Stuck In A Stay-At-Home Rut

Katelyn is just over nine months old now, and I am just not feeling things. Sleep deprivation is at an all time high, the household budget an all time low, and my ability to conjure up energy has all but vanished.

There’s no two ways about it, I’m in a rut, and I’m not so sure just how to get out of it. Dance parties and cloud watching may work for some people, but this one is going to take more than a bit of fun to shake, I think!

Read on to see the signs that scream, “You’re In A Stay-At-Home Rut!”


Phoning it in

This is generally the first sign that I’m falling into a rut. Instead of being well organised and on top of everything, household duties start to fall by the wayside. The meal planner goes out the window. The dishes are left until the morning. I start relying on my poor husband to do more and more, when really it’s my responsibility to keep things running smoothly around here!

It just gets so bloody disheartening working hard to keep the place tidy, only to have to repeat the task again and again. I find myself thinking, “What’s the point?” more and more frequently and my care factor shrivels up and dies.

It’s no way to function!

Solution: No matter how small it may seem, just do something. So what if it takes over an hour to do the dishes because Katelyn insists on destroying everything in her path? At least they will be done and that is one less thing to feel guilty about later on.

Lack of Motivation

While I touched on this briefly with point number one, my apathy has spread beyond the mere drudgery of domestic work. In the past I would throw myself into my hobbies, but this time around I can’t even seem to manage that.

I’m so tired and blah about everything that by the time I sit down at my computer for the evening, I’m too much of a zombie to do anything other than watch Netflix.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with vegging in front of the TV, but it’s not something I want to be doing. I have dreams, dammit, and they are not going to achieve themselves.

I know I need to work harder, but I just cannot muster up anything when it comes time to sit down and get stuff done.

Solution: Stop making lame excuses not to do it, and take some time out on weekends to focus on my projects. Get out of the house, find a quiet spot that makes amazing coffee and just write without distraction. If I’m not prepared to put in effort, then I can’t get upset when others who do are more successful than I am!

Attack of the Green-Eyed Monster

I know when things are getting really dire when I find myself being a jealous little bitch towards other people. Whether it’s the other mothers at the school pick up who have great bodies and shiny new cars, bloggers who have a massive readership, or even unsuspecting mothers whose only crime is being better at breastfeeding than I ever was, I often catch myself thinking nasty things that are completely out of line and uncalled for.

I know it’s just me projecting my own pathetic insecurities onto them, and I am so thankful that I at least have the sense to realise that and I never, ever repeat any of the things that pop into my head! However, it’s not a cool thing to do and being so negative is not hot, and it’s certainly not making me any happier!

Solution: Stop looking at what everyone else has, and focus on all the good things in my own life.

Frustration and Guilt

I think this particular rut all comes down to feeling frustrated, and then feeling guilty about being frustrated!

I am frustrated because the family budget is seriously depressing, and I hate how dull domestic engineering is.

But then I feel guilty, too. Why did I have children if money is more important than spending time with them? How many parents would love to be able to stay at home and watch their bub grow up?

I went and enquired about child care, and found that it’s rather easy to get a spot locally. Not so easy is the employment part , and harder still is managing that guilt about leaving my gorgeous 9 month old daughter behind with a stranger all for a few measly extra dollars.

I’m not sure if I’m ready for that just yet.

Ugh! I don’t know what to do and it’s messing with my sleep deprived brain! Being an adult sucks.

Solution: Work out a list of goals for the next year or so and budget accordingly. If they cannot be achieved on one income, either sacrifice goals or find a job. It’s what every other family does, and we are no different.


I’m not sure if this is specific to the rut, or just an after effect of all the stress and tiredness, but if my body is a temple, then the temple is a serious need of a renovation. The locals are just trashing the place and it’s really starting to show.

My weight is still creeping upwards, and I even went down town looking like this yesterday:


If that’s not a cry for help, then I don’t know what is!

How do you get yourself out of a parenting rut? Share your tips in the comments below.

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  • Amilia Kiesman

    I have a seven month old and feel the same way. For me, I just need a day of refreshing, go for a hike, or sip a cup of tea alone.

    • Ahh, alone time sounds like bliss. Every once in a while I’ll crack it and ask my husband to take care of the kids while I put on my headphones and try to ignore the outside world, but the kids always find me >.<

  • Kay

    Usually when I hit rut, I try and find a way to take just one day for myself. No kids, no responsibilities – just me time. Whether I use it for productive things or just personal projects, I feel good knowing I have nothing to do but what I WANT, without all the responsibilities of life piling up. Do you have a sitter who could take the kiddos for a day (not overnight, but maybe morning until dinner)? Sending good vibes your way, and hoping you can climb out of the rut soon! They are just no fun!

    • Sadly sitters are in very short supply. With the exception of my sister-in-law who will do it occasionally, both sides of the family pretty much flat out refuse to take her. And, after the last time I left K with my sister-in-law and her mother rather nastily called my nine month old a “whiny little bitch” I am very reluctant to take her back there!

      I’ll just have to settle with leaving the kids with hubby and going out for a coffee or something. Definitely not a bad thing at all.

      Thanks for the good vibes 🙂

      • Kay

        ACk that’s awful!! Don’t blame you for not wanting to leave them there! I’m pretty picky myself about who watches my daughter…I’m just not a trusting person.

        • I hear you there. I’m generally fine with letting people look after my six year old, mostly because he’s self sustaining, but it took me a long time to let anyone watch him. I’m even worse with Katelyn! I didn’t even let poor Liam hold her for the first 6 weeks because I was terrified he would drop her.

