In some ways, there’s nothing nobler than a mom who stays home with the kids during their formative years. But that’s not without sacrifice. So what are the pros and cons of being a stay-at-home mom?
- Children will learn better and faster
- Children will have less anxiety and aggression
- The ability to be more present in the lives of the kids and their activities
- Smaller overall household income due to a single income
- Lack of adult interaction
- Greater risk for postpartum and/or ongoing depression for the mom
- Harder for older moms to later re-enter the workforce
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
So in this article, we’ll review all the pros and cons of being a stay-at-home parent so you can decide what’s best for you and your family from a financial, emotional, and mental health perspective as well as what is developmentally best for the kids. The key is, of course, to strike a healthy work-life balance and have a good support system.
Let’s dive in.
Benefits of Being a Stay-at-Home Parent
Being a stay-at-home parent has many benefits over traditional day care centers for the child. But it also has a lot of benefits for the parent over a traditional 9-5 career. And that’s on top of benefits for the household in general.
One of the most obvious benefits is financial savings.
When one parent stays home, there are no daycare costs or other expenses associated with having both parents working outside the home. For my 5-year-old, I currently pay almost $500 a month on top of semi-annual supply and registration fees. All told, for Monday-Thursday, I pay about $6,500 a year.
Quality time with kids is another benefit of being a stay-at-home parent.
With two full-time working parents, it can be difficult to find enough time in the day to spend quality moments with your children and give them individual attention.
After all; you see them briefly in the morning and then again in the late afternoon. So they maybe get 2-3 hours with their parents out of a 24-hour day.
Staying at home allows you to be there for important milestones such as first steps, first words. Do you want to hear about those things from a nanny or teacher or experience them for yourself?
Finally, staying at home gives you flexibility in scheduling when it comes to activities like doctor’s appointments and school events that require parental attendance but don’t always fit into traditional 9 am – 5 pm work hours.
And if your kid is sick and can’t go to school or daycare, you don’t have to call in sick to your employer to stay home and take care of them. And too much of that can get you fired as well!
You also can easily get your kid involved in extracurricular activities like sports or music lessons since you won’t need to coordinate schedules between your spouse or friends and family.
But next, we’ll take a look at some of the challenges stay-at-home parents face.
Challenges of Being a Stay-at-Home Mom
Being a stay-at-home parent can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
Those can include isolation and loneliness as well as stress and burnout. But many miss having something they can call their own such as a career. And then let’s be honest; many in society look down on stay-at-home moms in particular as if that’s somehow not as noble or worthy as a career. In truth, nothing could be further from the truth.
But here are some tips for managing the responsibilities of being a stay-at-home parent.
Isolation and Loneliness:
One of the biggest challenges faced by stay-at-home parents is feeling isolated from their peers or lacking meaningful connections with other adults.
After all. If you go to work 5 days a week, you’ll be with a lot of other adults, having adult conversations, making friends along the way.
To combat this, make sure to take time for yourself each day.
Even if it’s just 15 minutes – do something that brings you joy such as reading a book or listening to music. Additionally, try connecting with other parents in similar situations through online Facebook communities or support groups in your area.
Higher Risk of Depression:
According to the CDC, 1 in 8 women who recently gave birth experience symptoms of postpartum depression, and stay-at-home moms are 11% more likely to experience postpartum depression than those who work outside the home.
The increased risk of depression is due to the lack of social interaction and the feeling of isolation that can come with being a stay-at-home mom. The lack of adult conversation and interaction can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression.
Additionally, stay-at-home moms often feel like they are not contributing to society in a meaningful way, which can lead to feelings of worthlessness and depression. They may also feel like they are not living up to their potential or that their lives have become stagnant.
Ironically, there’s no job on the planet more important than that of a stay-at-home parent. And there’s no doubt that children raised by a parent will be more successful in life than those raised by nannies or in daycare.
But, stay-at-home moms may experience financial stress due to the fact that they are not bringing in an income. This can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression as well as a sense of helplessness according to a recent Gallup poll. And with a less-than-supportive husband, those financial concerns can be exacerbated. (source)
All of these factors can contribute to an increased risk for depression among stay-at-home moms.
Stress and Burnout:
Parenting can be exhausting. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals throughout the day, exercising regularly (even if it’s just going on short walks), and setting boundaries between work hours and family time.
It may also help to enlist help from friends or family members when needed so that you don’t feel overwhelmed trying to do everything alone.
Being at home doesn’t mean you have to give up on professional development opportunities altogether; there are plenty of ways for stay-at-home parents to gain new skills while still caring for their children full-time.
