Being a stay-at-home mom may be your dream come true. But that doesn’t make it easy.
Homemaking comes with its own unique set of challenges that can quickly turn this blessed mission into a burden if left unchecked. I know because I’ve been both a working mom and a stay-at-home mom, and I’ve learned to watch out for these joy-stealers myself. Here are 3 sneaky obstacles to being a happy homemaker, and simple remedies for each.
1. Lacking a sense of accomplishment
When I worked in the corporate world, I felt productive from the moment I stepped into the office to the moment I reluctantly shut the door behind me, two hours after all my coworkers left. You could say I was a workaholic, but I felt immense satisfaction every time I saw how much I had accomplished.
The transition from a task-oriented job to being a homemaker was difficult. No matter how much I did in a day, there was always more to be done: dishes to wash, diapers to change, tummies to fill, and clothes to fold. Don’t get me wrong—I wouldn’t trade my position for all the accolades of the corporate world, but some days I’d collapse in bed feeling like I was busy all day with nothing to show for it.
That’s a fast track to grouchyland, in my experience.
Solution: Stay Organized
I’ve learned to treat my job as a stay-at-home mom with the same organization and commitment I would a day job.
Every morning, I grab a sticky note and write down the top three priorities of the day; I try to do those, even if other chores are left undone. I usually include three things:
- One personal task (like organizing my closet or a task from the 5 Minute Challenge list)
- One household task (like cleaning the bathroom or making a double batch of soup), and
- One relationship task (like playing with my daughter or doing my husband’s one ask, which I explain in #3 below).
At the end of the day I get immense satisfaction from seeing everything I’ve accomplished that day, even if toys are still strewn across the floor. And yes, I’ve been known to add things to my list after I’ve already done them just for the grin. Don’t you?
2. Spousal Jealousy
During my maternity leave, while I was attached to a little tyrant who demanded all my attention, I used to imagine my husband was having THE BEST TIME EVER at work. I thought it must be nice to enjoy the peace and quiet of a clean office away from the cries and smells and chaos that came with a newborn.
But guess what? My husband was jealous of me, too. He thought it must be nice to hang out at home in sweatpants, taking naps, checking social media, or eating ice cream whenever I want.
It’s easy to dwell on all the hardships of your role while romanticizing our spouses’ jobs. This mindset can lead to a me-versus-him mentality that sucks all the joy out of our homemaking dream.
Solution: Practice Gratitude
- Send your husband off to work with a kiss and a thank you for leaving the comfort of home to face the lions of the workplace.
- Text him during the day to let him know you’re thinking of him and you appreciate his integrity in the workplace.
- Leave him love notes in his lunch bag or on his dashboard.
- Greet him with a ten-second kiss and hug when he gets home and give him a hero’s welcome.
- Talk him up to the kids during the day and over dinner.
Just a few intentional “thank-you’s” go a long way in helping both of us realize we’re on the same team, and we each play an important role in our family’s welfare.
3. Feeling Underappreciated
Has your husband ever come home to a messy house and rowdy kids and asked, incredulously, “What did you do all day?"
That’s not exactly the best way to start an evening, is it? It’s easy to feel unappreciated for all the work we do, especially when there isn’t a paycheck to show for all our hard work at the end of the week.
And while some husbands may find it lame that in a whole nine-hour-day all we did was wipe spit-up, corral dirty clothes, and throw a freezer meal in the oven, we know that keeping tiny people alive is no small feat!
Solution: Communicate Openly
1) Ask him, “What one thing would you like me to get done today?” Simply asking for his input helps me discern what is most important to him and also makes him feel part of my homemaking work. Some days I schedule dentist check ups or calling our cable provider; other days I rake leaves or pay a bill.
2) Encourage your husband to ask you, “How was your day?” instead of “What did you do today?” This simple change has allowed me to share my highs and lows without feeling like I have to prove my worth by how much I did. Plus, it helps him appreciate the things that go unseen, like calming temper tantrums in the grocery store and rocking a baby to sleep.
Questions are a great way to open communication. Try learning your husband’s workplace jargon, his coworkers’ names, and his hardest projects. Ask him what makes him feel welcomed at home and what he doesn’t mind not getting done. Chances are, he’ll ask you those questions as well, and you’ll both feel more understood and appreciated.
As homemakers, we get to pour into our families, investing in the Kingdom of God by loving those closest to us. And though our jobs are no less stressful than corporate jobs, keeping organization, gratitude, and communication in mind will help us be glad we traded our business suits for tickling tummies and kissing boo-boos any day. And our families will, too.
Asheritah Ciuciu is a writer, speaker, and video blogger who helps overwhelmed women find joy in Jesus. She married her high school sweetheart, Flaviu, and they have a blast raising their baby girl in the farmlands of Ohio. She blogs at OneThingAlone.com where she inspires women to sit at the feet of Jesus so they can dwell with Him deeply, love others recklessly, and live their lives fully. Come find a community of grace-filled women there.