Stay At Home Mom (SAHM): Is it for me?

Many women work nowadays, especially those who build their lives and families in urban areas. Ultimately, when they become mothers, this question will pop up: Should I become a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM)?

If you are a working mother wondering if you can and/or should make the transition to Stay At Home Mom (SAHM), here’s the gist of what to expect.

It’s Not Going To Be Smooth Sailing

To start off, one major disadvantage of being a SAHM with no help from family (a sister, a mother, an in-law living) nearby is that you don’t get days off or sick leave.

You are also expected to accommodate your spouse who is always tired whilst you are never allowed to be.

Why are you tired? You’re always at home!” is going to be something you may hear a lot, as if you automatically recharge once you step through the house door. Don’t let that bug you.

You’re expected to keep the house clean, keep your body slim, tend to the children’s every need then your spouse’s every need.

You’re going to be up at an ungodly hour, prepping kids then meals, doing the laundry then the dishes, run to the market, post office, school, bank, government offices etc because your significant other can’t take time off from work to do these runs and get back in time for their next meeting.

At the end of the day, you will be expected to wear a smile on your face.

It’s All About The Money

The amount of things to do every day will seem endless, and for many SAHM they opt to get outside help for instance they take away food instead of cooking, and opt for school buses instead of doing school runs themselves.

If you want to get outside help, you can, if your spouse earns enough. (We’ll talk about money later on. It needs its own section.)

You want to go for a facial, do your hair, get a mani/pedicure etc, sure, no problem, but this is a conversation between you and your spouse.

Different households have different financial situations which can lead to different conversations.

But all of us will have to be really good with money, and figure out how to manage that finite amount we have to work with every month.

If there comes a time when you don’t have enough to work with, you have to (or learn to) tell the breadwinner. Remember that it’s not your fault if people decide to hike prices, so don’t apologise for asking for a higher allowance/funds.

Splitting responsibilities

As a Stay at Home Parent, you run a household so all you need to do is worry about the household; income is not under your department.

I say this because it’s likely that you are not getting help around the house from your spouse if s/he is working and you are not. Because that’s not their department.

It’s some weird unspoken deal that was made when one of you stops working. I believe this is one of the many issues that will plague households that make that transition from two working parents to one working parent.

Some couples hash it out, while others go into multiple weekly fights fighting about whose turn it is to do the dishes and take out the trash. It helps to remember that everyone is entitled to a break (even though they are always at home).

Many Things Won’t Go In Your Favour

There will be other things that will leave you feeling second-rate. What actually transpires may be different from one house to the next, but here are just a few examples of what to look out for:

  • Often, you may be made to feel like you are second-class; phone calls from work will always take precedence before you, and your family time. You will have to be both parents to your children.
  • You could have completed nine things in the span of an hour, but people will focus on that one thing you have not done just yet. “Why is the laundry/dishes/dinner still not done? They will interrogate you but they will probably not lift a finger to help. At times like this, ask for help rather than asking them why they are not helping. In other words, say “Can you help me pick up the kids from piano class?” rather than “Would it kill you to pick up Sam from piano class on your way home for lunch?
  • When your spouse breaks promises to your children, you have to also be the one who will have to defend them, even though you yourself are upset with them.
  • On top of that, the children’s problems are always your fault. Bad grades? Your fault for not sending them to enrichment classes. Too skinny? Your fault for not being a better cook. Fell down scrape their knee in school? It’s your fault for not getting them involved more in sports. Got bullied? Your fault for not teaching them to stick up for themselves. Teacher complain about them? Your fault for not making them perfect little angels. They taking junk food, soft drinks, fast food? Your fault for opting for the drive-thru instead of hunting for healthier albeit slower, more expensive and more cumbersome alternatives.

So… Are You Saying “Don’t” Be A SAHM?

By now, you may be thinking, “you know what? Being a SAHM doesn’t sound like all it’s cracked up to be. Maybe a SAHM isn’t for me after all seeing as how it looks like an incredibly bad deal on the part of the mom’s.”

Well, it depends on the type of partner you have and whether you have a healthy mindset that will allow you to attach significance to your role as a SAHM.

Having a supportive partner goes a long way. A supportive partner will not only help out with the kids and in the house, he will also acknowledge your contributions in keeping expenses low in the house and putting nutritious food on the table, and he will speak on your behalf when people say silly things like, “why stay at home all day? Come out to work and contribute to society.”

On that last note, I’ve just recently learned that you have to treat being a SAHM as an actual job.

You have to list your achievements, your capabilities and your disadvantages and not let people put you or your role down. Like it or not, your children are a product of your upbringing and the environment you put them in – and thus, your source of pride.

When your children behave in public, are healthy, well-fed, know how to handle themselves and their siblings well, are opinionated, are fun to be with, are helpful, respectful to elders etc – that means you excel in your role as a SAHM.

And I promise you, being told that “you are a good mom” will make all the behind-the-scenes worth it.

Personal thoughts: I should write about the way you never notice SAHM contribute to society.