A lot of moms I’ve talked to agree that being a mom is literally one of the best things that happens to us in our lives – that’s not much contested – but there IS great debate over if the reasons to be a stay at home mom outweigh the reasons NOT to be.
We live in an entirely different world with entirely different opportunities and pressures than the stay at home moms of the past, and the decision is harder for us that it was for our grandmas (largely because it exists lol).
These days, not only do we have to make the difficult choice about if it’s right for us personally to stay home and take care of the kids full time, we also have to LIVE with the consequences of that choice for our whole life.
For me, the decision to be at home was an easy one… but if you have a job you love, or if you’re very worried about money etc it might not be so clear cut for you.
There are LOTS of good reasons to be a stay at home mom, and here my top 14!
These first few reasons have to do with new babies, so if you’ve got older kids and you’re trying to decide if you should become a stay at home mom or not, skip to number five! (If you’re on maternity leave currently, some of these first reasons will apply more to you.)
Early disclaimer – you’ll notice “it’s easy” is not on the list lol. It’s hard work being a stay at home mom… but hard work is relative, and to me, it’s LESS hard work than long days at the office, meeting dress code requirements, and missing your child’s milestones.
1) You get to raise your baby the way *you* want
In this extremely “non-judgmental” day and age, there is a heck of a lot of judgement going around. Moms might be some of the MOST judged people I know! If you don’t want to have a fight about formula vs breastfeeding, co-sleeping vs cry it out, or the pros and cons of any medical procedures, stay out of social media mommy groups! lol.
Moms who work out of the home have fewer choices – for example, waking up every hour for 9 months in a row might not be an option for these moms, because being at the office at 8 am is grossly hard when you’ve only slept a collective 58 minutes all night. (I actually wonder if so many OF the mom-fights stem from this very cause.) It also might not be as easy a choice to breastfeed, or you might HAVE to do daycare, even if that’s not your ideal wish for your child.
If you’re at home, it truly does open doors for doing what YOU want. If you want to raise your baby with cloth diapers, baby-led weaning, and attachment parenting… you can do that!
2) Breastfeeding becomes SO much easier
As we mentioned earlier; and I’m not saying that it’s impossible to breastfeed and work – because it totally is – but if you’re home with your baby it’s a lot easier.
If you, like me, struggle to get anything out with a pump, working and pumping would be a nightmare!
I have friends that worked and pumped for a full year… and I can literally not imagine how those rockstars did it.
If I was working, I would have been 100% formula, all the way. Breastfeeding is just too hard when you’re not with the baby, imo.
3) You get to see all their “firsts”
Your baby’s first smile, first step, first word… it’s such a special time and YOU CAN NEVER GET IT BACK. I remember an episode of the Modern Family where Mitchell was distressed that he was missing all Lilly’s firsts… and so he quit his job. (In that episode he does go back to being the working husband, because it turns out working is for him, but my point is just that the pain of missing those firsts is real!)
4) Baby sleep becomes a non-issue
If you’re lucky enough to have a baby who sleeps well, you can sleep then too!
Or if you, like me, are not so lucky… it matters A LOT LESS.
I wish I had realized this from the start.
Baby sleep was AGONIZING for me when I had my first baby. He was awake all. the. time.
He woke up every hour on the hour for over 6 months. And I didn’t WANT to sleep train him but I felt like we HAD TO sleep train. I didn’t understand back then that baby sleep as an industry is FOR the working mom. I literally could not have zombie-d in the office and held a job. i lost count of the number of times my husband found me crying at 7:30 am in the kitchen, stuffing my face with baby snack bars, having been awake for 48 hours or more.
But when you don’t work out of the house, it doesn’t MATTER – once I realized I didn’t have to “get up for the day” just because it was morning, my life changed. My baby would doze off around 6 am and sleep for a few hours… and since I didn’t have anywhere to go, I could sleep then too.
Nap time is also easier and far more in your control (if naps are important to you – and they were important to me!)
5) You can develop a closer bond with your kids
This seems obvious, but it’s easily overlooked.
Being a stay at home mom gives you a change to be *the* person they go to. And it’s awesome.
You’ll have so much more quality time with your kids.. if you work, you think that you’ll make time in the evening, or on the weekend, to bond with your kiddos… but life happens. You have other things to do in the evening and on the weekend also that can’t just be swept under the rug.
This is especially important if you have more than one child – as the actual time you have to spend one on one with them is halved (or more).
6) There are SO MANY benefits to your children
Sure, bonding with mom is a benefit to your child, but I mean even more concrete benefits than that.
This might ruffle the feathers of those opposed to a parent staying at home, but there are actual scientific benefits to children who have a stay at home parent (who keeps the kids with them during the day).
A recent study suggests that cortisol levels are MUCH higher in young children who attend daycare. Cortisol is the stress hormone. That’s a big deal.
