Being a stay at home mom is an amazing experience, and if that is something that you have been wanting to do, then do it.
Don’t let what other people say or what you think they will say affect your decision, you know what is best for you and your family better than they do.
This post isn’t about saying working moms are bad nor am I saying being a stay at home mom is the best choice. Being a mom, either way is the hardest job, but the most rewarding job that anyone would ever experience.
But, if you decide to become a stay at home mom don’t let other people’s thought influence your decision and add the stress and guilt on top of a “job” that is already stressful and not for the faint of heart.
Staying at home as a mom is such a fulfilling life, but often moms feel like they lose themselves, and feel like they aren’t contributing to society and lose that fulfillment and start to long for it. It becomes a lonely world, and easy to fall into a rut but difficult to get out.
PIN to have to refer to when you are needing reassurance
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Benefits of being a stay at home mom
As hard as parenting is, there are a lot of benefits to being a stay at home mom. In no way is this list saying being a stay at home mom is better or the right choice vs. being a working mom. I have been in both situations, and there are pros and cons in both.
Benefits of staying at home:
- You are able to be with your child all the time and see all the milestones as they happen
- You can do more fun family activities, even if it’s in the comfort of your home
- Your schedule is somewhat more flexible
- You can dress how you want and not have to wear make-up if you don’t want
- You can schedule your time better and not worry about missing special events your child may have
- You get more cuddles in
Some people will say that their bond is stronger, but I’m not going to say that here only because I know a lot of moms who do work and their bond with their child is very strong. I don’t think if you are a stay at home mom or working mom that your bond is any different, that all depends on how much you work on developing a maintaining a strong bond. Any parent can achieve this with their child.
Although, there is a lot a great benefit to being SAHM, there are downfalls also. A lot of these cons I have seen are due to society’s influence on these opinions. For instance, being a stay at home mom is easy and all you do is play with your child all day, and watch tv. That definitely is not the case, yes we play, along with everything else that keeps the house and family going. There are no sick days, time off, it’s a 24/7 “job”.
Many times moms feel like they have lost who they are, feel distant from society, and often feel like they are contributing to society or in their family. They feel stuck and in a slump at times, and there are a lot of factors that go into these feelings. But, the best thing to do to help these feelings and thoughts is to take care of yourself.
There is no shame in thinking about yourself and putting yourself daily, even if it’s for 10 minutes. It doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but if you do something for yourself daily you’ll be surprised how much better you feel.
I know almost every mom thinks, “Ha, that’s funny, no mom has time for that. And even if I did my problems and stress is still waiting there for me.” Yes, your problems will still be there, but that’s not the reason for self-care- for problems to go away.
Think of self-care a moment to pause, refresh, and reflect. Your brain is like a machine, if it is always running and never gets a break, then it eventually brakes. Same with your brain, it needs the break so you don’t brake.
Reasons you might want to be a stay at home mom
There are so many reasons to be a stay at home mom. But, if that isn’t for you and you love your career and you want to work that is COMPLETELY okay! I was a vet tech, I graduated from college to work with animals, that was my life long dream. I never wanted to be a stay at home mom, I wanted my own freedom and independence.
But, after becoming a mom, it changed. Times I do miss my career, but since I have been a stay at home mom I have found what I love doing besides being a mom, I have been able to start my own business which is what I have always wanted to be my own boss.
Economically Makes Sense– Sometimes, working doesn’t make sense, if your paycheck is going towards daycare and that’s it, then that could be a reason to stay at home with your child. It takes some planning and thinking to figure out how to survive on one paycheck if that’s an opinion, but there are opinions out there.
Spend mom time with your child– Some moms just don’t want a stranger raising their child so they decide that they want to stay home and be the only caregiver.
Take a break from your career– You might love your job and know that it will always be there waiting for you. So if you have that ability you can have the best of both worlds- take a break from work, you can always go back, and spend time with your child.
Being a SAHM can be less stressful- Not saying that staying home is a breeze, but there is more flexibility with your life. If you are stressed about missing out, trying to get kids to their recitals, whatever it is, this option might be a good option for you.
