Parents opt to stay at home with their kids for multiple reasons. Being a stay at home mom is a journey of moms giving up their dreams for their kids, which people around her often ignore. It’s not easy for working moms to leave their careers to stay with their kids to nurture them to secure their future. Being a mother myself, I can relate to how a SAHM feels, and in this article, my aim is to cover every pros and cons, ifs and buts, along with helpful tips to manage daily routine.
What do Stats and Research Say?
As per data in the U.S. today, a majority of mothers work outside the home, but over the past decade, according to a Pew Research study, the number of women opting to become stay-at-home moms is on the rise, reversing a long-term drop in stay-at-home mothers.
As per another study, even though most women and mothers in the U.S. work full-time or part-time. A few American parents support the thought of one parent staying home with kids. 60 percent of Americans believe that children are well off when one parent stays and focuses on their upbringing, while the other percentage of parents believes it doesn’t matter much even if both parents are working; it all depends on how good you are at managing things.
What is a SAHM? SAHM Meaning
An abbreviation for a stay-at-home mother is SAHM. A SAHM is typically a woman who looks after the kids while the other partner works outside to support the family. Homemaker and housewife are other, more archaic words for the same job, but some individuals still use them.
The Role Of a SAHM
There isn’t a single duty that determines a stay-at-home mom because they frequently take on countless responsibilities. They often manage ‘N’ numbers of tasks, from keeping the kids entertained, nourished, clean, and active to meet developmental milestones. In addition, they also serve additional responsibilities such as housekeeper, organizer, social planner, treasurer, personal shopper, and chauffeur for the family. Even if they are core to their family, some others might not recognize or respect this role and might question what being a stay at home mom contributes to society.
Taking the decision to leave your job to look after your kids, without a doubt, is a tough call you made for your family, where the repercussion could be from the insecurity of being unemployed to being alone in this journey. Whether to be a SAHM or not is very personal, and what is suitable for one family may not be the right fit for another. Making the choice that best meets your family’s needs and your specific circumstances is all you can best decide.
Societies’ Perception Faced by a SAHM
Unfortunately, our culture frequently promotes the perception that a stay at home mom lives an easy life without worrying about getting paychecks or contributing financially to family or society. Besides all these, she has to deal with the harsh and unrealistic idea of what it means to be a “good” SAHM. Let’s look at the unrealistic expectations, some of which are contradictory:
1. Not a Working Women
Sadly, society holds SAHMs’ existence to a standard that they are contributing nothing if they don’t go outside to work. In a nutshell, they put their existence as questionable.
2. Priority Shift
SAHMs are supposed to prioritize their children over anything else, including their own emotional and physical well-being.
3. Good Mom Tag
Some people hold the opinion that “good” stay-at-home moms must or always provide their children with handmade, wholesome, unprocessed foods, severely restrict screen time, maintain a continuously spotless home, and spend their days participating in imaginative, instructive play with the children.
4. Good Homemaker Tag
While some are opinionated that being at home throughout the day makes it simple for SAHMs to do the laundry, prepare a full 5-course meal, clean up themselves, and keep home clean 24/7. Sometimes, it feels like other people think SAHMs have all the free or enough time in the Universe.
5. Partying All the Time
Those not in SAHM’s shoes always assume that stay-at-home moms are free to enjoy their life; they can party anytime. All they do is scroll social networking sites, spend time chatting with their WhatsApp or Facegroup buddies and last but not least, pamper themselves with online shopping.
Real Challenges Faced by Stay-at-Home Moms & How to Fight it Back
Well, the above-shared views are totally perceptions, not reality. Reality is totally different because one can’t speak about others unless they were or are in the same space. Real-life challenges differ from family to family; right from deciding to be a stay-at-home mom to fulfilling the demands that come with it is the real challenge. Let’s talk about the emotional challenges faced by most of the SAHMs.
1. Unsatisfying Outcomes
Things aren’t easy as it looks. After leaving their job, SAHMs will have no personal income. They have to rely exclusively on their spouse for financial assistance if they decide to stay home for their children. However, this period of unemployment might result in long-term job sacrifices, complex new dynamics for certain marriages, and unsatisfying outcomes.
What Can You do?
