I am, for now, a stay-at-home mom. Sure, technically I’m on maternity leave. But, other than FLY 92, I’m not working for a paycheck, which means I’m (at least temporarily) part of the Pinterest-loving SAHM club.
One thing I am doing during my career hiatus is spending plenty of time on social media (feedings every three hours will do that to ya) and I see so many stories debating the merits of being a stay-at-home parent versus a mom who goes into work each day.
Each, it seems, believes their choice is the toughest one. They lament and complain and get defensive and finish each diatribe with “but it’s so worth it” as if that disclaimer somehow makes the whining acceptable.
I’m going to dare to go the opposite direction and say my current situation is the easier one. Here are 11 reasons why.
11: I can wear comfortable clothes each and every day: Please don’t confuse “comfortable clothes” with “pajamas.” I try to be dressed by 9 a.m. each day. But, these days, my wardrobe is more lululemon than L.A.M.B., and I love it.
10: I save money on clothing/drycleaning: Comfortable clothing is not only less expensive, it’s machine washable. Our drycleaning bill has been reduced by a good $50-$60 a month.
9: I don’t have to drive in the bad weather (and we’ve had a lot of it this winter): Instead, I can hunker down with Little C, dance to Baby Einstein videos in front of the fireplace and be critical of people who post to Facebook that they’re entitled to a “snow day.”
8: I rarely need to check my availability: If a fellow SAHM friend wants to have lunch, or I need to take C in for a check-up, I can. When her doctor’s office asks “what time is good for you” I don’t need to look at my calendar, because any time (outside of nap time) is good.
7: The email/voicemail load is far less demanding: Sure, I still receive messages that need attention, but the rate is about 1/20th of what it was when I was working.
6: I can do laundry/clean the bathroom/pay bills/paint a room at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday: Working moms have to do all the same things I need to get done at home, only they’re limited to after work and weekends. I am not.
5: I can take a nap (not to be confused with “I nap”): Rather than napping, I choose to go to bed early (around 9 p.m.), but the point is I can nap, if I wanted to (although Little C isn’t a big napper). A working mom can’t snuggle up under her desk and catch a few ZZZs.
4: Time to cook: When I was pregnant and exhausted and constantly nauseated and working we relied pretty heavily on take-out and leftovers. Now I’m home (and healthy) and have all day to make dinner. (And sometimes it takes all day.)
3: I don’t have to “call in” due to a sick child or daycare provider: So many parents stress (understandably) when their daycare plans get derailed. I am daycare.
2: You can’t get fired, and there’s no annual review: Well, at least not yet. I’m sure other moms will surely give me mental reviews based on how Little C turns out as she gets older (or based on this blog post). And, well, I’m near-positive she’ll get plenty annoyed with me and yell “I hate you,” at some point, and try to fire me. But, for now, it’s all smiles and coos and happiness.
1: I don’t have to prioritize: Little C can be my priority.
I agree 100%. I have tried both working full time and being a SAHM and in the end, while I was technically able to do both, being a SAHM gave us the best quality of life based solely on the lack of stress. I have at least double the free time now to do all of the things I had to do while I was working full time (and overtime!) I can finally be the mom that is able to attend school parties and field trips!! My girls are both in school now so getting a part time job during the day will be enough to supplement our income with some spending money without the fuss of days off and outrageous daycare costs.
I think you’ve been able to highlight many of the advantages of SAHM’ing. I believe you are not too distanced from working outside (and inside) your home that you can see these things. I find it interesting that you’ve picked up the social media piece of your prior work – it consumed so much of your time – but now, you can manage it, instead of the reverse, and I’m guessing you can enjoy it more.
Keep writing for us.
I couldn’t agree more. With my profession (classroom teacher), I get the perks of having lots of time home with my 2 yr old and 9 month old. While being home can totally be stressful, at the end of the day, being a SAHM is definitely the easier of the 2. You get to enjoy your weekends much more and not have to spend them doing everything you couldn’t get done during the week.
I am only 2 weeks into my maternity leave and I keep wondering what its going to be like when i go back in 6-8 more weeks! I am loving being home, and attempting to get stuff done while the little guy naps – going back to work is going to be VERY hard!
Wow, what a great list. I love numbers 1 and 2.
It’s a tough debate for sure. It really depends on exact family situations at the time. I know a stay-at-home dad who is GREAT at doing what he does. He’s even gotten into canning. And, she has a much higher paying job than he did when he was working, so it makes sense.
Situations change as jobs come and go, and different circumstances work with different kids I think, too. If it’s financially possible for at least one parent to stay home, that’s what I would do. If not, or if both parents are super passionate about their jobs, I think that’s cool too.
I agree that being a SAHM makes it easier to get things done. I’m currently on leave with a 5 week old. When I do go back it will be part time. I’m lucky that financially we’re able to do that but I know others don’t have that opportunity. Either way just appreciate the time you have with them. They are only little for a little while.
Just want to chime in that being a SAHM is much, much easier with one infant than with multiple kids or even with one toddler. I agree that it’s still easier overall to be home full time than working, but you don’t get much time to yourself with two kids age 2 and under! I work part time now and the days I go into work are more stressful in regards to dinner, commute, etc., but I get to sit for much of the day and I have a chance to check my personal email and respond on a real keyboard instead of my phone. One thing I would add to your list, though, is the guilt factor. SAHMs don’t have the working mom guilt that makes you feel bad if you take time for yourself on the weekends when you could be spending time with the kids.
Both jobs – working mom and stay at home mom – have plenty of challenges. I’ve done both.
I found the SAHM gig to be lonely, isolating, and very difficult – tougher as my daughter got older. I loved being with her but desperately missed getting out, being around adults, talking about my own interests, and using my brain. And as soon as they are mobile the house upkeep gets 100 times harder – in fact, the house gets messier the more you’re home with a toddler! I also found the financials of one income to be stressful.
As a working mom, other things are challenging – finding the right childcare setting, keeping up with cooking and cleaning (thank goodness for an awesome partner), the guilt. But I like that my daughter sees both her dad and I working at careers that we’ve worked hard to build.
I don’t think either gig is easier – or rather, it depends on the day. Right now, I’ve found a great balance of working 4-days a week, and 3-day weekends with my 2-year old. It’s all about finding the balance that works for you.