Long before anyone filmed anything on Wisteria Lane the desperate housewife syndrome was in full bloom. All over the world women were wearing pyjamas at 11am wondering how the women around them seemed to find time to match their fingernail polish with their outfit. Outfit? When was the last time I wore an “outfit?” 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. Hey, I do have a cute headband on. Oh, wait. That’s only to mask the fact I haven’t washed my hair in three days.
Times can get desperate at home. If you live far from your family like me then there are not always built in avenues for stress reduction and relief. This syndrome can appear even if you love staying at home with the kids and they are well-behaved and sleeping fine. It is not necessarily a sign that you are unhappy in your role, just that there are some things that need tweaking. It’s not only our children’s behaviour that we need to Weigh Test + Measure, but our own as well. For our own good.
Some Signs and Symptoms you have come down with Desperate Housewife Syndrome (list is not exhaustive as each personality is unique)
1) You wear pyjamas most days.
2) You get slack on daily habits you used to have. i.e. shaving, washing your hair, making the bed, tidying the house, etc.
3) You resent watching your husband leave the house each morning and are waiting for him at the door when he gets home.
4) You have no energy for fun activities with the kids or for trying out new things. Getting to 5 6 or 7 o’clock each evening is all you have in you.
5) You start to look back on your single years or early years of marriage with an extreme amount of unhealthy nostalgia.
6) You feel insecure around working mothers because you don’t feel you have anything to talk about and because you’re behind on current and world events… though you are quite caught up on what’s happening on Facebook.
Ways to make your Desperate Housewife Syndrome less desperate:
1) Take time weekly (or more if you can find it) to really process your feelings. Are you disappointed because you didn’t think life would be this way? Are you stressed because money is tight? Are you angry because your spouse is always late or doesn’t help out around the house? Are you insecure because you’ve never gotten back to pre-pregnancy size? Knowing why you are feeling what you are feeling will help to channel your feelings in a healthy way. Then you won’t accidentally take out your feelings on your children if you need to be taking them out on your husband.
2) Take it easy with social media. Facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest and goodness knows what else make it easy to keep in touch with
people we haven’t seen since high school friends. But what they also do is lead us down the comparison road. Why don’t I always look that cute? Wow, their girls are happy in their homemade pillow dresses. They sure go out to eat a lot. Are they always on flipping’ vacation? People post about the top 3% of their life and we compare it with the bottom 3% of ours and are left feeling inadequate. Don’t kill hours on the internet. If it gets unhealthy, give yourself some allotted time and then, mind your own business.
3) Get dressed like you’re going to be seen. Maybe most people are not like me (I hope they aren’t for their own sake) and I am the only one who struggles with staying in my running shorts and old college t-shirts all day long. But getting dressed as though you’ll be seen does something to the psyche. You’ll feel more together. Your husband will remember why he thought you were beautiful in the first place. Not that we’d let our husbands tell us anything of the sort, but they probably tire of seeing us unkempt and half dirty every evening. I don’t mean wear high heels around the house. But put on an “outfit.” It might make all the difference.
4) Try to have an exciting outing every week. This may seem over the top but exciting is relative. Exciting when you were single may have meant dancing all night, Vegas or a weekend at the beach house. Exciting now may mean going out to eat, going to an outdoor festival or having tea or a meal at a friend’s. Try to get your husband along and let him chase the kids. Wear something cute. Wear makeup, if you still own any. Do your hair. Maybe even put on high heels.
5) Keep an ordered house. When the house is messy and unorganised and you’re embarrassed if anyone sees in…. you feel like a failure. Feeling like a failure is half of what makes us enter into the Desperate Housewife Syndrome. The answer is not to say “forget about everything and tell myself I don’t need to feel guilty that my kids only eat junk food, the house is a sty and the laundry hasn’t been done since the last time my mother-in-law came over.” Managing your guilt is done by prioritising things that are truly important (to you) and not letting them slide. If a messy house doesn’t bother you but dirty dishes do, then don’t let the dishes pile up. You can more easily find time to maintain a tidy house than to deep clean a filthy one.
6) Do something regularly that helps you feel “grown up.” Of course you’re grown up, but being around children all the time makes you feel young again. And not necessarily in a good way. If you love writing then find time each week to write. If you like art or you are creative and crafty, then use nap times or the evening to do something creative. Think about what you love and what you are passionate about and make room for it. Pick up that instrument you put in the closet 5 years ago. What did you love to do in college that you’ve forgotten about? Go to aerobics (even if you have to go at 8pm). Do something that lets you feel like, well, you again.
Motherhood isn’t your identity. Out of your identity you mother. If you get it mixed up then you’ll inevitably have problems feeling fulfilled!
PS – For more parenting advice, articles and wisdom (at least it seems wise…) click here!