There are also studies that suggest that nutrition is much better at home than it is outside of the home for young kids and older kids alike. (Of course, that depends entirely on what you choose to feed your kids lol. We eat a TON of veggies, so I believe this would be true for my kids. If you struggle with getting your kids to eat healthy, here’s my best tips on getting kids to eat vegetables.)
These are just a few examples, because I KNOW this point is going to be a point of contention for those who read this with a critical eye, but I believe that it’s true. The benefits to your children alone are a great reason to stay home, but there are lots of great benefits to YOU, and we will talk about a few of those next.
7) You can make your own schedule
This is not a minor benefit. At least not to me.
This is LIFE CHANGING.
I’m not actually cut out to have someone else dictate my schedule. (And this is one of the many, many reasons that I have a stay at home mom job, and I plan to homeschool. I need FREEDOM lol.)
If it’s a gorgeous day and you want to go to the park, you do that.
If your mom calls and offers to take you and the kids shopping – RIGHT NOW – you do that, too.
It’s also much easier to co-ordinate vacations around just one person’s work schedule – yay!
Life can be more spontaneous on a stay at home mom schedule.
Heck, we put our kids to bed at 10 pm, so that they sleep in till 10 am, so that I can sleep in ’till 9 or get up early and have a few hours to myself… whatever, it’s my time!
8) You can pursue your hobbies and interests
With a flexible schedule (remember, the freedom), you can finally have time for things you’re passionate about. It’s true that you won’t have “loads of free time”, but you don’t have that while you’re working either do you?
It might seem challenging at first – especially with little kids – to fit in your own things, but it’s totally possible. You can start a hobby just for fun, or a hobby to make money!
Here’s a bunch of ways to get an hour to yourself with little kids at home.
9) You can make BETTER friends
One common fear I hear when moms talk about leaving their jobs to be at home full time is the idea that they will no longer have a social life (since so many adults rely on workplace friendships to fill that gap).
But, as a mom without a job tying you down, you can make BETTER friends and cultivate relationships with the people you CHOOSE to, rather than the ones that you’re forced to be with through work.
When we talk about stay at home mom-ing being a lonely pursuit, that is assuming you don’t make the effort to go out and meet people / spend time with friends. (And it doesn’t just have to be mom friends, although you’ll probably find that it’s easy to hold a conversation with other at home mamas because you will have so much in common with them.)
10) You can be the *primary* role model for your kids
When YOU are who they spend the most time with, YOU will be their primary role model. A harsh reality for parents is that the person who their child spends the most time with is their primary role model. If that’s a baby sitter or day care provider, that’s what it is.
Becoming a stay at home parent is a personal choice, but it’s a choice that affects more people than just you.
11) You don’t have to worry about what your children are exposed to while you’re not there
You don’t have to deal with any dramas – sicknesses, bullies, bad childcare providers who aren’t really taking proper care of your child.
Not being in charge of what they’re exposed to every day is hugely stressful!
We watch TV – and I don’t even feel bad about it – but I want to KNOW what they are watching on TV. (Think your daycare doesn’t use TV? Double check that, because according to this article more than two-thirds of child care centers surveyed near a major metropolitan area have televisions and computers, and most don’t follow recommended limits on use for screen time, a new study shows.
Now, I know we can’t shelter our children forever. I know that one day sooner or later they’re going to learn all the adult things in the world. But since I’m home with them, it won’t be today.
12) You can save money on childcare
If you’re paying for childcare, one of the often overlooked reasons to be be a stay at home mom is that it can actually save a lot of money while raising kids. Daycare cost – in most places – is astronomical and rising all the time.
Do the math, and find out how much money you will ACTUALLY bring home after you deduct the cost or child care and transportation and see if it’s even worth it on paper to work out of the house.
If it doesn’t make sense financially as one of your reasons to be a stay at home mom, consider working from home. I’m a work from home / stay at home mom (this blog is my job) and I think it’s the perfect solution. There are SO many benefits of working from home for moms.
13) You get to spend more time with your partner
If you’re both working full-time during the day, and squeezing in quality time with your kids on the weekend, it’s hard to find quality time to spend together.
It’s even HARDER when you’re expected to work over time or weekends.
14) You can always go back to work… but you can’t get this time back
Being at home with your kids is not forever – you can get a part-time job as soon as they’re in school (and you can have a full-time job by the time they’re in high school if you want), so we’re really only talking about a few years outside of the work force.
What are your primary reasons to be a stay at home mom?
At the end of the day, it’s a real life decision that no one else can make for you, that needs to be made based on your mental health, your family values. There really is no wrong answer to the question “should I become a stay at home mom” – but there is only ONE CHANCE in your life to answer it at all.
Once your kids are past a certain age, being a stay at home mom is irrelevant.