Burnt Out Working Mom. Should I Become a SAHM?

posted 6 months ago in Home
Post # 16
Member
5573 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2017

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cblank181 :  I had a problem with perfectionism before and I felt the way you do, about feeling like you can’t be a 100% employee and 100% parent all at the same time and that you’re failing

My therapist likes to remind me of all of the hats that I wear, being a mother and an employee and a wife

You’re doing many different jobs all at the same time and you’re doing the best that you can. That’s all that you can do

I’m hoping you’re able to make progress with your therapist and that you start to feel better soon

Post # 17
Member
1592 posts
Bumble bee

Also, if you can’t find time for yoga or other personal stuff during the day, do it after baby goes to sleep! If baby isn’t sleeping through yet, I really recommend sleep training! I know it’s controversial but my one regret is not sleep training earlier. We did it at 10 months and holy shit what a game changer. Baby goes down by 7pm and we have the whole evening to ourselves after that. I signed up for a night time weekly writing class and my husband and I go on regular dates without panicking that baby will be hulking out for the sitter the whole time we’re gone. I honestly didn’t feel like myself again in retrospect until after we sleep trained. 

Post # 18
Member
10358 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

This title literally made me LOL cause I’m like man staying home with your kids is hard AF.  

Maybe do a trial run for a few months, if it doesn’t work out then find another job somewhere. You don’t have to be all in or out at once. 

Post # 19
Member
7195 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

I think if you have the option, there is no harm in giving it a try. OP, you’re struggling. It is good that you’re getting therapy, and you need to continue to work on yourself,but leaving a job that is stressing you out might give you the breathing space you need to do that. I don’t think that automatically makes you unhealthily enmeshed with your son, either; LOTS of mums – working in or outside the home – feel guilt. Again, if you CAN, why wouldn’t you try it? If it would cause financial hardship or make a partner upset or have other undesirable effects, then of course not. But it sounds like leaving your job, spending some time at home, and perhaps returning to work at a different job when you’re ready, would be a great thing for you.

Post # 20
Member
754 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

Not a mom, so not going to comment on anything relating to PPA/PPD or the working-mom/SAHM balance or choice.

However, while I read replies one thing that stuck out to me OP was the fact that you mentioned you don’t have the time to do yoga and the separation anxiety you have from baby. 

We all have time to do what really make us happy and what we are passionate about, even if it doesn’t feel like we have any time – we do. You just have to readjust your priorities and schedules to MAKE the time. Obviously, I have no kid yet so definitely take that with a grain of salt BUT I did and still do suffer from some co-dependency. Not so much anxiety, but I went through a period with my now-husband where I realized I was beyond dependent on him for my own happiness and it is not healthy AT ALL. I feel like you have a touch of separation anxiety but also maybe co-dependency. You rely on your baby and husband to make you happy. Sure, it is more than okay for them to be a source of happiness for you but it is SO unrealistic to rely on them solely for that.  I’m sure I’m just projecting here a bit, but with your replies I picked up on this and what I went through. I never had the desire to do stuff I used to enjoy independently, never did the things that truly made me happy and it was a terrible period.

 So as a suggestion – start back doing yoga in small increments (or any other YOU only hobby/activity). Start out just handing baby over to husband for 30 mins and do a quick YouTube yoga video in the spare bedroom or basement by yourself. Go for a walk just you and the dog or by yourself. Heck, even just go run some errands by yourself and spoil yourself with a fancy coffee while doing so. You can even apply this thinking to work and work-related tasks. If you enjoy your job, but feel like you are slacking because your mind is distracted tell yourself “If I get this task done or focus on work for X amount of hours, then I get to think about baby, but until then I focus about work.”

The biggest thing here that I picked up is that you are neglecting  yourself, not your baby. I wish you the best but I really encourage you to start small and go from there. Set up small increments of time for yourself and work your way up to where you will be able to kiss baby and husband goodbye and go out for a night with friends or whatever.

Post # 21
Member
17 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: January 2016

I’m sorry to hear that you are going through a hard time. I had a very similar experience to you and honestly, it has taken me years to get back to myself. 

 

My best advice is to up the therapy and discuss medication with your doctor, if you are comfortable with this. For me, it was the only thing that made the slightest bit of difference. 

 

Would it be a possibility to look for a job that is permanently part-time? Being a Stay-At-Home Mom when you are socially isolated and have PPD-like symptoms is often not a very good idea. Perhaps that would give you a bit more balance?

Post # 23
Member
7682 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Reading this, I almost don’t even think being a Stay-At-Home Mom would solve your problems. In fact it may even make it worse. 

