Stay-At-Home Mom: Its Benefits And Drawbacks

The hard work of a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) is often overlooked, and an SAHM is not given the recognition due to her. SAHM is a woman who chooses to stay home to take care of the family. It is a full-time responsibility with no fixed timing, off days, or retirement. An SAHM manages a home single-handedly, from cooking to cleaning, arranging, and taking care of the children and her husband.

They sacrifice their career and ambitions and put the family before themselves. They understand that this time is precious and will not come back. SAHM Katlan Thomerson explains the reason behind her decision to quit working to be able to raise her child. She says, “One of the main reasons I decided to stay at home is because I realized this is the most time that I’ll ever be able to spend with my son. Life is so short. One day he’s crawling and the next he’ll be leaving for college. As such, I want to take advantage of this small time frame that I have with him. Once school starts, he’ll spend a minimum of eight hours a day away from me. Pile on after school activities and time spent with friends and you’ll be lucky if you get to spend 3 hours a day during the week with your child (i).” In this post, we talk about the pros and cons of being a stay-at-home mom and give you tips on being a successful SAHM.

In This Article

What Are The Benefits Of Being A SAHM?

Your priority is the well being of the children.

Image: IStock

Being with your children throughout the day and taking care of their needs gives you immense satisfaction. When they grow up healthy, it makes you feel proud.

Here are a few other advantages of being a SAHM:

  1. You have a routine. Being at home helps you plan and organize activities and prepare a daily routine for both the child and yourself. You can give food to them on time, make them study their lessons, and take care of other basic needs.
  2. You can focus on children. Your priority is nurturing them. You can closely track their milestones, take care of them when they are unwell, and ensure their safety at home and outside. Children, too, have the assurance that you are always there for them.
protip_icon Research finds
Studies show that children who began attending child-care facilities early in life are at increased risk for stress-related behavioral problems (3).
  1. You get to interact with other SAHMs. You can expand your social circle, and build a network of SAHMs. This will help share your experiences with one another and come up with solutions for each other’s problems.
  2. You will be free of job-related stress. You don’t have any targets to meet, you don’t have to request leaves and give an explanation every time you seek permission to work from home, and you don’t have to worry about leaving your child with somebody else.
  3. You can cherish the precious moments with your little ones. You get a chance to have some priceless experiences with your children. You get to enjoy the sight of their innocent face while they are asleep, and the warmth of their hugs and kisses.
  4. Spending time with children is de-stressing. If you can take meltdowns with a pinch of salt, then spending time with children can be de-stressing after a tiring day.
  5. It is gratifying to be a full-time mother. Being a SAHM gives you the satisfaction of personally raising your child. You get an opportunity to teach them yourself and mindfully enjoy being a mother.
Advantages of being a stay at home mom

Image: Shutterstock

The choice is between being a SAHM or a working mother because that’s where all the difference lies. So, how are the two choices different?

Stay-At-Home Mom Vs. Working Mom

Below, we have listed the pros and cons of both the types.

SAHMWorking mom
You are there for the kids all the timeYou are there before and after the working hours
There is the satisfaction of being with your child. You will witness all their milestonesYou feel guilty for leaving your kid every day, especially when they are ill. You will miss out on some sweet moments
The routine depends on the kid’s habits and convenienceYou set the routine based on your work timings and the child has to adjust to it
Kids feel more secure, safe, and happy as the mother is always with them.Children might experience separation anxiety. They will miss you when you are away.
You are so engrossed with the welfare of the children that you may get cut off from the developments in the outside worldYou have the satisfaction of continuing work, and being financially independent
Kids become dependent on you for everythingKids may learn to do things and become independent early in their lives
Your spouse may not understand the difficulties of raising a childYour spouse may understand the demands of being a mother and a career woman. He may help you in doing the household chores and raising the kids
Can get boring over time, and make you feel sadEvery day is less monotonous, compared to the other groupBefore you compare the two lifestyles and decide to become a SAHM, you need to know the drawbacks of staying at home.

