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If we lined up ten stay-at-home moms, four would admit to struggling with motherhood. It’s true! You could be struggling to keep up with the housework or to meet the needs of everyone that depend on you every day. Maybe you are struggling because your own needs go unmet since you never have enough energy for yourself. Whatever it is you’re struggling with, I promise you aren’t alone. I bet you’ve chatted to your mom friends recently, and they’ve been in solidarity with you.
But, why don’t we tell our husbands?
For whatever misguided reason, we think we have to become superhuman when we first become stay-at-home moms. The house must be immaculate, the kids are perfectly dressed with tidy hair, and the dishes are always done. The floor should be so clean we could eat off it; the baby tries to. Laundry magically gets done between your preschooler’s first meltdown of the day and the baby’s nap time.
At least, that’s what I thought my role would be when I transitioned to staying home.
Expectations vs. Reality
The first year I was utterly overwhelmed with how much work I was doing; it was never ending! It felt like I was doing more work than when I was working outside the home and doing all the household chores.
I became so worn down, exhausted, and burnt out that I was bitter about staying home with my amazing kiddo. I felt so bad about feeling that way too. It was such a vicious cycle, and it was difficult to crawl out of such a dark place. I had to start being completely honest.
Struggling with Motherhood
I needed to be completely honest with myself; this was not working. Staying home was starting to make me resent my husband and my child, and that’s not a good feeling. The first night I was honest with my husband about my mental and emotional state it felt like an elephant had been lifted off my chest. We talked for at least an hour, and I cried.
This flow of conversation, all these things I thought I shouldn’t ever say, came out like word vomit. It felt so good. I explained how I felt invisible and unloved by the very people I was giving myself to every single day. The transparency was freeing. It is liberating.
What to Do
Now when I text my husband during the day about all the wild, obnoxious things our children are doing or explain that I’m feeling done, he doesn’t respond with ‘k.’ Instead, now he asks ‘how can I help?’ or ‘what can I do?.’ And they’re completely genuine questions. Men want to help, they do. Most of the time, they don’t know how or what exactly we need. We have to tell them and be very concise and direct, so there’s no misunderstanding.
That first conversation with my husband was so hard. I had to work myself up to it, and it took me weeks to get there. If you’re struggling, I want you to have this conversation with your partner today. It’s so important, don’t put it off as I did.
What to Say to Your Partner
I do the best when I have something prepared to say, rehearsing it over and over in my head somehow makes it easier to say. Here’s a script that might be helpful to kick off the conversation:
Babe, we need to talk about something that’s been weighing on me for a long time. I work hard to make sure the house is clean, the kids are taken care of, errands are finished, and everyone is generally happy. It’s exhausting me. I am invisible and I’m not sure I can keep up doing everything for everyone. I’m struggling and I need your help.
No rule states stay-at-home moms have to have their crap together every day. Most will tell you that they almost never have everything together. Be honest and transparent with your spouse about where you feel you’re struggling with motherhood; they’ll want to help. No one can do everything, but by working together, you’ll get pretty darn close.
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