10 Pros and Cons of Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the Stay-at-Home Mome Life

A picture of a woman in the middle of her kids
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Being a stay-at-home mom gets a bad rap. Most people think you're living the life of luxury with no job, no boss, and no workplace stress. Know the top 10 benefits and downsides of being a stay-at-home mom before you make the transition from working mom to stay-at-home mom.

1. You're Always There

Being at home with your kids is often the primary reason you have chosen this path.

  • Pro: As a stay-at-home mom, the chances are good that you will always be there when your child needs you as opposed to being stuck in a cubicle at work.
  • Con: Always being there can sometimes feel like you're trapped. You may love being a stay-at-home mom, but there will be times when you wish you could steal some moments for yourself.
  • Balance Tip: Me-time is important to any parent. Your mental and physical health depends on getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and just plain relaxing.

2. You're Never Alone

You and your child won't have the daily pangs of separation.

  • Pro: Your kids are with you almost every hour of the day. You're there for everything—first steps, first words, first skinned knees.
  • Con: You're never alone—most of the time you can't even go to the bathroom by yourself.
  • Balance Tip: Even with your kids, you need to set some personal boundaries. It is okay to establish limits.

3. You Don't Work Outside of the Home

Now, your job is taking care of your kids and home.

  • Pro: You can focus 100 percent of your time and energy on your children because you're not worried about work deadlines, what your boss will say or workplace stress.
  • Con: You may miss the interaction you had with your co-workers, the satisfaction of doing a good job, bringing in a paycheck, and even getting dressed up for work.
  • Balance Tip: You can get satisfaction and connect with other adults by volunteering at your kids' school or with community organizations. You may also be able to earn an income through a part-time work-at-home or freelance job. If you have a crafting hobby, you may be able to sell your work.

4. You Are Raising Your Child

You are intimately connected with your child's development.

  • Pro: Your children are with you a majority of the time so you won't feel like a daycare worker is raising them. You determine what they eat, their schedule, and the values they are taught. You also are fully responsible for their safety.
  • Con: It's easy to create a bubble and isolate yourself as well as your kids from the outside world.
  • Balance Tip: Get together with your mom friends and schedule play dates to make sure you are exposing all of you to social environments as you raise your family.

5. You Are Master of Your House

Household management is the at-home part of being a stay-at-home mom.

  • Pro: You run the house. Paying the bills, cooking, cleaning, getting the kids everywhere they need to be, and keeping the family schedule is all under your control.
  • Con: You may feel like it all falls on you. Even if your spouse is the world's best teammate, there will be times you feel super-stressed trying to keep up with it all while raising kids.
  • Balance Tip: You can still be in control and delegate some of the tasks to your kids. You will be teaching them important life skills and responsibility if they help with laundry, cleaning, and cooking. Form carpools and trade babysitting with other parents, or accept help from relatives. Even a stay-at-home parent can benefit from hiring out some chores such as lawn care or a thorough housecleaning every couple of weeks.

6. You Have an Employment Gap

Your resume will no longer show that you have been continuously employed.

  • Pro: When you want to go back to work, employers now seem more open to stay-at-home moms re-entering the workforce than ever before.
  • Con: You will still run into employers who see you as someone who quit her job and put a halt on climbing up the corporate ladder. Another drawback is that you will now be competing with people much younger than you with more recent experience for the same position.
  • Balance Tip: Review your resume every few months. Cover your employment gap by listing volunteer work and any freelance work you have done while at home.

7. Your Piggy Bank Has Mixed Feelings

Your contribution to the family income is now greatly reduced.

  • Pro: Staying home can be a more economical choice for some families than having to pay for childcare, gas, car maintenance, dry cleaning, wardrobe, lunch out, and salon costs.
  • Con: That two-person income just got cut down to one paycheck. The economics of coupons, budgets, and cutting costs may no longer be optional.
  • Balance Tip: Writing and sticking to a family budget can help keep you on track, reduce your stress, and make economic choices easier. You can involve your kids in couponing and find deals, giving them valuable skills for when they leave home.

8. You Experience Different Stress Levels

Workplace stress may be gone, but life always brings some amount of stress.

  • Pro: If you love every aspect of parenting your child and can even smile on the inside when your toddler is in full meltdown mode, then your stress level will probably be much lower than if you were having to raise your family while working outside the home.
  • Con: Kids can be more than a handful with whining, fighting, and misbehavior. You can have additional stresses due to reduced finances.
  • Balance Tip: When you are feeling stressed, use stress-management practices such as breathing exercises, quiet time, or meditation. You can also teach these to your children so they learn to manage their stress.

9. You Have a Different View of Life Outside of Kids

Your social life will see a big change as you have a new focus.

  • Pro: You'll meet a lot of other stay-at-home mom friends who you can arrange girls' nights with, giving yourself a little break while sharing common experiences.
  • Con: You'll probably notice a drop off in activities you take part in that you used to when you worked. You may miss engaging in social activities like office parties, business meetings, and corporate outings that tend to talk shop more than family life. Your social circle might shrink to only those other moms.
  • Balance Tip: Build and maintain connections both with other parents and with people who share your hobbies, professional, and community interests.

10. You Have a More Consistent Routine

Your family time will be more predictable.

  • Pro: You'll have more control over your family's routine as a stay-at-home mom. You won't have to worry about getting called in early to work or having to stay late for a meeting. Your routine will tend to be the same from week to week as a stay-at-home mom.
  • Con: Routine can often be equated with boredom. Your days will be planned out so well that you can easily feel like you're in a rut.
  • Balance Tip: You and your kids can benefit by adding variety, such as visits to parks or museums or spending time with relatives. If you don't know where you can fit it in, look into streamlining your schedule.