Learn what it means to be a stay at home mom and some reasons to become one.
Being a Stay at Home Mom
Are you thinking about being a stay at home mom? If you’ve been a reader of my blog, you know that I am a full-time stay at home mom. You also might know that it is not a decision I made lightly; in fact, it’s one that I fought with over and over again. Why?
It isn’t always easy peasy becoming a stay at home mom. No complaining from me here. Just like any other job can have its difficulties, being a stay at home mom, while very, very rewarding, has its own challenges.
So, what does it mean to be a stay at home mom then?
Let’s start this series by taking a look at what it means to be a stay at home mom.
In short, a stay at home mom is a mom who stays at home with her kids. The kids could either be at home with her or in school.
I asked my Facebook fans what it means to be a stay at home mom. Here are some of the responses:
The jack of all trades. As a stay at home parent, you have to cook, clean, be a taxi driver, teacher, you also need to know how to fix things. The list keeps going. ~Jamie
I have been a stay at home mom for 5yrs. I cook, do laundry, clean the house, clean up after cats and kids, take care of cats and kids when they are sick, take care of paperwork from schools and clinics and bills, grocery shopping, decorating for parties and holidays, yard work, plumbing, fixing broken fences, answer the phone .. then when the kids get home I’m running all over the block looking for 4 different kids ages 8 & 1/2 yrs to 4yrs (with a big belly and a 2 yr old on my hip) that all went different ways.. oh and then I still do my workout.. SLAVE.. ~Jessica
I can concur with these responses, and might even agree that at times, being a stay at home mom can feel like you’re a slave, especially if you don’t get a break when you’re trying to get everything done.
I remember how tiring it was when I was working full-time to then come home and take care of everything, but when you’re home full-time, it can be non-stop.
But this stay at home mom thing isn’t anything new. In fact, the position has been available to women for centuries. Men went out to do the hunting and the gathering while women stayed home and took care of the children and the house.
It was a full-time job back then just as it is now.
Stay at home mom job duties included:
- cleaning the home
- doing the laundry
- making clothes
- mending clothes
- taking care of the kids
- tending a garden or field
- cooking and preparing meals
- taking care of the animals (those on farms)
- teaching the kids everything
These women worked from sun up to sun down.
So why all of the commotion about stay at home parenting if it has been done for a long time?
When women began working outside of the home, there was a shift in thinking about being a stay at home mom. When women were seen as valuable in the workplace, their value as moms and housewives was placed on the back burner.
How could they be productive members of civilization from the home?
Mind you, this is a very, very basic explanation, but it holds a lot of truth.
As time went on, there were more and more working moms. But, here we are in the 21st century, and more and more women are becoming stay at home moms again.
Why Women Today Become Stay at Home Moms
I’ll start with my reason of why I became a stay at home mom. I was a teacher. In fact, my husband was a teacher as well, and we both had full time jobs when I became a mom for the first time in 2008.
After I had my first son, I went back to work since my mom, a stay at home mom herself, was going to watch the baby. Even though she didn’t want us to, we paid her for helping us by taking care of the baby. Everything worked out so that I could still work.
Flash forward two and a half years, when I was pregnant with my second baby, a girl. I just received my Master’s Degree, and I was still determined to get back to work even after I had my second child.
I loved my job, and couldn’t see myself staying home with the kids full time.
My daughter arrived three weeks early. I was forced to start my maternity leave much sooner than I expected. Because of that, I lost some of my pay that I would have received. It didn’t matter, though, since we had planned for it. I was given the option to take off a full year, but I just took off the remaining half of the school year and planned to return the next fall.
Something happened when I had that time off. I started to realize how much of my oldest’s babyhood and toddlerhood that I missed being a working mom.
I also realized what it would mean if I went back to work: my paycheck would go to childcare and gas (my job was an hour away), and some of the bills. The other bills would be covered by my husband’s paycheck, but we still wouldn’t have any extra.
After agonizing over it for months, I decided to leave my job to become a stay at home mom full time for two reasons: it wouldn’t be worth it financially for me to keep working, and I would be the one to raise our kids.
With gas, childcare, clothes for work, supplies for work, etc., I would spend more as a working mom than as a stay at home mom. Plus, I could be with the kids full time, watching them grow and teaching them along the way.
Reasons to be a Stay at Home Mom
Financial reasons and raising kids are two very common reasons to be a stay at home mom.
Other reasons to be a stay at home mom include:
- Lack of employment
- Lack of flexibility in employment
- Rising cost of childcare
- Being enrolled in college or higher education full time
There are other reasons as well, but these seem to be the most common.
What Do Stay at Home Moms Do All Day?
I can hear some of you stay at home moms out there groaning at this question. Don’t you love it?
“What do you do all day?”
