It’s been nearly a year since I became a stay-at-home mom. As I look back at the time I have spent being at home with my children, I can’t help but be appreciative of the opportunity but also extremely overwhelmed with the lifestyle that comes with it. Being a SAHM isn’t always the greatest thing in the world. People often have this fantastic expectation of what it’s like to be able to stay home all day and not have to go to work, but they don’t realize that those expectations are not very realistic. Don’t get me wrong though, I absolutely love my children and I love being able to teach them and watch them grow while they are young, but spending 24/7 with two small children who are both under two can be very frustrating and lonely. I’ve noticed that there has been quite a few moms on social media coming out over the past year and speaking out about the challenges that moms and parents face. These are real issues, from postpartum depression to anxiety, and many other issues that are important to bring attention to.
One of the biggest challenges that I face is what I call the “mommy hermit” cycle.
My husband takes our car to work so that leaves the boys and I stranded at home all day and that makes it hard to be able to plan activities or adventures with the littles. So even if we wanted to do something exciting or go visit with friends, we can’t because there is no second car. Because the boys and I don’t get the opportunity to spend much time outside the house (aside from the backyard) this creates the terrible “mommy hermit” cycle. This is a common problem for stay-at-home moms. If you rarely get opportunities to have adventures away from home, you start to get sucked into this black hole of anti-social tendencies. You start to not want to go anywhere or do anything because you get stuck in the habit of not doing anything. This makes the situation all the more frustrating. You start to fantasize what it would be like to go out in public alone, but because it’s been so long since you’ve socialized you start to feel awkward and uncomfortable being around other people. You blow off friends, you don’t answer your phone…and it can be a challenge. Breaking out of the cycle is difficult and it’s easy to slip back into.
If you are one of the stay-at-home moms like me who finds yourself in this situation more often than not, here are a few simple things that you can do to help get you back on track.
#1 Call a friend or family member.
Even though you don’t really feel like talking to anyone. Do it anyway, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Talking to someone you care about or catching up with a friend you haven’t talked to in a while can help you feel like you’re not completely dead to society.
#2 Get dressed up.
It doesn’t matter if you are going somewhere that day or not, get dressed up as if you were going out in public. It can be easy to just wear the same sweats or leggings every day of the week (I know I do!) but getting dressed up and taking care of yourself will make you feel a lot better. Also, spending the time to make yourself look nice can be a meaningful motivator to actually want to go out and do things.
#3 Go outside.
This one seems a bit obvious. However, even if you are in a situation like mine where you can’t travel far from home, at least try to plan an activity outside the house. Plan a picnic in the back yard or if you live in an apartment, make reservations at your apartment clubhouse or pool. Even just going on a walk around the neighborhood would do you good.
#4 Join an online group/ support group
Okay… so I know that digital friends are not “real friends” But it’s better than nothing and quite a few moms have found it to be helpful. Sharing ideas with other moms in the same boat can make you feel less alone and give you someone to relate to. Over time, those digital friends can become “real friends”. It’s not too far-fetched in the social media society that we live in.
Hopefully you can try some of these steps and have them work for you. I know even if I do my best to try a few of these when I can, I still struggle with the cycle. What about you other hermit mommies out there? What are some things that you do to help yourself break the cycle? Leave me a comment and let me know.