If you fear you’re on the verge of having desperate housewife syndrome, read on for tips and ideas on how to help.
Long before anyone filmed anything on Wisteria Lane, the desperate housewife syndrome was in full bloom.
All over the world, moms are wearing pajamas at 11 am and wondering how the moms around them seem to find time to match their fingernail polish with their outfit.
Outfit? I haven’t had one of those in forever!
When was the last time I wore an “outfit”, anyway?
Do jeans and a T-shirt count as an outfit? I think an outfit probably has to have a cute belt, cute shoes or cute earrings to make the cut.
Well, I do have a cute headband on!
- pinpoint an issue
- draw out how it’s affecting you
- label what you don’t like about it
- determine areas of responsibility
- figure out how it’s showing up
- say what you’d rather happen
- brainstorm solutions
Wait, that’s only to mask the fact I haven’t washed my hair in three days.
First things first, you need to know that the desperate housewife syndrome can appear out of the blue. Even if you love staying at home with the kids and they are well-behaved and sleeping fine.
Are you tired of saying you’re just a hot mess (on the surface), but actually deeply anxious, fearful, or even depressed? Hopefully this post will help!
Desperate (adj): feeling, showing, or involving a hopeless sense that a situation is so bad as to be impossible to deal with.
Signs and Symptoms of the Desperate Housewife Syndrome:
- Pajamas are your mom “uniform.” Leading you to believe you’re just sloppy.
- Daily habits have been abandoned. You used to shave, wash your hair, make the bed, tidy the house, etc. The energy to get them done just isn’t there anymore.
- You resent watching your husband leave the house each morning and are waiting for him at the door when he gets home.
- It’s been hard to find the energy to connect with the kids and often struggle being a present parent.
- You feel insecure around working mothers because you don’t feel you have anything to talk about. This may be because you’re behind on current and world events… though you are quite caught up on what’s happening on Facebook.
- Your temper arises quickly as you seem to get angry at the drop of a hat.
- Every mood or attitude of a family member is blown out of proportion for you. You take their behavior so personally, even though you know it’s silly.
Shed the Desperate Housewife Syndrome with these tips:
I would be lying if I said it was a piece of cake. It’s not easy, but you can do it, mama!
1. Process Your Own Feelings
Evaluate your own thoughts and shed some light on those feelings.
Neglecting your own physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional needs for so long―in an effort to be a selfless mother―leaves you depleted. Being well blesses your family! Learn WIN WIN strategies in my upcoming book!Learn More
Begin by asking yourself the hard questions…
- Am I disappointed because I didn’t think life would be this way?
- What is really causing this stress? Is it because money is tight?
- Do I have unresolved resentment against my spouse because of household chores or obligations?
- Am I insecure because I’ve never gotten back to pre-pregnancy size?
I have learned that knowing why I am feeling a certain way is the first step to channeling my emotions.
If you’re like me, unprocessed feelings coupled with the desperate housewife syndrome will lead to frustrated children and unnecessary arguments with your husband.
The best ways to process your feelings are to…
- Admit to yourself that the desperate housewife syndrome is a real thing for you and take small steps to improve each feeling.
- Keep an unedited journal where you can emotionally vomit (if you will) and then move on.
- Use guided workbooks (like my overwhelm guide printable) to help you learn how to get from where you are (A) to where you want to be (B).
- Admit what you are feeling is okay and make small positive changes each day.
- Make a pack with yourself to avoid all negative self talk.
- Banish The Mommy Guilt. Nobody is perfect so don’t live your day feeling like your drowning under self-inflicted guilt.
Read: The Stay At Home Mom Schedule That’ll Keep You Sane
2. Take it Easy with Social Media
It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap when you’re in the mindset of the desperate housewife syndrome.
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tik-Tok, and other social media platforms make it easy to keep in touch with people- so we tell ourselves.
With the rise of social media and smartphones, I have found that I needed to be more careful with what I spend my time viewing.
Once a person falls into the comparison trap it’s so easy to question everything about yourself.
- She doesn’t look like she’s aged at all. Why don’t I always look that cute?
- Wow, their girls are happy in their homemade pillow dresses. Does that mean I’m a bad mommy because my kid’s just wear store bought clothes?
- Look at the trip they are on! Am I giving my kids enough experiences? Am I a failure?
The reality is, people post about the TOP 3% of their life and we compare it with the BOTTOM 3% of ours. This comparison will leave us feeling inadequate.
As a mother with desperate housewife syndrome, your time can be spent in so many better ways!
Instead of admiring someone else’s life, begin to mind what matters in yours. You can begin by starting a fun hobby. Here are 60+ hobbies that are inexpensive and help you get out of your own head.
Trying to work through some mindsets that hold you back? These cards will help you get focus on the right things.Learn More
3. Dress Purposefully
Wearing yoga pants isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if you planned it!. Read: the pros and cons to yoga pants.
After a few of my pregnancies, I’ve gone to Wal-Mart or a local discount store like Ross or Bealls, and bought comfortable workout gear to wear around the house.
It wasn’t fancy, but it matched… and it was purposeful.
The point was, it was better than my grungy 10 year old University of Florida T-shirts.
Read: 5 Things Emotionally Exhausted Mothers Need to Remember
Here are some ways to dress purposefully:
- Get rid of worn out daggy clothes (get postpartum clothes if you need to).