I think WFH is a great perk, but its not for everyone. In your situation, I think working at the office and having more time to yourself and with grown ups and the possibility to make friends would be immensley helpful. I fear if you transition to Stay-At-Home Mom you will sink further into this state, not leave the house, continue to not make friends and feel even more isolated. If my friend came to me with this dilemma I would probably encourage her to try the “full load” in January, with going into the office. You can try it for a set time (3 months maybe), and then take a look at your options after that. If you still feel like Stay-At-Home Mom is for you, then great! Or maybe you prefer working from home, or maybe you’d liked to work outside the home but for less hours, or maybe you start to get into your groove. I like Sansas advice of not making any drastic changes when you’re anxious and feeling overwhelmed.  

Post # 23
Member
932 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

In my highly non-professional opinion, it sounds like your two issues are separate (anxiety and job burnout) to some degree, but they definitely feed into each other. It sounds like you’ve reached the end of the road at this job regardless, so why not commit to a time period (6 months or so) where you stay at home and put in extra effort to your self care/mental health? A job that isn’t right, no matter why, is soul sucking. I don’t even have a kid, and I’m on the tail end of the busy season of a job I’m burnt out on, and I just don’t have it in me to address my manageable but growing anxiety. You may find that without that stress hanging over you, you’re able to breathe. Or, you may find that the PPA/PPD is more stubborn than you think, but at least you’ll have some time in the day to address it in healthy ways. 

Post # 24
Member
7347 posts
Busy Beekeeper

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cblank181 :  I’m sorry you have having such a hard time, Bee.

There is a lot to unpack here, and only a little bit of it would be solved by changing your work situation. That said, if you can afford it perhaps changing jobs to work for a company that supported part-time would be best for you and your family. You don’t sound like someone who would be entirely satisfied as a SaHM but your current work situation doesn’t sound like a good fit either.

The anxiety and PPD are part of you, not the job, and you’ll have to address them no matter what you decide–you can get just as bogged down in timing vaccines and making your own baby food at home, etc, etc as you can in getting everything perfect at work. I wouldn’t make any major life decisions until I was in a better place with regard to both the anxiety and PPD. Have you spoken to a medical doctor?  

Yes, you should love and care for your baby. No, your baby should not be the only thing that matters in your life. As PPs have already stated, that is not healthy for either of you. If staying home even part-time allows you to take your baby to play groups or classes and build a network of other moms, great! If it just means you can stay in sweatpants and stare at your LO all day it’s not going to help you. You were home the first three months and part-time for the next three and still only made it to yoga three times? This is not just about not having time. Surely your husband can care for his own child while you are at yoga. In a lot of ways that’s a gift you can give to him–solo time to bond with his son. 

I’ve always had a leadership role in smaller businesses and my maternity leaves were in weeks, not months. Finding childcare I was completely confident in made all the difference in the world. They are out there–you can indeed have a date night with your husband, and you should. Now that my children are older I have learned that working full time while they are in high school is even harder than when they were babies and slept most of the time I was gone–they have all sorts of activities and can get in a lot more trouble. 

Hugs, mama. You can find the right balance, but you have to take care of yourself first before you can really take care of anyone else. The working mom’s struggle to be great at everything is real, but your story exceeds that.

Post # 25
Member
1684 posts
Bumble bee

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cblank181 : 

I typed up a detailed response but it disappeared as so often happens on this site.  Ugh!  Anyway, some things to note.  I find that this site has more working moms and non-moms than SAHMs and threads on this topic usually turn into a pile-up guilt-tripping stay at home moms, or women contemplating the idea of being one.  If his thread starts derailing into infighting, be prepared to close it.

Anyway, here’s my take.  I’ve done both.  When I had my first I had been on bedrest the duration of the pregnancy due to unexpected complications.  Jumping into a job after that seemed unrealistic and not anything I was interested in at that time.  I had suffered for nine months to bring that baby into the world and I was going to enjoy some time with him for a while.  After a wake up call about how expensive daycare is, my husband supported me without question.  I loved my time with my son!  When he was seven months old I began teaching at home during his nap time and I loved the balance.  He had a very consistent sleep schedule so I could schedule appointments back to back during his nap time.  I was a private instructor for home schooled students, specializing in severe learning disabilities.  I maintained that schedule with my son for three and a half years until my second son was born.  Then the phone started ringing off the hook.  He was six days old when the high school called me to ask me to teach a segment of their SAT course and tutor two students who needed assistance to pass the competency exam.  Then parent-to-parent referrals also started bombarding me.  My mother-in-law had just retired and was available and happy to watch my two sons, so that worked out.  I jumped into work when my son was four weeks old.  It was exhausting.  He wasn’t sleeping properly at night so that was also miserable.  But at the same time, it was partly why I was willing to increase my daytime work hours because I was up all night with him and I needed a chance to breathe. 