Drawbacks Of Being A SAHM

The lack of understanding may cause conflicts

Image: IStock

If you thought that being a SAHM is easy, then let’s tell you it is not because you have to face the child’s tantrums for 24 hours a day! Here are the other problems of being a SAHM:

Image: Shutterstock

  1. A sense of loss of identity: It might seem that the only job you are doing in your life is being a caregiver to your child and nothing else. Besides, your contribution to the family mostly goes unrecognized as your husband and others might feel that since you are a housewife or homemaker, you are relaxing by staying at home.
protip_icon Quick fact
Stay-at-home mothers may experience poorer physical and mental health compared to those who work outside the home (4).
  1. You feel isolated: Initial days of motherhood can be very daunting. You feel isolated, as you hardly get any time to come out, talk to people and know what’s happening in your neighborhood.
  2. Life becomes boring: Routines get boring. You feel your life is mechanical. Doing the regular household chores can get monotonous.
  3. No ‘me-time’: Contrary to the general belief, a SAHM hardly has any time to spend on herself. Your day begins and ends with the children and domestic chores. You feel trapped in the role of motherhood as you don’t have any personal space.
  4. You are physically exhausted: Taking care of a child can be tiring even when you have a support system. It can leave you exhausted by the end of the day. You will be physically and mentally overwhelmed; and all you want to do is sleep.

    Caring for your child can leave you exhausted by the end of the day

    Image: IStock

  5. There is no time for hobbies: You may not be having a career, but even if you want to take up a hobby or do something constructive, you are left with no time or energy for it.
  6. You are financially dependent on your husband: Being a SAHM makes you financially dependent on your spouse for all your expenses. You will have to manage your expenditure on a single income.
  7. You may miss working: Having worked earlier, the change in your lifestyle can be very depressing. You miss going to work, getting a paycheck, and interacting with co-workers.
  8. Miss out on working and learning time: You might feel like you are falling behind others. You might feel less updated once she resumes work.
  9. Can cause conflicts with your spouse: Your spouse may have no idea what you are doing throughout the day. It might seem easy for him, but the reality is different, and the lack of understanding may cause conflicts.
  10. No downtime: You don’t get any breaks, vacations or leaves. It’s a 24/7 job. You don’t have the luxury of sleeping late or waking up late, or going to movies or restaurants.

If you have weighed the pros and cons of SAHM and decided to stay at home, then you can make it work with some extra effort.

Tips For Being A Successful Stay-At-Home Mom

Take up something that motivates you to step out of the house.

Image: IStock

Here are some tips to help you play the SAHM role successfully,

  1. Plan a schedule: Having a schedule helps you take a break in between the chores. Set a routine for your activities, household chores, and your child to manage your time efficiently. Leave some time for contingencies.
    How it benefits: Helps your child get used to ‘order’ in daily life. It helps you to be organized and saves time. It works for you, the child, and the family.
  2. Connect with other SAHMs: When you interact with other moms who are sailing in the same boat, you get to learn from each other’s experiences. You get help from them, and your children too can play with each other.
    How it benefits: Helps you and your child to socialize and improve your parenting and social skills respectively.
  3. Don’t try to be perfect: Nobody is perfect, but there is always room for improvement. Do the best you can for your child without getting overwhelmed about being the best parent. Being good is important than being perfect.
    How it benefits: Reduces the undue stress of being ‘perfect’ and helps your child to perform without any pressure.
  4. Take help from family and friends: There is nothing wrong with taking help from extended family and friends. Take any help that is offered and give yourself a break. You need some ‘me-time’ too. Go for a movie, hang out with friends, or pamper yourself at a spa.
    How it benefits: Small breaks for two to three hours can help you energize and refresh yourself. They also help your child get used to staying away from you.
  5. Hire a babysitter: If you have the budget, you can plan your day and baby’s activities by hiring a babysitter or nanny.
    How it benefits: Your baby will get used to being away from you, and socialize with others.
  6. Join in some hobby classes: When you are preparing a routine, allocate some time for your hobbies. Enroll yourself in theatre, cooking, workout, dance or any other classes. Take up something that motivates you to step out of the house.
    How it benefits: It keeps your mind active and improves your self-esteem. Helps you maintain your identity.
  7. Value yourself: You don’t have to get a paycheck to feel valued. Don’t feel inferior to others because you are doing the most valuable job in the world. Being a mother is priceless. Be positive and pat yourself for a job well done.
    How it benefits: Makes the journey of parenting fun, rewarding and fulfilling.

One big difference between a SAHM and a working mom is the extra money the latter earns for the family. As a SAHM, you can take care of that too. Let’s see how.

How To Make Money As A Stay-At-Home Mom

You can use your free time to take up a part time job.

Image: IStock

If you want to be a SAHM without compromising on your finances, here’s how you can do it. These measures may not cover your salary completely, but they will help you cut down on the expenses.

