Why You Shouldn’t Be a Stay at Home Mom
I have to confess: I would make a TERRIBLE stay-at-home mom… I can say this with certainty now, but back when being at home all the time was my dream, I never actually gave any consideration to the very legit reasons not to be a stay at home mom.
(I would also make the. worst. employee. ever – and I truly do love BEING at home with my kids – but I consider myself a work at home mom, not a stay at home mom – and those things are wildly different. LOL.)
The events of the last couple years – you know, the world-wide pandemic and the work from home orders and the closure of hundreds of thousands of businesses (not to mention schools) – have put pressure on almost EVERYONE… but I believe they’ve put even MORE pressure on moms.
Moms who have always worked outside the house before are asking – either because they CAN now, or they HAVE TO now, depending on their situation – “Is it a good idea to be a stay at home mom?“
Well, there are tons of benefits and reasons to be a stay at home mom, honestly.
But there are also some serious drawbacks you should consider before you make the choice to give up your outside-of-the-home job!
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What are the legit reasons not to be a stay-at-home mom?
Let’s get this out of the way up front: there is no shame in not wanting to be a stay-at-home mom.
Fifty years ago, women were expected to stay home and raise their children with hopes of one day taking a crappy part-time job to earn pocket money. Those days are gone. Women make up almost 60% of the workforce.
Your decision to become a stay at home mom or not should be based on what’s best for you and your family – not on some outdated social construct.
Here are real reasons you shouldn’t be a stay-at-home mom:
1) Money might be tight
Obviously, the number one reason we work is to earn income. Some women can’t stay at home because they must be out earning a paycheck.
The insane inflation we’ve seen lately – rising food and energy prices, not to mention home costs – push us into the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. If you’re already there, losing income won’t help.
You wouldn’t be alone if you WANT to be a stay at home mom but you just can not afford it.
Our family lives in a high cost of living area, and we would struggle on a single income, even if we were super frugal.
Getting a stay at home mom job was the best of both worlds for me… I get to be at home with my kids WHILE I work and earn a decent income.
2) You Might Actually Love Your Job (- and that’s ok!)
Being happy with your job is rare, and if you’re in a place that makes you happy and keeps you motivated – all the while giving you a paycheck – it would be a mistake to leave that behind without a second thought.
Loving your job can be a real gift in this lifetime… and there will come a time when the kids are out of the house and you’ll really WANT to be at work.
If you leave your current job, will there be other opportunities to get back into the field you’re in now? Truly consider this when deciding to become a stay at home mom!
You don’t want to be in a position where you feel resentful for “giving up” what you have for your kids – if this feels like it might be the case, be careful before you decide to become a stay at home mom!
3) You Might Be a Better Mom If You Work
If you haven’t spent days on end with your kids, you might not realize this yet… but it can be REALLY hard to entertain little people all day.
You might find yourself frustrated and angry with your kids a lot more of then you think you will (ask me how I know – I’ve even had to learn to employ tricks to get an hour to myself here and there)!
I have friends who have shared with me that they are MUCH better moms when they work – and I know it’s true for me too! Of all the reasons not to be a stay at home mom, this might be the most important one.
Some people aren’t cut out to be around kids all the time – you should be honest with yourself about if this is you or not before you decide to be a stay at home mom.
Try it out – take a week off work (while your husband is working) and see if you can be the CEO of entertainment and discipline for 7 days in a row!
You’ll be disappointed with yourself if you’re just yelling and trying to get away from them all day, and it could be the number one reason you regret becoming a stay at home mom!
4) Your Husband Might Want You To Work
If becoming a stay at home mom is going to cause massive friction in your marriage, it might not be worth it.
Your husband might feel a ton of pressure as the only income earner, and depending on his salary, his stress might be justified.
5) You Might Feel Trapped or House-Bound
If you love “getting out” – just leaving the house every day dressed up with make-up on, and being around people, you probably shouldn’t strive to stay at home.
Yes, you can get out with kids, but I promise it’s not the same as being out as an adult. Getting out with kids is HARD.
Even just going to the store is hard.
There’s packing the bag, getting everyone in the car, breaking up the fight on the way to the store, getting everyone out of the car, getting everyone into the store, keeping everyone away from the glass things on the shelves, breaking up the fight in the store, paying for everything without losing everyone, and getting everyone PLUS the groceries back out and into the car. Then realizing you forgot the bread.
Some days, you won’t even have the energy to go to the store – so you might end up at home A LOT.
6) You Might Feel Alienated From Your Friends
If you don’t have friends who are stay at home moms, I PROMISE you will feel misunderstood by your current friends.
Until you’ve done stay at home mom-ing, you can not understand stay at home mom-ing. (It’s hard to explain “I hate being a stay at home mom” to people who think you sit on the coach and read all day while drinking lattes!)
You can absolutely find new circles, but that takes effort and getting out of the house. I am NOT the kind of person who likes to meet new people. So take that into consideration too!
7) Even if You’re Not Alienated, You Might Be Lonely
Remember how getting out of the house is hard?
Even if you don’t feel alienated from your current friends, you might be surprised to find that you feel lonely anyway.
Doing mom groups or chatting on the phone are great ways to connect with people, but there’s an element to deep personal conversation that’s lost when you’re interrupted every 30 seconds.
( I do find that working online helps alleviate the loneliness for me! I feel like I’m always “with” people lol.)
8) You Might be Bored or Depressed
I only WISH I was kidding!
Feeling happy as a stay-at-home mom takes work. Boredom and depression are real hazards of stay at home mom life – it comes from the other things we talked about; alienation, loneliness, being house-bound, fighting with the kids, feeling like you’ve lost your “identity” in your job, and feeling broke (just to name a few).
9) Being a Stay at Home Mom is Harder Than Working
There are studies that suggest that staying at home with the kids is harder than working outside – probably for all the reasons outlined above.
Of course, that truly probably depends on your job and how much you love or hate it, but after being an at home mom, I can attest it’s likely true.
I’m far more emotionally invested in my work as at at home mom, and that alone makes it harder. I feel like more of a failure when I lose my patience with my kids then I did when I spilled coffee, for example.
It’s just… harder.
Being a stay-at-home mom isn’t for everyone, and there are plenty of real reasons not to do it
All that said, if you find yourself thinking about it these days, I would strongly encourage you to find a job you can do FROM HOME.
I have a sitter that comes in a few times per week so I can work.
My work takes the financial pressure off my husband, and it keeps my brain from getting mushy. It entertains me and gives me adult connections so I’m not lonely.
It really is the best of both words – and it negates a lot of the most concerning reasons not to become a stay at home mom!
Are you weighing up the pros and cons of being a stay at home mom?
Here’s a few more resources you might find helpful: