9+ reasons why your child needs you to be a stay at home mom (& 8 reasons why they don’t)
If you look up “stay at home mom” on Google you’ll get a wide variety of articles thrown right in your face:
- Stay at home mom depression
- Stay at home mom worth
- Why I don’t regret being a stay at home mom
- Why I do regret being a stay at home mom
- Stay at home mom returning back to work
- Pros & cons of being a stay at home mom
And the lists don’t end there.
Leaving your job to become a stay at home mom is no small step, and isn’t something you should take lightly.
Inside: Learn the pros and cons of being a stay at home parent and if it’s the right move for you.
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As shocking as it may be, being a stay at home mom isn’t as easy as it looks on the outside. While you may think all stay at home moms do all day is change diapers, calm tantrums, and make lunch, there’s a whole lot more to the daily life of a stay at home mom.
Who is a stay at home mom?
Stay at home moms range from mothers who left 6-figure jobs to stay home and raise their babies to women who already stayed home before having kids and have continued to stay home after becoming a mom
SAHMs (stay at home moms) can have kids who range from newborn all the way up to teenagers, and they can have one kid all the way up to 8 (or 9, or 10, etc.).
A stay at home mom is any mom who has chosen to stay home and raise her kids and manage her home rather than heading out the door and off to work every day.
What do stay at home moms do all day?
Many moms-to-be and moms considering leaving the working world find themselves wondering what stay at home moms do.
Being a SAHM isn’t one in the same for every mother – daily tasks of stay at home moms range and differ according to lifestyle, number of kids, and schedules.
Even though there’s no “typical day” for stay at home moms, some things you’ll find SAHM doing throughout the day are planning, prepping, and making meals, grocery shopping, balancing finances, budgeting, going to appointments, running kids to practices and lessons, being a nurse, doing laundry, cleaning the house, running errands, tending to children’s needs, and more.
There’s no one-size-fits-all day when it comes to being a SAHM, but those are just a few of the many things you’ll find yourself doing if you decide to quit the workforce and dive into the challenging role of stay at home mom.
While your typical stay at home mom doesn’t bring home a paycheque, you’ll find that she works harder than just about anyone you know.
She’s always going, cleaning messes, dressing kids, driving to lessons, and feeding hungry mouths, and she never gets to leave her job.
That’s the thing about being a stay at home mom…
…you’re always at work.
The days of clocking in at 9 and clocking out at 5 are a thing of the past. Now your job follows you wherever you go and is always demanding that it’s “hungry” “tired” or that it wants to do something (and if it doesn’t get its way, you can bet your bottom dollar there will be many tears and a tantrum to deal with).
Is being a stay at home mom a job?
Is being a stay at home mom considered a job?
No, being a stay at home mom isn’t A job…
Being a stay at home mom is so much more than just a job. (When you work a “real” job, you actually get to take lunch breaks to yourself and clock out at the end of a day. SAHM’s don’t get that luxury.)
Studies have shown that being a stay at home mom is the equivalent of working 2.5 full-time jobs. (Source)
So yes, being a stay at home mom is work, possibly the hardest work you’ll do, but it’s so much more than just a job (it’s several jobs, at that).
It’s no wonder stay at home moms are so exhausted, and so relieved when they hear “daddy’s home!”.
(“Daddy’s home” quickly became the favorite moment of my day once I became a SAHM. It means there’s finally another adult in the house. It means he can help change diapers and round up toys. It means he can entertain the little ones while I make dinner. It means I get to ask him about his day and watch him play with his kids. It brings restoration to a long, exhausting day.)
This article describes the reason why being a stay at home mom isn’t the same as working a full-time job outside the home.
So, if it’s not the same as a “real” job where you get to clock in in the morning and clock out at the end of the day, how many hours do stay at home moms work?
An average of how many hours a week stay at home moms work…
On average, stay at home moms work 98 hours each week.
98 long, gruelling, exhausting, emotional hours.
98 hours that wake you up in the middle of the night.
And tug on your shirt to go faster while making lunch.
