WAHM Tip: Preventing “Mommy Rot” {Guest Post}

Too many Boxes

This is a guest post by Heather Stewart McCurdy

“Mommy rot” happens to the best of us. It’s that moment when you realize your entire adult life is like a used paper plate under a picnic table at the family barbecue. It happens when Jr has said why 859 times and all you want to do is lay down with a nice cold compress on your forehead, preferably with your eyes closed in a quiet room. It happens when Bella wants to wear her Princess Jasmine costume to church and you are trying to reason with her. It happens when you’ve argued for ten minutes over the minutiae of putting on shoes before going to school. It has happened to me when I’ve answered the door with my hair completely askew, stained yoga pants, a sweet potato mess right on my boob and my brain so completely fried that I forgot to question why I was even opening the door. I get it.

Mommy rot might be happening to you, right now. Stop it, fast! Here are three rules you can use to prevent it: (There are three life-altering rules after the jump!)

Rule 1: Put Your Mind to it Like a Toddler

Say in a grand and parental voice, “I am going to do things for Mommy.”


Because I’m worth it.


Because I’m a smart and capable woman who deserves adult time.


Because this Momma has worked hard and deserves some me time.


Because I said so Dammit!

Rule 2: Play Well with Other Moms

Be brave and expand your network of Mom friends so you have an adult to talk to. By bonding with other moms, you’ll find women who have a similar story to you or someone has ‘been there done that’ and can offer advice or support. In this day and age, there are many avenues you can pursue to create or join a tribe. There is Meetup.com where you can find Mom groups, PEPS (Program for Early Parent Support), MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), Stroller Strides, your hospital, your pediatrician, your library community board, search Google, ask women at the playground if they belong to a Mom Group, start one up yourself and invite people in. It’s time to build yourself a little village Mom so you can stay connected.

Next, you’ll need to connect by setting up play dates, walks, meeting at the park; do whatever it takes to get yourself into the company of other like-minded souls.

I belong to a play group and we’ve expanded our times from just play dates to include a ‘girls’ happy hour. This time consist of a few hours with adult beverages in an adult setting and talk about adult things like politics or celebrity dating. Even though it only happens once a quarter, it has probably saved my sanity.

Rule 3: Be Tenacious like a Baby

My little one is ten months old and she keeps putting things in her mouth. Everything. When you are trying to find some ‘me’ time in an already crazy busy life, you’ll have to think out of the box; so try everything you can at least once. I found that I had to let go of some of my mommy control issues.

  • When baby naps, I spend twenty minutes reading my favorite book instead of freaking out about the cleaning.
  • Create self-sustaining creative games that a two year old can use his/her imagination to play. There are tons of books and websites out there that can help you devise one.
  • Find crafts that your kid can perform that are age appropriate and they can do by themselves.
  • Sometimes, I close my eyes and imagine myself on a tropical island with somebody rubbing my feet and somebody else applying sunscreen while I sip on iced tea. The mental break is enough to get me through the day sometimes.
  • Sign up for a class (yoga, Spanish, cake decorating), put baby into someone’s hands that you trust for a few hours and go. If you are short on funds, trade babysitting with your other Mom friends (see rule number 2), ask your husband, ask a non-mommy friend, check your local daycares (some have night hours), check Babysitters.com, too.
  • If there is something deeper going on, like postpartum depression, talk to your doctor. My GP once explained that pregnancy is like being on drugs for 9 months due to the amount of hormones in your body. Once you give birth, the hormones go away and postpartum depression mimics withdrawal symptoms. PPD isn’t about you; it’s about how your body reacts to the withdrawal of hormones. It’s a normal process every woman goes through after birth so talk to your doctor and explore appropriate alternatives.

You can prevent Mommy Rot by staying positive, being open to new suggestions, and following the three rules above.

Do you have any other suggestions? I’d love for you to leave a comment so we can exchange notes!

 Heather writes about being an urban hippie on the RockStew Blog. She also loves blogging about inspiring people, and about great recipes. A Montana native, Heather lived in DC for 7 years, and now resides on the West Coast amidst the rain clouds. She’s been on 3 ‘life changing’ vacations so far and firmly believes that doing what you love is the only way to live.

Photo: Martin Cathrae, flickr


  1. Liz says

    What I hear through all of these great suggestions is to avoid isolation at all costs and connect with others. I think it’s worthwhile to partner with other moms with kids around the same age but it can also be refreshing to be around non-moms where you talk about anything other than your kids. Motherhood is a blessing but you are more than someone’s mom.

    • Martine says

      I totally agree, Liz. We shouldn’t lose ourselves when we become moms. Thanks for posting a comment!

  2. says

    Fantastic post, Heather!
    I love it. I do not have Mommy Rot, but I can appreciate the stress of being a parent and I owe my patience and empathy towards my boyfriend’s exwife to the stories mom friends have shared. I think it shocks my boyfriend a little when I come to his exwife’s defense on an issue – she’s raising two boys (a teen and a 1st grader) and she’s getting it from both ends. How she keeps it together, I don’t know, but it warrants some respect.

    I think I’ll be using your tips for myself.


    • Martine says

      Thanks for stopping by, Kim. I think we all go through some form of “rot,” regardless of our civil status, right? :) Each woman has her own, unique challenges, and her way of coping. What’s important is that we get out of these “rotting” stages and transcend them, even if it’s as simple as getting some down time with our girlfriends. Thanks, again, for sharing!

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