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Advice for Husbands of Stay at Home Moms

I was a husband and am a father of three daughters. I’ve worked pretty much 40 hours+ a week since I graduated high school. My (now ex) wife has worked on and off but hasn’t worked outside the house much since our now 5-year-old was born. So, I’m in a great position to offer advice to husbands of stay-at-home moms.

  1. Don’t assume all work with the house and kids are her jobs
  2. Let her have some downtime (without guilt)
  3. Don’t wait to be asked to help out
  4. Date and court her just as you did when dating
  5. Appreciate her efforts and the many tasks on her plate
  6. Don’t view your job as superior to hers

Stay-at-home moms often live a stressful & isolated life.

While husbands are off at work interacting with other adults, our wives are at home with kids. Then on top of that, most are cleaning the house, doing laundry, and trying to balance that with having a life and identity of their own.

So in this post, we’re diving deep into the world these stay-at-home moms find themselves in. We’ll answer all the top questions that come up and look at some cold, hard, facts.

But specifically, we’ll be looking at simple actionable advice for husbands of stay-at-home moms so that we husbands can better understand and support these amazing women.

Being a SAHM is hard, but so is being married.

If your marriage is grueling, back-breaking, emotionally painful, or draining, it doesn’t have to be that way! Anything worth doing requires time, effort, focus, and attention. So why should marriage be any different.

Is being a stay-at-home mom hard?

If you have to ask this question, you should probably ask one.

But the short answer to this question is yes; being a stay-at-home mom can be very hard. Sure there are moments of freedom and flexibility that those of us locked into a 9 to 5 don’t have.

But really to compare the responsibilities of a SAHM to someone who works a 40-hour-a-week job is like asking which drink do you like better; milk or apple cider? They are so different that it’s just not a fair comparison.

Being a stay-at-home mom often means looking after the running of the house, and the care of the children, which be everything from getting the kids ready for school, shuttling kids to and from after-school activities, and if you have pre-k kids, it often means teaching them so they are prepared when they do enter school.

But for oblivious husbands (of which I have been one), we go off to work, come home and often find everything just as it was when we left. We don’t see the work our wives put in or the damage a single toddler did throughout the day.

We may not even notice the clean laundry put away or think about the time that went into preparing the dinner on the stove.

As you begin to appreciate your wife more for being the amazing woman she is, you will naturally find yourself growing your relationship in other ways too, and she may begin to appreciate you more also.

Take a moment and review the 5 best Ways to Help Your Relationship Grow and see if you can’t take a good thing and make it great! Just click that link to read it on my site.

What are the responsibilities of a stay-at-home mom?

Bear in mind that unlike the job description for a corporate job, stay-at-home moms wear MANY hats! Also be aware that the “responsibilities” could vary greatly from house to house, couple to couple, and person to person.

But there are certainly some commonalities about the responsibilities of SAHMs, including:

  • Teacher – Stay-at-home moms are often the first and best teachers of our kids, ensuring a smooth transition when they start school
  • Meal planner – SAHMs generally make sure dinner is on the table or plan and budget for those rare nights at restaurants
  • Grocery shopper – To be in charge of meals also means doing the grocery shopping, coupon clipping, and keeping the grocery budget in check
  • School lunch maker – SAHMs often make sure the kids have a nutritious lunch each day at school or at least coordinate the lunch account for those who eat at school
  • Housekeeper – It goes without saying that stay-at-home moms often are in charge of keeping the place clean, from laundry to toilet bowls, it can be a very tiring, neverending, and sometimes thankless job
  • Chauffeur – As kids age into after-school programs, Moms more and more find themselves shuttling kids to and from activities all week long
  • School communicator liaison – Thankfully, these days, most schools and teachers email communication, but there’s still a lot to keep up with between progress reports, lice outbreaks, and school events
  • Homework enforcer – Let’s face it. Even the best kids still sometimes forget to do their homework. Evil-eye Mom makes sure it gets done, done on time, and is complete

How can a stay-at-home mom be successful?

“Success” means different things to different people.

To her, it might mean staying on top of all the various and ever-changing needs and priorities with nothing slipping through the cracks.

To an oblivious husband, it might mean coming home to a clean house, good grades for the kids, and a hot meal on the table.

And for educated women, it might mean eventually transitioning to a career outside the home once young children are older, in school, and less dependent on her.

For the kids it might mean having a tasty lunch, being supported in their after-school interests, Moms saying yes to those occasional sleepovers, and not hammering them too hard on their grades.

Ultimately, for a family and household to function well, Mom has to be happy, so she has to come at the top of the priority list. Remember the saying, “if mama ain’t happy, nobody happy”.

So my advice for husbands of stay-at-home moms is to ask your wife what she needs from you to be happy, feel fulfilled, and to feel appreciated.

Don’t compare your job to hers or see yours as superior because it earns a salary.

She is still a working mom! In a well-functioning household, ALL jobs are important, and everyone performs tasks that move the family, couple, household, and individuals forward.

If you do see household duties that you think aren’t getting done as they should be, remember it’s ALWAYS better to ask questions instead of making statements or accusing. Don’t just give her a hard time without knowing the details.

What are the top things SAHMs wish their husbands knew?

As a husband, I can guess all day long what my wife wants or wishes I knew.

But that, and about $2.50 won’t get me much more than a cup of coffee. So the best way to find out what stay-at-home moms wish we, as their husbands knew, is to ask them!

Luckily, it’s not hard to talk to wives and ask, so here are some of the most common responses to the question “what do stay-at-home moms wish their husbands knew”:

1. Being a SAHM is lonely

Being a stay-at-home mom is isolating and adult conversations are few and far between and the social interactions you take for granted at your job don’t happen in mind.

2. It can be exhausting

Each daily task, by itself, isn’t a big deal. But keeping up with cleaning, cooking, shopping, kids, schools, pets, and everything else, and feeling the pressure to do everything “perfectly” is flat-out exhausting.

3. SAHM IS a “real” job

Maybe I don’t punch a clock, get a paycheck, or answer to a boss, but being a SAHM is JUST as much of a real job as yours and our household couldn’t function without both of us doing what we do.

4. Not bringing in a salary can bring up guilty feelings

While I know my job is important, I still feel guilty about not bringing home a paycheck and contributing financially. Thus, the last thing I need is passive-aggressive comments about it.

5. Pressuring us to get a “real job” makes us angry

While there can come a point when it may make sense for me to work outside the home, pressuring me isn’t the way to have that discussion. We have to be on the same team, communicate about shared goals, and talk about how we want to structure our household.

6. When I see you when you first come home, even if you’re tired, make time for me

On many days, I haven’t had an adult conversation in hours. I have had a long day, have done a lot, and sometimes just need to vent or connect with you. Thus, I don’t need anything to be fixed; I just want you to be present and listen.

7. I feel guilty if the kids aren’t “perfect”

Every bad progress report, wasted expense on an abandoned after-school activity, or report about misbehaving makes me feel guilty.

While they are “our” kids, because I am a stay-at-home mom, I feel like the kids are my responsibility so I take their mistakes personally as if they were my fault.

Make sure to remind me that kids are never perfect and that raising them is “our” job, not just mine.

Fear of Failure is a real challenge.

If you or your spouse struggle with fear of failure or rejection, why not take a moment and review some of the simple steps in my article on how to overcome those challenges? The link takes you to that post now on my site.

Also bear in mind that for new moms, postpartum depression can really take a toll on how much housework she gets to each day, and her ability to properly function.

So if you are seeing signs of postpartum depression, make sure you take action!

How can husbands better help stay-at-home moms?

To a degree, we’ve covered a lot of ground here and we’ve reviewed a lot of advice for husbands of stay-at-home moms.

But if I had to boil down what I’ve learned both from reading & research, but also from being married to my wife for almost 13 years, I would say these are the top things husbands can do for their wives who stay at home with the kids:

  • Be appreciative
  • Encourage your wife to take time for herself – Your wife has her own needs outside of yours and the kids and the running of the house. Make sure she takes time for them.
  • Being a SAHM is hard work – understand that even if you have no idea what she does all day, it’s just as hard (or harder) than what you do
  • Remember she never gets to clock out, so you should expect to work around the house before & after work too
  • Don’t forget she is your wife before she was a mother; romance her, compliment her and make sure she feels desired (and not just when you want sex)
  • Listen to her when you get home
  • Be supportive and encouraging, but don’t try and “fix” everything she complains about
  • Make sure she gets enough sleep – A lack of sleep can lead to a whole host of physical and mental help issues. So help her out by taking on some of the morning tasks like getting the kids to school and occasionally letting her sleep in.

One of the cornerstones of being a good husband (or wife) is communication.

