We all want to find fulfillment in our lives. No matter what we spend our time on, we are all looking for some kind of reward. It might be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for some. Others place their value on things that can’t be bought. Stay at home moms often fall into that category.
They might be taking a pay cut to stay home and raise babies, but the value of bringing up a child with their mother being a constant presence just might outweigh income.
There are serious benefits to staying at home, and they aren’t necessarily what most people think. Stay at home moms are not routinely lounging around in their pajamas all day waiting on their man to get home so they can get their barefoot bottoms into the kitchen and fix him a sandwich.
That might be the image that society has pushed onto us about SAHMs, but that image changed long ago.
How on Earth do people think a woman would have time in the day to watch TV and talk on the phone while running a household, going to the market, paying bills, and raising human beings?
That last part is a lot of work by the way! Now this isn’t to say women who are working mothers don’t work hard, too. But for now, in this moment, let’s sing the praises of the SAHM and let them revel in it. They deserve recognition for all that they do.
14 Staying At Home Is Perceived As Boring
My oh my, staying at home all day long, whatever do you do with your time? Alright, let’s be honest. Being a SAHM isn’t always a boat load of fun. It’s not fascinating to fold the laundry or pick up your husbands suits from the dry cleaner. No one is arguing that. But tell me, are most out-of-the-home jobs exciting and fantastic 100 percent of the time?
I doubt it.
It’s all about balance. For the parts of a career that someone finds dull or predictable, the income and praise from superiors may make up for it. Being a SAHM is much the same. It’s the praise from your husband for nailing that beef bourguignon that makes it worth making all those meals.
It’s the look on your kids’ faces when they come home from a bad day at school and know they can crash into mama’s arms. It’s snow days when school is cancelled and you get to abandon life for sled riding. Hardly boring if you ask me.
13 How Much They Actually Work
Staying at home is just that — staying at home. It involves no effort. We don’t call SAHMs housekeepers, chefs, chauffeurs, financial advisors, accountants, dry cleaners, or nannies. From a simple title, we strip them of all recognition for everything that they do. We seem to overlook the one word that retains all that emphasis and more — mom.
They’re moms. Instead of being moms who go to work and thereby get some time off from being a mom, chef, chauffer, accountant, etcetera each day, they are moms who are moms full time. Why isn't the word mom synonymous with do it all?
Well what if you went to work every day and instead of just being responsible for doing the duties of your job, you were also responsible for making sure everyone else does theirs, too? Part of a stay at home mom's job is to make everyone else’s jobs run more smoothly.
They accomplish this by getting the children to do their simple tasks each day and help them with the things they can't by feeding them, clothing them, teaching them lessons, and handling their emotional upsets. What if you had to be a mom to your coworkers? Would you expect a raise, a promotion, an entirely new title to something that resembles woman who does it all?
12 Women See It As Anti-Feministic
Alright, I’m probably as big of a feminist as I’ll ever be and I’m a bigger one than many people will ever meet. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with slaving over a pot roast all day long in your bare feet — if that’s what you want to do. Got it? Feminism is not about charging back against men, or breaking the mold of the fifties housewife.
It’s about taking charge of your own life. It’s about doing what pleases you instead of what society expects of you. It’s about self-awareness and self-control.
When a woman becomes a mother, she is automatically expected to make that child her priority. To some people, this step may include being a SAHM. For others, they lash out at that ideal in favor of a more modern approach — the working mother. Why does it have to be one way or another? It doesn’t. A true feminist knows that.
A true feminist chooses her destiny. You can be a barefoot housewife who doesn’t wear bras and fights for women’s rights.
11 The Financial Impact It Has For All
Being a SAHM often means foregoing a paycheck. This is often easier said than done. Think about the total income of a given household and the total expenses of that household, too. Then take away half of the income, or even a third. It’s a big chunk, isn’t it?
Women who decide to be SAHMs don’t make this decision lightly. How could they when their livelihood depends on it?
Sure, it costs money to be a SAHM. Every day that a mom is at home with her kids is a day without income. That being said, it’s also a day spent saving on things like maids and daycare.
Forbes Magazine notes the average stay at home mom would earn around $115,000 a year if she was paid for all that she does. If she can’t make that working outside of the home, then it’s likely that her income potential might be better spent at home after all.