To avoid aftereffects, ensure to discuss with your girlfriends, spouse, or family before making the final decision to quit the job. Coming on the same page for both you and your husband is a must to avoid the blame game later. Also, never cut your ties with your current employer or contacts; keep in touch with them occasionally, and maintain your resume and Linkedin profiles active. If you are a gutsy mom and can manage to give a few hours, try looking out for work-from-home options; many online hourly-based flexible job options are readily available to serve your purpose.
2. Loneliness and Boredom
It would not be wrong to say that a stay-at-home mom’s work is repetitive and sometimes can be tedious; their job comprises taking care of children and the home. For others, it looks pretty simple: ‘just two jobs‘, but only SAMHs know what comes along with these two. These so-called “two jobs” consume their whole day without giving them space for themselves. The outcome could be that this could worsen her mental condition.
What Can You do?
Sometimes ignorance is bliss; keep your mind out of negative criticisms. Listening to others’ points of view will do no good unless it is motivating. To escape loneliness and boredom, the best you can do is have some “me time”. Never miss your salon routine; go be a shopaholic for once, organize lunch with friends, girls’ night outs, karaoke nights, family dinners, and just do whatever you like. Potlucks are the best way to lessen the burden when dining with friends or family. Just remember this: you will be happier the more you are with people of the same mindset.
3. Feeling Incompetent
A SAHM’s day-to-day life is juggling between endless work, which often leaves her frustrated with a feeling of incompetence. She constantly struggles with herself about why she cannot fix everything steadily or why something always comes up that changes her priorities or why her life isn’t as flat as a pancake. Besides, when others pinpoint and criticize her and begin questioning her sincerity puts her in a difficult position; instead of feeling accomplished, she feels like a loser.
What Can You do?
If you feel you are failing, it means somewhere you are upset and overwhelmed. Come out of your negative thoughts; things can come without a knock, but this doesn’t mean you will give up. First, trust yourself; you are a strong woman and have decided to leave your job to stay with your children; to me, this responsibility is ampler than any other. We are humans, and we can make mistakes, take these mistakes as learning lessons. So keep learning and dig out where you are lacking, work on it, and keep trying; one day, you will triumph over your weaknesses. Besides this, keep everything organized; when you are organized, things slide smoothly without extra effort.
4. Doubting Herself
In all this chaos, chances could be that she can make some parenting mistakes. At times, she can be confused about her parenting decisions if she is handling every single decision about home and child by herself. Due to all these constant disappointments, she might regret her decision of being a stay at home mom, leading her to question or doubt herself. And if this doubt persists for a longer time, it can massacre her self-confidence.
What Can You do?
Never doubt yourself; it will lead to guilt traps and take you on guilt trips every time you feel low. Discuss your emotions with your mom and spouse; they are someone who will never give you any bad advice. You can take counselling or join support groups, where women or stay-at-home parents support each other, share their views and even stand for each other in need. Just keep in mind no one can doubt the efforts you are putting, not even you.
5. Social Isolation
Stay at home moms spends most of their time with their kids, and their entire focus shifts towards their children’s overall performance, be it educational or extracurricular. But unknowingly, not all but some parents gradually shift to social isolation creating a social dynamic which creates perceived judgments that leave some SAHMs feeling disrespected and undervalued. But here, I would say it all depends on how mentally strong you are to take this negative criticism and how you handle your life without negatively affecting it.
What Can You do?
Never get influenced by bad judgments or negative criticisms. Ignore those who love pulling your leg. Be with those who love and understand you. Always be active with your social circle; here, I would love to quote: “No one is busy in this world; it’s always about priorities.”
So take out time for self-care, follow your hobby, meet with friends, and always respect yourself, as when you respect and value yourself, others do so.
Pros and Cons of Being a SAHM
|Pros of Being a SAHM||Cons of Being a SAHM|
|Planned plan and organized daily routine||Life can be challenging and emotionally draining|
|More family time to preserve the memories with little ones||Repetitive, monotonous daily routine|
|Priority shift on the well-being of the children||Contribution to the family mostly goes unrecognized|
|Positive effects on personal development||A sense of loss of identity|
|Improved academic performance||Regret their job-quitting decision|
|Close track of children’s achievements||Frequent desire to return to their job|
|Lower stress levels for kids||Higher degrees of melancholy, despair and irritation|
|Fewer behaviour problems and social issues||Feeling of isolation|
|Increased engagement in a child’s daily activities||Parental solitude in society|
|SAHMs can get quality sleep||Financial dependency on spouse|
|No morning rush hours||Physically and mentally exhausted|
|No job-related stress or targets to meet||No time for hobbies or ‘me-time.’|
|Zero expense of paying childcare providers||24/7 job with no downtime|
|A feeling of satisfaction, gratitude and pride||Mom shaming|
A Gentle Reminder For SAHMs
- Babies grow up quickly, even though it doesn’t always seem that way. So chill and take it easy.
