Are you thinking of becoming a stay-at-home mom (SAHM)? Or are you already a SAHM with struggles of your own? I stay at home with my little one and am always curious as to how other moms are doing it. I have found a lot of the best advice, tips, and methods from other SAHMs.
A lot of questions arise around the same topics, and I was noticing that a lot of moms were struggling with the same issues. So, I decided to dig into what the top struggles other SAHMs are facing.
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Stay-At-Home Mom Struggles
Women in a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) group I’m in were recently asked what they struggle with most. I expected to see a huge range of answers since there were so many women that answered. However, it seems like most SAHMs are facing similar challenges. There were a lot of similar answers and a lot of back-and-forth sympathy with the moms who responded. Even though a lot of moms are feeling alone, it is clear that we aren’t completely alone in our struggles.
Hopefully, by identifying these struggles, we can come up with ways to help SAHMs. It is also reassuring to know that most other SAHMs are facing similar issues. So just know if you fall into the category of not being able to keep up with your laundry, you aren’t failing as a mother. There were no women who answered that they didn’t have a struggle and had this mom thing down 100%.
Top 10 Struggles of Stay-at-Home Moms
The total of 426 answers from SAHMs fell into 17 different categories. The chart below shows each struggle and how many moms felt like these were their biggest struggles.
|Stay-at-Home Mom Struggle||Number of Responses|
|Keeping Up with Household Duties||67|
|Isolation and Social Life||62|
|Overstimulation and Being Touched-Out||31|
|Issues with Spouse||18|
|Balancing a Side Business||6|
|Time Alone with Spouse||4|
|Having a Routine||3|
|Being a Single Parent||2|
|Making All Decisions||2|
I grouped over 400 answers into categories so we can take a look at the struggles SAHMs are facing. Over 90% of the responses fell into these 10 categories:
- Keeping up with household duties
- Isolation and lack of social life
- Mental health
- Mom guilt
- Overstimulation and being touched-out
- Parenting issues
- Issues with spouse
- Lack of sleep
As you can see from the chart above, there are many more struggles than what we will be going over. However, I wanted to focus on the top ten as this is where the majority of answers stayed.
The Challenges of Being a Stay-at-Home Mom
The number one thing the moms who answered this question were struggling with is not having enough time for self-care. When you are taking care of you kids and household, there just isn’t a lot of time leftover for moms to take care of themselves. Even the simplest acts of self-care can become a luxury.
There were a wide range of responses as to what type of self-care each mom was missing out on. Some commented that they just don’t have time to eat a healthy meal or get a quick exercise in. Others were missing the freedom to go do something nice for themselves (alone) like getting a pedicure or being able to shop alone.
Keeping up with household duties like cleaning and cooking came in second place in SAHM struggles. Almost 17% of SAHMs said this was their biggest struggle. Not surprisingly, laundry seemed to be at the top of the list of chores they were struggling to keep up with.
In general, a lot of moms said they just couldn’t keep a clean and organized house along with being with the kids all day. When you have little ones to keep up with, staying on top of everything is a huge task. I looked into whether or not moms were getting help with this in my post “Should Stay-at-Home Moms Do All of the Housework?“. It turns out a lot of dads are helping with the household duties but it’s still overwhelming for a lot of SAHMs.
Isolation and Social Life
A lack of social life was the third most popular struggle for SAHMs. When you are at home all day, you miss out on the adult interactions that you would otherwise have while working outside of the home. A lot of moms noted that interactions with old friends had slowed way down or stopped when they became a SAHM. Another common consensus was that it is really hard to make new friends as a SAHM.
Not having adult interaction is really hard on a lot of SAHMs. You can’t count on a partner to fulfill all of that need either. Evenings are often rushed and full of tasks with little time left to sit and chat. Moms also felt isolated and stuck at home which makes creating a social life even harder.
It’s not surprising that mental health struggles are right behind feeling isolated and not having enough of a social life. The moms in this category said that they were battling things like depression, anxiety, and lack of self-worth. A few had commented that they had lost their sense of identity after becoming a SAHM.
Any of the struggles we are looking at could be a contributor to poor mental health. Pile them all together and it is easy to see why so many SAHMs struggle with depression.
At its core, mom guilt is the feeling of not doing enough. For a lot of the SAHMs who answered, this was expressed as moms feeling guilty one way or the other when trying to balance housework and interacting with their kids. For example, if they went and finished the laundry, they would have to miss out on playing with their child. But, if they sit down and play with their child, X, Y, and Z aren’t getting done.
Other moms expressed this struggle as not ever feeling like they are good enough for their family. With all of the constant pressure, they feel they are unable to meet every need and are stuck in a zone of failure.
Another struggle that was called out is overstimulation. If you have ever entertained a child for a period of time, it will be obvious why this is a struggle. Playing, teaching, keeping a schedule, and being the one in charge is very stimulating.
By the end of the day, it can add up to too much. A lot of moms were also feeling touched-out which is a result of having sensory overload.
Parenting issues were also brought up as a struggle for some SAHMs. When your main job of taking care of your kids is interrupted by them being disobedient, it’s apparent that this would be a major strain. Some moms commented they were having trouble getting their kids to complete tasks like homeschool work. Others had been dealing with behavioral issues.
Most of the SAHMs who responded had husbands working outside of the home who provide the sole income for the family. This means that a lot of moms are working with a tight budget. Also, a lot of moms said that they felt guilty for not bringing in any income. Not having their “own money” was a source of poor self-worth for a lot of them.
Issues with Spouse
About 5% of the SAHMs who responded said their biggest struggle was their spouse. There is a wide range of problems covered by this category. Some moms just felt unappreciated by their husbands and others said that they had issues with their husbands being controlling over money etc. since they were the sole earners. Another big complaint in this category was that husbands weren’t helping once they got home from work and on their days off.
Lack of Sleep
Lack of sleep was tied with spousal issues in the last of the top ten struggles facing stay-at-home moms. Moms are having trouble getting enough sleep which can affect their energy and motivation for the whole day. This is due to night wakings from their little ones needing to be taken care of. Also, a lot of moms said that they have to stay up late or wake up early to keep up with day-to-day tasks that would otherwise not get completed.
The Challenges Facing Stay-at-Home Moms
All SAHMs face different challenges depending on their specific families and situations. However, it is clear that a lot of us share the same struggles. I would like to point out that the women who responded weren’t complaining or regretting being a SAHM.
You’d want to know the positives and negatives before taking any other job. So, I think it is important for those who are thinking of being a SAHM or those who already are to be aware of the struggles. This can help prevent potential issues or just be a reassurance that other SAHMs have some of the same challenges.