I’ve never questioned whether or not I wanted to be a mom. While I know that it’s not something everyone wants, for me it just seemed like the natural and obvious choice. Ive always loved kids and caring for them. I’m the oldest of six, always babysat on the weekends in high school & nannies in college. I had no doubt in my mind that I someday wanted kids of my own.
However, one thing that I went back and forth on was whether or not I wanted to stay at home after having kids. Even after having Jack I still sometimes think about what it would be like if I were working outside of the home.
I’ve had a few friends who are expectant mothers ask me about my decision to stay home; if I enjoy it, what I do all day and how I made the decision. I consulted other friends, both stay at home and working moms, when I was unsure myself. I thought it might be helpful to share a bit more about my decision to stay at home for anyone having the same internal debate themselves.
“Stay at Home Mom” Assumptions
Stay at home moms are often depicted as someone who lounges around all day or never changes out of their pajamas or had anything going on. I can assure you that’s not the case, at least not for me. Yes, there are occasional days where I don’t change out of my pajamas or get ready for the day. It’s not out of laziness but because Jack keeps me busy and I don’t take time for myself.
I will admit that I even had assumptions about what SAHM life would be like. I thought I would get up and make myself coffee and breakfast every morning, cook dinner every night, stay on top of housework and laundry…. insert laughter and eye roll here. Maybe other new moms are more on top of things than me but I definitely don’t do any of those regularly. It’s much different than I thought it would be. I’ll explain more throughout the post.
Do I Enjoy It
As with every aspect of life, there are ups and downs. Do I enjoy motherhood? 110%. Do I enjoy staying at home? Yes and no. I don’t regret my decision to stay at home but it can be lonely, exhausting, and boring. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my time with Jack and am so glad that I get to be with him for every little moment. But I spend my days doing the same things over and over and over again, conversing with someone who can’t talk back to me. By the end of the day I’m exhausted and feel like I need a break from mom-mode (which I then feel guilty for), but that break never really comes. It’s a constant battle of loving my time at home while also wishing that I weren’t always the primary caregiver.
What I Miss About Working Outside of the Home
Truthfully one of the only things I miss about my job is the daily interaction with other adults. Other than the time I have with Andrew in the evenings, I go most days without face-to-face interaction with other adults. If you are going to stay at home it’s super important to have other SAHM friends that you can get together with during the day or join a mom group so that you don’t feel so alone day to day.
One other silly thing I miss about work is getting dressed up everyday. I still try to get ready everyday because I just feel so much better once I’m dressed for the day ,but I miss the fun and dressy clothes that are now impractical for my new day to day activities.
What I Do All Day
My “schedule” now that I’m staying at home with Jack is much different than I thought it would be. I imagined it would be much more relaxing and productive than it is. Jack constantly wants to be on the go and gets bored fast so I spend most of the day trying to keep him entertained. He also isn’t a great sleeper so I don’t really get a break during naps because they rarely happen. I know not all babies require quite as much constant entertainment as Jack so it may be different for other moms in terms of the time they are able to devote to other household activities. Yes, I still try to get stuff done around the house. I usually multi-task by cleaning, cooking or folding laundry all while still trying to entertain & interact with Jack. And if I’m lucky enough to get him down for a nap I try to quickly fit in a bit more housework so that I don’t have to multi-task later.
Being a SAHM is truly all about my kiddo. I have very little time to myself or time to devote to things I want to do or enjoy (hence why I haven’t been blogging as much). Ask our parents and they will tell you, it’s pretty much the Jack Show 24/7 around here right now. He is a bit of a high maintenance baby. It’s exhausting but I’m okay with that.
Why I Ultimately Decided to Stay Home
It was the best decision for our family. People often look at me surprised when they find out that Andrew is a med student and I stay at home rather than work. The extended program that he is in is very demanding and time consuming. He often works 80+ hours a week. Because of this we thought it best for Jack if he had one full time parent. That’s not to say that Andrew doesn’t make time for Jack, he absolutely does. But we felt that with as busy he is, if I was working outside of the house that things would fall apart whether it be the house, our relationship or our role as parents.
Another big part of my decision is the role my own mom played in my upbringing. She stayed at home with us and for a while also ran a daycare from home. I loved how involved my mom was able to be in our everyday life and activities and I knew I wanted to do that for my children without the struggle of balancing work life (not to say that it can’t be done. Mom’s who work outside of the home and manage to balance it all truly amaze me. I know that it would have been a major source of anxiety for me.)
Should You Stay Home?
I have so much respect for moms. Period. Whether they work outside of the house, work from home or stay at home full time. It’s not easy no matter which you choose.
Staying at home isn’t for everyone and it truly comes down to what is best for you, your partner and your baby.
Here are a few things to consider if you are trying to decide which option is best for you:
1. Can you afford to stay home? Is daycare more expensive than it’s worth?
2. Can you find a daycare/caregiver that you are comfortable with?
3. Would one of the options provide more/less anxiety or stress?
4. Is your current employer understanding of the needs of a new mom (sick days to care for baby, time/places to pump at work, being home at a reasonable hour, etc.)
These are just a few things that went through my head when I was trying to decide what was truly best for us. Everyone has different priorities and concerns when it comes to parenthood. No choice is more valid than another. It doesn’t matter what someone else is doing. What matters is what works for YOU and your family. If you have any other questions about SAHM life feel free to reach out!
Are/were you a SAHM? What helped you make your decision to stay home or work outside of the home?