And cleaning up messes when the toddler couldn’t make it to the toilet… again.
98 hours of calming tantrums and herding kids out the door to get to appointments on time.
98 hours of dressing kids and redressing them again after they decided they didn’t like your choice of clothing.
98 exhausting hours when you’re never off the clock, always on call.
But those 98 hours aren’t that painful.
It’s also 98 hours of hugs, of “mommy, will you lay with me?” and kissing booboos.
98 hours of admiring gummy smiles and messy faces as your baby learn how to feed himself.
98 hours of slobbery kisses and getting the privilege of watching your babies grow up.
98 hours of wondering where the years went.
And 98 hours of wanting the middle-of-the-night snuggles back just once more, because now your little one is growing up and no longer needs you to fall asleep.
It’s 98 long hours every week of tears, joy, exhaustion, and an overwhelming sense of awe as you raise your children and watch them learn new things.
It’s the most challenging and equally rewarding 98 hours of your week, every week.
How do stay at home moms survive?
With so much to do and only an average of 1 hour and 7 minutes to themselves each day, how do stay at home moms survive?
Here are the top tips to survive and not get overwhelmed as a SAHM and what to do as a stay at home mom all day…
Get out of the house.
It’s easy to feel trapped and suffocated (and want to pull your hair out) if you never get out of the house. While getting out of the house may not have been a problem 6 months ago when you worked outside the home, now that you’re a stay at home mom…
Getting out of the house is a real chore.
Dressing a screaming toddler for the outdoors, then telling them to stay put while you get their little sibling in their outside clothes only to find your toddler completely undressed and having to start all over again can really make getting out of the house more of a chore than a luxury.
But it’s a vital part of any stay at home moms day – for you, your sanity, and your children.
So, make a plan to get out of the house everyday, even if it’s just a short 10-minute walk with the kids in tow.
Find free activities.
If there are free activities for kids happening, you should be there. This gets you and your kids out of the house, plus it doesn’t cost a dime.
Libraries are awesome places to go for free activities. Most libraries have weekly or bi-weekly story time for kids where you get an hour or so where you don’t have to entertain your children, play times where you can meet new moms, and are just a good place to go to get out of the house even if the weather isn’t good.
Take advantage of naptime.
When people picture the life of a stay at home mom they assume that naptime for their kids is naptime for them, too. Or, at the very least, an hour of uninterrupted “me time”.
But we know that’s far from the truth.
Naptime gets spent frantically running around the house trying to get everything done that you didn’t have a chance to do when the kids were up. It’s anything but leisurely.
But, if you feel yourself getting overwhelmed as stay at home mom, use naptime, or at least part of naptime to give yourself a chance to breathe.
At the very least, make a snack and SIT DOWN to eat it (bet you haven’t done that in a while).
Playdates are gold.
Give your phone number out to other stay at home moms and set up playdates. If we’re being honest, playdates are just as much for mom as they are for the kids. SAHMs need time with other adults, because spending an every day surrounded by little ones is great … but it’s also an easy way to forget who you are (and that you’re an adult).
With unlimited access to… everything … through our smartphones and computers, it’s easy to be “present” but not actually be there.
Studies have been done to prove that children’s behavior is, more times than not, connected to their mother’s social media use.
The act of being present with your kids but not fully present, or paying attention, is incredibly harmful to their development and your parenting. (Source)
The same study reports that the larger amount of time people spend on social media, the less happy they report being. (Cue the stay at home mom depression.)
Make your own rules.
You’re the mom and there’s no typical day in the life of a SAHM, so go with the flow. If your kids want to have a pajama day every once in a while… say why not?
Want to skip nap time to take the kids to the playground? Go for it.
Want to go on an ice cream date instead of vacuum the floors? Do it.
Have some fun with your kids, because all those people who told you “it goes by so fast” weren’t joking.
Benefits of stay at home moms
There are so many stay at home mom benefits, and they’re not all just benefits for your child (though those are huge).
Financial benefits of stay at home moms
When you become a stay at home mom, your family will likely be dropping from two incomes down to one.