To be a better communicator, we have to first start with being a good listener. As guys, we’re almost hardwired to want to fix things that are broken. But your wife isn’t a “thing” needing to be fixed.

Thus “Learning How to Listen with Empathy” is crucial to really hearing her and making her feel heard. When your wife doesn’t feel heard or understood, she will naturally escalate the conversation.

So if you struggle to really hear her, I highly encourage you to take a moment and click that link to review my article.

How many stay-at-home moms are there in the US?

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this post, but what are the numbers?

According to Pew Research Center, about 18% of households in the US have 1 parent who stays home. So, that means the number of stay-at-home moms or dads is 1 in 5 families. So way more than half of mothers do work outside the home.

In real numbers, that’s about 11 million people.

Ironically, the numbers are about the same as they were in 1989, but a key shift is a significant increase in the number of men who are a stay-at-home dad while the mom is the primary breadwinner.

In those years, the stay-at-home dads went from being 4% of parents to 7%, so they almost doubled.

Stay-at-home moms, by comparison, only dropped 1% down to about 27%. Thus, SAHDs represent about 17% of all stay-at-home parents.

Should a husband help his stay-at-home wife with household chores?

Yes, a husband should help his stay-at-home wife with household chores.

It is important for couples to share the responsibility of running a household. When one partner takes on the majority of the housework, it can lead to resentment and feelings of being taken for granted.

Sharing the workload can help to create a more equal partnership between husband and wife. It also allows both partners to have more free time to spend together or pursue their own interests. This can help to strengthen the relationship and make it more enjoyable for both parties.

In addition, helping with household chores can be beneficial for husbands as well as wives. It can give them a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from contributing to the running of their home. It can also provide an opportunity for them to bond with their partner by working together on tasks such as cooking or cleaning.

Finally, helping with household chores is an important way for husbands to show their support and appreciation for their stay-at-home wives.

By taking on some of the burden, they are demonstrating that they understand how hard it is to manage all aspects of running a home alone and that they are willing to do their part in making it easier.

Overall, helping with household chores is an important way for husbands to show their support and appreciation for their stay-at-home wives while also creating a more equal partnership between them both.

It can also provide an opportunity for them to bond while giving each partner more free time in which they can pursue their own interests or spend quality time together as a couple.

What is reasonable for a husband to expect from a stay-at-home mom?

A stay-at-home mom is when mom stays home to take care of her family instead of working outside the home. A husband should expect his wife to be a loving and supportive partner, as well as a responsible and organized homemaker.

She should be able to manage the household tasks, such as cleaning, cooking, laundry, and taking care of their young kids.

And in many ways, at least in terms of child development. it’s the best way to ensure they are emotionally secure, and well educated by the time they enter kindergarten.

The husband should also expect his wife to be an active participant in their marriage.

This means that she should be willing to communicate openly with him about their relationship and any issues that arise. She should also be willing to compromise when necessary and work together with her husband to make decisions that are best for their family.

Additionally, the husband should expect his wife to take care of herself physically and emotionally. This means that she should make time for herself by exercising regularly, eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that bring her joy.

She should also take time for self-care by attending counseling sessions or engaging in other activities that help her manage stress or anxiety.

Finally, the husband should expect his wife to maintain a positive attitude towards their marriage and family life. This means that she should strive to create an environment of love and respect within the home while also being understanding of her husband’s needs and desires.

By doing so, she can help ensure that their marriage remains strong even when times are tough.

Is being a stay-at-home mom the same as a full-time job?

The debate over whether being a stay-at-home mom is the same as a full-time job has been ongoing for many years.

On one hand, stay-at-home moms are responsible for taking care of their children, managing the household, and often providing emotional support to their families. On the other hand, many people argue that stay-at-home moms do not have the same level of responsibility as those who work outside of the home.

From a financial perspective, it is clear that being a stay-at-home mom does not provide the same level of income as a full-time job. However, this does not mean that being a stay-at-home mom is any less valuable or important than working outside of the home.

In fact, many experts argue that being a stay-at-home mom can be just as demanding and rewarding as any other job.

Stay-at-home moms are responsible for taking care of their children’s physical and emotional needs.

This includes providing meals, helping with homework, attending school events, and providing emotional support when needed. Additionally, they are often responsible for managing the household tasks such as grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, and more.

All of these tasks require time and energy which can be just as demanding as any full-time job.

