Pressures of Being a Stay-at-Home Mom
One of the most unappreciated career choices is being a stay-at-home mom. Yes, I said career choices. Being a stay-at-home mom is multiple full-time jobs rolled into one. Most people believe that stay-at-home moms (SAHMs) have it made in the shade so to speak. I am always amazed at how many people think stay-at-home moms have an abundant amount of time on our hands. In fact, I don't know how many friends and family have called me up asking me to do something at a drop of the hat. As if I don't already have a large list of things to do.
Many people perceive stay-at-home moms as couch potatoes watching daytime television all day or sitting at the computer goofing off. This isn't always the case. Most stay-at-home moms do most if not all the cooking, the cleaning, providing taxi service to the kids, the budget, the laundry, and so much more. In fact, stay-at-home moms are constantly moving and on most days realizing there just isn't enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. Even though being a SAHM has its challenges, it still has its many rewards.
I have talked with other stay-at-home moms regarding how they feel we are perceived by society today. We all agreed that when someone asks us what we do for a living and we respond that we are a stay-at-home mom, we generally get a response that has a hint of disapproving judgment to it. We also realized that if we tell people that we are work-at-home moms (WAHMs) then we are given a better, more approving response. It's as if we have to be earning some sort of income to be a person of value. Most stay-at-home moms know that our job, paid or not, is one of the most important jobs in the world. However, it does bother some of us that other people are not as accepting.
What type of mom are you?
How others perceive stay-at-home moms isn't the only issue. Many households are faced with the decision of whether they can afford for the mother to stay at home to raise their children and care for the home. In today's economy, it generally takes two incomes just to survive. Many households struggle to pay bills and give the kids things they need and ask for on one income. In today's world, everything has a price tag it seems.
Sometimes stay-at-home moms put pressure on themselves to return to work. Many moms had a career before having kids and decided to put their career on hold to raise a family. There are a few stay-at-home moms that feel guilty about doing this. They may contemplate the difficulties in returning to work at a later time because many employers do not like gaps in employment. There is also the issue of whether there will be a job available in their field at all.
There are other factors to consider regarding why some moms become stay-at-home moms, to begin with. The rising cost of childcare is astounding. I have a friend that goes to work outside the home, but wonders if being a stay-at-home mom would be better in the long run. Her salary covers mostly gas to get to and from work and to pay for child care for her two children so that she may actually work outside the home. She doesn't have that much money left over at the end of the month to distribute in other places. It is like she is working just for child care and the cost of getting to work when she could be at home raising her children full time.
As previously mentioned, stay at home moms are sometimes unappreciated. However, some stay-at-home moms put pressure on themselves. Many times they strive to be the supermom type and feel disappointed in themselves when they haven't accomplished everything they need to do in a day. A few stay-at-home moms begin to second guess their decision to stay home, thinking they weren't cut out to be a stay at home mom and struggle with the idea of returning to the workforce.
Even family can put pressure on stay-at-home moms to return to work. Many husbands are supportive but there are a few that tend to put stay-at-home moms on the defensive, whether they intended to or not. It isn't just husbands either; it can be in-laws and extended family. Questions with condescending tones such as, "So what did you do all day" doesn't help the situation. Family members can be more brutal than their peers.
You will always find family and/or peers that think they know what's best for your child more than you do. They may bring up how Sally needs to be in daycare to gain better social skills and foundations for school. What they fail to realize is as a stay-at-home mom, you have more freedom to schedule play-dates and trips to the public park where other children play. Most cases moms even work with our children learning their alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors, and more before they get to school age. Daycare isn't the only place to find social interaction and learning.
Do you think stay-at-home moms are pressured to work outside the home?
Some advice to all mothers is not to worry with what others think. Before you decide to return to work, be sure to weigh all of the pros and cons. Make a physical list of what you don't like about being a stay-at-home mom, what you like about being a stay-at-home mom, and what you love about being a stay-at-home mom. Next, make a list of the benefits to returning to work as well as the downsides to returning to work. After you have made your lists, discuss the issue with your spouse. Ask his opinions about the subject. Ask him to make his own list of pros and cons. Only the two of you can decide what is best for you and your children. It is okay to seek the advice of friends and family, but it is a decision you and your spouse must make together on whether you should return to work or not. If being a stay-at-home mom works for you and your immediate family, don't pay the pressures of returning to work outside the home any attention.
© 2014 Linda Sarhan