- Family and Parenting
Top Ten Pros and Cons To Being A Stay Home Mom
Are you thinking about becoming a stay at home Mom (better known these days as a SAHM)? While being a SAHM is not for some, for others, it is truly a calling. There are definitely pros and cons to both sides, so if you are undecided, read this article to see if it will help you find some clarity.
- Tighter Budget: While you are definitely saving money on day care expenses when you decide to stay home, you are also now missing an entire salary for your family. If you made good money while working, you may notice the absence of it, and it could mean making some big changes in your family's budget.
- You Are Bored: If you loved the challenge of working outside the home, and prided yourself on never missing a deadline, you might find yourself bored with the hum-drum of life staying home with your children. It can definitely be fast paced, but singing nursery rhymes and reading "Goodnight Moon" will certainly not stretch your intellectual abilities.
- Your Self Esteem Can Suffer: Some women feel lowered self esteem and/or symptoms of depression when they decide to stay home. A lot of women miss having a need to dress up and look nice for work. Women who were complimented/praised often for their work may also feel a decreased sense of happiness when becoming a SAHM.
- Your Child Lacking Socialization: A large concern I had when I decided to make the leap to stay home with my family, was how the transition would affect my children's social skills. There is a definite advantage of daycare; how it exposes your child to other kids, how it helps condition your little one to being away from you, and how it can allow them to have new/different experiences.
- No Sick/Personal Days Offered: Jobs outside the home often offer sick and/or personal days. Back when I was a "working" Mom, I remember calling in sick to work a time or two, having Daddy drop the kids off at daycare, and getting a chance to sleep and/or rest myself for the day so I could feel better. Now that I am a SAHM, I am forced to tough it out when feeling ill. There is definitely no calling in sick (or tired, or crabby, or menstrual!!). I have had the stomach flu and been forced to vomit with my youngest child locked in the bathroom with me (disgusting I know, but better than risking him getting hurt left unattended!!) I have gone to swimming lessons with a migraine, played princesses feeling like death warmed over, and told bedtimes stories through a sore and scratchy throat. Life never stops, so neither can a SAHM!!
- No Breaks: Along with no sick/vacation days, there is also little break time for SAHMs. You are followed to the bathroom, hung on when making meals, and climbed all over the second you (try) to sit down. If you are lucky enough to have a child (or children) who nap, you may get a short break, but more often than not, that is used for showering or other necessities, rather than any relaxation.
- Responsible For More Than Just Kids: Most SAHMs are not just responsible for taking care of the children. Housework is a lot of the time part of the deal; cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.... If that is not your bag, then you may want to reconsider your decision.
- You Miss Adult Interaction: You can feel very isolated being a SAHM. If you come recently from the work place, you can very much feel a void for adult interaction and conversation.
- Worry For Your Future: Whether you are planning to stay home for one year, or for ten, many Moms have the worry about how they will get back into the work force once it is time. Fear of losing your "smarts," lacking new skills, or being considered "washed up," are all natural feelings for SAHMs.
- YOU Are Raising Your Child: At the end of the day, the burden of child raising falls on your shoulders. This can be stressful, as you may put unnecessary pressure on yourself for your children to turn out a certain way. It can cause anxiety if your child does have behavior problems and you start blaming yourself.
- Less Worry: For me, one of the largest draws for wanting to stay home was less worry about my children. Quality day cares can be hard to find, and there are always those horror stories you hear from family, friends, and the media.
- No Missing Out On Any "Firsts": So many parents dream of seeing their child take their first step, say their first word, or lift their mouth in that first adorable smile. A huge advantage of being a SAHM is that you are, more than likely, there for all of those important first moments!
- Saving On Daycare Expenses: Truth of the matter... daycare is EXPENSIVE. When I was working full time, my family was paying near $27,000/year for both my kids to be cared for. For a lot of Moms, it is not even worth it to work once you have a certain number of kids needing care and/or, you are just working to pay for the day care expense.
- Meet New Friends: Another advantage to being a SAHM is the ability to meet new friends. There a lots of "Mommy" networks and/or local groups you can join for support. It is nice to have a group of friends that understand your life, and you can make some great lifelong relationships.
- No Dress Code: While some might miss dressing up and looking nice each day, there are definite advantages of being able to stay in your pjs all day long! When it's cold, dark, and rainy, it's a great feeling to be able to just stay snuggled up at home.
- Healthier Kids: Day care can expose your children to new experiences, it's true, however, they can also expose them to many more germs. If your children are home with you, chances are, they will stay much healthier.
- More Time For Home Maintenance: For some, household chores are an added nuisance of the SAHM job. Others, myself included, appreciate having a bit of extra time for things around the house. When I was a working Mom, things like laundry and grocery shopping were done on the weekend. Now that I am home, it is great that I can get them done during the week, so we can save Saturdays and Sundays for fun. I also appreciate having more time to cook/prepare meals for my family.
- Well Adjusted/Attached Child: While a concern for a child with a SAHM developing separation anxiety and/or not being socialized is natural, there are many ways to avoid this. You can join play groups, enroll your children in extracurricular activities, and attend free local events to both give your child exposure to kids their own age, and time away from you. There are studies that show that children who have SAHMs can be just as well adjusted as kids in daycare, and often times benefit from a great attachment with their Moms.
- No Set Schedule: One of the wonderful benefits of being a SAHM is not having a set schedule. While you may have general guidelines (attending play group on Mondays, grocery shopping on Wednesdays, etc...), it is nice to have the option to head to the zoo when it's nice out, or have a picnic in the park, just because you want to.
- YOU Are Raising Your Child: Just as much as you may feel some negative pressure of your kids development resting on your shoulders, you can also think of that in a very positive light. Any time your child learns a new skill, acts selflessly, or speaks kindly, you can smile and think that it might just be because of you!
The fact of the matter is that there is likely no perfect way to parent... there are just many different options. Each family needs to evaluate their own situation; finances, needs, and desires, and decide what will work best for them.