Because you want to– you don’t always have to have a reason to want to be a sahm, if you want to and able to then what not do it? Don’t worry about what others may think or say. It’s not their life, you know what you want and what is best for your family.
When I got pregnant with my first child, I didn’t care whether I was going to stay home or go back to work; I loved my career. I stayed home for about a year, but when our second child came, we didn’t have a choice. I needed to work to afford the necessities of two children.
I worked for about a year before I found out I was pregnant with twins. This changed everything. I had to stay at home too because working and having 4 children under 5 years old was too much – physically, mentally, and monetary wise. My paychecks would have all gone to daycare and diapers.
My husband and I figured that it didn’t make much sense for me to work just to keep our kids in daycare, so we sold our house, paid off extra bills with some of the equity, put a little in savings, and found a house that better fit our needs and budget.
I was excited that I was able to stay home with all four of the kiddos and not miss the twin’s ‘firsts’. In my head, it seemed perfect. I got to have my own schedule, wake up when I wanted, get out of the house and do whatever I wanted to with the kids while everyone else was at work…
Then reality sunk in.
The reality of being a stay at home mom
Being a stay at home mom is not as glamorous as it may seem. At first, it seems great. No need to wake up to look good for work – I just stayed in my comfy clothes and enjoyed not spending the time to get ready.
After a couple of months of that, I started to feel even more tired and lazy. I couldn’t even muster up the energy to play with my kids. It’s exhausting.
You have a million things you need to get done – get them cleaned, dressed, fed, play with them, make sure they aren’t getting into anything, take them to school, and take them to their doctors and dentist appointments.
On top of all that, you have to take care of household chores. It’s a 24/7 non-stop. No quiet time. No clock outs. No vacation and sick time. Someone always needs you.
With the depletion of sanity, parents tend to fall into a SAHM slump – you barely take showers, you question the need to brush your teeth, you throw your hair up in a greasy messy bun, put some concealer under your eyes to cover the dark spots, make sure your three-day-old clothes don’t smell like BO or spit-up and go on with life because you are always busy doing everything else.
The only place you need to go to is your kids drop off at school, and you’re in and out of there so fast you just hope no one notices the sweet potato baby food you spilled on your pants this morning, or the fact that your pants are inside out (that actually happened…).
I used to feel good about myself – instead, I started to feel moppy, depressed, and ugly. But I didn’t know how to get out of that funk, because I had no time to think about myself.
Myths of being a stay at home mom
There are so many myths about staying home with your child and not having a “real job”. If you decide to stay at home, there are things you may want to know, and also don’t let what people assume your reason is, bother you.
“SAHM doesn’t know what they want to do with their lives and never went to college”– A lot of people think this. Just because you don’t have a traditional job, they think you took the easy way out and have a luxury life. That is not true at all. Many moms went to college, some even doctors, but they have changed their minds in what they want in life. It’s ok to change your mind, that’s the whole point of living and learning, and exploring.
You’re so lucky you get to play all day and watch tv and not have to work– The most common assumptions of SAHMs. We eat bonbons, watch Soap Operas. Yes, we get to play with them and have fun, but there is so much more, we are teachers, refs, cooks, nurses, parents, friends, everything that they need, and it’s a 24/7 task. So it’s obvious that it can get daunting and overwhelming.
SAHM love spending their husband’s money, and they are moochers– Sure there might be some out there that fit this description, but most moms find clever ways to contribute financially, and don’t like thinking that they are spending their husband’s money.
Our houses are always clean, and laundry is always done– I have heard stories where husbands ask why the house is messy when we are home all day. This pisses me off so much. First, it’s not only our job to keep the house clean. Second, we are constantly picking up after kids, but they destroy everything in sight. We actually don’t have all the time in the world to make sure the house is spick and span.
