The mental life cycle of a SAHM
May 25, 2018
Tristan is currently (almost) 2,5 years old and it occurred to me that, as a stay at home mom (SAHM) has a mental life cycle! Yes, really! So this post will have to have more parts as he grows up, but here’s part 1. The mental life cycle of a SAHM
Newborn stage (0 – 3 months)
You give birth to this tiny human and bring it home. You very quickly turn into a cow; all you do is produce milk to feed said human and care for this tiny mewling infant. Your time is consumed with a variety of mindless tasks; from breastfeeding (or bottle feeding) to feeding yourself and sleeping whenever possible. There’s no mental stimulation and if we’re honest, you don’t have any need for it due to lack of sleep!
Also, this mothering thing is all so brand spanking new (and sometimes exciting) to you that talking about it is exciting and, I suppose, a little mentally stimulating as you’re learning so much every day! You don’t have the head space to be bored or want some additional occupation. Who would have guessed that these tiny humans can be so all-consuming!?
Infant stage (3 – 12 months)
You slowly start emerging from the fog and get yourself and your baby into a routine. You start attending moms groups such as circle of mums, Top Tots, Wriggle & Rhyme, etc. You’re figuring out baby led weaning or whichever method you chose to wean your baby onto solid foods. You’re seeing people more often but it’s all talk about your babies and their development and your struggles / successes. Once again, very little mental stimulation but that’s ok. It works for now and you’re still possibly struggling with exhaustion (spoiler alert; I don’t think we as moms are ever not exhausted again!)
During this time you are also learning and still catching up on sleep a lot in the early part of this stage. But the daily (well it was for me) activities you take your baby to are enough to keep you ‘busy’ and happy with life in general. Some friends were still on maternity leave for most of this stage so we had weekly meet ups together which were wonderful. I didn’t have space in my head for being bored or wanting mental stimulation as being a mom was what I was doing.
Toddler stage (12 months – 4 years)
Around 16 months you might consider sending your little darling off to play school once or twice a week. It gives them some much needed social interaction and you some much needed time alone. It’s great, you start enjoying your 1 or 2 mornings off a week. Mental stimulation isn’t really required as you’ve come out the newborn and infant stages and are actually starting to savour and enjoy this precious YOU time.
Personally, it’s been around now (2,5 years old) that I’ve started to notice that my mind is getting bored and I want something to keep it busy. I have a business; it’s small, it doesn’t bring in enough business to keep me occupied daily and when I am busy with it then it’s usually only a few hours a day for a short period of time. I also do a bit of admin for my husband’s business – paying salaries monthly, some account capturing stuff etc, but once again, it’s once, maybe twice a month for a hour or 2 max.
So this is where I find myself now; “looking” for something to do 2 – 3 hours a day but still allowing me my freedom & flexibility that I’ve enjoyed for over 4 years now.
Talking to a friend the other day (she’s got 2 children around grade R & 3 and is an entrepreneur herself) and she said she’s actually struggling running her business and her children’s lives. So what I’m getting at here is that a SAHM goes through phases of being occupied by her offspring, being a bit bored and then, before you know it, being all consumed with their lives again.
Right now we only have Tristan so yes, when he’s at school my time is my own and I can fill it however I see fit. So I go to gym or dance class, I do the household shopping, I meet up with friends for coffee dates and I dabble on my laptop with whatever is keeping me busy at the time. So although I feel a bit ‘bored’ I am going to embrace it while I can. Do some online courses, go to meet ups to learn from others, read a book, etc because soon (hopefully) there will be a number 2 child and then I will be run ragged again as I now bring up 2 children.