It’s so hard to feel fulfilled when you’re a stay at home mom. It can really be a tough experience.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. But being home alone all day with them can be the most monotonous, mind-numbing, and exhausting experience.
I’ve found myself in the pit of depression more than a few times as a SAHM.
I remember having these same feelings after I finished school. As a student, there was always a specific task (or many) that had to be done, and I was always working towards a specific goal: graduation.
I would sit around and dream about graduation and how much more wonderful my life would be after I was done with school and all the fun things I would get to do: earn a paycheck, live in a real apartment instead of a dorm, have more freetime, etc.
It was going to be glorious.
Having the goal of getting through school kept me motivated through all the drudgery of assignments that I thought were stupid, got me through boring classes and helped me survive late nights studying for a test.
The hope of graduation gave me a reason to keep going.
In those early years, being a stay at home mom is a lot like the monotony of school. There are so many repetitive tasks: diaper changes, feedings, attempting to get kids to sleep. Only it lasts a lot longer.
Thankfully, I’ve learned a thing or two about finding my purpose and being a happy stay at home mom.
I absolutely love my life as a stay at home mom. I’ve never felt more fulfilled, and there’s no job that I would enjoy more.
In fact, I’ll be a little teary when it’s over.
To Feel Fulfilled As a Stay At Home Mom, You Have to Recognize Your Calling
Part of my ability to feel fulfilled as a stay at home mom is because I firmly believe that motherhood is my calling from God for this season of my life. My children are a gift from him, and I’ve been tasked with raising them to the best of my ability.
It’s a little harder to feel bad about your life as a stay at home mom when you recognize the seriousness of the role you’ve been given. Raising children is a huge responsibility and isn’t something to be taken lightly.
Fulfilled Stay at Home Moms Have Solid Community
One thing that makes it really hard to thrive as a stay at home mom is the isolation. When you stay home with your kids, you don’t naturally interact with other people as often throughout the day. It’s just you and the baby, day in and day out. That can be really lonely, and understandably can lead to depression in stay at home moms.
It’s important to go out of your way to create community for yourself during this season of staying home. Having friends to walk through the journey with makes raising kids so much more enjoyable.
There are lots of ways to find community. You can…
- Join a small group at church
- Join your local chapter of MOMS club
- Visit the library and the park and strike up conversations with other moms
- Find a MOPS group to attend (they usually have free child care!)
Stay At Home Moms Who Feel Fulfilled Spend Time Doing Other Stuff
In order to feel fulfilled as a stay at home mom, it can help to have something that you do that doesn’t have anything to do with your kids. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, but it should be more meaningful than crashing on the couch to watch TV.
The great thing about being a stay at home mom in today’s world is that there are so many options!
- Work part time: If you had a career before kids, you could offer to work as-needed every once in a while when they need you. If that’s not an option, you could always pick up a few shifts here and there at a retail store. Do it in the evenings when your spouse is home, and child care won’t be an issue! Even if it’s not your dream job, it can be helpful to get out of the house.
- Volunteer: Is there a cause that you’re passionate about or a non profit that you’d love to support? Offer to donate your time to help them out. You can probably take your kids with you to most places!
- Start a blog: I found out about blogging shortly after my second child was born, and I started my blog the next day. I’ve been hooked ever since! You can even make money doing it, although it’s a ton of work.
- Have a hobby like crocheting, writing, photography, or candle making. The great thing about most hobbies is that you can monetize them if you so choose! If you love making coasters, you can sell them. If you love writing, you can charge for it. The possibilities are endless!
Create Routines And Systems
Do you often end the day feeling like you worked like crazy, but the house is still a disaster, the laundry is piled up, and you have nothing to show for your hard day’s work?
Do you have a million tasks floating around in your head or a to-do list that you just can’t seem to get done? I absolutely know what that feels like, and I know it’s not fun.
But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way!
I used to think having a messy house was just an inevitable part of family life. Kids make messes, we make messes, and that’s just the way it is.
It turns out that it’s actually totally possible to manage a home well, even with small kids. I used to get overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities of running a home, too.
But I’ve been working on creating routines and systems for my home for years, and at this point, the laundry never gets piled up, I clean the whole house on a regular basis, and we do the dishes every night. Our home is pretty much guest-ready every night after the kids go to bed.
I can’t tell you how much peace it brings me to wake up to clean counters and a tidy living area every morning.
