December 19, 2008,
J.C. asks from Inver Grove Heights, MN on December 17, 2008
SAHM My Brain Is Turning to Mush
I was a professional woman and have always considered myself strong and assertive. I quit my job in June and love being with my kids and feel truly fortunate to be able to be with them. Unfortunately I feel like I am loosing my edge and my brain. I brought my car into get repaired today and I know about cars and have always been able to have intelligent conversations with mechanics but today I felt like I was unable to be assertive like I forgot how. I go out with my friends, I am in an ECFE seperating class, I read books, I bring my kids someplace daily, I spend time with other SAHM's during the day but I still feel like the only thing I can be passionate about is talking about my kids. I need some suggestions on how to keep my edge and my brain.
E.K. answers from Milwaukee on December 18, 2008
Wow I thought it was just me....There might be an actual syndrome called the SAHM syndrome. Where the brain just mushes away. Well, for me I just started working again part time and realize something has evolved and I really am not the same person. I think It goes with the reality that all of my energy, thoughts, love, concern ect are with my kids. I really have a hard time focusing on anything else. I look at it like this: this is the part of my life where I live for my children. It is temporary. I commend you on staying social like going out with friends, reading books and getting your children out daily. A lot of SAHM's isolate and totally loose touch. I am not a rocket scientist but I hear the more brain activity you keep your mind in, the better. Have you thought of taking a class at the community college or something? That might reassure you that you can still use your noggin plus give you a night to yourself. Hope you have a Great Holiday!
1 mom found this helpful
S.S. answers from Milwaukee on December 18, 2008
A year ago I was in the same boat (and still feel that way some days). Although I still kept up on current events and things, I just felt like I wasn't doing anything for me. I started to think about what I was passionate about and what I enjoyed doing. In my previous life, I was a marketing professional and enjoyed writing. So I decided to start a parenting blog (www.UggaMugga.com).
I now get to write (a creative outlet for me) about products and concepts for families (something I'm passionate about). I love to pass along wonderfully designed products, healthy recipes and fun activities for families to help improve their life..."discoveries to calm the chaos" is the site's slogan.
My friends all thought the site would fall to the wayside when I had my third child last month. But I need the outlet even more now...to do something for myself and to keep my brain active. In the end, I feel I'm a better mother and wife for it.
The blog is read in 101 countries around the world...not too shabby for a stay-at-home mom who felt at her wits end a year ago. Who knows where you'll be next year!
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A.G. answers from Minneapolis on December 18, 2008
I know exactly what you are going through! I was a teacher for 7 years and loved it. It has been a hard adjustment to stay home. Recently I started doing freelance editing, and that has really helped. It gives me an outlet for my brain and helps me feel useful. I know I am useful as a mom and housekeeper, but for some reason those things just don't meet all of my needs for feeling fulfilled. I also took some classes and renewed my teaching license. Keeping my foot in that door, and finding a new career that I can do from home has been good for me. I would suggest trying to do some freelance or consulting work. You can feed your professional self and make a little extra money as well.
G.G. answers from Minneapolis on December 18, 2008
I have a different kind of recommendation for you: MPR radio. I listen in the morning getting ready for my day, in the car running errands, and during naptime when I can. They have intelligent and interesting adult topics and conversations all day long. I find myself learning constantly and staying in touch with current affairs in a way I couldn't when I was working full time! I feel like an adult when I'm listening, and it challenges my brain. I especially notice the effect on my language skills. I know just how you feel, and this helps me a ton!!
K.C. answers from Davenport on December 18, 2008
During my SAHM years, I felt just like you do, that I had nothing interesting to say unless it was about my kids and often people would give me that look...OMgosh..she's going to talk about her kids again....that's all she ever talks about. I got tired of it so I took some classes in the evenings (two nights a week)...classes such as sign language and belly dancing, something fun and interesting and interactive. I also took a writing class, a pottery class...just little things to get me out of the house that were fun and interesting to try. I went through the Adult Education classes that our local area school district offers. They were relatively inexpensive and I got to learn about and try my hand at different things. The dancing wasn't through the school, I went to a dance troope to learn and what fun! I absolutely love it :) and the gals that I dance with are awesome...I now get together with them to dye veils, perform in public (community events, nursing homes, etc.) about once a month for fun...keeps my mind active, my social contacts fresh, and the classes give me interesting things to talk about :)
M.M. answers from Minneapolis on December 18, 2008
You'll be happy to know that you are not alone in feeling this way. I try to keep busy through volunteer work. Check out the Junior League of Minneapolis (www.jlminneapolis.org). It's a great volunteer organization, gets you using your brain, and is a great place to network so that when you do get back to work you have some contacts and leads. You can also check out the Lions Club or the Junior Chamber of Commerce. I'm also a private tutor. I used to be a teacher so this worked well with me, but I have other friends who take on contract jobs in their fields so they stay current and can work as often as they want and from home or in the evening.
T.B. answers from Minneapolis on December 18, 2008
I have a little saying by my computer -"Of all the things I've ever lost, I miss my mind the most!". Your mind is still there, it is just refocusing. You mentioned you read- keep doing that and try to find a book club where you can have an intelligent (non kid related) conversation with other adults. Check bookstores and library's, or start one of your own in your neighborhood or among friends. If kids are your focus, read about raising children - it's not mush, it's just a new interest (new career?) Read the paper daily to stay up on current issues. Use the internet to dig deeper into a story that interests you. I like the idea of taking a class- it gets you away from the kids and among people who don't want to talk about kids. You are not just a sahm, you are a role model and number one teacher to your kids. Maybe some psychology classes would be interesting. I'm at a point where I'm finding bible study very interesting - and I love how it applies to my life as a mother (Moses is very much about parenting!) Enjoy the years with the little ones -they grow so fast!
H.O. answers from Minneapolis on December 18, 2008
I highly recommend MOPS(mops usually offers a speaker and free daycare while you meet) or Moms Club and if its an option seek out a Mom or home daycare for one day a week. I too went thru the brain mush stage. Nothing like a book club to get you reading and talking about something besides kid life.
Not that there is anything wrong with that.
I read the paper or the internet to keep myself abreast of the real world. I still occasionally go to lunch with my old coworkers though I left over 6 years ago.
I also now volunteer 1 day and 1 night a week between the local foodshelf and as our church secretary. I have the chance to interact with adults and exercise my brain.
There are certainly paid positions but with volunteering you are helping many people and if you or the kids are sick its volunteering and they understand.
With the Moms swap my girls get a chance to play with their friends and I get a chance to have lunch with Daddy or an errand done all by myself.
Staying home is what you make of it and once you find things to do on your terms you will find that your brain is not mush.(eta to correct your brain is not mush) Those kids just sponge up so much of it those first 5 years!!!
And you will survive the sun deprived snowy cold winter. Bundle up and go have some fun.
H. =Mom to a 2yr old girl, 6 yr old 1st grade girl and 14 year old boy. Happily married for 7 yrs to my soulmate.