With my first son I had the “separation anxiety” you mentioned.  It was nothing to panic about and I think the dwelling on it that has been mentioned already in this thread is really overreacting.  My son was used to being with me, and I was used to being the one to care for him.  I did leave him with my husband to do errands.  I found it frustrating to take my baby with me sometimes.  Just awkward, you know?  And we did date nights every Friday.  Sure I felt nervous sometimes about leaving him.  Normal.  But I left him in the care of my mother-in-law because I needed the time away and the time with my husband.

I worked more and more in the years after my second baby.  With my third, referrals were still pouring in.  I went back to work when she was three weeks old.  She slept through the night by seven days old.  (Miracle!) But my second still wasn’t and didn’t for years.  I was more and more exhausted and it really affected my ability to enjoy my children.  Finally, I’d had enough.  I had health issues which included depression and anxiety.  Overloading myself was not helping anyone.  As my students graduated out, I didn’t take new ones on.  And eventually my last two graduated and I stopped working altogether.  My body and mind needed a rest.

Having seen childrearing from every angle, I support working moms and stay at home moms.  I will say–it is not the same experience at all.  Being a stay at home mother is hard work and people who belittle it have no idea what they are talking about.  My oldest son is so much calmer, focused, responsive and has a better attention span than his siblings.  I raised him technology free for the first few years for his brain development.  No regrets.  He has always been able to self-soothe, self entertain.  My other two got exposed to technology earlier…ugh.  That’s another topic.  In any case, my son’s maturity and calm manner, his confidence in interacting with peers and adults, with great problem solving skills my husband and I both feel are owing to the personalized attention he got from me during those first three and a half years before his brother was born.  Being a stay at home mom doesn’t mean “doting” on our kids or spoiling them.  It means we personally oversee the values we want to instill in them.  Patience, respect of others’ needs, and being independent were things I emphasized with them.  But he never had to fight to be heard either.  I also took care of his pre-k education.  All three of my kids were ahead of their class when they started kindergarten.  I arranged play time/friendship opportunities for my kids.  

Looking back, I can honestly say that the three years I spent with my firstborn as  a stay at home mom were the most precious, most wonderful years of my life.  I turn to those memories frequently and nothing compares.  So precious…..  I also enjoyed being a working mom and I don’t regret working, but I do regret working a bit too much while my second child was little.  It was too much for him, being away from me.  He just didn’t handle it well.  Working part-time was great but approaching full-time was too much for me.  And with my first had anyone tried to pressure me into handing him over to anyone else to even work half-time I would have blown a gasket.  That was my time, my life experience to treasure forever as an eternally valued experience.  I knew the time would fly by.  I wanted that time.

Some people put off having kids to partake of meaningful life experiences.  “Traveling” I hear quoted more than anything, but also career accomplishments as well as other things.  For me it was screw those other things.  I had traveled a bit out of necessity before having kids.  Over it!  My memories and experiences with my children I value over anything and everything else I’ve done or experienced.

So.  For every woman their experience is different.  I know a woman who was a Stay-At-Home Mom for her first two kids and loved it but went to work part time after her third kid and then full time after her fourth because she found being a Stay-At-Home Mom to be stifling at that point.  But she really valued it at first.  Different seasons in life sometimes.  It’s ok for each woman/couple/family to decide what the right balance is for them.  If you feel that your heart is calling you to focus on your experience with your baby full time, then there is nothing wrong with that.  I don’t see it as your “anxiety” deceiving you.  And I had a heck of a lot easier time making friends as a Stay-At-Home Mom mom than I did as a working mom.  Playgroups, mothers I would talk to who had kids the same age as my son when we were at the library, the park etc.  It was actually  much easier to be “social” than when I was working.  It was such a frenzy trying to balance everything when I was trying to do it all.  When it took away from what I could give my kids, that’s when the regrets kick in.  Working a lttle was awesome.  Too  much broke my heart and I can’t wash the regrets away, I can only say the past is the past during those time that I wasn’t at my best and my students got more of me than my own kids did.

