehensive because I was scared the home would fall apart, but because I've put forth the schedule and it works, things should work out fine. You will see the fruits of your labor when your daughter is so well adjusted in school, and has a sense of confidence because you have been at home with her. Not to say working moms can't give their kids the same things, but why not take advantage of you being at home. Turn the bad into good. It's great to schedule some YOU time too just to recharge!! Hang in there.

Stifler's - posted on 10/23/2011

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NO! I've never worked outside the home after having kids adn I feel very inaccomplished. everyone says having kids is an achievement but I don't see it that way.

Myesha - posted on 10/23/2011

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Michelle, thank you...your words "You do contribute quite a bit to your family and if your daughter turns out to be a healthy, happy, productive adult that will be because of you and that is the ultimate accomplishment. Get out and enjoy your daughter. Make yourself do it. It'll help a lot." helped out alot. I have to just remember that eventhough im not financially bringing in anything, I AM making a difference. But its just hard to stay positive. I have to just work on it.

Myesha - posted on 10/23/2011

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Thanks Katherine, although its not a good thing that we are in this mind frame, I feel good in knowing that I'm not alone. Many women would frown upon the fact that I dont LOVE being a stay at home mother. But its good to know that there are people out there that share the same feelings as me, while at the same time LOVE being a mother...just not the stay at home type LOL

Katherine - posted on 10/23/2011

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I got laid of in 09 too. I also have a college degree and feel the exact same way as you. When I was with my ex he wasn't as supportive. He made me feel worthless. So you're lucky in that department.

Right now I'm a single SAHM with no job and it sucks. I feel useless everyday! I have been looking for jobs but to no avail. I have had plenty of interviews but they haven't gone past that.

So I completely know how you feel. Maybe just feel good about what your husband says. Parenting, is after all a 24/7 job. I have 2, 2.5 and 6 so they're a lot of work. The older one is in first grade so that helps.
But yes, I feel very useless.

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