If I don’t do my tidying at night, I spend the whole rest of the next day off-kilter and feeling like I can’t catch up. There’s just something about starting fresh each morning that is so important to feeling in control of your day and your time.
Here are some resources if you don’t have a clue where to start:
Spend Time With Your Kids
I’ll admit that sometimes I get so caught up making sure that my routines and to-do lists are accomplished, that sometimes I forget to even stop and look my kids in the eye when they’re talking to me, much less sit down on the floor and play with them.
That’s when I have to remind myself of what C.S. Lewis said:
“Children are not a distraction from the more important work, they are the more important work.”
It’s important for me to remember that I stay home not so that I can keep a perfect home and accomplish all of my goals but in order to be able to spend more time with my children.
On an average day, I spend lots of time with my kids, but most of it has an agenda. Get them dressed, feed them breakfast, get them in the car, run errands, bring them home, get them ready for bed, etc.
So I try to be intentional about spending a little time each day totally focused on them, without worrying about getting any tasks accomplished.
One thing that really helps me is to set a timer for how long I plan to play with them. That might seem a little calloused and regimented, but it’s really hard for me to slow down enough to spend time with them if it’s just open ended and I have no idea how long I’ve been hanging out with them or how much longer I plan to sit on the floor.
The timer is a clear boundary for me and makes it easier for me to set aside that specific amount of time to dedicate to them. And it helps the kids respect my time as well – they know that once the timer goes off, mommy needs to get back to working and they understand not to bother me.
Part of Being a Happy Stay At Home Mom Is Investing In Your Marriage
Let’s face it, we could all probably stand to be a little worse at parenting for the sake of our marriages. When you have young kids, it’s all too easy to become totally focused on them.
In the process, sometimes we wind up totally neglecting the person that will still be there in 18 years when the kids are off and out of the house.
But we aren’t doing our kids any favors by putting our marriages on the back burner. If you totally dedicate yourself to your kids, but fight with or ignore your husband every night after the little ones go to bed, that’s a problem.
Your kids will notice and feel the effects, no matter how discreet you try to be about your marriage problems. Kids are very good at picking up on the vibes between you and your husband, and what they pick up has an effect on them.
Kids feel safer and more confident and secure in homes where the parents have a solid, loving marriage. Not only that, but sometimes we can hurt our kids by putting too much attention on them. If you scrutinize everything your child does and make them feel like the way they behave or perform affects the dynamic of the whole family, that’s going to be a problem.
So forget about working with little Johnny to achieve his next big developmental milestone, and go do something fun with your husband. Your marriage and your kids will be better off for it.
Stay At Home Moms Can Find Fulfillment In Training Their Children
As a parent of young kids, I am in awe of parents who have happy, well-adjusted, responsible young adults and teenagers. You know, the kind who lead Bible studies for their peers and clean up the kitchen to perfection after dinner without being asked.
Unfortunately families that raise their kids to grow into young adults like that are far too uncommon.
Young kids are capable of doing and learning way more than we give them credit for. I want to teach my children to be responsible and mature young men and women of God. The training for that starts now.
I’m certainly not a a perfect parent, I’m sure I’m screwing them up in any number of ways that I’m not even aware of. But I know what value I want to instill in my kids and I’m working towards those goals now.
So decide what kind of adult you want your child to grow into. Do you want them to understand the value of hard work? Start teaching that now. Do you want them to respect authority? Teach them to respect your authority now. Want them to grow into adults that love well? Be an example of that for them now.
Remember That It Gets Easier
It’s really tough to have little people who have so many needs depending on you all the time. This season of being a stay at home mom can feel like an eternity. It’s not hard to understand why you don’t feel fulfilled as a stay at home mom.
At this point, my kids are 5, 3, and 7 months. I’m right in the thick of having small kids. You’d think I’d be losing my mind most of the time, but I’m actually already starting to see the light of things getting easier.
The older two play together without needing me for hours on end. My 5 year old can pour a bowl of cereal for herself and her sister on Saturday mornings so I don’t have to get up with them.
The baby still needs me a lot, but he’s learning to play independently too. And having older kids gives me a much better perspective of how fast the time goes. He’ll be able to take care of himself soon enough, and knowing that makes it so much more manageable.
So take heart! Your kids will grow up and be able to do more things for themselves. It’s not as far away as you think.As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Melinda worked with children for years in a professional setting before becoming a full-time stay at home mom. She currently has three young children, and enjoys sharing tips and ideas about parenting and how to manage a home with excellence. She’s been featured on Heathline and Her View From Home.