Consider enrolling in online courses related to your field or volunteering with local organizations where you can use your existing skillset while learning new ones too.
Your husband may not understand what you do:
Let’s be honest. When a husband is off at work all day and comes home and the house is a wreck and dinner is nowhere near ready but the kids are just playing outside or watching TV, he can get a really inaccurate picture of what your to-do list really entails and what the care of the kids and household chores really entails.
So many SAHMs struggle with feeling appreciated fully by their husband unless the husband really takes the time to understand what a stay-at-home mom does or had been a stay-at-home dad at some point.
Harder to Re-enter the Workforce:
It is harder for stay-at-home moms to re-enter the workforce than it is for other individuals.
This is due to a variety of factors, such as the fact that they have been out of the workforce for an extended period of time and may not have the same level of experience or qualifications as other job seekers.
Additionally, many employers are hesitant to hire stay-at-home moms because they may not be able to commit to a full-time job due to family obligations.
Furthermore, stay-at-home moms may face discrimination in the workplace due to their status as a parent. This can make it difficult for them to find employment and lead to them being passed over for positions they are qualified for.
Finally, stay-at-home moms may also struggle with finding childcare if they do manage to find employment. This can be a major obstacle in their ability to reenter the workforce and can make it difficult for them to balance work and family life.
Being a stay-at-home parent can be challenging, but with the right tips and strategies, it is possible to manage the responsibilities successfully.
Tips for Managing the Responsibilities of Being a Stay-at-Home Parent
Staying at home to raise children is a rewarding and challenging experience. But it’s important for stay-at-home parents to establish boundaries and prioritize tasks in order to manage their responsibilities effectively.
Let’s explore the best ways to do that.
Establish Boundaries and Prioritize Tasks:
Setting clear expectations for yourself, your family, and your time will help you stay organized and on top of the many tasks that come with being a stay-at-home parent.
Staying at home with the kids has to be fluid.
After all, there will ALWAYS be surprises; accidents, illnesses, mood changes, etc. So while it’s important to not get locked into a rigid plan, it will work better if you have a way to prioritize all the endless tasks that need to get done.
What I do is use an online to-do list I can pull up on my phone or computer. I personally love using the app GQueues which is free for desktop and something like 5 bucks a year for the mobile app.
I actually have a review and complete tutorial on it, so if you’re interested, just click the link to read it on my site and see if it might just be the solution you’re looking for!
Take Time for Yourself and Pursue Hobbies or Interests Outside the Home:
Taking regular breaks away from parenting duties is essential in maintaining a balance between work life and personal life while staying at home with kids.
Make sure you set aside time each day for self-care, as well as any hobbies or interests outside the home. This can be anything from reading a book or taking an online class to going out with friends or spending quality time with family members.
After all, if you spend all your time taking care of everyone else, and never filling your own bucket, you will eventually burn out. You have to regularly take time for yourself; so don’t feel guilty about that.
You’ll care for everyone else better if you are happy and fulfilled.
Additionally, don’t forget about pursuing hobbies outside of parenting – if there are activities like art classes or sports teams available in your area take advantage of them. Even if it means hiring someone else to watch over the kids while you do something fun – it’s worth it.
How Does Being a Working Mom Compare to Being a Stay-at-home Mother?
Being a working mother with a full-time job and being a stay-at-home mother are two very different things. Each has its own unique set of challenges and rewards.
For working moms, the challenge is often finding the right balance between work and family life.
Working moms often have to juggle their responsibilities at work with responsibilities at home because they have less time available for them. And sometimes that can be difficult to manage. It can be overwhelming and stressful and can create a lot of unhappiness; especially with a less than supportive husband.
Working moms also have to find ways to make time for themselves and their families, no matter how tired they are at the end of their work day.
And they still have to meet the demands of their job if they want to keep it.
And there are still a lot of old-school husbands out there who expect their wives to do most of the work around the house even if they both work full-time jobs. Fair? Of course not. But that unfortunately is the reality for many.
However, the reward for working moms is financial stability and the satisfaction of knowing that they are contributing to their family’s well-being. And they get to spend their days having adult conversations.
But stay-at-home mothers face different challenges than working moms.
They may feel isolated from the outside world, as they are not interacting with colleagues or friends on a daily basis. They may also feel overwhelmed by all of the tasks that need to be done around the house, such as:
- taking care of children
However, the reward for stay-at-home mothers is getting to spend more time with their kids and being able to really be there for their children in ways that working moms may not be able to do.
