Being a stay at home mom is the most important part of my day, but it isn’t the source of all personal happiness. In fact, not that long ago, being a stay at home mom brought me little happiness. It’s not that being a SAHM made me un-happy–I just wasn’t happy.
I thought this made me a crappy mom, or at least a crappy stay at home mom. But, I was wrong.
I became a better mother because I FINALLY did admit my lack of happiness, and maybe just maybe, it could do the same for you.
The Happiness Test
If I were to ask you what brings you the most joy throughout your average day, what would you say?
Let me be clear: I’m not asking you what things WOULD bring you the most happiness in your day—like a spa day or a date night. I’m asking you, what actually MAKES you the happiest each day (or most days)?
Simple question. But, it’s a really tricky question for a stay-at-home-mom.
If your answer is naptime and those hours of respite when the kids are at preschool, then your happiness level may be dangerously low. But, you’re FAR FROM ALONE!
Admitting it is HARD
For a long time, I didn’t want to think about that question, much less answer it. This was true even despite the fact that I was growing less happy by the day. I didn’t want to answer that question because I already knew the answer would make me feel terrible about myself.
If I admitted that I wasn’t happy, then I would feel LESS THAN—less than those moms who always seem to be happy and fulfilled with their choice to become a SAHM.
I would feel like there was something wrong with me for not finding that joy. So, I chose to ignore my feelings. I tried to convince myself that I was just being selfish, or unappreciative, or not living in the moment.
My thoughts would always run a little something like this:
“I left my career by choice to stay at home with my children. I chose this. There’s no going back now. I am lucky to even have children. I am lucky to have the choice to stay at home with them. They are beautiful, amazing creatures. I should appreciate this more. I should try and just be happy in the moment with them.”
But, I was trying to live presently. Deep down, I just didn’t like what the present moment was telling me. Does that sound at all familiar?
Denying how unhappy you are slowly erases you. It’s like saying your own happiness doesn’t matter—that you don’t matter. And, of course, it does and you do!
The Shame Hurdle
After several YEARS of this cycle, I finally discovered why I didn’t want to answer that simple happiness question. I was ashamed.
My shame came from the fact that these little beings didn’t fill my days with happiness beyond measure. I wanted more happiness than they could give. Ultimately, I wanted more from my life, and that carried a weight of shame that I didn’t want to feel.
Admitting that the happiest part of my day was increasingly becoming the slivers of time I had away from my children turned out to be my key to real happiness. It may seem a bit backwards, but once I was able to admit that one little thing, my life took a turn for the better.
Somehow, by simply admitting the truth to yourself, you can be set free. You can finally say, “Okay, this is true. Now, what?”
Happy with the Truth
Figuring out the “now, what?” can become your source of happiness.
By freeing yourself, and acknowledging your happiness “deprivation,” you can magically make room for yourself again.
Rediscovering who you are NOW can energize your life, your marriage, and your relationships with your kids.
Perhaps the most profound thing that can happen is releasing your children and significant other from the burden of trying to make you happy. Somewhere along the line I made my family responsible for my happiness.
So, I had to shift that burden back where it needed to be—on me!
Now, I have unburdened my relationships with my children. I’m slowly but surely becoming a sillier more tolerant mother because I am truly happier. When your happiness is genuine, it is palpable. And, there’s plenty to share!
Struggling with a lack of happiness can be crippling for a stay at home mom. And, admitting your unhappiness can be difficult. It can be the hardest thing in the world to do.
But, what you may imagine as a shameful experience could become the most growth-rich time in your life. By simply acknowledging the elephant in the room, you can free yourself to become the person and mother you are truly meant to be.
Once you do this, you make room for the real you! You can finally have that space you need to breathe again. (If you’re looking for a little inspiration, check out this!)
So, tell me, how happy are you?