Mom life

Is a Stay at Home Mom Enough?

My husband and I recently began attending a new church, which means we are surrounded by a crowd of people we don’t know. Now it’s time to make new friends and ask those common small talk questions. As I’m standing there, in a sea of unfamiliar faces, someone asks me, “What is it you do?”

“I’m just a stay at home mom,” I reply, as I try to gauge the reaction on this person’s face. Does she approve? Have I suddenly lost her interest?

Suddenly, I realize I’ve done it again. I’ve told the world that I am just a stay at home mom, as if it’s a position that makes me less worthy, important, or valuable.

I greet another woman with small children, and I instinctively ask her the same question, “What do you do?”

I watch her pause as a mixture of fear and shame crosses her face before she hesitantly answers, “I actually stay at home with my kids.” That answer is swiftly followed by comments like, “but it really is a lot of work,” or “I keep really busy taking care of the boys and supporting my husband in his small business,” or “I plan to go back to work sometime soon.” No matter the reply, each is given as a defense. Women, like myself, feel they must justify themselves, as they stand on trial before adults in the workforce.

Why? Why do moms feel they have to justify their decision to stay home?

Our culture is infused with a “women can do it all attitude.” As a result, women are given the freedom to pursue whatever they want. She can be a mom, a wife, highly educated, and a working woman. When a woman tells you she is a lawyer, people recognize her accomplishments. When a woman informs you that she works as a telemarketer, people are curious about the commission structure. When a woman announces that she is a barista at Starbucks, people ask if she gets a discount on the coffee. But no one asks any of them to justify their career decisions. No one thinks less of those women. Women who pursue careers are considered important and valuable. They put in the hard work. They contribute to society. I applaud the women who have used that privilege to find their way in the workforce. I know they have worked hard to get there.

What bothers me about this “women can it do all” attitude, is that it’s a double edged sword. Women are given the incredible liberty to pursue a career, but they are still expected to maintain all the traditional domestic duties. I think it’s unfair to expect these women to complete the work of two full-time jobs. If I were in their position, I would fail under the weight of those responsibilities. But hey, I’m not a working mom. I don’t pretend to understand their struggles. What I do know, is when a woman chooses to stay home and devote herself to her family and household instead of pursue a career, it’s not considered enough. For some reason, she is made to feel inferior for her career choice. She can’t just be a stay at home mom. She has to do more. She has to try harder. It doesn’t matter what side of the sword women are on, it still cuts.

As a stay at home mom, it often feels like I am being questioned or judged. People wonder what I do all day. For some reason, my role is seen as a cop-out. People automatically assume I wouldn’t want to stay home, so they ask when I plan on going back to work. It often feels like people silently look down on me, consider me less important, or think I’m lazy. For some reason, being a stay at home mom isn’t enough. And I know I’m not the only stay at home mom who feels that way.

So to all you stay at home moms out there, let me tell you something. What you do is enough. Who you are is enough.

You don’t need to justify your decision to stay at home with your kids. Every career choice requires effort, sacrifice, and mastering a certain set of skills, even being a stay at home mom. Stay at home moms just chose to master hotel management, day care, event planning, catering, cleaning services, budgeting, interior decorating, laundry services, conflict resolution, first aid, counseling, teaching, and scheduling. Moms are great at what they do. They just don’t have a salary and no ones gives them a job title with the possibility of promotion in the future.

If you are a stay at home mom, don’t justify your decision to anyone. You don’t need to defend yourself. Your career choice is enough. What you do is enough. You contribute to society, the world just hasn’t seen the fruit of your labor. But someday, your children will be well-adjusted, kind, compassionate, hard-working, adults who understand the value of family and home. They will enter the world, and everyone will finally see and experience your contribution to society.

Most importantly, you are enough. It doesn’t matter how many kids you have or how long you decide to stay at home. It doesn’t matter if you live in an apartment or if you are the world’s best cook. You are enough. You’re not enough because of what you do. You are enough because of who you are. No one can be the wife you are. No one can give life to the children you gave birth to. No one can be the mother you are. No one can be you.

That makes you enough, over and over and over again.

Being a stay at home mom is enough. Being you, is enough. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

The next time someone inevitably asks what you do, tell them with pride that you are a stay at home mom. If people don’t know how to respond, just give them a taste of your awesome employee benefits. Pull some snacks out of your diaper bag and ask, “Would you like the Goldfish or the fruit snacks?”

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29 thoughts on “Is a Stay at Home Mom Enough?

  1. I think SAHM’s are the real warriors. I’m a working mom, and there’s no way I’d be able to do it. But I’m a better mom when I’m working, it’s just something I’ve learned about myself. We’re all different, but all the same:) Gret post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love it. Very well said. Just a few weeks ago, my sister in law asked me if I’m going back to work. Of course I said yes, when my son gets older. And if we don’t have a second baby. I feel like I had to give a reason. Why can’t I just say no, I want to be a sahmom until my child can take care of himself. My husband is in the military, so most of our friends, the spouses are sahms. But when we talk to the “outside” people, I feel like I have to defend my answer all the time.
    Sometimes, these blogging/vlogging/social media thing I do makes me wonder if people think “this is all I do all day”…..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this post. Everytime I run into friends who went back to work after they had their babies, I feel so guilty! And they always say “awww that must be so nice to be at home. Im jealous!” 😖 and relatives always ask what I do everyday now that I don’t ‘work’. I have two incredibly important people to take care of now. That is what I do…(sigh) and I always have to feel that I have to explain the reason why I decided not to go back to work…. (“oh the daycare for two is too expensive..”etc… but honestly, I WANTED to be with them)
    Why do we have to feel guilty? I feel like social pressure in this society has to calm down… Thank you for encouraging and inspiring us as always 🙂 You are a wonderful mom and most importantly your precious baby and your husband know it❤

