Those who think that being
a homebody is a lot better than having to deal with the stresses of the office
couldn’t be more wrong. Research done in 2012 by Sarah Dmaske and Adrianne
Frech of the University of Akron, indicated that office-going mothers who
worked full-time enjoyed better mental and physical health than part-time
working mothers and those tied to the home, 24 x 7.
What causes stress?
If you’re a stay-at-home mom,
you’ve probably experienced stress or boredom quite often. Studies show that
home-bound mothers get stressed when:
They wear themselves out by handling an unfair amount of workload
instead of delegating tasks to their partners.
They don’t get timely assurances from their partners that they’re doing
a good job.
Their children don’t live up to their expectations, and they begin to
question their ability as parents.
The constant demands of their children grate on their nerves and make
them lose their temper.
They are unable to retreat into a private space to take a breather, or
find time to pursue personal interests.
They try to measure up to the friendly neighbourhood supermom.
They experience a sense of isolation and yearn for a socially active
They believe they’re losing out on opportunities by not working at the
What can you do about it?
The first, most important
step towards stress management is admitting to yourself that you suffer from
the condition, and then going all out to deal with the problem. Given below are
steps you can take to reduce tensions and anxieties and be a happier,
Identify stressful times in the day: When is it that you’re stretched to the limit? In the
morning, when you have to send the kids to school? Evenings when there’s dinner
to be prepared? Weekends, when you usually add the week’s laundry to your
chores? Once you’ve identified the high-pressure times of the day, you can make
adjustments to ease the workload. For example, you could rise earlier on any
two weekdays to do the laundry and thus eliminate that chore on the weekend. As
for cooking, how about preparing twice the quantity of a dish that features
regularly on the dining table, so you can serve it at another meal without
having to prepare it again?
Prepare a weekly timetable: People often get stressed when they’re faced with work they haven’t prepared
for. If you often find yourself in such a situation, then you need to plan for the
week in advance, spacing out household chores and setting aside time for
leisure. A timetable gives you an overview of tasks to be completed, allowing
you to prepare for events that require planning—for example, a barbeque bash
for friends on the terrace.
Workout to music: Music can lift your spirits and exercise will improve your health, so
why not get the benefit of both in one neat package? Buy an exercise video (it
usually comes with catchy music) and set aside fifteen minutes a day—yes, that’s
all it takes—for a quick workout. You’ll feel good about yourself, less
stressed, and better equipped to take on the challenges of the day.
Do a stress-busting course: Find out if yoga sessions are being conducted in your
neighbourhood and get enrolled. Yoga is a proven destresser; besides, it would
be a change to get out of the home and make new friends.
Put the kids to work! Assign tasks to the kids according to each one’s capacity. Your
teenaged daughter could be sent to the supermarket to do the bazaar, while
younger children could be given lighter chores like dusting and tidying up or
helping out with food preparation. Getting your kids involved with running the
house will help them develop life skills and a sense of responsibility while
easing work pressures for you.
Pursue a hobby: Are there hobbies you had to shelve just because you didn’t have enough
time for them? Well, if you set aside a few hours a week to work on a watercolour,
an ambitious embroidery project, or a short story collection, you’ll get some
respite from the daily grind and experience a sense of achievement.
Join a course: Would you like to learn a musical instrument? Or a ballroom dance? Or
the art of public speaking? You may not have a career in mind, but who knows where
a new skill will take you?
Get a club going: If you live in a gated community that owns a clubhouse, take part in planning
and organising activities for its members. But even if you don’t reside in a
housing society or a colony, you can still begin a club of sorts with
homebodies that share your interests. Once you have it going (just a dozen
members should suffice), there’s a lot you can do to add new dimensions to your
life. For example:
Plan a cooking fest for the families of the club members, making it
theme-based to arouse interest. It could be a monthly do, with different
cuisines explored each time.
Organise book reading sessions for the literary minded, where a reading
from a chosen book selected by the group is followed by a discussion of the
same. Book reading sessions for little kids could also be organised, with club
members taking turns to offer their houses as venues, space permitting.
Play a board game that a group can participate in: Dumb Charade,
Monopoly, Bottom Line, Twenty Questions, Scrabble, and any multiplayer card
game, for example.
Organise games for the neighbourhood kids in the common garden of the
colony, if there is one. Children’s Day would be appropriate for such an event,
which could include sack races, lime-and-spoon races, treasure hunts, cricket
Organise a kiddie party and get the kids involved with planning the games
and the menu. You could get the older children to help with food preparation
Organise a picnic on Women’s Day. Get all your fellow stay-at-home
mothers to tell their hubbies that they’re taking the day off!
Get authorities in various fields to make presentations on issues
concerning women, such as self-defense, health and nutrition, child rearing,
Yes, there’s a lot a
homebody can do that an office-bound person can’t. So why not explore these
possibilities and make the most of life? Doubtless, you’ll be busier than
before, but with more variety in your life, stress levels will drop. You’ll
discover that being a house-bound mother can be fun, after all.