Are you struggling with finding purpose as a stay at home mom? You may have thought being a mom would provide all the meaning and purpose you needed, but yet you feel a tug inside to do something more?
In this post, we discuss why many stay-at-home moms wrestle with finding purpose and how your life’s purpose can be totally independent of being a mother.
“So, what do you do?” . I used to hate that question when my kids were young and I was a full-time stay-at-home mom.
Though I realized the other person was simply trying to strike up a conversation or make small talk (another thing I hate), I’d always feel somewhat embarrassed to say “I’m a stay-at-home mom”.
Oftentimes after answering, I’d quickly turn the conversation to ask something about the other person. Unless I was talking to another mom, why would a stranger want to hear about my SAHM life and my daily routine of nap schedules, park playdates, and diaper duty?
It never felt important enough to say “I’m a stay-at-home mom”, like being a SAHM didn’t give me enough purpose in the eyes of this stranger.
Or maybe it was because I had lost myself in motherhood and finding purpose as a stay at home mom was something I was struggling with at the time…
But are our roles in life what define us and give us purpose?
If you’re struggling with finding purpose as a stay at home mom or in another role in life, perhaps it’s time to think about it differently.
How do you find purpose as a stay at home mom?
SAHM life can be monotonous and although we all know how important the job of raising kids is, it can somehow feel so insignificant on the average day.
Although you’re constantly busy, most of your time is spent on mundane tasks and you often end the day feeling as if you’ve accomplished next to nothing.
You may have straightened up multiple times throughout the day, but the house is still a mess with toys thrown about. And somehow there are always dishes piled high in the sink despite the countless minutes every day you spend washing bottles and sippy cups. The baby’s shirt is stained even though it’s the 3rd one you’ve changed him into that day.
Needless to say, being a SAHM can be a thankless job that leaves a lot of us feeling unimportant, undervalued, and without much sense of identity or purpose outside of motherhood.
On the other hand, moms who have a career, especially one which they’re passionate about, sometimes have an easier time finding purpose and meaning in the work they do.
Unlike the SAHM, a working mom will see more tangible rewards for her efforts, like monetary compensation, promotions, awards, and recognition that may contribute to her sense of self-worth and identity and positively impact her mental health.
In fact, studies show that parents who work outside the home experience better physical and mental health compared with stay-at-home parents, who have higher rates of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand first-hand that being a working mom comes with its own set of struggles. Having been both a full-time working mom and a stay-at-home mom (and currently something in between), I’m certainly not looking to spark a debate between which is the better choice.
The only thing I can say with certainty is that no matter your choice, motherhood is all-consuming.
Being a mother is likely the most important role you’ll ever have, I know it is for me, but still, does this mean you should look to it to find your purpose?
Is being a mom your purpose?
A lot of people think their purpose in life can be found in their roles and this seems to be especially true among women. Do you think that your purpose is to be a wife and a mom?
After struggling to define my purpose and wrestling with this for a good part of my life, I was convinced that once I became a mother, I would finally find my purpose in motherhood.
For a while, I thought that I had because being a mom to little ones can be overwhelming and feels like the only thing in your life when you’re in the thick of it. This is especially true when you’re a SAHM and “momming” is all you do day in and day out.
Thus, we often attribute our whole identity to our role of mom and look to it to find purpose in our lives. As such, it can be disheartening when motherhood fails to deliver the purpose and meaning we’re seeking.
In my own journey, after I emerged from the season in which my kids literally needed me every minute of the day to stay alive, I realized that I still longed for greater purpose in my life and I needed to find this purpose outside of motherhood.
How to Find Your Purpose in Life
Maybe you know someone in your life who sensed their purpose early on—and then pursued it with certainty? This is not the case for the majority of people.
Most of us spend a good part of our lives wrestling with the idea of purpose and if you’re still here with me, then you are likely in this latter camp.
That’s ok. There’s merit in this because in seeking out your purpose, you come to a greater understanding of yourself.
Let’s go back to my earlier point about turning to our roles in life to find purpose and look at it in a new light-
If you are struggling with finding purpose as a stay at home mom or in another role, perhaps it’s because you’re looking in the wrong place.
Maybe your purpose cannot be found in your roles in life. Rather, the roles you have are actually there to SUPPORT your purpose and help you FULFILL it, not the other way around.
But if your purpose cannot be found in your roles, then where and how do you find it??
If there were exact steps to find your purpose, then so many of us (including me) wouldn’t wrestle with this concept.
5 Guideposts for Finding Purpose in Life:
While the path to get there will look different for everyone, I think we all can eventually come to a greater understanding of our purpose by keeping the following guideposts in mind.
1.) It’s not what you are doing, but why you do it.
Your roles in life, or what you’re doing, can change over and over again throughout different seasons and chapters. They are how you live out your purpose, but you must first understand your why.
Can you look deeper at your roles and think about why you have chosen them? Your “why” is going to be that constant foundation that supports you in every facet of life in which it shows up.
2.) Your purpose is the “theme” of your life.
If you look back and create a timeline of your life and all the major life turns you’ve had thus far, there is likely a theme that can be found.
What roles have you had? What choices have you made? Is there any commonality or theme you can see among them?
3.) It’s important to follow your curiosity.
When trying to discover your purpose, it’s important to follow your curiosity. You never know where it could lead.
Take time to explore different things you’d like to learn about, no matter how big or trivial they may seem.
4.) Your purpose has always been within you.
Go back to things that have always made you feel like you. Sometimes these could be things that go all the way back to your childhood.
What has always lit you up and made you feel happiest? What are you doing when you feel most like yourself?
This is how I discovered writing again. It’s something that’s always made me feel most like me.
5.) Your purpose is rooted in helping others.
It’s imperative to understand that true purpose will always be grounded in helping others in some way. That’s because when you attach your purpose to something self-serving it will not have longevity.
What makes your purpose sustainable and long-lasting is the reward and meaning that can be found when it ties into serving the greater good.
I cannot tell you how fulfilling it is for me to write these blog posts for other moms. It fills me with a deep sense of purpose to know that even a handful of moms might be encouraged, comforted, or inspired by my writing.
Finding Purpose as a Stay at Home Mom
If you are struggling with finding purpose as a stay at home mom or in any role you have, I hope this post has encouraged you to start considering your purpose differently.
By the way, these days when someone asks me “what do you do?”, I take it as an opener to share the many things “I do” in life.
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Carly is a wife, mom, and former NYC fashion industry executive turned writer and life coach. Through her writings on littlevoicebigmatter.com, she shares practical advice, heartfelt insights, and actionable resources to inspire and support women in motherhood, relationships, wellness, and life. Carly also helps women create better balance in their lives and live with more joy, purpose, and connection every day through her coaching.