- Ask your spouse, family, friends, and neighbours when assistance is required.
- Find other stay-at-home parents with children of a similar age who can relate to you to share experiences.
- Avoid comparing yourself to other SAHMs.
- Just because you’re a SAHM doesn’t mean you should be ready 24/7 to provide elaborate daily dinners or fulfil other activities.
- Assign your children age-appropriate tasks like feeding the dog, making the beds, and setting the table.
- Being a SAHM is a meaningful and important domain despite being unappreciated and underappreciated.
- Practice self-care by engaging in activities like yoga, meditation, and a night out with friends.
A Family With A Stay at Home Mom’s Benefits
- A neat and orderly home
- Homemade meals
- Compassionate mother and wife
- Undivided attention, clean and folded clothes, home-schooling for the kids, access to an adult who is available during the day for emergencies, and hospitality
- Handmade treats
- Fewer anxious evenings
Tips on How to be a Stay-at-Home Mom
Being a stay at home mom is not a cup of tea; it needs discipline, attentiveness, sacrifices and much more. It all depends on how we make things easier for ourselves as a SAHM; I am sharing a few things I try.
1. Get up Early
Spending a few minutes praying, working out, and organizing my home before my family gets up. Getting a head start can help you overcome the perception that you “never get everything done timely.”
2. Dress Up
Being dressed from your head to your toes is one of the BEST ways to feel inspired within yourself. It freshens up and drives you to work swiftly and efficiently, remain vivacious, and approach each undertaking professionally.
3. Health is Wealth
When you are healthy, you can keep your family healthy. Daily exercise increases your body’s stamina and triggers the release of happy hormones like endorphins. To stay fit is your necessity as being a stay at home mom who knows when you will step on a Lego or discover a week-old sippy cup. You have to be a supermom, isn’t?
4. Read Inspirational Books or Articles
When things seem messy around you, taking shelter in books or the internet can be helpful. Read as many inspirational books as you can or browse through mom blogs as they share their personal experiences on coping and maintaining a healthy household.
5. Take a Break
Read professional nap time secrets if you have trouble convincing your kids to nap that too on a regular basis. As a SAHM, you need your own space as well; personally, I feel rejuvenated after that brief respite and ready to tackle my next stay-at-home parent duty!
6. Meet and Greet
Indulging in your home and kids doesn’t mean keeping yourself at bay. Don’t isolate yourself; try to meet people who relate to you and agree with your perspective. Surround yourself with like-minded people who are passionate about kids and home and respect you as a person.
7. Go Out Once A Week
A home is a cozy place for all time stay. However, going outside once a week is necessary, as it gives you a sense of freedom from the monotony and will make you value your home even more. You can plan road trips, picnics or staycations or if not that, simply take your kids to the playground, the library, or perhaps the grocery store.
8. Listen to Upbeat Music
Keep yourself entertained, and listen to your favourite music. Listening to upbeat music motivates you to work efficiently; I prefer listening to my favourite number while cooking and cleaning.
9. Keep on Learning
Always pursue your hobby and keep learning. I stayed motivated as a stay-at-home parent by picking up new talents that would make my house a cosier and more attractive nest for my family. Even with my busy schedule, I invested in learning how to make handmade bread, homemade sausage, homemade laundry detergent, cross-stitch, and more whenever I got time. Trust me, all these skills keep me going on with life happily.
10. Rely on Routine
When we follow a routine, our household operates much more smoothly. Here is a fantastic, easy-to-follow timetable for stay-at-home parents.
- Me time
- Quick naps
- Outdoor game
- After-hours house sweep
- Devotions, baths, and bedtime
Almost every task a stay at home mom performs may be more effective when a couple agrees to divide and conquer, from cleaning the dishes to supervising the kids’ morning or night rituals. Therefore, you and your spouse must have an open discussion about roles and expectations before making this choice.
