Ask Dr. Keith


I’m a 32-year-old woman with a seven-month-old baby boy. I’m writing to you instead of talking to my family or friends for fear of being judged or labeled “a bad mom” when I’m actually a good mom. I took maternity leave after my baby was born, so I could spend at least six months with him before I went back to work. I now spend the majority of my time with him while my husband works. He’s a good dad and spends a great deal of time with the baby, however, he works long hours six days a week. I’m good with his desire to go fishing, golfing or have quality guy time with his friends to recharge so he doesn’t resent me and the baby. 

Fortunately, we’re in a position where I don’t have to work. My husband has asked me to quit my job and become a stay-at-home mom. At first, I was excited about the prospect of staying home and raising my child, however, my feelings have changed. I didn’t realize how much work is involved. I thought I would love the newborn phase, but I didn’t. Breastfeeding, lack of sleep, cleaning the house and preparing meals for my husband and our little eating, peeing and pooping machine left me exhausted. Don’t get me wrong; I love my baby boy and wouldn’t change being his mom for the world. While he’s getting older and more responsive, and I’m enjoying motherhood more, I’m realizing it’s not enough to satisfy me, I need more in my life. Some people are destined to be full time moms, and that’s great for them, but not for me. I loved my job and miss going into the office and seeing my friends and co-workers. I miss adult time. I’m afraid to discuss this with my husband out of fear of disappointing him and my family and being criticized and considered a bad mom. The guilt I feel has left me depressed, anxious and confused. How do I express this to my husband, and am I a bad person for wanting more than to just be a mom?  

Sarah M.

Davidson, NC

Hey Sarah,

This is not an unusual situation and one that many couples face. Women who choose to become stay-at-home moms aren’t necessarily just moms, there are usually more facets to them and who they are. Raising their children gives them a sense of purpose, and we all need purpose. For you, being a stay-at-home mom is a facet of your life, yet it doesn’t give you purpose, and that’s okay. You shouldn’t feel bad or sorry for how you feel, and you’re definitely not a bad person or bad mom for feeling the way you do; feelings are not wrong. What you need to explore is what it is that made you feel that way and reconcile that situation; that will bring clarity and enhance your ability to make good decisions and choices that are good for you, your husband and the baby. The challenge in life is always to find balance, and the addition of children escalates that challenge. What compromises with your husband will help you find contentment and purpose? Notice I didn’t say happiness because it’s a fleeting moment; contentment is longer term. 

Healthy relationships are about clear communication and compromise, not sacrifice. Your husband is golfing, fishing and spending time with his buddies to recharge, so he can give his best at work and to you and the baby. What are you doing to feed your soul, and to become the best version of yourself? If the answer is nothing, you’re sacrificing and you’ll break down physically, mentally and emotionally. That’s when the possibility of becoming a bad parent or wife comes into play because of your inability to be present for them. Only you know what gives you purpose, so ignore those who criticize, judge or label. Most of the time, they’re envious or jealous of opportunities you have created for yourself, or trying to transfer negative feelings about themselves onto you. That can only happen if you allow it, so don’t allow it. Don’t look outside yourself for answers – look inside. Only you know what’s best for you. Unfortunately, people will criticize and judge without knowledge of your history and without walking in your shoes. If you choose to buy into their narrative, it creates fear and negatively affects your choices. If you choose to do anything in life based on fear, you’ll lose every time.

Your husband can’t read your mind, and you certainly can’t read his. Some conversations are uncomfortable, yet important. This is one of those. It’s vital to let him know how you feel, so you can come up with a solution you can both agree on. In the meantime, look for local mom groups for support like “Mommy and me” classes for you and your baby. Engage in exercise, yoga, dance, music classes or work. Find something that gives you purpose. Going to the grocery store and running household errands doesn’t count. The most important investment of your time is to engage in activities that feed your soul, time for yourself and me time. By finding purpose and feeding your soul, you’ll be giving back to humanity, society and your loved ones the greatest gift you can give them – the best version of you that you can possibly be.

If you have questions for Dr. Keith, email them to


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