Experiencing some depression is common as a stay at home mom. Whether because you are transitioning from work, single life, life without children, etc., being a stay at home mom is a huge transition. For some it may feel like being isolated from the outside world, limited time to take care of yourself and do some of the things you enjoyed before having children. It might be that you are feeling scattered, unable to complete tasks before your little one wakes up from a nap, or needs your attention. And for some others, it’s not having the regular adult to adult interaction, and sense of achievement they felt at work. Every day may seem like the same thing—get up, feed baby, put baby to sleep, read about baby, clean house while you have the chance, feed baby, change baby … on and on until you fell asleep that night. You are not alone, and if you feel alone, then its time to get out and interact with other mom’s, they will tell you they feel the same way at times.
Some tips to combat/prevent depression:
- Take a shower first thing to set your day. We feel good after a warm, soothing shower, and when we take care of ourselves, it sets the tone of self-care and self-value, which supports our self-esteem. Night time showers before bedtime may help as well.
- Create a schedule and routine for you and baby. For example, set a daily routine for the both of you, and as well (which we don’t always consider), set a weekly schedule for things like laundry, shopping, cooking, cleaning, whatever it is you do in the house to keep things flowing smoothly. This way there is a sense of structure, control and again, flow to the week.
- Get out and meet some other moms and children if you are not already doing so. Social Isolation is surely going to get anyone down. It is our nature to be social, and not doing so would be running against our nature. You can join large or small groups; in specific programmes or just general drop in’s in your neighbourhood.
- Re-introduce some of the activities you once did before becoming a stay at home mom. Whether it’s physical activity, a hobby, volunteer work….it doesn’t matter; find a way to get some time to yourself to be yourself. This really matters. We are people before we took on all the other hats we wear.
- Rest when you can. Sure getting things done around the house feels good and is important, however, none of that will get done, and it will stop feeling good if you are not getting the much needed rest to support another life. You are doing hard and great work raising a child or children. It’s one of the most demanding jobs around. The first person to acknowledge that is yourself, and taking care of yourself is consistent with doing so.
When I had my first son, I had the fortunate opportunity to be part of a first time mom group of women who with our children, went out on regular outings, ie. walks in the forest, get togethers in each other’s homes or indoor playgrounds. One woman, who had triplets, had a day nanny. She took two days out of the week, where she would join her knitting group, sans children, to just be with herself and what she loved to do. My thought was, how novel of an approach to motherhood, instead of the self-sacrificing model I had growing up. She did what was necessary to refill, to rejuvenate, so that she could take over the task of mothering her children, feeling refreshed and energized. We can’t all afford nanny’s, but we can look to see where we are able to take time to take care of ourselves.
Essentially, please understand that being a parent is a very demanding job. At first it is a lot of trial and error and we tend to place really high expectations on ourselves, and can be hard on ourselves as well. Reach out to others and you will see you are not alone and take care of yourself.
Lillian Benrubi graduated from York University with a BA in Psychology and then went on to her Masters In Social Work at U of T for two years, graduating with MSW in 1992. She is registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers and is an Associate to Psychologist Dr. Dan Dalton. She has provided counselling/psychotherapy formally since 1989, helping others deal with very painful, stressful and confusing situations such as loss/grief, trauma, divorce/separation, sexuality, addictions, developmental/learning disabilities, etc. She also provides life coaching where applicable.
Lillian has been driven toward her goal to be a therapist since she was 13 years old, having been touched and inspired by mentors around her, as well as her healing impact on others. With the added benefit of life challenges along the way, Lillian has the added personal experience of overcoming these challenges, and skilfully seeing the opportunities available to herself and everyone. Lillian practices psychotherapy as both a personal and professional expression.