I had the privilege to speak with youtube vlogger Sharla Samuel about being a Stay At Home Mum (SAHM) and the effects on mothers emotional and mental health. The interview was both inspirational and encouraging for all mums, not just SAHM’s.
- Can you tell us how many children you have and how old they are now?
I have two daughters, Seraphina 2 and Ariel 4 months old.
- When did you first decide to be a SAHM and why?
Before I got married, King and I agreed that I would stay at home. When I became pregnant I knew I wanted to be home with the children. I mean, I realised if I sent them to nursery my whole pay cheque would be paying for the nursery, so my thought process was, if I’d be paying for nursery why not just stay home and be with my daughter. Personally, if I had to send my daughters to nursery I would like to be able send them when they can talk and tell me if anything happened. So because of their safety and money these were key reasons why I decided to be a SAHM.
- As a SAHM myself, at times I can find it quite lonely, what do you think some of the challenges are of being a SAMH?
Feeling bored and overwhelmed with housework, for example I feel like with the washing of the clothes, there’s always more to wash, or to iron or to fold. It is never ending. Also, feeling unappreciated, if you know you’ve tried your best in the day and then your husband comes home and says have you done this or this, it can make you feel like what you did during the day wasn’t sufficient or anything of worth. Another thing, depending on the age of your children, you don’t get appreciation from your child, because they can’t verbalise their appreciation.
- What helps you cope with these challenges?
Spending more time with God gives me more purpose and drive, especially during the harder days. Even if my immediate family isn’t acknowledging what I do I know God sees and acknowledges it. Having the youtube channel has been a great outlet for me. I have something to do for myself. When you have purpose you feel good, especially when you feel you are living in your purpose. So my advice for mums would be to think about your skills, what you are good at doing and use that. What did you love doing before you was a mum, what do you love doing whether you get recognition or not, and when you figure that out, just do it! Be brave and do it!
Also, a big thing I find is that mums think it is ok to suffer for their family. You don’t have to be a martyr, there’s no need to suffer. It is ok to do something for you, take time out for you, look after you .. let’s be real, it feels good to look good, so don’t be worried about taking time out for yourself, otherwise you will burn out. Personally, I don’t wear make up, so when my hair looks good I feel good… so I try to take time to do my hair… and that is ok. I don’t have to feel guilty about that. The virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 had a job, cared for her family and herself.
- I know you have recently started a youtube channel, which is fantastic by the way, how do you balance your channel and being a SAHM?
I have had to look at how I manage my time and what I spend most of my time on. Whether you are working fir yourself, starting a channel or just using social media, it’s important for parents to question why they are doing it and how much time is it taking from time spent with their children. We need to enjoy the time spent with our children. Most children are up from 7-7 but they will go to sleep, so do more things when they are sleeping or napping. When my daughters are asleep that’s when I work on my channel, even though I’m dog tired I find motivation to do something for myself.
- k, this questions is on behalf of all mummies, the first 2 months after birth can be full of challenges, hormones are flying and you have a baby who’s needs need to be met. How can mummies stay sane during this period?
I would say because you are so engrossed and wrapped up in the children it is important to get as much sleep when you can… although I still struggle with this as there is always something to do around the house. If you have support around you or people who are willing to help you, don’t feel proud… just let them help. That saying “it takes a village” is so true. I don’t have a lot of on-call support like that and so it can be difficult at times. I know we don’t always want to be a burden to people and some people are busy, but if you have help that is available say you need help. If you don’t then seriously assess what you can actually do each day. Be realistic about how much you can get through, don’t over do it.
- As you know, health is a big thing nowadays and there is a lot of talk about food and physical health, but how important is a mothers emotional and mental health?
Emotional and mental health is 100% important because you can be eating right but go and commit suicide the next day… and sadly, that’s the reality. I know it’s difficult to find someone to talk to, and personally, I see that in church if someone wants to say they’re depressed its seen as they are lacking faith or are selfish. The problem is a lot of people aren’t transparent, instead they put on a front…. But we can see by all the broken marriages and families that clearly something wasn’t going right and all wasn’t fine, and these things need to be addressed. So yes emotional and mental health is 100% important. I find when I am having a bad day and am feeling frustrated it has an effect on my children and I notice Seraphina picking up on it as well.
It is necessary to be honest about your struggles, we don’t have to boast in our sin, but it is important to be true to who you are. I believe having a group around you that you can be frank with is a great help. A group that allows you to be comfortable in yourself, and when you find the right group around you, you will be even more comfortable, the perfect cycle. Since becoming a mum, I have met some lovely mummies who have been so supportive, and it has made such a difference in my life as a mum. Mum’s need to realise they are not the only person struggling and if you continuously compare yourself to other mum’s you will always be the worst mum… so stop comparing, find good friends and people to surround yourself with, be transparent and these will help improve your emotional and mental health.
Side note… If you really can’t find anyone to be transparent with in person, go to the online mum chats, people will be real there and you can be real too! Really real hahaha.
- Before we finish, can you tell us a bit about your channel?
My channel is specifically for SAHMs, encouraging women not to forget who they are as individuals, and be their best in the home. It encourages mummies to always develop, and think about how they can be a better wife and a better mother.
To hear more from Sharla please subscribe to her youtube channel where she provides excellent tips for SAHMs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3cdIbrs6ew
Keep smiling, stay blessed.
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