10 She Manages The Money
Many stay at home moms use electronic funds to do transfers, pay bills effortlessly every month, on time without even thinking about them, right? Well, sort of. Anyone who has actually ever paid a bill or dealt with a company that wants to take money from them knows better.
Sometimes the EFT goes through twice and you end up on the phone for an hour trying to talk to a human voice about their company overcharging you.
Sometimes, you’ll have to pay a bill manually and even write a check. You might run out of stamps and need to swing by the post office on your way home from the market after you take the kids to Gymboree class just so you can get that rent check in the mail before it leaves today.
Many people naturally believe that men preside over the household finances more than women. Wrong again, my friend. When it comes to money management, studies show women actually do it better than men.
9 People Assuming They Don't Do Anything
I think we can all agree that women who are shuffling kids in and out of soccer practice, dance class and doctor appointments all while making sure dinner is on the table tonight and it doesn’t cost more than the weekly grocery budget allows are far from lazy. It takes a lot of mental fortitude to schedule the lives of everyone around you and make sure they run seamlessly without hiccups.
Sure, they might push play on the Today Show while they’re feeding the kids breakfast. They might check their Facebook mom’s group when they’re waiting in line to pay for all that organic produce. They might even let the baby play in the bath tub a little while longer while they sit alongside it painting their worn-out-damn-I-need-a-pedicure toes.
Unless you’re working without ever peeping at your Facebook, talking to a coworker, or breaking for lunch, you can’t begrudge them. Taking time for ourselves is necessary for everyone. Some moms get ready for work every morning. Some wear their bed head and spend their free time taking intermittent five minute Facebook breaks. Hey, whatever works.
8 The Benefits For The Kids
Before any of those working moms out there get hot under the collar, please understand that there is no competition when it comes to the health and wellbeing of our children. That being said, it’s hard to argue with statistics, but what if the statistics support both sides?
Some research points to the children of working mothers being smarter and having better income potential. Still, other studies note that children whose mothers stay at home turn out more well-rounded psychologically and emotionally.
If we are to choose between income potential and intellect or happiness and stability, most parents would probably pick the latter. Maybe that’s why more moms than ever are letting their careers take a back seat for a position at home.
In 1999, 23 percent of moms were staying at home, compared to 29 percent of mothers in 2012.
7 She Does All The Housework
Except for a small percent of women who get their kicks from ironing the bed sheets, most mothers would probably exclaim that housework is one of their least favorite parts of life. Those mothers who stay at home tend to have even more of it on their plate.
While two working parents will tend to split household duties equally — or so men think — SAHMs tend to have most if not all of that work solely on their plate.
Strictly among household chores — not including those that require outings like going to the market — SAHMs do around 31 hours of housework every single week. That’s a lot of toilet scrubbing and wondering how the spoons keep ending up under their sons’ bed!
Working mothers spend less than two hours daily on housework; that’s less than half the time SAHMs do in a week. Next time you’re thinking about just tossing your dishes into the sink, remember that the sink isn’t a magical portal to the dishwasher or cabinet. Someone — ahem, Mom — will still have to wash it, dry it, and put it away.
6 People Think They Stay Home Every Day
There are some working women out there who are fantastic at their jobs. They live and breathe to work. This doesn’t mean they don’t love their children or value their place in the world as a mother. They just love working and being a contributing member to society. There’s nothing wrong with those women, until they happen up a SAHM and utter those six lovely words, “I could never stay at home.”
It’s not enough for them. They need more. Being a mom is great and all, but they believe they can have it all and they’re out to prove it. Great! Guess what? SAHMs everywhere want you to. They too believe they can have it all. They’ve just decided to delay having it all in favor of having it all in another way.
You see, these moms have done something amazing. They’ve figured out how to feel like they actually have it all when they have what you perceive to be as less.
They are the moms who find joy in the moments when they can wake up and lie in bed with their sleeping babies rather than rushing out the door to work. They’re the moms who are delighted to be able to make lunches for the children that aren’t based on USDA middle school standards. They know their identity doesn’t rely on what they do for a living, but who they are.
Being a SAHM can be brutal. Don’t worry, they totally understand why you wouldn’t be able to hack it, but let’s not kid ourselves and act like it’s because being a mom is somehow less than being an employee.
