What Is It Like Being A Stay at Home Mom?
I often get questions from women who ask me what being a full time stay-at-home-mom is like. These women are either friends of mine who are working outside of the home and are considering becoming a stay at home mom, women who have no clue what I do while at home with the kids all day and are curious, or simply strangers on the internet who send me messages or emails after stumbling upon one of my videos on YouTube or social media posts online.
I totally understand where these questions come from and I love providing my opinion on my experience as a stay at home mom in detail. I always like to explain the good, the bad, the ugly and the priceless on my perspective because I know if I had that type of advice from another mother before I became a stay at home mom, I probably wouldn’t have been such a train wreck in the beginning years when I had my girls.
But I also believe that there is no fully preparing yourself. Even though a woman might do all the research she can before transitioning from working outside of the home to full time stay at home mom, at one point or another there may be a bout of the blues. There may be tears shed in the middle of the night (or day), and some real hard seasons that may make you second guess if you are even cut out to be at home with the kids all day, every day.
This is because being a stay at home mom is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of patience and determination. Patience with yourself, your children, your husband. Determination to do better each day, to learn the things you need to know to be the best you can be. Determination to, in the midst of taking care of your family, remember to set time aside to care for yourself as well. And most importantly, determination to stay determined. Because eventually, the chaos and the repetition of the everyday routine and responsibilities can gnaw at your will power.
It’s in those times when we fall on our butts and struggle to get back up, that we grow and develop as women. Our superhero mommy skills get stronger, wiser, and better each time we come upon a roadblock.
So, I decided to compile a list of my Top 10 Pros and Cons of Being A Stay at Home Mom in order to share with others what to expect and what the highs and lows of being at home with the kids fulltime are.
At first, this article was written as a full list of 10 pros and 10 cons of being a stay at home mom. But because I go into detail in explaining each point, I decided to break this article into two parts. I list out and describe my top 10 pros of being a stay at home mom here.
I’m going to start off with the list of cons article first because I’m the type of gal that loves hearing the “bad news” first before the good news. I’d also like to add that for every con that I list, there is a good side. For every con that I list, there is a way to overcome it. We are not trapped by the negative but instead use it for leverage and for personal development. So please, keep that in mind as you read the list of cons.
The Cons of Being A Stay at Home Mom
1. It Can Get Lonely
My lifestyle changed after having my first child. I no longer went to work at an outside brick and mortar job and none of my friends or family members had kids yet. I was at home with my girls all day, every single day, while my husband worked and was gone a lot of the time. There was a season in our lives when he was working two jobs and some overnight shifts. I felt like I had no one to talk to and would feel so lonely at home all day. Eventually, I learned how to combat feeling lonely by getting out of the house and taking my girls to the park. I found a hobby that I could work on at home and built a circle of support with women who were also stay at home moms who could relate to me.
2. Finances May Be Tight at First
Transitioning from being a working woman to a stay at home mom means that your household income will go from two sources (yours and your spouses) to just one. Some households can easily thrive on one income without feeling tight financially, but most will have some adjusting to do. Eventually, you will learn how to survive on one income by budgeting, readjusting your lifestyle, reassessing your needs vs. wants, and by creating a way to make money from home somehow. This is why I say finances may be tight at first or for a season. It won’t last long if you do what you need to do to maximize everything you have. My husband and I once lived paycheck to paycheck while raising our girls and I talk about it in my book Balancing Finances on One Income as A Stay at Home Mom. Eventually, we were able to get out of that cycle and save up our money to pay down debt and purchase our first home.
3. Hardly Any Time Alone
Say good-bye to using the bathroom in peace and get used to taking quick three-minute showers before hopping out to tend to a crying baby who just woke up from their nap. The fact of the matter is, your kids love you and want every piece of you. You are the coolest person under the roof and your kids don’t want you out of their sight for one second. Can you blame them? You are the one who feeds them, breastfeeds them, protects them, entertains them, cleans them, changes their diaper, and soothes them. Just being around you provides a sense of security and makes them feel happy. On top of that hubby will come home from a long day at work and will want every piece of you and your attention. Again, can you blame him? So yes, my number one con is that you will have times when you feel lonely and my number three con is that you will hardly have any time alone from your children. Sounds a bit contradicting, right? But guess what? It’s an insanely amazing and idiosyncratic cycle you will find yourself in and I bet you- you won’t trade it in for the world. It’s like Stockholm Syndrome but not as bad because you’ve volunteered to serve your captor and to be held captive by the little people in your home.
4. It’s Not Easy
Being at home with the kid’s full time is a job. Most people imagine that being a stay at home mom is this picture perfect lifestyle that is usually portrayed on television shows where the mom is always dressed beautifully from head to toe with a smile on her face, a pot roast ready for dinner and a hot apple pie made from scratch in the oven. And on a good day it might very well be. But in reality, it’s the total opposite of that. It’s leftovers for the third day straight, yoga pants and a stained t-shirt as your daily uniform, a messy top bun for your go-to hairstyle and dark circles under your eyes from staying up all night caring for the baby. I’m not trying to sound like I’m complaining about being a stay at home mom- what I’m doing is warning you that it is not as easy as many people think. It takes a lot of work to be a homemaker. It takes a lot of sacrifice. Some women find out quickly that it’s not for them. Some women have no choice but to be a stay at home mom and pray constantly for a way to survive because they feel like they are at the brink of a total mental breakdown. Most stay at home moms have already had that mental breakdown … and guess what? They survived it. They grew tougher. They prevailed over it. It’s not easy but it is worth it.
5. It’s A Traditional Role
Being a stay at home mom is a domesticated role in the household for a woman. It is a traditional role. So, if you are a person who does not believe in taking up the traditional responsibilities while you are tending to the children at home full time, then being a stay at home mom might not be for you. I’m being quite honest about this. You have the responsibility to cook, clean, do laundry, tend to the children, oversee doctor appointments, scheduling, teaching the children, nourishing the intimacy with your husband-the list goes on. Some women believe that the responsibilities in the house need to be 50/50. In some marriages the women cook, and the husband cleans up after the meal. Whatever works for your family dynamic is great and I am not here to intrude on what works for you. I’ve seen working husbands who prefer to cook dinner and actually enjoy it. But for the majority of the time if you are a stay at home mom your role is mainly traditional as a housewife and that goes for the role of the husband too.
We expect our husbands to be the providers for the entire family, protecting our family, taking care of certain responsibilities that men tend to. Everyone has a role in the house. This con might just be something you and your spouse sit down and talk about openly so that the both of you have a mutual understanding on what is expected from one another.
6. The Struggle with Boredom
This one is a very small con, but it can feel pretty big when you are dealing with it. Feeling bored in the house as a stay at home mom is actually common and I hear it often from many moms. When your spouse is gone at work and you have little to no friends to talk to, you can find yourself with nothing much to do. After cleaning, cooking, entertaining baby, and scrolling online reading random articles you might find yourself with nothing to do. Binging on television shows and movies eventually will grow old and you feel like you are missing out on something but you don’t know what it is so you are just sitting at home waiting until your hubby gets home from work so you can finally get your best friend back. Yes, you may battle with feeling bored as a stay at home mom but if you implement #10 on my pros list you can easily overcome boredom with productivity that rewards you with great results.
7. It Can Be Overwhelming at Times
With all of the cons that I’ve listed so far it makes sense that this would be a con on this list. Being a stay at home mom can be overwhelming at times. From hardly getting time alone to struggling with the traditional responsibilities of being a housewife, you may feel like you can’t handle being a homemaker anymore. Feelings of depression, fatigue, isolation, constant complaining, negative thoughts, sadness, bouts of crying spells are all signs that you are overwhelmed and that you need to take a break to gain your sanity back. So, yes, being a stay at home mom can be overwhelming at times.
