I always dreamed of being a stay at home mom. My own mom stayed at home with us and I knew how much I benefited from that upbringing. I knew that when I had children some day, I wanted to stay home with them too.
I imagined days filled with laughter, smiles, and having so much fun with my own little ones. Somehow I blocked out of the picture the tantrums, the potty training, and the endlessly messy house.
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I’m going to be brutally honest here. Being a stay at home mom can be absolutely amazing and really rewarding…. and totally hard and frustrating.
Today, I’m going to give you the pros and the cons of being a stay at home mom….and you can decide….are you ready to be a stay at home mom?
1) Constant Interruptions
Stay at home moms are interrupted constantly throughout their day. Draining hot pasta? Interrupted. Going to the bathroom? Interrupted. On the phone? Interrupted x 1,000.
Mommy brain is real, because you won’t be able to have a coherent thought without an interruption until the kids are in bed. I’m pretty sure my brain has adapted now to the constant interruptions. It’s malfunctions make me call my kids the wrong names and I can’t remember what normal household items are called.
Last week, I randomly said “Alexa, off.”
Alexa wasn’t even on.
Mommy brain is real.
2) Constant cleaning and Endless cooking
When you stay at home with your kids, yes, you are home more, so you can get things done during the day.
However, you are also home more….so that means more messes, more meals to cook, more meals to clean up after, and more accidents that need mopped up.
It’s constant and when you first encounter it, it can be overwhelming. But you adjust, you buy a Roomba, and soon you find ways to overcome the mess, like teaching your kids help, limiting the number of toys out, and limiting what toys are allowed in certain rooms of the house.
3) Potty Training
Every time one of my kids is in that beginning stage of potty training, I definitely heavily consider going back to work.
Potty training is crazy hard….and when you are doing it 24/7 with no break, it’s downright awful. Maybe it’s just my kids, but I haven’t had a single child yet that was “easy” to train.
The only benefit to potty training your own kids is that you get to teach them excellent wiping and hand washing skills. Because let’s face it, kids are gross and try to get away with minimal effort. One-on-one training is necessary.
But yes, that’s all. There really isn’t any benefit to potty training your own kids. LOL
4) Loss of respect in society
I still laugh over two encounters I had when I first started my journey as a stay at home mom. Two different people literally told me that they “didn’t have anything to talk about” with me after learning I was a stay at home mom.
It was really hard to feel disrespected by my decision to stay at home.
I got over it though. I realized that many people don’t actually know what the job entails and they don’t understand why you would choose to stay at home.
Choosing to be a stay at home mom made me confront who I am and helped me learn self-confidence.
It’s a little like high school. You have to be okay with who you are, and go against the flow and normals of society. Not everyone is going to agree with you, but that’s okay. Be true to who you are and what kind of mother you want to be.
5) Trouble getting a babysitter
This is one that you might not anticipate. It’s rather hard to get a babysitter to go to appointments when you are a stay at home mom.
You can’t just go to the dentist or doctor on your lunch break or take time off work while the kids are at daycare.
Instead, you have to find a babysitter every time you have an appointment, need a hair cut, or need to take an older child for an appointment.
Most other moms are working, so it can be hard to ask a friend for help.
Some of these tasks you can pass to a spouse or ask a relative to help watch the kids. I’ve been really blessed that my mom and my sister have been willing to help out when I have a need.
If you don’t live near family, you might be able to swap child care with another stay at home mom.
Let’s move on to the pros…
6) You won’t miss a thing.
You will get to experience every little moment, every milestone.
You’ll see those first smiles, the adorable first giggles, and those major milestones of learning to crawl and walk.
As you child gets older, you will hear their first words, their first sentence and you won’t miss out on all of the hilarious things they say as a toddler and preschooler.
Those reasons alone make staying at home totally worth it.
7) No regrets
When you stay at home with your kids, your kids naturally gravitate toward you and form a deeper relationship with you being their primary caregiver.
You won’t ever regret spending that extra time with your kids. You only get this little window of time with your children being young. Soak it in and form those bonds.
Not all days are easy, but every day you put into parenting your child is worthwhile.
8) You are their biggest influence
When you stay at home with your children, you are their biggest influence.
If your children go to daycare, you don’t have any control over what they hear, what they do all day, what their teacher may say or what behaviors the other children might teach them.
This is also one of the biggest responsibilities of being a stay at home parent. My children are always watching and mimicking me in their play.
Being their biggest influence means that I have to be the person I want my kids to be: patient, loving, and true to my word. So, if I say I will come look at their block tower in 10 minutes, I have to stop everything and go do it, even when it isn’t convenient, so that I can teach them follow through (that when I say something, I mean it).
It’s a hard job to be their biggest influence, but it’s a responsibility I definitely prefer to take on rather than giving it to someone else.
9) Better Academics & Behavior
Research has proven that children who have a stay at home parent do better academically than children who have two working parents. The gap is especially significant between the ages of 6 and 7. Research also shows an increase in aggression has been linked to children who attend daycare versus those who stay home.
10) In control of schedules
Stay at home moms and their children benefit from a more laid back schedule. There is more time in their day. They don’t have to rush to get out the door every morning.
Instead, they can enjoy a flexible day, meals together around the kitchen table, and plenty of play time in their own home.
Meeting my oldest child as she gets off the bus after school each day brings me so much joy. We eat a snack together at the kitchen table while she tells me about her day. She gets to play with her younger siblings for a while outside before she dives into her homework. Some of my favorite moments of my motherhood journey involve watching my kids enjoy plenty of outdoor time, pushing my kids on the swings, and teaching them songs as they play.
Is it for you?
The stay at home mom life isn’t for everyone. I would venture to guess that most stay at home moms face an identity crisis when they first start their stay at home adventure. If they can overcome that crisis, they can truly enjoy their time as a stay at home mom.
I think the biggest bit of advice I can offer new stay at home moms is that if you are facing an identity crisis, find something outside of “mothering” that fills your bucket.
It might be community service, devoting time to a hobby or learning a new skill. You might decide to start a small business on Etsy or a blog…or do both, like I did!
But whatever you choose, do something that is meaningful to you and brings you happiness, stretches your knowledge, and allows you to use your talents and skills while you are outside of the workplace.
The second bit of advice I would give you is that you will have hard days.
We all do.
That doesn’t make you a bad mother or bad at being a stay at home mom. It just means that you probably are burnt out and need a break.
Ask for what you need from your husband or friends and get some time away. Everyone needs time to themselves…especially if you are with small children 24/7.
I know staying at home isn’t possible for every family. There are definitely people who would love to stay at home who cannot and there are people who do stay at home who cannot continue to do so.
It’s not a one size fits all type of situation. But when it is possible, being a stay at home parent can benefit both you and your children. If you would like more tips about adjusting to life as a stay at home mom hop over to ArtiesMom and check out her tips on how to be a happy SAHM.
By directing this article to moms, I am not discounting stay at home dads, or trying to leave them out but rather using what I know as a mom to speak to other moms. Keep up the great work SAHDs!
I hope this pro/con list has helped you figure out whether you should become a stay at home mom. If you have any questions or any advice to add, drop a comment below!
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Nice article! I recently became a stay at home mom due to the COVID 19 pandemic and also started blogging. Both are very hard and hard to juggle, I usually blog after my kids go to bed and it’s usually late! But learning to manage.
Yes, it’s a juggling act at times for sure!
What a beautiful and thoughtful article. Thank you for sharing your insights and some of the ups and downs of this experience. I am a working mom who has dreamed BIG of being a SAHM since the day I became pregnant. I won’t stop dreaming!
Thanks for the encouragement Katrina! 🙂