  1. Be good with money management: When you are working you tend to spend more. But when you are a SAHM, maintain a monthly sheet of expenses. At the end of the month, you can analyze the unnecessary expenses and cut them down in the coming months.
  2. You can save on taxes: When you are working, a considerable amount is cut as taxes. There are no taxes for being a full-time mother.
  3. You can skip daycare expenses: You don’t have to spend money on a daycare or babysitter.
  4. You can cut down on diapers and formula: When you are at home, you can use cloth or reusable diapers. You can exclusively breastfeed instead of spending on formula.
  5. You can have fresh home-made food: Avoid the temptation of ordering food from outside or buying ready-to-eat frozen foods in the supermarket. Instead, cook meals at home at your convenient time – they are cost-saving and healthy too.
  6. Transportation/ fuel costs: As you won’t be driving or commuting to work every day, you can spend less on fuel or transportation.
  7. Find a part-time job or self-employment: Last but not the least, once your baby grows up and begins going to school, you can use your free time to take up a part-time job or a business that you can run from home. It adds to your family’s budget as well as makes you financially independent.

protip_icon Quick tip
Various employers offer work-from-home options, both part-time (freelancing) and full-time. Taking up such jobs (e.g., content writers, editors, transcriptionists, virtual assistants, online tutors, graphic designers, etc.) can help you earn while being able to spend time with your children.

Creating A Safe Environment By SAHM

Stay-at-home moms know how important it is to provide a safe and nurturing home environment. Here are some things you can do to ensure your home is secure and healthy for your family.

  1. Childproof your home: Secure your home’s cabinets, drawers, and electrical outlets to keep harmful substances out of your children’s reach.
  2. Supervision and boundaries: Always watch your young children, particularly near water or the kitchen, and establish clear boundaries for your older children.
  3. Emergency preparedness: Prepare an emergency contact list, first aid kit, and basic emergency procedures.
  4. Healthy lifestyle: Consume a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and get adequate sleep for your whole family.
  5. Mental health awareness: Be aware of your child’s emotional and mental health and seek professional help.
  6. Internet safety: Monitor internet usage and educate children about the dangers of online safety and sharing personal information.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What percentage of moms are stay-at-home moms?

The past decade has seen a rising trend in the number of dads who stay at home to look after the family. In the US, around one in five parents is a stay-at-home parent, which could either be a stay-at-home dad and mom (1).

2. How long should a mother stay-at-home with her baby?

Some women return to work when the baby is three months old, while others wait until they are ten months old. However, each mother should take this decision based on the family circumstances and the mother and child’s well-being. While deciding, remember that the education toddlers receive before they start school can have long-term impacts on their health and education (2).

3. How often should a stay-at-home mom take a break?

Being a stay-at-home mom can be exhausting since you must always be on your feet. One of the biggest challenges is finding time for yourself since your place of work and rest are the same. To prevent being overwhelmed, take a break whenever you need to rest your mind and body, and instruct your children and partner that they should respect your break time.

Being a stay-at-home mom, you can dedicate the required time to care for your children and witness each milestone they reach. However, the continuous work may be overwhelming and leave you feeling bored with a lack of motivation and identity. Though the contribution of a SAHM often goes unacknowledged, you should not consider yourself a financial burden to your family. Whether or not to be a SAHM is personal and depends on your family support and financial situation. If it is feasible for you to arrange care for your child and have a great career, you may wish not to stay at home.

Infographic: Understanding The Benefits Of Being A Stay-At-Home Mother

Being a working mom is good, but being a stay-at-home has its own set of advantages. If you’re a stay-at-home mom or thinking of being one, the infographic below will give you insights into how it would benefit you and your child. So, check it out and also share it with other moms.

perks of being a stay at home mother (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • A Stay-At-Home Mom (SAHM) has to handle all household tasks and family responsibilities independently.
  • SAHMs may have to put aside their career goals to prioritize their family’s needs.
  • Choosing to be a working mom or a SAHM is a subjective decision that comes with its pros and cons.
  • Being a SAHM can be fulfilling as it involves raising healthy kids, planning routines, and cherishing moments.
  • However, being a SAHM also has its downsides, including loss of identity, isolation, financial dependence, and no personal time.

Choosing to be a stay-at-home mom is a big decision. Join Mayim Bialik as she shares her experience and advice on making this life-changing choice.

Personal Experience: Source

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Stay-at-home moms and dads account for about one-in-five U.S. parents.
    https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2018/09/24/stay-at-home-moms-and-dads-account-for-about-one-in-five-u-s-parents/
  2. Returning to work.
    https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/returning-to-work
  3. Robert H. Bradley and Deborah Lowe Vandell; (2007);Child Care and the Well-being of Children.
    https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/570794
  4. Adrianne Frech and Sarah Damaske et al.; (2012); The Relationships between Mothers’ Work Pathways and Physical and Mental Health.
    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0022146512453929
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