But, as a stay at home mom you’ll also acquire fewer expenses.
For example, you can make living with one car instead of two possible. (And if you need the car on a particular day, you can load the kids up, drop your hubby at work, then head back home. This is what we had to do for several years when we were a one car family.) Having one car will save you money on insurance, fuel, and maintenance.
You don’t have to pay for daycare. Instead of paying for someone else to raise your kids, you’ll dodge daycare costs by becoming a SAHM.
Cook from scratch. You won’t be out all day only to get home at dinnertime exhausted from a long day of work. Instead, you can plan your meals in advance and start prepping them early in the day to make dinnertime easier (plus you’ll be able to feed your family more healthy meals and eat out less often).
Here are a few tips on how we made living as a family on one low income work:
- Live with less. (Be happy with what you have and make do with what you don’t.)
- Become a one car family. (Not only will this save on insurance, but it’ll cut out any unnecessary trips which will save on fuel. Of course, some moms struggle to do this – this is a big decision and only something you should do if necessary & you think you could handle it.)
- Meal plan. (And only shop once a week – for the groceries you need on your meal plan. This is what I use to meal plan.)
- Buy clothes second hand.
- Take advantage of free events.
- Cut the cord. (Cable, that is.)
Stay at home mom benefits to child
Studies have been done that show that children with stay at home moms have less stress and aggression, and they have increased school performance. (Source)
They also talk in that article about how studies have been done that link behavioral problems with children in childcare, however that’s not always the case.
There’s no right or wrong answer here for whether you should become a stay at home mom or continue to work outside the home. Only you and your spouse can decide what’s best for your families needs.
Reasons NOT to be a stay at home mom
With all the benefits of being a stay at home mom aside, this lifestyle isn’t for everyone… and that’s perfectly fine.
Not every mother was cut out to be a stay at home mom, and you’re no better of a mom or no worse of a mom if you choose to work outside the home instead of staying home with your kids.
For us, me being a SAHM made sense. It may not make sense for you. Here are some reasons why not to be a stay at home mom.
Stay at home mom depression is real.
Stay at home moms spend a majority of their time at home where it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the chaos and messy house.
Along with working yourself past the point of sheer exhaustion, having all the housework fall on you and the mom-guilt that comes with motherhood, it’s easy to get discouraged… which can lead to depression. Especially when you feel guilty for not liking being home with your kids because you tell yourself there are thousands of moms who would kill to be in your shoes, but you can’t stand it.
It’s easy to lose sight of who you are.
Spending just about all day, every day at home with your children can cause you to feel like you’re losing your sense of identity.
Some days you may feel like you don’t know who you are anymore and like all you’re good for is cleaning stains off the carpet and screaming at your kids. If you think you’ll lose your purpose, becoming a SAHM probably isn’t the best option for you.
You’re at home. A lot.
You spend most days at home. Even if you leave the house to go shopping for two hours, you come right back home. Some moms find themselves going stir-crazy when they spend too much time at home.
You can’t stay home and be a good mom.
Being a SAHM isn’t for everyone, and you definitely shouldn’t feel guilty if it isn’t for you. Some moms feel like becoming a stay at home mom will turn them from being a good mom to being a mom who’s barely hanging on and just trying to make it to the end of the day.
More times than not, there will have to be some lifestyle changes to make being a stay at home mom a reality. If you love the way life is and don’t want to make changes, hang on to that job.
When you’re at home with your children all day, you’re the one who has to spend the entire day worrying about whether they’re getting sick. Whether there’s something on the floor they could choke on.
Whether they’re eating enough, sleeping enough, and playing enough. You don’t get to drop them off at a daycare and let someone else make sure their needs are met from 9 – 5. It’s all on you.
As a SAHM you’ll try your best to get out as much as you can. You go to playgrounds, to libraries, to the grocery store. All in a feeble attempt to get out of the house and find someone – anyone – to talk to who’s more than 3 feet tall.
But, despite your best efforts, you’ll still find yourself getting less socialization than when you head off to work everyday, which can cause some moms to feel incredibly isolated.