In addition to managing all of these responsibilities on top of caring for their children’s needs, many stay-at-home moms also take on additional roles such as running errands or volunteering in their community.

This further demonstrates how much work they put into their role and how valuable they are to their families and communities.

Overall, it is clear that being a stay-at-home mom is not necessarily the same as having a full-time job, certainly not from a financial support and household income standpoint at least.

But it can be just as demanding and rewarding in its own way.

Stay-at-home moms provide an invaluable service to their families by taking care of all aspects of family life while also contributing to their communities in meaningful ways.

Do a lot of stay-at-home moms feel unappreciated by their husbands?

Stay-at-home moms often feel unappreciated by their husbands.

This is because they are the ones who are responsible for taking care of the home and children, while their husbands are out working and earning money. The stay-at-home mom may feel like her husband does not understand or appreciate all that she does to keep the household running smoothly.

The stay-at-home mom may also feel like her husband does not recognize all of the sacrifices she makes in order to stay at home with the children. She may feel like he takes her for granted and does not understand how hard it is to juggle all of the responsibilities that come with being a stay-at-home mom.

It is important for husbands to recognize and appreciate all that their wives do as stay-at-home moms.

They should make an effort to show their appreciation by doing things such as helping out around the house, taking on some of the responsibilities, or simply expressing gratitude for all that she does.

This can help make a stay-at-home mom feel appreciated and valued in her marriage. The good news is that it’s not hard for male partners to appreciate their stay-at-home mothers. And appreciation can go a long way toward making a SAHM not only survive but thrive!

Final thoughts

In this post, we took a deep dive into the world of stay-at-home moms.

We examined what most SAHMs do, what some of their biggest struggles are, and how they can be happier and more fulfilled.

But specifically, we aimed this post as advice for husbands of stay-at-home moms.

Being a stay-at-home parent is a HARD full-time job. But it’s often the best option for the well-being of the kids. After all, when both parents work in the labor force outside the home, that often pushes the raising of the kids onto extended family members, daycare, or nannies; that just doesn’t compare to an engaged parent.

At the end of the day, it can be very lonely and isolating, and as much as they try to put a routine into place, it is often a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants situation, especially dealing with the care of the kids.

Especially for a new mom.

Hopefully, this advice can help us husbands be more understanding and supportive, which in turn will help bring everyone together.

If you are a SAHM what is your biggest challenge? For husbands of a SAHM, what was the biggest misconception you had about what your wife does?

If you like this post, please follow my Strong Marriage board on Pinterest for more great tips from myself and top marriage experts!

Jeff Campbell


Wednesday 10th of April 2019

This whole stay at home mom stuff is bogus! If you don’t like it and find yourself having to explain yourself and everything you do it’s a joke! I work opposite shift as my spouse, we work together. I don’t complain about my job, and guess what I still do ALL the stuff that you SAHM claim to do! It’s being a parent, I want my kids to see that WE are parents! Not this is mom and her duties only. I find joy in doing something I love with out complaints, as does my spouse. My children see us work together and both being happy providing for the family. It makes me sick seeing these women post “oh poor me SAHM” or “my husband didn’t get it”! Really it’s a partnership and it’s really bothersome seeing these women say how hard it is! I find it to be easy, I love my kids and my job, never complain about it! I was always taught to do what you love with no complaints and you will live a long happy life:) Personally I think there’s just a lot of lazy women looking to get out of working and looking for sympathy, it’s kinda sad actually! Don’t worry I have some friends that are SAHM, some I think are lazy and just don’t want to work! Trust me and those complain the most. Others I see take in other kids for extra income and embrace it. I don’t here them complaining or looking for sympathy. Guess we can’t all be happy:)

Jeff Campbell

Thursday 11th of April 2019

Hi Brenda

Thanks for the comment. Are there some "lazy SAHMs" out there? I'm sure there are, but I also think that raising kids is pretty demanding job done right and that the vast majority of women who choose to stay home aren't lazy. I also think there's a tremendous benefit for the kids in being raised, at least up until they start school, primarily by a parent rather than a daycare or nanny.

Now, of course, sometimes that isn't possible for financial reasons or the wife might be the primary breadwinner or maybe both parents have flourishing careers. Each couple has to look at their life, options, and choices and decide what makes the most sense for themselves.

I definitely agree with you that marriage is a partnership but I also know that it's easy to criticize others when you haven't walked in their shoes.

Thanks for taking the time to read the post and for the insightful comment.