  • Ashley

    Awe hun. I’m sorry you’re in a rut. 🙁 When I found myself in that situation, I went back to work… easier said than done I know. Try having a day or night just to yourself. When I start feeling like that, I’ll dye my hair, or my husband will watch our little one and get her to bed, and I’ll have a night of Netflix, with some snacks and a Monster. Some people it’s wine or beer lol. Don’t forget to pamper yourself, and there are ways even when money is tight. I hope you start feeling like yourself soon 🙂 Sending good vibes your way girl!

    • Netflix has been a godsend lately. I should probably lay off the snacks and beer, though 😛

      I think I might just need to sleep for three days straight and I should be good! But right now, while I feel like the living dead, everything is just too hard and pampering seems like way too much effort (even though I clearly need it)

      Thanks for the good vibes 🙂

  • I don’t even have kids and I can identify with everything you’ve written here. Ruts are so easy to slip into without even realizing, but getting out takes real effort. Stay strong mama, you’ll be back to yourself in due time.

    • Aye, reading back on it, most of it isn’t even because of the kids. Finding day care was surprisingly the easiest part of all, it’s just trying to get over these mental and financial blocks that I am struggling with the most — and that is absolutely something that is not limited to parents.

      Thanks for the positive words 🙂

  • Yeah, I think I’ve been in a rut for a while. It’s like a cloud was over my head for the past month…..with the passing of my mother only last month and some medical news about me it’s been really tough to get out of that rut.

    But I am thankful my husband is my pillar and has stuck by my side. He has been so strong and supportive and I’m finally coming out of this rut. I may not be healed all the way with my mom’s passing or this news but I am doing things to find peace and happiness. Which means cleaning everyday and doing something with my son everyday. I have to motivate myself to do things. Like if I have to clean I just tackle little things everyday like clean the living room and hall and wipe down my counters everyday. Just simple tasks that don’t take more than a hour.

    For working out I set it to be 30-45 mins and I do my work out as soon as my son is in bed. That way there is no excuse not to get it done. But I only make myself work out 3 days a week and then if I feel up to more days then it’s okay to add on more.

    • Oh Dina, I am so sorry to hear that you’re having such a tough time of it all. If I were you, I wouldn’t be in a rut, I would be one serious hot mess. You are doing an amazing job of keeping it all together, and I am *so* glad that you have someone in your life like your husband who is helping you through it all. Sending you so much love and good vibes <3

      • I don’t know where I would be without my husband! It is really amazing everyday how much support he gives me. I try to keep it together most days cause all I can do is move on and that’s it. Continue to live. 🙂

        But I guess sometimes nice things happen that just spur me like moving up to the mountains in a few short weeks. I’ll get an amazing view of Diamond Head and be able to play outside everyday in a nice little space in our new backyard and there will be space to eat all of our meals outside. I’m really looking forward to that.

        • That new place sounds amazing! We have a patio out the back for entertaining, but the landlord is too cheap to actually pave it so it never gets used. Otherwise we would eat all our meals out there as well. Taking the kids outside for a play in the afternoon sunshine is definitely good for my soul.

          Good luck with the move, and I hope things continue to look up for you after such a rough start to the year <3

  • Jason Gillespie

    Hey Neri – I just read your post and I’m guessing most of your readers can relate. I know that I certainly can. I’ve been struggling with some of the same feelings lately. I don’t know about you, but I tend to turtle at my computer and neglect my spouse and my cherubs when I’m feeling this way. Not to mention shaving, showering, banking, housekeeping, car and yard and pet maintenance, etc. When my free time is spent and I’m heading back to work, I grieve for all the “should’ves” – should’ve spent more time with the kids, should’ve caught up on my grading, should’ve lifted weights/run/moved from my computer chair. I’ve basically spent the entire weekend reinforcing my own negative self-image.

    I see, and experience to a degree, my wife dealing with the never-ending cycle of chores – the endless infinity of it all – picking up after the kids, dishes, laundry. Again and again and again. I help, but less often than I should.

    She read somewhere that starting the day with two things – making sure the beds are made and that the sink is scrubbed spotless – would help get her moving with a couple of small but noticeable ‘cheeves right out of the gates each morning. TBH, the sink thing hasn’t happened, but the bed making has, and even that small thing often gets her moving in the right direction so that she can rise to the daily challenges – her soap making biz, taking care of the kids, trying to get broccoli into her husband, etc.

    Like you, she’s very bright and creative; I think it helps her to have her soap business on ETSY so that she’s able to focus on more than our household’s regenerating pile of filth. Time invested in your creative endeavors is time well-spent, IMO.

    Totally unrelated: I Googled Ion Hazzikostas this afternoon (wanting, I suppose, to get a look at the guy who’s coming under fire for WoW development choices lately) and GUESS WHO I SAW? 🙂 🙂 That was a surreal moment! Didn’t even realize that the pic came from this very blog…

    • Your first paragraph pretty much sums up every single day for me. I go to bed each night thinking, “Right, tomorrow I am going to get up and do x, y, z and it’s going to be glorious!” …only to wake up, put on the kettle and plonk myself in front of the computer to begin the same terrible cycle all over again. Sigh.

      I have also heard that starting the day with a made bed can help. I did it a few times, but can’t really say if it made me any more productive. I do know that every time I walk into the lounge room and see that massive pile of washing waiting to be folded it absolutely destroys me, so I can imagine that seeing some kind of niceness would be good to offset that!

      I’ve decided that, for the first time in over a decade, I am going to go back to college and study professional writing and editing. I think having something to work towards will do a LOT to both help me feel like I’m actually doing something with my life, and to make my resume look a little less depressing!

      LOL oh wow, I bet that was a surprise! I forget that I met Ion last year. It seems like an entirely different world — one where people were so pumped for Warlords, and not quitting in droves. He was a lovely guy, and regardless of what people may think of him, he genuinely loves World of Warcraft and I think that most of the changes he’s brought in are for the better.