Additionally, there can be less stress to get dinner ready than if they were at work until 5 pm.
Do Children Learn Better With a Stay-at-home Mom?
Yes, children learn better with a stay-at-home mom.
A study conducted by the Stanford Graduate School of Education found that children with stay-at-home moms had higher academic achievement than those with working moms. The study also found that the academic advantage was greater for boys than for girls. (source)
This suggests that having a stay-at-home mom is beneficial for both genders, but especially for boys.
The study also found that the academic advantage was greater when the mother had more education and when she was married to the child’s father. This suggests that having a stay-at-home mom who is educated and married to the child’s father can have an even greater impact on a child’s academic success.
Another study conducted by the University of Michigan found that children with stay-at-home moms had higher levels of emotional well-being than those with working moms. The study also found that this effect was stronger for boys than for girls, suggesting that having a stay-at-home mom can be beneficial for both genders, but especially for boys.
One of the main advantages of having a stay-at-home mom is that she can provide more one-on-one attention to her children. This can be especially beneficial for younger children who need more guidance and support in their early years.
A stay-at-home mom can also be more available to help with homework and other educational activities, which can help children learn better.
Are Children of Stay-at-Home Moms less Aggressive?
Stay-at-home moms are often seen as a more traditional parenting style
And there is some evidence to suggest that children of stay-at-home moms may be less aggressive than those of so-called working moms. Studies have shown that children of stay-at-home moms tend to have better social skills, better communication skills, and are less likely to engage in aggressive behavior. (source)
The reason for this is thought to be due to the fact that stay-at-home moms are able to provide more consistent and nurturing care for their children. They are able to spend more time with their children, providing them with emotional support and guidance. And no one will care more about a child than a parent, no matter how good the nanny or teacher.
So being with a stay-at-home mom or dad can help children develop better self-control and problem-solving skills. Ultimately, this can lead to less aggressive behavior.
In addition, stay-at-home moms are often able to provide a more structured environment for their children. And children thrive with consistency and structure.
In turn, that can help them learn how to manage their emotions in a healthy way. But it can also help them learn how to interact with others in a positive manner. And ultimately it will lead to less aggressive behavior in the long run.
So generally speaking. children of stay-at-home moms are typically less aggressive than those of working moms.
However, it is important to note that this does not mean that all children of stay-at-home moms will be less aggressive than those of working moms. Every child is different and will respond differently depending on the parenting style they receive from their parents.
Do Stay-at-Home Moms Miss Having a Day Job?
Stay-at-home moms have a unique opportunity to impact their kids’ lives that so-called working moms don’t get to enjoy.
SAHMs are able to be with their children all day, every day, and can be involved in their lives in a way that working moms can’t.
But this doesn’t mean stay-at-home moms don’t miss having a day job.
For some stay-at-home moms, the lack of adult interaction and intellectual conversation can be difficult. They may miss the challenge of problem-solving and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing tasks at work.
They may also miss the camaraderie of coworkers. And ultimately may miss the sense of purpose that comes from having a job outside the home.
Plus the world at large sometimes unfairly puts a stigma on women who don’t focus on a career.
So there can be tremendous guilt for a stay-at-home mom who is told by society, friends, or family that she isn’t enough if she’s “just” a stay-at-home mom. And that’s incredibly unfair and inaccurate. But knowing that won’t stop the guilt.
Finally, stay-at-home moms may miss having an income of their own.
Let’s face it. The world isn’t getting more affordable. And two incomes are better than one. So especially for stay-at-home moms who previously worked in a field that paid really well, it can be tough to drop down to just one income.
And that’s on top of the satisfaction of knowing you are contributing to the family financially. And you’re able to say “yes” more often and go on nicer family vacations.
All that being said, it is possible for a SAHM to do some work-from-home jobs or side hustles for extra money which would not compromise the care of your children but would improve the financial situation of your household.
Being a stay-at-home mom for the first time is a difficult decision to make.
It has its pros and cons, and it is important to weigh them carefully before making the decision. On the one hand, being a stay-at-home mom allows for more time with children, which can be beneficial for their development.
Additionally, it can provide financial savings in terms of childcare costs. On the other hand, being a stay-at-home mom is hard work and can be isolating a lot of the time and lead to feelings of loneliness or boredom.
Ultimately, the decision to become a stay-at-home mom should be made based on individual circumstances and preferences.
It is important to consider both the pros and cons before making this decision. For some families, being a stay-at-home mom may be the best option; for others, it may not be feasible or desirable.
Ultimately, each family must decide what works best for them in terms of balancing work and family life.