We are not feminists– most sahm are actually feminists. It was our choice to become a stay at home mom. Also, times have changed, it’s not like we make sure the food is on the table right when the husband comes home, or everything is in its place. Many moms that choose to be at home find ways to still be their independent selves. A lot of the times women don’t choose this lifestyle because they think it’s the women’s job ( believe me I make that clear to my husband), but just because they enjoy it.
We are helicopter and crunchy moms– Some may think that we are helicopter moms, and eat only healthy things (because we have time to make the perfect meals), and have our lives together. Yeah, nope. Whether you have 1 child or 4 children like I do, they want to eat ALL day long, and there is no time to always make sure they eat perfect and have the perfect meals throughout the day. Also the more kids you have the less worried you become. First child falls you run and see if they are okay. Second plus child falls, you look-see if they cry, if not then you carry on.
We are lazy– Because we have the messy buns, our house is messy and we are having leftovers every other day, doesn’t mean we are lazy, it means we are tired, overwhelmed, and trying to do our best. Really we rarely get to sit down and relax, if you sit down that’s when they all ask for a million things, EVERY. TIME.
That we have all the time in the world to do extra stuff- Since we don’t have work obligations then we are able to drop everything and be at all the school functions and volunteer at their child’s school. Or that we get everything on our “to do” list done on time every day.
We are “just moms”- SInce our kids are our life because we don’t get to leave the house, we are just moms, that’s what defines us. We love being moms (most of the time) but that is not all who we are. We have other likes, interests, hobbies, and even at home careers.
We don’t know what being busy is really like– Goes along with, “we have all the time in the world”. From being a working mom to a stay at home mom, I have not felt like I have gained a lot of time during the day, it’s about the same, just my time slots have filled with different tasks. We don’t have more time to pamper ourselves and have a set self-care routine, because like all moms, by the time we get that free time, we are too exhausted to do anything but binge-watch a show.
What do stay at home moms do all day anyway?
Do you get asked what you do all day, or wondered yourself what stay at home moms did all day before you became a mom?
I’m going to admit I was one of those people. I would think well how often can they clean the house, I can clean mine in one day what do they do the other 6 days?
Well, it’s not so black and white. You may think you have your schedule planned out for the day or week, but with kids, you never know what is going to happen.
Things we do:
- Clean the house
- Do laundry
- Play with our child
- Teach our child
- Cuddle with them
- A lot of SAHM is working at home moms
- Have medical obligations for themselves or their child
- Doctor appointments
- Tak their child to special activities for their kids
- Fix things around the house
- Fix something that is broken for their child
- Create a fun activity for the day
- Comfort the child when they are hurt or sad (throughout the day)
- Run errands
- Grocery shop
- Take care of their pet (if they have pets)
This is just to name a few.
90% of our day is spent with our children catering to whatever it is that they need and there is something they need every 5 minutes no matter what age they are.
Being a mom puts a lot on our shoulders whether you are a working mom or stay at home mom. We have a million things to get done and really only about 14 hours to get them done.
Parenthood is the hardest job anyone could ever do, but it is the most rewarding job anyone could ever have.
How to be happy as a stay at home mom
There is no set answer on how to be happy, but to listen to yourself and your body. Figure out what makes you happy, is it reading, going hiking, sitting and watching movies, going to get coffee at a shop alone?
The only way you can be happy as a mom is to take care of yourself. If you ever feel like you can’t be happy and are in a dark place seek professional help, never ever feel ashamed or like a failure to do so, because you are not alone. This will help you be a happier mom and your child will love you no matter what. When you feel like you are content then it’s easier to care for someone else, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
If you don’t know what you like, or what makes you happy, try writing in a journal, write down whatever comes to mind, write your interests, and likes. Write down things that you have wanted to try but never thought it would be possible, even if you don’t get to do these things, it’s good to get out and off your chest instead of holding it inside.
The best thing to do to be a happy stay at home mom is, give yourself slack.
Ignore what people are saying or you think they are saying. They are not the ones raising your child and living your life, you know best what you and your family needs. As awkward and weird as it may seem, tell yourself either out loud or in your head that you are a great mom, that you are doing what is best for your child, that this makes you and your child happy.
