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A stay at home mom can lose herself in the daily rush of being a new mom, and end up with SAHM depression. But a friend here tells momma what she can do that’ll help.
Rhea was an extremely busy and successful architect, who was working nearly 10 hours every day. She loved being busy, but at times craved for some free time for herself. She wished she could spend more time with Rajeev, her husband, an advocate, who was equally busy. Their weekends would often go in either buying provisions or catching up on their sleep.
Their lives went on like this, until nearly a year later, one day, Rhea found out she was pregnant. She was elated. As she waited for Rajeev to come back home that day, to break the news to him, she made up her mind to resign from her job. ”Enough of working, I am going to take a break”, she thought to herself. “I want to give all my time to my family now”.
When she shared the good news with Rajeev, his excitement and happiness knew no bounds. As she spoke to him about her decision to quit, Rajeev also fully agreed with her. “You need to relax now, once the baby is old enough you can rejoin work”.
With this decision taken, Rhea had officially entered into her nesting phase. Shopping for the baby and reading up on as much information on baby care as she could kept her busy. Her pregnancy was pretty uneventful. On February 22nd Rhea and Rajeev were blessed with a beautiful baby girl. They named her Myra. Rhea loved being a mother and Rajeev was a hands on dad. They were truly enjoying this beautiful phase of their lives.
As time passed, Myra turned 2. Rhea’s whole life revolved around Myra. Getting up, feeding Myra, taking her to the park, playing with her and planning fun activities for her, was how Rhea spent her day. Rhea was busy and contented. Going back to work didn’t even cross her mind once.
As Myra, turned 3, it was now time that she joined school. Rajeev suggested to Rhea, to get back to work, but surprisingly Rhea didn’t want to. She didn’t want to leave Myra in the care of anyone else while she was away at work. Living in a nuclear family, she knew she wouldn’t be able to get back to work without a proper support system. “Why not try a day care?“ Rajeev offered, but Rhea was adamant. She didn’t want to miss out on even a single moment of Myra’s life.
She was also getting very bored sitting at home. Her entire day she would spend, waiting for Myra to get back home. In the evenings, she would insist on going out. Even though Rajeev would be tired, he would take them all out. Slowly he could see changes in Rhea. She was not sleeping much at night, she would spend a lot of time on her phone and would often pick up fights with Rajeev.
Her chirpy lively demeanor was slowly replaced by a quiet sullen version of Rhea. Rajeev felt that Rhea was slipping into depression. He encouraged her to go out and meet her friends someday to freshen her mind. Rhea reluctantly agreed and decided to meet her best friend Anchal over a cup of coffee.
Anchal too was a stay at home mom. The moment Anchal saw Rhea, she knew something was wrong. Rhea always looked so confident, but today she looked anything but that. It was obvious that she was not taking any care of her appearance as well. Shoddily dressed, with dark circles under her eyes, Rhea was not even talking much.
Anchal looked at her friend, “What’s wrong with you Rhea, what are you doing to yourself? Do you feel depressed?” The moment Rhea heard these words, something triggered and she burst into tears.
“I don’t know Anchal, I feel so useless nowadays. I am so bored and Myra too is so busy with her life, she doesn’t even need me anymore. I don’t want to get back to work also, I just can’t entrust Myra with anyone!” Rhea cried out.
Anchal just let Rhea speak and speak. Once she was done, Anchal told her something that changed her life. She said, “Rhea, I am a stay at home mom too and there are so many like us, who have chosen to stay at home for the sake of their kids. But that doesn’t make us any lesser than a working woman. You can make an identity for yourself by even being at home. The key is to keep working on yourself every single day. You have to aim to be a better version of yourself each day and it is not necessary for you to be a working woman for that”.
Rhea looked confused, “What do I need to do Anchal? Now I am not able to communicate as well as I used to, I get tongue-tied when I go for parties. I don’t even have any particular hobbies or talents as such to keep myself occupied.”
“Well just do as I say, and surely you will feel much better”, Anchal assured her.
“There are a few things you must do on a daily basis-
Read the newspaper everyday
It is necessary to always keep yourself updated about everything that’s happening around the world. When you read the newspaper, you are not only staying abreast with the current affairs but you also start creating your own opinions about various issues. It’s always good to have an opinion, and when your opinion is backed by valid facts people will be impressed.
I know that many conversations may not be based on what’s happening around the world, yet once you start reading the paper, you will come across so many new words that will help you in achieving a flow in your conversation. If you follow this, you will never be tongue tied.
Listen to Motivational Speeches
Start your day by listening to a TED talk or a speech by any other motivational speaker. Quite a few of them are really inspiring and will give you food for thought. Kickstarting your day on a positive note is essential, and if you feel you can’t motivate yourself, listening to how ordinary people have created their own success stories will definitely do it for you.
Working out is not only to lose weight or get a bikini body. Exercising releases endorphins which are nothing but chemicals that triggers a positive feeling in the body. Exercise has been proven to reduce stress, ward off anxiety & depression, boost self-esteem, and improve sleep. You don’t have to go to the gym; even a brisk walk for half an hour can do wonders to your mood.
Experiment with cooking
Now I know that you don’t like cooking, but that you do it only for the sake of Myra.
We are a generation where technology is at our finger tips which means any recipe is just a click away. Why don’t you try your hand at baking? There are some amazingly simple recipes that will help you whip up the most divine baked goods. And let me tell you, baking can be therapeutic as well. Making a new dish will not only give you an outlet to express your creativity but seeing the joy on other people’s faces will make you feel great as well.
There are a myriad of ‘Do it yourself’ project ideas that are available on the net. You can change the entire look of your house with the help of these ideas, and the best part is you will be doing them yourself.
These projects neither need you to be an artist or a person who is good with her hands. Just the ability to follow instructions is all you need, and you will be surprised with what all you can create. If you are any good at it you can even start your own Instagram page for it.
Follow a Routine
Just like you have a routine for Myra, it’s essential that you have one for yourself too, and stick to it.
Often when we are stay at home moms, once we wind up the cooking and cleaning part, we tend to just while away time. Never let that happen. Making a to do list with goals to achieve everyday will give you a sense of satisfaction that maybe even a working mother may not achieve, as she is often bogged down by the mundane routine, whereas you have the flexibility to experiment.
The key is to keep reinventing yourself and once you follow this consciously, you will be amazed to see a new version of Rhea”.
Rhea listened to Anchal dumbfounded. She was glad that she had this talk with her and now looked forward to going back and starting her life afresh.
Stay at home mom depression is a reality which needs to be addressed. Whether being at home is a choice or out of circumstance, it takes a toll on you both physically and emotionally. Lack of recognition, self-respect and income are some of the factors that contribute to this.
Often a stay at home mom tries to achieve too much of perfection, whether it be her kids or her home, and she feels she isn’t doing enough. The monotony of being at home day in and day out can be quite overwhelming. The points mentioned above are just a few simple solutions that can help you deal with this situation. While none of these can single handedly fix SAHM depression, trying even one of them can definitely elevate your mood.
A version of this was published here earlier.
Image source: shutterstock
I am a mom who works from home and dabbles with writing when time permits.
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