Being a stay at home mom is a job in itself, so in essence, we work. No, we don’t get paid in the traditional sense, but we can find so much value in the work that we do, which includes:
- rising with the kids in the morning
- making breakfast for the family
- getting kids ready for school
- changing diapers of babies
- changing clothes of kids
- doing laundry (sorting, washing, folding, putting away)
- feeding kids lunch
- washing dishes
- cleaning floors by sweeping, mopping, vacuuming
- organizing rooms
- teaching kids basic skills
- making dinner
- grocery shopping
- shopping for household necessities
- cleaning the bathroom
- bathing the kids
- reading to the kids
- helping kids with homework
- playing with the kids
- taking care of pets
- yard work
- driving kids to doctors. practices, school, parties
- take care of bills and other paperwork
- take care of kids when they’re sick
- fixing household appliances
- putting the kids to bed
- taking out the garbage and recycling
- and more.
People still ask “What do you do all day?” though. To them, everything I listed above isn’t work; it’s life. But I tell you, it’s sun up to sun down life.
Ever do all of these things with one (or two or three or four!) little beings hanging on you or following you constantly?
I tell you, it can be exhausting physical, mental, and emotional work. It’s one thing to accomplish the above list by yourself or with the help of another adult or older child. With young kids though, these tasks take on whole new dimensions of work.
(And kudos to you working moms of young kids who come home after working and still do all of these things!)
Related: How to Avoid Overwhelm as a Stay at Home Mom
Work is work, whether or not you are paid. Sure, we take days off (don’t working parents?) but those are few and far between and might mean we just don’t do the dishes or laundry, but we still take care of everything else.
But to me, my greatest work, my most important work, is raising my kids. It’s my responsibility as their mom to raise them to know the difference between right and wrong, to nurture their creativity, to encourage them through difficulty, to inspire them to be better than I am, to help them become whatever it is they want to be when they grow up, and most of all, to love them unconditionally.
Being a Stay at Home Mom
In a nutshell, that’s what being a stay at home mom is to me. You might have some different ideas about it. What would you say being a stay at home mom is? Leave a comment below!
Petra Jadan says
Being a mother of 3 I know the important of being there for your kids 24/7. However, in the world we are leaving now, in most household both parents have to work in order to make ends meet. In my case, my mother-in-law has been with my kids since they were born and I can be at peace at work knowing that I can trust her and that they are in good hands.
That’s so great that you have your mother-in-law for support! I know how much I appreciated that my mom watched my son when my husband and I worked. It was better for me knowing that someone with the same values and love for kids was with him all day, instead of strangers. I bet you feel the same way about your MIL! Even though you’re not a SAHM, you’re still being there for your kids 24/7 by working so that they can live comfortably. Keep on being an awesome mom!
Being a stay at home mom is SO hard but equally rewarding! I love that I am there for my baby every day and get to see her grow and learn!
Isn’t it fun to see them grow and learn? 🙂
As a Stay at Home Mom for almost 3 years now, it’s my favorite job ever…it’s also the hardest in many ways! It is 24/7 and without sick time or paid time off…but the end result is worth it. Time spent with my kids while they are kids!
I agree: the end result is definitely worth it. You can’t get back the years that your kids are kids!
I do not feel like a slave because the boys are always doing their share around the house. When my husband stayed at home he always complained, but not me because the boys are loving me home! Difference in personalities I guess.
That’s awesome that your boys help you around the house. As kids get older and can help, it definitely can get a little easier on mom and dad. I don’t think too many men are wired to be stay at home dads, but some of them do rock it. I don’t think my hubby would make it past a week. 😉
Tina M says
Being a stay at home parent extremely exhausting. You get pulled in many directions, and there isn’t enough time in a day to do everything. No one ever appreciates what you do, then they ask “what did you do all day?”
Dorothy Teel says
Being a stay at home mom, is great for the development of children and your relationships, but it is also a super hard job, a lot of things that need to be done, a lot of financial stress, but the peace of mine knowing your child is being raised as you want them to, I wish I could of been a stay at home, mom, but we were one of those who needed the extra income to make ends met, but my kids had the same caregiver once they were born until we moved to Oklahoma and then I went on to work 11-7 and hubby worked days and therefore some one was home with the kids, they grew up great.
KATHARINE COOKMAN says
I AM A STAY AT HOME MOM TO TAKE CARE OF MY KIDS WHEN THEY LET ME THEY ARE 17 & 15 NOW SO THEY ARE PRETTY MUCH DEPENDENT CHILDREN THE ONLY THING I DO FOR THEM IS MAKE DINNER & WASH DISHES THEY DO THEIR OWN LAUNDRY NOW I ALSO MAKE THEIR DR APTS. OTHER THAN THAT I’M DISABLED SO KNOW THAT AS WELL BUT MY MAN WORKS AND TAKES US TO & FROM EVERYWHERE WE NEED TO GO CAUSE I DO NOT DRIVE IF THEY ASK FOR HELP WITH ANYTHING I TRY TO DO SO NO MATTER WHAT IT IS BLESSED BE
I think if a woman can afford to be at home especially during the early years it’s best. If, that’s what they choose to do. Some women want to work and resent being home. If so, when the child starts school, work part time.
To each their own, right?