8. It’s A Misunderstood Role
Like I mentioned in the very beginning of this article, many women have asked me the pros and cons of being a stay at home mom just off of curiosity. These women honestly have no clue what I do during the day though out the week while I am at home alone with the kids. It’s a misunderstood role. Some people might think you do absolutely nothing all day. That can get irritating. Some people may assume you don’t want to ever create a means of an income for yourself or that you want to live off of your spouse for all of your life. Some people believe a stay at home mom is a woman who is taking advantage of her spouse since he is the only source of income. People do not understand that there are a large number of stay at home moms who have talents, skills, and a drive to create an income from home. Some people do not understand the values that fuels a woman to stay at home with her children. The may not understand the sacrifice that it takes emotionally and physically. For some women, the very fact that they gave up the accomplishment and prestige of having a career and a title within a workplace can be a blow to their pride. I’ve tried to convince people of the importance of my role time and time again only to be met with a puzzled facial expression. Some people want to understand, and some people are fixated on never getting it. And that is okay, I don’t do it for them. I do it for my children and the greater picture for our family dynamic.
9. Feeling Underestimated or Unappreciated
This con ties into #8. Since being a stay at home mom is often a misunderstood role you may have times when people underestimate you or you may feel unappreciated. I have felt this way before. I learned to not give any one the power to make me feel less than amazing for all that I do for my family. Most of the time it’s those negative thoughts that creep into your mind that get you feeling down. Get those terrible thoughts out of your head. People might not say it, but they are thinking to themselves-wow, she’s really a strong mom. She is such a wonderful, hard working mom, look at how amazing her kids are.
10. Feeling Like You’ve Lost Touch of You
This one is tough. Before you became a stay at home mom you were a woman with her own goals, dreams, passions, and income. A woman with her own wants and needs who was only responsible for herself most of the time. If you were a working mom, you had time away from the house and kids to be your very own person. Everyday you had the chance to miss the family while you were at your job and to strive towards your workplace goals. Prior to having kids, you were independent. Taking trips whenever you wanted, watching the shows you wanted, going on shopping sprees and grabbing brunch with mimosas with your girlfriends on the regular. You knew who you were and what you wanted out of life and nothing was going to get in the way of that. And then you had kids.
After having kids and becoming a stay at home mom your views and values might have changed. Perhaps your budget as well. Those friends you once had that would meet up with you for mimosas…well, now they have nothing in common with you. You can’t watch your favorite shows anymore because now Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol are on rerun on the television and Lord forbid you change the channel, or you’ll get an ear load from your 3-year-old boss. You have no reason to get dolled up for the day because you are breastfeeding and at home most of the time tending to your little ones. Everything seems to be about you taking care of your family that you hardly have anytime for yourself. There will be a faint memory of the “old you” that used to be that “boss chick”. You may wonder to yourself, where is that girl? It’s so easy to feel like you’ve lost touch of you. But I want to tell you that the independent, strong willed, goal oriented, intelligent you, is still there buried under your stained pajamas you’ve now been wearing for the past three days. Under those blood shot eyes after spending an hour crying for Lord knows why and wiping the bit of ice cream from the tip of your chin after stuffing your mouth spoonful after spoonful while you hid in your closet in hopes that your little ones don’t turn away from their show to search and find you.
That bomb independent chick is still inside you, sexy as ever. I promise you that. Don’t forget that. And yes, you can be sexy and still be a Christian stay at home mom and wife. But now our version of sexy is a little different. And solely for our husbands’ pleasure as we are examples to our children on womanhood.
I just want to remind you that being a full time stay at home mom is for a season in your life. One day your children will grow up and will not need you as much. One day your children may go to public school and you will have the opportunity to go back into the working world. Or if you choose to homeschool, your children will get older and no longer require your full attention all of the time so you will be able to work from home, go back to school for yourself or tend to what you need in the home without the kids clinging onto you. One day they will be teenagers that will prefer to be left alone rather than right on top of you like when they were toddlers. One day they will go off to college and you will be free to do whatever you want every single day. One day they will get married and start a family of their own and you will only be left with the memories of today.
There you will see snippets of the old you shine through. But it will be much more polished, tame, wise and skilled. More patient and more vigilant. This refined you that your younger you never would have imagined you to be.
So Much More To Being A Stay At Home Mom Than Meets The Eye
I hope that this list and explanations of the top 10 cons of being a stay at home helps you in some way. If you have anything you want to add from your experience I encourage you to leave it in the comment section below for other moms to know.
If you haven’t already, read my top 10 pros of being a stay at home mom here.
I wish you all of the best in your stay at home mommy journey.