Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Tips for a tired and frustrated stay-at-home mom

Carolyn Hax on

Dear Carolyn:

I'm a newish stay-at-home mom finding it hard to connect with my spouse, my friends and my "old" life. I have no family support system and none of my friends have offered or shown any interest in helping with my little one. My whole life has turned upside down (not unexpected) but I guess it's my other relationships that have me surprised.

I'm no longer invited to anything friend-wise and the few things I have been invited to were mere hours beforehand with no time to secure a sitter. My husband complains that he hates his job, he doesn't help much with our child -- she's very attached to me, which is a sore point -- and is irritated that I'm "always tired and angry." I am always tired and usually frustrated that I have no time for myself. He tells me to ask for help and then when I ask, the response is, "OK but [little one] is going to cry the whole time." I don't resent my child, but it's hard to stay positive and upbeat when I feel like only my life has changed.

My husband's answer is for me to hire a nanny or get involved with a mom's group but that doesn't solve anything with my current circle.

-- K.

Actually, it probably would.

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Your "current circle" problem is a specific one likely rooted in your more general problem of being out of balance at home. That's also true of the other specific problems you name: no time for yourself, lonely, always tired and angry, marriage faltering, father not bonding with child -- even the husbandly chore-dodging and work-griping.

Your husband's suggestion to hire help is a deceptively significant start to solving it all. Just a few weekly shifts for a part-time caregiver can give you some time to yourself, which can give you some rest, which can give you some energy, which can remind you who you still are with all the roles and requirements stripped away. Hiring help can also get this core self out the door on a date with her husband or dinner with friends or just on a long walk where your soul goes aaaaaaaaaaaa.

A better rested, less angry, more you version of you can say calmly to your husband, when he complains the baby "is going to cry the whole time": "You're right, she will. That means we need to swap roles more, though, not less. We let things get out of whack. It'll take some time and work for both of us to fix this, but soon she'll figure out how brilliant her dad is." Commit to building his confidence with the baby and yours without.

The best way not to slide back into your current imbalance is to make these standing appointments, and keep them. Pick a weekend morning where he's solo parent; a date night; an out-with-friends (or solo) weeknight.


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