6 reasons why being a stay-at-home parent is stressful

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    6 reasons why being a stay-at-home parent is stressful
    School runs, finances, chores… there’s a lot of things to worry about (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Could you imagine not having a career and your only responsibilities were the housework and childcare?

    As an ambitious teen, I envied my classmates who got up the duff and left school to have kids.

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    I imagined them swanning around having their nails painted and shopping, and simply having to dust a few times a month.

    There I was bombarded with exams, juggling part-time jobs and a colourful social life.

    Yes, I dreamed of a career in the media, but I was jealous of those mums and housewives, without any deadlines or pressure.

    But when I too became a mum and a housewife after a short but successful career in the media, I was shocked at how stressful my new role as a stay-at-home mum really was.

    Here are six reasons why it’s such a demanding job.

    Having an identity crisis

    It’s taken me a while to get used to being ‘just’ a mum and feeling enough by that label.

    I was brought up as career-driven and I really didn’t respect the tough job facing homemakers.

    Even now, I feel embarrassed that I’m not the breadwinner and that my ambition is being a mum first.

    When in fact, I really respect the roles parents play as it’s bloody hard work.

    Chores

    6 reasons why being a stay-at-home parent is stressful
    Things get messy (Picture: Mmuffin for metro)

    I am what you might call an undomesticated goddess by nature.

    So, this whole housewife label stresses me out big time because, yes, I do spend most of my time at home, but I’d be so bored if all I did was the housework.

    Chores are relentless, time-consuming and no-one but yourself appreciates the effort spent doing mundane tasks.

    I have had to become more organised to complete chores around the home and my diary now has cleaning days crammed in.

    Saying that, if you come to my house on a non-cleaning day, it’s a state.

    Kids are just so messy and dirty, so while I know I’m being judged by visitors, I haven’t got the willpower to try to change anymore.

    And I refuse to iron because life is too short.

    Social life

    What’s that? Can you remember those pre-parent days where you could just go out for walk, or go to the cinema or for a meal?

    Nowadays, my social schedule relies on my children’s activities, which means I rarely let my hair down, so I end up venting instead at playgroups.

    When/if I do escape the shackles of the house and children, I act like a rebellious teenager.

    But most of the time I just feel very lonely.

    Finances

    I’d always imagined being a stay-at-home-mum was essentially like being a character from Footballers’ Wives.

    I would rely on my husband’s wage, shop most days, have my hair done and have lots of fun at home with the kids.

    Oh, how wrong I was.

    We’re not poor but we work hard and must be careful with our money.

    I’m currently averaging having one haircut a year and, even then, it’s usually done with two ratty kids in tow.

    There’s no time for flicking through magazines and there’s certainly no time for champagne.

    That said, sometimes I think my husband comes home and wonders why I am so shattered when surely all I’ve been doing all day is a spot of cleaning and watching Jezza Kyle on TV.

    The school run

    6 reasons why being a stay-at-home parent is stressful
    (Picture: Dave Anderson)

    You’d think that being at home means there’s no pressure or deadlines.

    But have you ever tried to get kids out of the house – ideally dressed, fed and teeth brushed – for a certain time?

    Give me a project to manage any day.

    Going to work was easy in comparison.

    Childcare

    Being at home means you’re expected to do pretty much all the childcare.

    Your life revolves around school runs, nursery drop-offs and trips to the doctor. With bursts of housework squeezed in.

    I do get help with childcare thanks to grandparents and then I’m torn between me time, catching up on my work or completing chores.

    Then, before I know it, the kids and the chaos are back.

    I never realised how stressful it was juggling family life, a home and childcare.

    Don’t get me wrong, we have our wonderful moments and, I’m so glad I have this time with the kids.

    But let’s be honest, so much of our precious time as a family is spent feeling frazzled and unsuccessfully spinning plates.

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