Welcome to the world, little one! Once the strip turns pink and the pregnancy is confirmed, there are endless questions that need answering and a bevy of decisions that must be made. One of the most life-changing of those is the decision of whether to be a stay-at-home mom or work outside the home. The choice is never simple. Let’s take a peek at the pros and cons, shall we?
Pros of Being a Stay-at-Home-Mom (SAHM)
1. You are present for every milestone.
There is nothing like capturing the first everything when it comes to your baby. You feel your child grip your hand with their tender little fingers for the first time. You get to see the inaugural gummy first smile. You get to experience the transition from baby to toddler as their personality blossoms into the thoughtful, reasonable (well…) person they are becoming. The first steps, the first words, the first haircut, and the first trip to the zoo – it’s all captured by you (and your camera), and you couldn’t be happier about it. You don’t run the risk of another caregiver being there instead of you. You are present to usher in all the astounding “firsts.”
2. You feel the reward of your “career.”
Instead of frantically trying to balance the demands of a career and family life, you are able to focus solely on the development of your child. You are able to read books, make art projects, host impromptu dance parties and have spontaneous “dates” with your little one. You get to hear them use the words “thank you” appropriately and see that your hard work has paid off. These are the experiences that make some stay-at-home-moms feel like they are truly living in their calling.
3. You don’t spend your cash on childcare.
For some families, the cost of one parent staying home to care for their child is actually more financially viable than the rising cost of childcare. If you choose to stay home, you are able to stash that cash in savings. However, since your family is down to one income, it’s still important to have a budget so that those saved dollars don’t get buried in miscellaneous expenses.
4. You worry less.
When you are in charge of all the decisions for your child, there is less margin for worry. You decide what kind of foods they eat, what kind of medicine they take, and who they are spending their time with. All of these factors weigh into the health, safety and happiness of your child – and peace of mind for you, Mom.
Cons of Being a Stay-at-Home-Mom
1. Things can get lonely.
Missing out on adult interaction can be challenging. Especially if you’re used to being in a working environment and throwing ideas around the conference room table, discussing the Oscars at lunch, and having post-work drinks with friends. The mom life can be isolating and oftentimes void of any social interaction. No matter how fun your child is, there’s just not that much to discuss when it comes to Elmo and Thomas the Train.
2. You miss your career identity.
You were good at your previous job. You thrived under deadlines, challenged yourself with projects, and received high praise and recognition when you did a great job. You had a stellar wardrobe and an expense account. Although staying home with your child and reading “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” is rewarding, it’s not quite as stimulating as your past career. And no one is around to give you a raise and promotion when you spend the day alone nursing a sick child back to health – although those are the times when you really need a pat on the back, and perhaps a pedicure.
3. You are bored with busy work.
Sometimes the mom life can be monotonous. Change diapers, make breakfast, clean up breakfast, read books, play outside, snack, change diapers, make lunch, etc. – the routine that you work so hard to hone can quickly become imprisoning and stale. And then there’s the housework that your spouse may expect you to get done, now that you’re “not working”…
4. You never get a break.
Are you exhausted? Sick? Pregnant with another child? It doesn’t really matter, because when duty calls (as in when your child decides that 5 a.m. is the new wake up time), you don’t get the day off to rest. You have to power through and figure out a way to parent, even when you don’t feel like you can.
To Stay or Not to Stay?
There is no perfect formula for parenting. All the books, advice and articles (like this!) won’t be able to determine the perfect situation for your family. The truth is that you have to assess the needs, desires and circumstances of your unique DNA-bearing squad to determine whether you will stay home or work outside the home. Everything boils down to this one truth – if you are a mom, you are working hard. Remember that the next time you talk to a mom who parents differently than you; what works for one mom doesn’t necessarily work for another. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t tirelessly working and doing a great job, all in the name of love for their little ones.