It’s just not for you.
Lastly, all other reasons aside, you know yourself best and you know if being a stay at home mom is the right choice for you, or if you’ll just go stir crazy. Make the decision based on yourself, not on what you think you should or shouldn’t be doing.
Reasons TO BE a stay at home mom
Now that we’ve gone over a list of reasons to not be a stay at home mom, here are a few reasons to be a stay at home mom.
Why being a stay at home mom might be the right move for you and the importance of being a stay at home mom…
1. It’s cheaper.
You won’t be bringing a paycheque home every two weeks, but you also won’t be dishing money out for childcare, a work wardrobe, and fuel.
At the end of the day, if you take your paycheque and deduct all these extra expenses from it, you may be surprised to find you’re only left with a couple spare dollars to spend. (Are those spare dollars worth working outside the home?)
2. It can be temporary.
Let’s get one thing out of the way:
You’re not signing your life away for days spent changing diapers and kissing booboos.
If you become a stay at home mom and decide that you hate it, there’s always the option to go back to work.
3. You get to raise your kids.
I hated the thought of having kids only to send them off to daycare and have someone else raise them they way they see fit.
I wanted to be able to raise our children the way that we wanted to raise them – and that’s why being a stay at home mom just worked for us.
4. You get to really be there.
You’ll get to know your children on a deeper level than you ever imagined possible. It’s not all pretty and it’s not all fun, but the relationship and bond you get to have with your kids is worth all the tantrums, tears, and exhaustion.
5. The milestones.
You won’t miss out on the milestones your children reach – instead, you’ll be the one right by their side, helping them reach those milestones.
The first gum-filled smile as your baby looks right at you. The first scooch that quickly leads to crawling. The first steps and the first words make being a SAHM worth every second.
6. You’re their teacher.
You get to teach them right from wrong and raise children who are hard workers, firm in what they believe, and are leaders.
You get to make a difference in their lives.
7. They’re learning by example.
Your kids are watching you just about every waking moment of the day, which helps them learn how to act around other people, how to work hard at home, how to clean up, how to cook, and how do honest work, all from a young age.
8. Midday playdates.
You’ll meet other SAHMs who are just as desperate as you to get out of the house and do something… and so midday coffee dates and playdates will become a normal thing.
9. You’re the boss.
The only deadlines to meet are the ones you make for yourself, the only schedules to follow are your own. You get to be your own boss and create the flow of your own day instead of doing what someone else tells you to do (unless it’s the determined 2-year-old who wants to get her want… and wants it now).
So. Much. More.
I can’t help but be a bit biased.
I’m a stay at home mom, and I love it. It’s hard, exhausting, and some days I wonder if it’s even worth it.
But it’s so, SO rewarding.
And I love it.
Being a SAHM has many challenges and cons, but to me, the rewards and benefits far outweigh the challenges. To me, being able to be there for my children 24/7 is worth every ounce of exhaustion.
What does it mean to be a stay at home mom?
To me, being a stay at home mom means being there for your kids in every teeny-tiny moment, because those little moments are big moments to them.
It means nurturing them, correcting them when they’re wrong, and treasuring the little moments.
Oftentimes people will ask how to be a successful stay at home mom. The question always seems silly to me. Successful? Well, I don’t know what you consider successful when it comes to being a stay at home mom, but to me, a successful stay at home mom day is any day that we make it to “daddy’s home!” without losing a body part or stepping on lego.
But in my opinion to really, truly be successful as a stay at home mom is simply to be there for your children when they need it the most.
Download Your Free Cheat Sheet to Ditch the Mommy-Tantrums & Become a Calm Mom
- Download the free cheat sheet: The Calm Mom Checklist: do these 6 things every time you want to lose your cool. You’ll get the free printable, plus join my newsletter! Click here to download and join
- Print. Any printer paper works for this cheat sheet, and you can choose whether to use color or black ink, then grab a pen to start checking things off the list.
- Keep it somewhere central and easily accessible, like the fridge.
What are your thoughts on stay at home moms? I’d love to hear from you!
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