Being just ‘mommy’

Motherhood is a wonderful but hard job. It needs a lot of patience, time, strength and flexibility. While some women decide that they want to be working moms, others may prefer to stay home to raise their children. Being just ‘mommy,’ especially for a career-oriented person, is not always an easy step, but sometimes running a home is such a demanding job that women feel more comfortable about dedicating their time to their children only. What is important is that you feel happy with what you are doing, which for some moms is not necessarily always the case. Some at-home mothers feel that they have lost their ability to cope with having nothing to do but take care of the house and kids. Other times, it’s the social pressure, family pressure, or the financial pressure which is annoying. However, there are many ways out of this dilemma.

Why at-home moms may feel depressed

‘Ending your career and giving up interests is the main reason for the frustration and depression that most at-home moms feel,’ says Dr.Tamer Goueli, lecturer of psychiatry at Cairo University. The most common complaints of an at-home mom have to do with loneliness, isolation, and a sense of low self esteem. Most at-home mothers feel that they don’t get enough respect and appreciation from society or even from their family.

According to Dr. Goueli, deciding to become an at-home mother can shake a woman’s self-esteem and self-confidence. She envies other moms who work outside the home because she believes that being in the work place increases a woman’s sense of worth. ‘It is very hard to be proud of yourself in a society that praises and appreciates working women all the time,’ says Dalia, the mother of two children, an eight year old and a four year old. ‘Sometimes I feel depressed when I meet a working woman who is able to balance between her family and her work, and I wonder whether my decision to stay at home is right or wrong,’ she adds.

One of the best things about being employed is that you are never thinking of an answer when asked ‘What do you do?’ by anyone. You don’t spend much time worrying about how you will be perceived. An at-home mom feels that this question always causes embarrassment. ‘Although I am very proud and convinced that what I am doing is the best for my family, I find myself having to justify why I am just a mom, especially when I am asked by a working mother,’ says Ghada, an at-home mom of two children, a five year old and a two year old. ‘I always like to add that I am completing my studies by doing a master’s [degree] because I feel it is not enough to say that I am just a mom,’ she explains. According to Dr. Goueli, the best way to respond to this question is to proudly and confidently say, ‘I am a full time mom.’ You don’t need to apologize, explain or justify, and by stating your profession simply and directly, you reflect self-esteem and confidence. You always have to remind yourself of your original reasons for choosing to be a full time mom, and be proud of the choice you made. So it doesn’t really matter very much that some people don’t, and never will, understand or appreciate your choice.

Sometimes, the full time task of parenting can lead to isolation and loneliness. You are doing the same tasks daily, in the same place with the same people. You are on duty 24 hours a day and when you take a day off, it’s usually because you are very sick. Many at-home moms have revolved their lives around housework, and they feel that by neglecting their own interests and self priorities, they are doing their best for their children, explains Dr. Goueli. However, being under stress because of spending a lot of time in the same routine can make you lose your desire and energy to do anything. This could eventually have a negative effect on your relationship with your kids. Other at-home moms may not be so involved in housework, but are also doing nothing beneficial or useful. Dr. Goueli explains that children don’t benefit from a mother who never develops her own interests outside the home. Children may have a feeling of low self-esteem, will be more prone to childhood phobias like the dark, have more trouble when dealing with animals, and develop poor social skills. You choose to be an at-home mom to spend more time with your children. However, better quality time is what the child needs most. It is not really the quantity that matters. Choosing to be a full time mom doesn’t mean that you stay at home all day doing housework. It is true that your children need you the most, but they also need you to be happy and comfortable.

Happy at Home

Dr. Goueli suggests the following ways to overcome isolation and loneliness and to maintain a balance as an at-home mom.

  • Keep in touch with other at-home moms. They are most likely to understand and share your needs. Even a ten minute phone conversation with someone in the same situation can decrease feelings of loneliness.
  • If you have just had a baby and are feeling frustrated that you have no time for yourself, keep in mind that this is a temporary situation. In only five short years your baby will be older and more independent. He will begin to go to school and you will have more time and space for yourself.
  • Talk to your husband about your feelings of boredom so he can help you overcome them. He could take care of the children while you get out of the house for a walk or to go shopping.
  • Take a class, preferably in something you don’t know anything about. This will help you challenge your mind and meet new people.
  • Structure your day; you can choose to do only two hours of housework a day, or decide that whatever isn’t done will just have to wait until tomorrow. This will allow you to make time for other things.
  • Find a hobby that you enjoy such as reading. You could also join a health club, learn a sport, or learn to paint for example.
  • If you are an at-home mom, try to make time for yourself during the day whatever the situation is. ‘You have to be alone doing something for yourself,’ says Dr. Goueli.
  • Consider doing volunteer work. Helping those who are less fortunate will allow you to do work that interests you while benefiting others.
  • Search the internet. There are many websites specifically for mothers where you will find a lot of parenting information and chat rooms where you can communicate with other mothers.
  • Some women feel guilty spending money on themselves because they don’t have financial independence or because they don’t make their own money. If your family’s financial situation allows it, consider the possibility of paying yourself a salary. It doesn’t have to be a big amount, but the concept itself is important. By doing so on a regular basis, you will feel that you are spending your own money without any feelings of guilt.
  • If you miss working, you can start a home business, or find a part-time job that you can do from home. Though you won’t have much contact with others, you will be spending your time doing something you like.

Having confidence in the choice you have made is what will really affect your outlook on your life. The most satisfied at-home mothers are those who believe that they are doing their best. No one can deny that there is something about outside employment that enhances a woman’s self esteem, but as an at-home mom, you can feel the same. Remember that if you are not happy, no one in your family will be.

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Source: Mother And Child