Coping with Stay-at-Home Mom Depression

February 12, 2019

depressed stay-at-home mom with kids

As the stigma surrounding mental health continues to slowly fade, there’s one group of people who are starting to speak out about their own unique set of struggles: stay-at-home moms with depression.

While many of us are familiar with postpartum depression, depression that can be brought on by the hormonal and physical changes of childbirth, stay-at-home moms are dealing with something a bit different.

Stay-at-home moms are oftentimes thrown into a lifestyle that differs greatly from the one they were used to. There can be a lack of adult conversation, a loss in sense of purpose and identity, a loss of friends and an old way of life – all of which can leave stay-at-home moms feeling isolated, underappreciated, and even resentful. This particular blend of change and negative emotion can manifest into depression.

According to an analysis of over 60,000 women, stay-at-home moms reported having higher levels of worry, sadness, stress, anger, and depression than both employed moms and employed women without children at home.

Additionally, stay-at-home moms were less likely than their female counterparts to say that on a typical day they smiled or laughed a lot, learned something interesting, or experienced happiness.

If this sounds like you, the good news is that there are ways to help cope with this drastic change and improve your mental health.

Ways to cope with stay-at-home mom depression

  1. Redefine “Accomplishment”
    If you were employed before becoming a stay-at-home mom, chances are you have a specific perception of what accomplishment looks like – maybe it was signing a new account or running a successful meeting. Those achievements probably brought you a sense of accomplishment that you simply can’t recreate at home with the kids.

    Instead of letting this shift make you feel like you’re not accomplishing anything significant, redefine what accomplishment looks like now. Some days, doing a load or two of laundry is what accomplishment means. Other days it might mean that the house is a mess, you’re covered in food and are exhausted, but everyone went to bed safe and healthy. Raising a family is hard work, so remember to focus on what’s really important at the end of the day.

  2. Find a Support System
    Many stay-at-home moms report feeling very isolated. Studies have linked feelings of loneliness to an increased risk of depression and anxiety. It can even negatively impact physical health, increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and more.

    If you have friends in similar situations as you, try talking to them about your feelings. Many times, moms feel that “complaining” about their struggles might make them look like a bad mom. But in reality, all moms struggle from time to time and talking about it can help you feel more supported. Plus, a friend may be feeling the same way as you and is looking for the chance to open up about it. If you don’t have friends who can relate to you, you may find support online – platforms like Facebook and Meetup are great ways to connect with like-minded people.

  3. Make Time for You
    Between juggling kids, ever-mounting housework, and preparing meals, doing something just for yourself might sound like a distant fantasy. But investing in you is the only way to make sure you’re giving yourself and your family the best version of you.

    If you have the time and resources, join a class or club that interests you. Whether it be a book club or yoga class – get involved with something that’s just for you. If those options aren’t plausible, see if you can turn a chore into a retreat. Have someone watch the kids for an hour or so and go grocery shopping. Get yourself a coffee and wander the isles – let yourself enjoy and recharge from the alone time.

Remember that depression is a serious condition and it’s important to find a treatment plan that works for you. In addition to these at-home tips, there are a number of treatment options for you to try.

If you’d like to learn more about Neurocore’s med-free depression program or the in-center therapy we have available,  give us a call at 800.600.4096. We’d be happy to chat about how we may be able to help.

Gallup, Inc. “Stay-at-Home Moms Report More Depression, Sadness, Anger.” Gallup.com, 18 May 2012, news.gallup.com/poll/154685/stay-home-moms-report-depression-sadness-anger.aspx.
Kain, Erica. (2015, November 3). “The Emotional Challenges of Being a Stay-at-Home Mom.” Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/women-s-mental-health-matters/201511/the-emotional-challenges-being-stay-home-mom
Valleskey, Brianna. (2018, February 1). “Stay-at-Home Moms More Depressed, Angry and Sad, Study Says.” Retrieved from https://www.metroparent.com/daily/parenting/parenting-issues-tips/stay-home-moms-depressed-angry-sad-study-says/
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