- Pick out clothes the night before, it may be the difference between still wearing pj’s at noon.
- Buy realistic “home clothes” you can wear that are comfortable but still help you feel like you got dressed.
If you’re like me, you’ll feel better about your day just knowing that you’ve already made a purposeful decision, to look your best!
4. Create Systems in Your Home that Work for YOU
It’s not about keeping a showroom home! One sure way to cause stress and anxiety is to try to keep you home up to someone else’s expectations.
Don’t end the day with anxiety, stress, and a full mind.
This evening brain dump journal sheet will help you get in a peaceful mindset so you too can sleep peacefully through the night.
A key to avoid the desperate housewife syndrome is to create organizatioanl systems- that bring you peace within your own home.
When my home is messy and unorganized, I feel like a failure. Here’s the key – you’ve got to identify what triggers your stress and assign a system of organization that will work for you.
Why is this important? It’s simple…feeling like a failure is a catalyst in deciding if you’re going to have the desperate housewife syndrome.
- Ignore the mess and try to make myself yourself not care for the next 18 years.
- Give up your need for cleanliness because your kid’s continually make messes or fall into the trap that kid’s don’t know how to clean.
- Make excuses about time because the kids have ran you wild.
- Start organizing chores that everybody can work with.
- Instruct your kid’s on your standard of cleanliness and hold them accountable to it.
- Assign yourself uninterrupted Quiet Time.
Do you forget to sleep, bathe, eat, relax, etc.? NO MORE. This tracker will help you consistently live within your limits so you have more love to give to your family.
Remember, creating organizational systems that work in your home is about personalizing them to meet your needs and being consistent.
5. Feed Your Identity
Mothers lose their identities because they are focused on meeting everyone else’s needs, and neglect to meet their own.
Let’s be honest, this is unavoidable and part of the wonderful job that we’ve been given. Just remember… it’s only for a season!
How to find your identity again?
- Think about the things that you are gifted at and find a way to use them (even at home).
- Journal your thoughts, feelings, desires, dreams, and read books that relate.
- Listen to music you love, watch movies you enjoy, and read information about things that feel “you”.
- Read your Bible, pray, and think about things outside of child rearing.
- Make the most of interactions with others outside your home. This will help keep you grounded and focused on the big picture.
And, always remember why it’s important to stay true to ourselves…
Motherhood isn’t our identity.
Out of our identity we mother.
Raj Thandhi says
What a great post, and an important topic. I started my blog because I was slipping into the pattern of wearing pajamas everyday and new I had to do something drastic. As someone that suffered from post partum depression before, I know that how I was dressing during that time was really affecting my whole life.
On another note; I completely agree with importance of maintaining order in your house. When my house is a mess so am I. So happy that I found your blog today. Looking forward to reading more.
Pink Chai Style
Thanks, Raj, for your words. I agree, I found that having a baby itself was such a change that if I didn’t attempt to keep things around me similar I just felt lost. Little things like what we wear and how we keep the atmosphere around us make a big difference. Post partum depression is no joke and I think that trying our best to feel “ourselves” helps at least a little.
Leila Basu says
Hi there.i find ur blog very enjoyable.Being an australian who moved to america and i have a two year old i take care of at home.and a.dog and two cats.hee.great blog
Rachel Norman says
Thanks Leila! :)
A friend of mine sent me a link to “why moms are so tired” and now I’ve been reading your blog next to my sleeping husband for well over an hour. You have a really fantastic way of putting of motherhood into words.. Very clear and honest. Everything I’ve read so far made me feel like YES! Exactly! I didn’t even know I felt this way till I read this! I want to cry a little and I want to laugh a little… As a whole I feel a lot better then I did just a few hrs ago – maybe just the commonality in mundane mom experiences, or acknowledging the inexplicable love and gratitude I feel to be a mom.. It’s all… Just great. Thanks for sharing your insights and experiences.
Rachel Norman says
Leela, that is such a nice thing to read. I really appreciate you taking the time to say it. It’s funny how something can be so hard and yet so great and yet still, so hard, at the same time isn’t it? Thank you for your comment, truly.
Thank you! Just a few months ago we moved back “home” after having lived around no family for eleven years. There were days this post would have been a life saver. haha. This is a great honest encouragement that I will be passing on to some of our friends away from home. <3
Rachel Norman says
Ys, I lived far away then moved home too. Times are tough when no family is near!
Taylor Greenwald says
This is so true. When you live far from family, it is much harder being a sahm. It is awesome staying home with my girls every day though. :)
Nice post, but I think it doesn’t address a huge chunk of population – moms that stayed home because of small kids or due to other reasons, but are now basically free and yet can’t find the energy/motivation to do something with their lives.
I’m staying at home with a 6 y/o, other kids are older and don’t need me as much. This guy is also pretty autonomous and it wouldn’t be a problem to find a job and start working, I’m sure we can find arrangements for him. But I use him as an excuse to do nothing. I started my own business, but it didn’t go that well and now I’m tired of it. Also tired of taking care of the kids/house all the time. This lack of energy is killing me and I just watch stupid shows all day. Should I look for a job? Should I invest in and revive my business? Should I just accept that I’m lazy and abandon all hope for being more than just a stay home mom?
Ramya Ravindra Barithaya says
Love the post