5 She's Lucky To Be Able To Stay Home
Being a mom isn’t about luck, and staying at home isn’t either. It’s not necessarily so that all women who are SAHMs must have partners that are earning some serious coin at the bread factory. Just the opposite, in fact. Women who stay at home to rear their children are often less educated than their working mom peers. They are also often younger and poorer.
In 1970, just 14 percent of SAHMs were living in poverty. Today, that figure is 34 percent as of 2012.
The decision to stay at home often comes from couples who have a strong desire to raise their children without outside interference. Rather than sending them to daycares and preschools, they want mom or dad to preside over their children’s daily activities and be a strong figure in their lives.
This choice often means foregoing income, sanity, and time together that they would have gotten had they opted for the outside help. For many mothers, their lack of education and stable employment lands means they will most likely wind up being a SAHM, because it’s cheaper for them to stay home than earn a meagre minimum wage which will all be used to pay for childcare.
Luck has nothing to do with it.
4 When Dad Does It, It's Special
This just might be the holy grail of how SAHMs are overlooked for all that they do. We’ve covered what that is here very well, but what we haven’t discussed are dads who have full time jobs. Enter, the working dad who takes his kid to the park on a random Saturday afternoon. While women are swooning over dads with babies, women with babies are looked at as trouble with excess baggage.
What about when a man makes dinner or cleans up the house? Suddenly he’s tweeting his accomplishment for the whole world — and all of your family — to praise him for it. Where were they lack week when you spent two hours cleaning the car seat after the baby’s blowout?
There truly may not be anything more annoying than a man who garners recognition and acclaim for doing the job a SAHM does every day. Oh it’s so sweet when we see a daddy vacuuming while baby is watching Nick Jr. Yet brelfies of mom nursing the baby in a homemade wrap that she sewed by hand while vacuuming the same floor and then mopping it is just another day in the life of a SAHM.
3 Other People Don't Value What SAHMs Do
Oh, you’re just a mom. Just a housewife. Just the woman that keeps everyone’s lives from spinning out of control. How mundane and unworthy of any prestigious title or glamour. You spend your days making meals and cleaning them up in repetition. Your biggest stressor must be where the missing socks go in the dryer. How chaotic and stressful.
First, don’t underestimate just how aggravating it is to lose half of your socks with no explanation. Second, some days as a housewife and mother are daunting. They are full of much more than meal time and dish washing. When their child skins their knee, mom is suddenly transformed into a doctor providing all the health care that she can to her child.
If the neighborhood kids hurt the feelings of mom's kids, she becomes a therapist helping them work through strategies the kids can use to deal with bullies and injustice. If one of the kids gets a bad grade on their report card, mom takes on the role of teacher and the prison warden. It’s hard to have time for mundane when who you must be to suit your child’s needs changes daily.
2 People Assuming They’re Always Available
Ah, yes. The SAHM is always available to help out, right? They’re the first that teachers reach for when they need PTA volunteers. When a friend is in need of a favor, it’s easy to ask the SAHM. After all, you’re already home, right? If you aren’t working, you must have nothing going on. So why don’t you take it upon yourself to help out all the other working parents by picking up the chores they don’t have time for while they’re at work?
It is not easier for a SAHM to accommodate requests than it is for anyone else. Yes, she may have the luxury of not being tied to her boss’s schedule, but she’s tied to other ones.
The twins have a check-up with the doctor. She needs to take that paper to get notarized so her husband will stop reminding her. The oil in the truck needs to be changed. Don’t forget she’s taking a toddler with her everywhere she goes, including the school play this afternoon. If she had loads of free time, wouldn't she be spending some of it on herself, don’t you think?
1 Others Question Her About Going Back To Work
Sure, it’s the age of offense. Everyone is offended by something, and they’re all equally entitled to be, too. Well let’s just take a moment to go over the things that offend SAHMs, besides all that we’ve listed here. Most SAHMs have been asked before when they plan to go back to work. Do the people who ask this question ever pause to think that SAHMs might actually value what they are doing now more than a job?
It might seem like the complaints are mounting, but SAHMs truly enjoy being SAHMs. If they’re lucky at all, it’s that they get to do what they love. But before you judge them or think to ask them for a favor, stop! Be careful. This coin has two sides.
Before you ask when they’re going to decide to do something else with their time that you deem to be more important or glamourous, before you question their life choices, before you judge them for wanting to be a SAHM, ask yourself if you can answer honestly when they question why you don’t want to be one.