My oldest is graduating from high school now and I am so glad that I had that time with him when he was little.  I am really drawing on those memories now for my own comfort!  When they leave home it’s hard! (THat doesn’t mean don’t work) I just mean, if you want that experience then it’s ok to have it.  It’s ok to consider it.  Acting like you’re off your rocker for your reasons.  Relax people.  Being a stay at home mom is a valid child-rearing approach and lifestyle choice.  It also doesn’t have to be permament.  You can enjoy your time with your child and then when you feel the urge to go back to work, you can get back in.   Best of luck!

 

Post # 26
Member
9432 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

I’m so sorry to see you feeling this way, bee. I echo others in saying that I really hope you get the help you need. Until you get that help, I honestly don’t think being a Stay-At-Home Mom will be the magic happiness fix you’re hoping for. 

I was recently in the same boat. I have a demanding job and wanted to quit entirely when we moved states. I didn’t, but in the 3 weeks I had off for the move, I was home with my 20-month-old and it very much helped solidify that Stay-At-Home Mom life really isn’t for me. I still have my same crazy job, but I’m looking to find a new one next year (and maybe even something part time).

Post # 27
Member
2815 posts
Sugar bee

I was lucky to be a Stay-At-Home Mom.

When I go pregnant  my husband said he could be a shark at work and seldom see us, or be a more involved father who gets home at nights in time to relieve me and be there for games, etc. My evenings, for the most part were free. I took courses, worked part time and relaxed with 40 minutes of yoga three times aa week

When he was 3 years he went to Pre K and I got a job teaching in his school. Not his grade.  My other son was a pre teen when I adopted  then, so the question was moot.

I sincerely hope  you can find a solution you can live with. Sometimes, as  are aware, you feel NOTHING you do seems right!  But it will work itself out.

Post # 28
Member
130 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2019

I can 100% relate. While it sounds extreme when you mentioned that you don’t even want to go to yoga, I understood what I believe you meant. That you’re feeling that work is taking up so much time that the time that’s left you want to see baby versus yoga. I have always worked since a young teen and wasn’t sure I wanted kids. 2 kids later and I am working less and less and being more involved with my kids. I work very part time, but my goal is to not work at all once my husband’s position changes a bit. I went from dreaming about my career to “who cares!”  And I wasn’t being unrealistic, if financially I need to work, I will. But I just LOVE being super involved with my kids. It is HARD! There are days that I’m home when being at work would be much easier. But I really just felt like I wanted to be hands on in raising my kids and it was pulling at my so strongly that I truly stopped caring about working. Meaning I didn’t have the passion for my career, my passion changed to my family. I am involved in running some of my kids programs, I volunteer in the school whenever I can, and I’m there to teach them and do activities with them that I want to be doing. By no means do I think parents that work are wrong for making that choice whether they have to or not. I just simply understand how strong the pull to be home with your children can be. I found myself in complete depression and anxiety whirlwinds when I worked full time. I just am unable to manage my household, children and mental health while working full time. I know plenty of women who do it and are awesome for it. I just accepted that I’m happiest in life pinching a few more pennies and being very hands on. You need to find what works for you and not be ashamed or feel guilty for that. These babies grow into kids quick and then you blink and they’re adults. If you leave your position and see how it goes staying home for a few months, you could always look for another position if you felt the desire to go back to work. It doesn’t sound like you’re super happy where you’re at, although many places don’t have work from home options. If your husband can carry the family financially, I still would say give it a shot. You can decide in a few months time whether it’s for you and still not have too large of a gap on your resume to have any trouble finding something else if you want to go back. Best of luck in whatever you decide though! Parenting is so rewarding but so hard! First and foremost, go easy on yourself!

Post # 29
Member
867 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

As someone who is not a mom and looks as these threads as an outsider looking in I think only you can decide what career move is right for you and your family. It’s so hard about these things because I do think women can be very passionate about their own choices and unintentionally shame other choices because they are subconsciously affirming their own.

That said, I am someone who lives with anxiety. When I’m in the throws of anxiety and/or depression my decision making is SO off because I am responding from the place of anxiety, not from my deeper wishes or desire. It’s great that you are already in therapy and I get you, when things are busy it’s easy for the frequency of my appointments to slip. Even if you can’t make it more often, I think it’s worthwhile to sit down on your own or with your husband to think through things you could do in the short, medium, and long term that would help your mental wellbeing. My therapist always counsels me not to pick a million things but focus on one or two. Maybe that for you would be finding trusted childcare so you can have a date night with your husband or a local mom group so you feel less isolated. Maybe it’s finding youtube videos that let you do a yoga practice at home.

As for your co-workers, they may be more understanding than you think. There have been periods of time where I have been less focused or struggling at work and I often found just being vulnerable and open with people got me a lot more empathy and help.

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