In the end, you will have to decide for yourself whether to become a SAHM or not. However, only those with the required financial resources or a spouse who can fully support the family can genuinely make it work. It’s beautiful being a stay at home mom, and I know my child needs me this time, and nobody else can substitute this replacement.
Instagram SAHM Contest Winner’s Replies
On 6th Dec 2022, we organized a Mac SAHM contest on our Instagram page on SAHMs journey. We got several replies, and as promised, we are sharing the best three answers below:
Real Life Story of SAHM Sambhavna (Winner)
It’s been 17 years now. I was working in an MNC, and my salary was quite good. My husband and I were both working, so we had to leave our daughter at home with her nanny and a house helper. When she was in class 3, I began noticing some changes in her behaviour; although she was a humble soft child, I didn’t know why she started to behave rudely and stubbornly. Later, even complaints from school also became part of the routine. I felt this is high time; either I should see my career or see my child getting destroyed, and without a blink or discussion with anyone, I quit my job and devoted myself to nurturing my child.
Soon, the changes were visible; she started to perform in academics, sports and other extracurricular activities. Now my daughter has transformed into a beautiful, sensitive woman living her dreams and career.
Whenever I look up to her, I feel proud of her and my decisions. And No, I have never regretted my choices, neither then nor today. It’s not that I have not been in a tough financial situation, but what I believe is tough times come and go, but your kids’ childhood is one time, and you can’t play with their future because you are the one who has brought them to this world.
Real Life Story of SAHM Nikhat ( 1st Runner-up)
Before marriage, I was working. My husband had no issues and was quite supportive before and after marriage, but within three months, I conceived my first child. Due to certain health and pregnancy complications, I had to quit my job.
After my son was born, I wanted to rejoin, but my in-laws didn’t allow it; they said who will see your child; your priority must change now; that’s when I stepped into the journey of SAHM. But I was stubborn and had the passion and inborn skills in fashion design; I told my husband that I want to open my boutique.
Thank God my family supported me in pursuing my dream. My work was going well, and even my in-laws began to help me. But on a bad day, I got tripped and diagnosed with a slipped disc; I was advised to take bed rest for three months, but the rest was prolonged for a year, which made the boutique shut down.
Later my husband changed his job and repositioned to a new city, and I, too, had to move with him, which ended all my dream. I am a mother of three kids now, and my every minute runs around them. I was a career-oriented woman but had to give up my career twice for different reasons, and believe me, this hurts. But I am honest about my parenting journey, and I take care of my kids’ studies and everything with all my heart. My efforts and dedication reflect in them. But swear to God, I regret being SAHM, my luck didn’t favour me, but sometimes you are helpless and accept your present as it is. I wouldn’t say I didn’t try, I tried my best and fought for it also, but somehow luck was not in my court.
Real Life Story of SAHM Nimmi (2nd Runner-up)
I wanted to work but had to shift to my husbands’ hometown after marriage. While searching for a job there, I found the pay was the bare minimum to execute my basic needs, but I still had hope and kept giving interviews. Even when I was pregnant with my first child, I didn’t give up, and during interviews, the employers’ first question was how would you manage the job with pregnancy and after it? Despite all my convincing replies, there was no job for me.
Although they didn’t clarify the reasons, but the answer was clear: pregnant women don’t stand a chance for new jobs, and no matter how qualified you are, being a woman, you have to be underpaid. Besides all these, my in-laws weren’t supportive either. So, my story is simple, society’s norms forced me to give up my dream. Now, after 14 years, when I see my daughter achieving her dreams with a good upbringing, it gives me a sense of pride. I have no regrets about leaving my job and moving in with my husband, but my heart aches when I see gender discrimination overpowering women’s existence.
The story of our three winners is harrowing and presents a picture in front of us showcasing that women are meant for sacrifices. They are constantly fighting issues like gender inequality, gender pay gap, anti-feminism and gender discrimination to prove their right to equality and existence. As women, we must focus on women’s education, supporting women worldwide to empower themselves. Let’s pledge to continue this battle unless or until the table turns.
Let’s Wrap 🙂
I know this article has stretched its word limit, but some topics are so sensitive that your emotions get uncontrolled and the same happened today; I just went with the flow of emotions and words and expressed all I wanted to about being a stay at home mom. Do spare some time and read the article to share your views.
Also Read: Raising grateful children in this materialistic world is quite daunting. No book or school can teach children the value of gratitude.