I talked to a stay-at-home mom recently about how many working mom kudos she has seen recently. As you can imagine, for someone who is a stay-at-home mom (SAHM), this can be disheartening. Her frustration was with the labels, and a desire for all to be seen as equal.
A SAHM is one position that can quantify the number of hours worked. It works out to be something like 24 hours a day, seven days a week (insert sarcastic expression here), all in the same role. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s for someone who is willing to always be immersed in their role, to always be available, be present. For the mom who is willing to forgo all breaks, and is expected to be refreshed, relaxed, always available to others, and very clean and prompt.
The role of a SAHM is intense, to say the least. And sometimes these wonderful ladies need recognition or reassurance. But when it is needed, it is often scarce. These ladies also include those who are depressed and anxious, but too afraid to reach out and get support because they don’t want to cause stress for others. They don’t want to ask for help because they may feel less accomplished and undeserving of the assistance they need.
If you are one of my readers, you know I do not get the pleasure of staying at home with my children, though my heart may have different aspirations. I work full time, and have a side gig. I am also always trying to find the ability to be present for my family, though things can get in the way.
As one of the many working moms, I feel lost at times. I know that my work is important, and that my children need the financial support that my work provides. But I also feel like I miss out on so much when I am gone, and always wonder if I am doing enough to foster their growth and development. Trying to navigate the balance of everything can be debilitating. It can be wrought with depression and anxiety. And the working mom may feel as though seeking help would be selfish because it would take time away from the family, and that others are more deserving of her time and energy.
Do you see a correlation here? All moms feel the pressure to fit into a certain mold. All feel undeserving of gratitude and recognition, yet are so grossly under appreciated. I’m pretty sure all moms are engrained to believe self care and personal time are sacrificed the moment we become a mom. And it is truly unacceptable, yet so understandable, that so many moms, no matter what path they are on, do not feel comfortable with reaching out when feeling depressed or anxious.
All moms are moms. It does not matter if you are a SAHM by choice or by fault. It does not matter if you are a working mom by choice or by fault. What does matter is that you are a mom. A mom that loves her child/children. A mom that will do anything for them. A mom that wants to do everything but often cannot. A tired mom. A hard working mom. A mom!
It’s time we stop comparing ourselves with others. It’s way past time we stop comparing other moms. We are all different, and yet all the same. We all have something unique to offer to the story we call motherhood.
And, if you are feeling blue, and struggling to find yourself because you have buried yourself so deep in others needs, reach out. If your needs are to talk to someone else, take a walk alone, get a pedicure, or take a bath, do it! If you have fallen into a depression or anxiety, please seek professional help immediately; not only for yourself, but for your family. You can only be your best when you take care of yourself. As the flight attendant always says, “Put on your oxygen mask before helping others around you.”