As an overwhelmed mom, we struggle to do it all by ourselves. Look, I totally get it. Asking for help is hard. Or it’s just easier to do it your way on your own. This slowly builds resentment in a lot of marriages and relationships these overwhelmed moms are in. This is how an overwhelmed mom becomes an overwhelmed wife.
Today’s question comes from a listener and reader who wishes to remain anonymous.
“How can I get my husband to understand that I need a break, even though I’m a stay-at-home mom? He’s a great dad and I’m afraid he will doubt that if I tell him that I don’t think he’s helping me enough. I’m feeling angry and resentful of his time away playing games and going out with friends while I’m stuck at home – expected to care for the kids.” – Anonymous
Asking Your Own Questions
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Overwhelmed Mom Feeling Resentment in Marriage
First off, your feelings are valid. And there is a lot to unpack here – which is a good thing. I know another overwhelmed mom out there will benefit from this answer – even the work-from-moms or those working out of the home. This is a very common frustration that I see with a lot of moms – and one I have experienced myself.
Looking over the question, the first thing that came to mind is the wording around asking for help. And saying that “even though I’m a stay-at-home mom”. I think it’s important to acknowledge that stay-at-home moms, work-from-home moms, and those moms working out of the home are all doing work. And all of those different types of work are hard.
It’s easy for the outside world to look at a stay-at-home mom and think that they are just coasting through life. Watching TV all day, sipping their coffee, taking naps, and having a very relaxed day. When it is anything but what is happening. Because if that were the case, everyone’s dream job would be staying at home with the kids.
Stay-At-Home Moms and Depression
When you are at home with your children all day long – you don’t get a break. The only break that you get is during their naps. And if you aren’t sleeping when the baby sleeps (which isn’t as easy as it sounds), you’re likely taking care of other things. Like your work, if you are working from home. Or the laundry, the dishes, the playroom, or the mess the kids made before the nap.
You are not necessarily taking a break. Or taking time out for yourself. So I think it’s important to acknowledge that even if – as the listener put it – you are a stay-at-home mom, you still deserve a break. Because you are not really getting one. Otherwise, you end up as both a depressed and overwhelmed mom. Trust me.
I just want to make sure you are not discrediting yourself for that. You are just as deserving of a break as any father out there. Like any work-from-home moms, and any working out-of-home moms. Every parent is deserving of a break.
Feeling Overwhelmed as a Mom
As a parent, we are always giving. Especially as mothers. We give our bodies to grow, birth, and sometimes even feed our baby. We give to our relationship, our partner, our home, our family, our friends, and our work. The list goes on. We are always servicing and sacrificing.
You need to give back to yourself. If you don’t, you will begin to grow and hold resentment. (Like I hear this listener saying.) And don’t get me wrong, resentment isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s a signal telling you that you have needs that need to be met. Don’t feel shame if you end up feeling resentful. It’s what you do with those feelings that matter.
Mom Burn Out
My solution to this is having days off as parents. Both parents – not just one. It is equal. My husband and I take one day off every other weekend. It has saved my sanity. In my article on How to Survive Solo Parenting, I talked about all of the tips and tricks that saved me during a season of solo parenting.
My husband was away at military training and I didn’t have any breaks. No time to myself or my hobbies. And no support system near me. My mental health, parenting ability, and overall happiness tanked.
When my husband got back home and I could get into the routine of caring for myself, investing in my hobbies again, and just meeting my own needs in general… It reminded me how important that is. And how important it is for our partners as well. Just like we want them to support our mental health, we need to be returning that favor and supporting theirs.
Tips for An Overwhelmed Mom
My first piece of advice when it comes to days off is to have them scheduled. It may seem silly at first. I know not everyone is all about schedules. But it gives us a clear idea of what to expect from our partner. And when to look forward to doing our own thing.
This really helps me when I’m starting to feel like a burnt-out and overwhelmed mom myself. Knowing I have just 3 days until I get a full day off is just amazing.
Breaktime for Moms
And when that time comes, you can do whatever you want. You can spend time with your partner or kids if you want. Or you can leave the house. You can focus on yourself, take long baths, do yoga, or take a nap. Binge-watch Netflix all day – no shame.