Do something for yourself every day. Write something happy about yourself, your life, your child, your spouse, anything that comes to mind. Start a gratitude journal.
Volunteer at their school or anywhere
If you are feeling like you are needing more and want to contribute, you can help out at your child’s school. This can be a fun way to feel fulfilled knowing that you are doing something for the community and helping create a fun and healthy environment for your child and the students.
Or you can find a place that is looking for volunteers like a hospital or animal shelter. This will give you a sense that you do have a life outside of being a mom, and this can be your thing and your world away from home.
Feeling good as a stay at home mom again
After some self-awareness and a need to change, I had to tell myself that being in this rut wasn’t what I wanted, as a mom/wife/woman. So I starting making time for myself. I forced it. I didn’t allow myself to make excuses. Even if that meant locking myself in the bathroom for 15 minutes – I did it. I gave me some much-needed *me* time.
It changed my life. It changed my parenting. It changed my marriage. Now, I hope I help at least one of you get back to who you want to be. Think about what you like, and what makes you feel happy, and try and do it – at least one thing a day.
I love showers. I do my thinking in the shower. I decompress in the shower. I turn my brain off and sing stupid songs in the shower. Taking showers is my escape and I wasn’t allowing myself to decompress. So, I decided that I needed to push myself – no matter how tired I was, even if it was 2 pm, I needed to make time to take a shower even if it was just a quick one.
At first, I was stressed that I could be doing a load of laundry or dishes while the twins napped, but every time I get out of that shower, I thank myself. I feel happier. More motivated. More patient with my kids and husband. We all win when mom is able to shower… and forcing myself to take that time, for me, has been SO very worth it.
On the especially good nights, when all the kids fall asleep without a fight, the husband has done the dishes, and my house doesn’t look like a war-zone, I like to give myself little spa treatments, I like using these facial masks and feet masks, this makes me feel sexy again – and moms need to feel sexy!
Maybe showers and spa treatments aren’t for you. But find what makes you happy. Get out of the house, go for a walk by yourself, get coffee with a friend, take the kids to the park, sit in a quiet room and listen to meditation music on Pandora for 5 minutes. Just make sure you do something, even if it’s small, that brings happiness to you – because you’re a rock star, and you can’t fill everyone’s glass with a hole in yours.
It may seem impossible some days to even think about yourself, but just give a little push and know that you will feel more energized and happy when you take care of yourself – and when mom is happy, everyone is happy.
How to feel fulfilled as a stay at home mom
The more you practice the tasks listed above, the easier it will be to feel like you know what you are doing. You will stop feeling like you need to prove yourself to other people, that you are smart, not lazy, not looking for an easy way out. That you are raising a child that will know how to contribute to the world and care for others.
You will have a better feel for what you want to do if you want to go back to your career or find something else that makes you feel fulfilled.
Look what you wrote in your journal if you started one and see what you wrote down for your hobbies/interests. Start something that you wanted to try. Talk to your family, friends, spouse and let them know that this is something you need to do, and see if they can help you watch your child or set something up to help you out.
As much as you would like to do something without your child, it is hard to leave your house and not have them right there, it feels like a limp has been taken off and you can’t function. But, this will get better and easier, and it benefits both of you. If lets you miss your child, and it lets your child miss you.
Stop and stare at them
You are busy mom and wonder where the time goes, you feel like just yesterday you were bringing them home from the hospital. Like every parent has heard a million and one times, they grow fast.
So make sure you take a moment to stop and stare at them. When they are playing by themselves and they don’t notice you there, or when they are sleeping, or really focusing on a task they are working on, stop and just stare at them. Look at them and their hair, their face, arms everything about them and soak it all in. Do it without any kind of judgment just look at them and appreciate the moment you are in.
Doing this will instantly make you have and full of gratitude. Taking a break from the chaos and shifting your focus to the amazing human you have created and raising. You’ll find yourself smiling from ear to ear and your heart just ready to burst. There are no better moments in parenthood than those moments right there.