Stay at Home Moms and the Fight Against Depression: How Can I Cope?

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You’ve taken that big step and happily quit your job in order to spend more precious time with your kids. Now, however, the fatigue coupled with feelings of frustration and loneliness have completely overwhelmed you. In the previous post,  Stay at Home Moms, the Fight Against Depression: Why Is This Happening, we discussed 5 common reasons why so many stay at home moms (SAHMs) are battling depression. Let us now explore a few ways that we can combat the stay at home mommy blues.  There are so many ways to cope, but here are a few I have personally benefited from:

ASK FOR HELP! 

I know, I know… it can be hard to do.  But it’s a must.  We are conditioned to think that we must do it all, and we must do it perfectly.  However, that just is not being realistic. I’ve always known I can count on my husband and my mother. Mom has been willing to do any and everything she could to make motherhood a little easier for me. I don’t know what I’d do without her. Is there an additional task someone else can take on so that you aren’t feeling overwhelmed?

For example, if you didn’t get around to picking up groceries, can a friend or family member do that for you on their way home from work? Danny is great about doing this for me.  Even when I was pregnant, I got to the point where I couldn’t walk up and down the isles in the grocery store without getting sick.  He’d ask for a list of what I needed and then would stop and pick them up on his way home.  There are many days where things get crazy around here and I STILL need him to do this for me.  There are a few grocery store chains in this area that offer same day pick up for online grocery orders.  I can select everything I want, pick the most convenient time slot and store location, and pay for it online. After that, upon arrival Danny or I pull into the store’s grocery pick-up area, and an employee will wheel everything out to our vehicle and load them up. The best part about it is, the service is completely free at some chains.  Since then a couple of other local stores have begun to offer similar services. Others will even deliver directly to your door for a small fee.

TALK, TALK, TALK

 Do you have another mom friend who has been in your shoes and can relate? I can’t say how many hours my sisters and friends spent talking to me getting me through those tough times.  One of my sisters in law from out of town even drove up to visit with me a while so we could talk.  Being able to talk things out with someone who has a sense of what you are going through can help big time.  They will also be able to give you some good advice.  Don’t forget to also talk to your mate about how you are feeling.  As I mentioned before, there may be additional things they can do to help.  But at the very least, having a listening ear will go a long way.  We don’t always expect the other person to solve our problems.  Sometimes you just need someone else to hear you out.

EXERCISE

Don’t over think things.  Keep it simple.  You don’t need a complex workout routine.  Grab the kids and the stroller or carrier and go out for a walk.  It can be very hard to get the motivation to go. I’ve been there. Heh, I’m still there.  But not one time did I feel worse after forcing myself to go out and get moving.  Sometimes my husband would come home from work and ask for me and the kids to go walking with him.  We’d bring the dog too and walk around the neighborhood or drive up the road to the local elementary school and walk around the track.  Is it cold where you are?  Go for a stroll inside a Mall or another indoor area.  I had a friend of mine do this with me after my second baby was born. It’s a good change of scenery and you and the Littles will still be nice and warm.

KEEP HEALTHY SNACKS AROUND

I am a nursing mother as well. So this is a must!  Honestly, I have found myself to be even more ravenous after my pregnancies than during.  Your body is burning all of those extra calories after all.  No, I can’t say that I always manage to do this, but if I can keep a lot of the junk at bay, munch on good healthy food and maintain my water intake, I don’t feel as run down.  Besides, with the lack of sleep, your immune system is taking a serious hit. Let’s help it out a little, eh?

PRAYER AND GRATITUDE

This is last on my list, but of no less importance to me. I do believe in prayer and let me say, from my personal experience,  I can not get through a single day without praying at some point.  Not only do I pray when I’m stressed, completely overwhelmed and on the brink of tears, but I also try to remember to say a prayer of thanks.  Does anyone else remember the old movie Pollyanna and the “Glad Game” (she would find something to be glad about, no matter how bad the situation was)? Well, yes, I only got 3, maybe 4 hours of broken sleep the night before. The laundry may not be done and the baby just pulled her diaper off and peed in the middle of the floor. Yes, my five year old with an infinite imagination just dug a hole in the front yard apparently digging for dinosaur bones while I was paying more attention to his sister than to him. Yes, yes, yes, my house is chaotic and in such a mess, but it’s MY beautiful mess. I’m thankful that my baby is healthy enough to be able to walk around the house, that we have clothes to wear and get dirty, food to eat, and happy children alive and well enough to dig a hole.  Yes, sometimes after shedding so many tears from pure exhaustion, I have a moment of clarity and realize that I actually have quite a bit to be thankful for.

There are sooo many things to do that may help when we are feeling down. What are some things that help you? Feel free to comment below.

***This content is based on opinion only. It is always best to talk with your doctor regarding your health.


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4 thoughts on “Stay at Home Moms and the Fight Against Depression: How Can I Cope?

  1. Angela says:

    This is such an important topic to discuss. Before I became a stay-at-home mom, I was a mental health therapist, yet I still experienced intense postpartum blues at times. I agree with you on each of these points. For me, exercising has been very helpful – the hardest part is just getting myself to do it. Another tip is for moms to pay attention to what triggers depression for them. Sometimes the triggers can be very subtle, so it helps to take notes on different factors that occurred before the feelings. If you can take control over your triggers, or at least your response to those triggers, then it helps you to feel more in control of your emotions.

    P.S. I love your header!

    • Ashley says:

      I appreciate your professional feedback. I agree 100%…just getting yourself to do it is sooo difficult. That’s a big issue for me. You’re advice on paying attention to triggers is spot on as well. I agree. About the header…thank you. Hubby came up with a design idea, and I created a version of it using Pic Monkey.

  2. Nay says:

    Beautifully written! Loved the suggestions. Along with talking as an outlet, I love to write. Writing is very therapeutic. I will say with an active toddler writing the old school way with pen and paper is not always easy so I will use my phone and record when I can’t write. I also find practicing self-compassion has saved me many a time. I got the idea in a book by Kristen Neff on self-compassion, to write myself a letter. In the letter I talk to myself the way someone who is loving and supportive would talk to me. Again when I can’t find time to write, I will record something for myself to listen to on a bad day reminding myself of what I AM doing. Compassion makes up for the reality of being a mom and it’s struggles. It doesn’t require me to be a perfect mom.
    Thank you for this article. We need as much support as we can as moms. To know we are not alone in the struggles go a long way.

    • Ashley says:

      Thank you. Writing is a wonderful outlet and is indeed therapeutic. It’s great that you find the time to do so. That will do wonders.

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