I do what I enjoy the most – this. I spend my day recording podcasts, filming TikToks, and scheduling all of my social media posts. Even though it’s my work, it doesn’t feel like work. I get up slowly and take a long and luxurious shower. Blast music and dance around. Spend time getting ready and really caring for myself.
It helps me show up as my best self. Fills my cup for the next two weeks – until my next day off.
The Importance of Hobbies in Motherhood
I have my own hobbies and passions that I enjoy being able to focus on. And my partner does as well. He has lots of other hobbies that I love to encourage. Like photography, fishing, playing sports, and gaming.
All of these things are beautiful to encourage in your partners – in moderation, of course. And with very clear expectations. Hobbies are encouraged and supported but never come first during important moments.
Feeling Resentment in Marriage
So now that we’ve decided that this would be a very healthy thing to implement into our relationships, let’s talk about how to talk about it. Going back to the listener’s question, I saw that they had mentioned not wanting to talk to their husband about their resentment because they didn’t want to make him feel bad.
But you shouldn’t set aside your own true needs and deep feelings just to protect someone else’s feelings. That is their experience and their responsibility – not yours.
Getting Breaks in Motherhood
You can both respectfully and directly let him know what you need from him… More help at bedtime, nights off, an afternoon off, some husband-wife time. Try to do this in a way that is more “you and him vs the problem” instead of “you vs him”. “You vs Him” might sound like statements saying “you always do this” “you never do that” etc),
Communication is key in relationships. And by not communicating, you are not honoring your own needs or even giving him a chance to help you – which he might happily do.
Talking About Resentment in Marriage
Make sure you start this conversation at a time when you are both relaxed, in a good mood, and definitely not distracted. After the kids go to bed is often a great time for this. Let them know that you love when they help you and that they are very helpful. Especially if you are worried about them feeling attacked.
And let them know how you are feeling. Try using statements like “I feel ” or “I need”. These are great replacements for the “you always” or “you never” statements. Go into the conversation with the intention of resolution and peace… supporting one another.
Because it’s not just about you having time off or you getting what you need. It’s also about being able to give them what they need. And that balance in the relationship.
Breaks for An Overwhelmed Mom
Make this work however you can in your life – whether that’s an hour each day, half a day each weekend, or one day every other week. I cannot stress enough just how important it is to schedule these times off. This gives you something to look forward to. And you don’t have to ask for help or a break. That just adds guilt and shame for most of us overwhelmed moms.
Scheduling these things keeps me from having to ask for help – which I won’t do. I will continue to do it all until I snap. So you are absolutely not alone if you are struggling to ask for help from your partner.
It helps me to have that regularly scheduled time off. My husband has certain nights that he puts our son to bed and we switch having a “day off” from parenting every other weekend. That means that we have an entire weekend day to just not be responsible for parenting. We get to take care of ourselves, do whatever we want, and fill our cups back up.
Weekly Date Night in Marriage
Another fun thing to consider scheduling is a weekly date night. Even though we don’t have support near us, we will have a nice dinner or watch a movie together after my son goes to sleep.
Teaching Children How to Care for Themselves
And if you are still nervous or feeling any guilt or shame about asking for time off, consider what this shows and teaches your children. That caring for yourself is important. Meeting your own needs is important. And that it’s ok to work as a team in a marriage and not need to do it all alone.
They will benefit from us showing up for ourselves. Truly, they get the best version of us when we do. And they get to see how to meet your own needs – in a healthy way. A beautiful lesson to teach them!
Finding that balance in your relationship will allow you to show up as a better parent, a better partner, and allow you to fill your own cup back up.
Self-Care for Moms
There are many different ways to care for yourself – it’s not just face masks and nail polish. Although those are wonderful things that I utilize from time to time for myself. I have an entire list of Self Care Ideas and Activities for an Overwhelmed Mom for when you need some inspiration.
Our needs are always evolving with us. During one break, you might need to go for a walk or run. And during the next break, you might need to rest or journal. Bookmark my list of Self-Care Ideas and Activities for those breaks. Check-in with yourself and see what you need!
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