I met Monica over a year ago. She had a 1-year-old healthy daughter. Monica was beautiful, she lost all of her baby weight plus 10 more pounds. Her husband said she did not need to go back to work. Her only job was to care for their daughter. Her daughter goes to “school” 2 days per week for 2.5 hours each time. She has no babysitting help or cleaning help. She asked me why she wasn’t happy. Why isn’t she savoring this time, and enjoying every second of it? There must be something wrong with her for sure. It is not “normal” to be depressed and dislike being home with your baby-it’s a privilege.
I asked Monica who does the laundry. She was quick to answer that she does it. I asked her who cleans the house-without hesitation she said that she does it. I asked her who goes grocery shopping-her again! Then I asked her who gives the baby a bath, buys her clothes, cooks for her and her husband-not surprisingly the answer again was-HER!
The bottom line is that when you are a stay-at-home mom you work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You do not get time off for good behavior. Even on “vacation” with your family you are still on duty planning meals, packing, managing nap schedules, and night routine. Being a mother is the hardest job on the planet because you never get a second off. As my grandmother once said, “when you are a parent, you enlist for life!” So what can you do to ease some of that stress, and make the experience more enjoyable? You can carve out time for YOURSELF! Not just “date night” time. Time for you alone!
Monica said that when she tells her husband she needs to run out for a few hours on a Saturday to run errands-he calls multiple times to ask her when she is coming home. He tells her he doesn’t like to be home alone with the baby and needs her help. What? He needs help? What about Monica? She said she gets so angry when he calls, but also feels guilty and cuts what she is doing short and runs home. That is Monica’s biggest mistake!!
No one can make you feel guilty-only you can do that for yourself. If you can look in the mirror and know that you are doing the very best to your ability than you have nothing to feel badly about. Everyone needs a break from work. Whether it is 30 min lunch break, a 15 min coffee break, or a 2 hour laughing session with a co-worker. We all need it and we all cannot live without it.
I told Monica that on weekends she needs to have time for herself. She needs to go back to taking yoga once a week, running, and meeting friends for dinner. Having a baby doesn’t mean that your life comes to an end. It is the beginning of the evolution of you! Time to figure out where all the parts of you now fit together to form the whole YOU!
I do not see Monica very often anymore. She has definitely “gotten her groove on.” She is able to admit that when her daughter has tantrums it’s not fun, cold winter days in the house can be lonely and boring, not having adult interaction is hard. She doesn’t need to pretend that she is having fun every minute of every day anymore. She can be honest and say that some days are amazing, and some are hard. Wow!! That actually sounds pretty normal to me!
Aviva Cohen received her master’s degree in social work from Loyola University. Her specific area of focus is perinatal loss, fertility, Postpartum Depression, and work/life balance issues. Through her own personal struggles, Aviva has a depth of perspective in the area of pregnancy and loss that many do not. Aviva co-founded The Blossom Method in 2013 as a center for moms to connect and share their struggles and private pain.
The Blossom Method is a therapy practice in the heart of Chicago offering support, encouragement and hope to women and couples facing challenges as they start or grow their families. We provide a unique combination of therapeutic and counseling services, as well as education seminars, events, and one-on-one or group support.