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    1. It’s hard to put into words what we do as stay at home moms, because we don’t have a special job title and our work changes every single day. Plus, people don’t see the results of what we do for another 18+ years! Don’t feel guilty. You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. I think it’s great that you want to stay home with your kids! Honestly, what is more important than our children? You are amazing, and a great mother. Your family is lucky to have you! Life would be a lot more chaotic if you weren’t home with your boys!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes. Yes. Yes. Thank you for this. I do this all the time. “Oh. I am just a stay at home mom” and then I continue to explain the career I had before kids. From now on, my head will be held high as a PROUD stay at home mom.

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  5. LOVE Heather 🙂 I love being a SAHM! Best decision Clay and I have made for our family. And now our most common phrase is – I dont know how in the WORLD we ever accomplished everything that needs to be done with the kids and at home when I was working!!

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    1. I’m so glad you decided to become a SAHM. It’s seriously amazing. And I agree! I really don’t know how people can accomplish all the needs of the home and children while also working full time. That is a struggle I don’t understand.

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  6. I love this. I used to teach middle school language arts while raising three small children. I couldn’t do it all. Each day I felt that I was failing at both jobs. After much prayer, God led me to focus on the most important role of all: motherhood. I decided to leave my career and teach my children at home. It was the best decision I ever made. And it doesn’t matter what the world thinks. “You contribute to society, the world just hasn’t seen the fruit of your labor.” That’s my favorite line from your post. Thank you for writing this!

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    1. That’s such a great story. I’m so glad you are a SAHM and are able to fully love and focus on your family and home. I’m sure it was such a relief to not balance two careers anymore. And yes! You do contribute to society! You’re awesome mama. Keep up the good work. And thanks so much for reading!

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  7. Thanks, mama!!!! You are enough too!!!! I am sorry that is the situation you have found. I have found that most people I tell that I am staying home with the kiddos is that they are happy for me!!!! Being a SAHM is such hard work and can be fulled with a lot of stress. For example, I have mastitis right now. We don’t get “sick days” away from the kiddos so there are very challenging aspects! I serious do not know of mamas that work out of the home do it. It would die of exhaustion having to do all of that!!!!!

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    1. Thank you! I’m glad that you have so many people around you who are supportive of your choice to stay at home! Being a SAHM is definitely hard, especially when you’re sick! I hope that you are feeling better!!

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  8. You are right – staying at home is enough…..in fact, it’s a lot of work. and if you wanted to get technical, it’s Biblical! lol.
    Anyways, I loved this post and I’m glad I came across your blog today.

    I have stayed home with our daughter for quite a while now. I picked up working part time at our church and now that Melody is going to Kindergarten I will have some extra time and will be working at my husband’s side as youth director – but I’ve always believed family life comes first. If your family fails, then you’ve failed.

    Anyways, great post!

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    1. I agree! Staying at home is a lot of work, and 100% Biblical. I love staying at home with my daughter. I think it’s an incredible way to serve my family and also provides the flexibility to serve others in a unique way. It’s so hard sometimes, but it makes me more like Christ everyday. No ministry is more important than your family.
      That’s awesome to hear about the opportunity you have to work with your husband. I bet that will be really special! I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus this month because I’m going to revamp the whole thing, but I’m so glad that you came across my blog!

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      1. ha ha! I’m excited too! It’s always so great meeting people you have so much in common with! My goal is to be back in my regular blogging groove in September. I’m actually out on vacation right now, but I thought I’d pop in to check on my blog. Plus, I just got a new Surface and I really wanted to try using it. 🙂 And I agree, as goes the family, so goes EVERYTHING!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I totally understand how you feel and I tend to say myself that I am JUST a SAHM and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Its hard when we have to do it all and some of us are lucky and do get help and alot of us don’t. I have been running myself to death as of late. Took being hospitalized to have a small wake up call.

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    1. Being a SAHM is hard work! As moms, we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect and do everything on our own, on top of everything that we have convinced ourselves society wants us to do.
      Oh my goodness!!! Don’t run yourself so hard! It’s important to take care of yourself and be willing to ask for help, not only for your own health, but also for your kids. They watch everything you do. What happened to land you in the hospital? Are you doing okay???

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well …lol. It started with an early summer bout of pneumonia with my husband which being a man he didn’t go to the dr. Then he shared with with my 5 yr old son and then me. They both recovered quickly where I didn’t. I ended up getting sepsis from it and in the ICU. During that time frame they drs pointed out how high my heart rate was and was diagnosed with tachacardiya. During my month of coughing from the pneumonia I had ended up with a horrible pain in my back. Had an xray and found out that I had slipped a disc from coughing. On top of that I have RA and my form is ankloyosing spondyilitis if I am spelling crorrectly. I knew it effected my back but hadn’t had xrays. During this other issue I found out my spine is crooked. So it has been one thing after another totally!!

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      2. Oh. My. Goodness! I don’t have any words, and no personal experiences that would help me to understand what you have gone through. I hope that you are feeling better and that the doctors are helping you discover ways to handle all these medical issues!

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  10. Thank you for this! It is refreshing and a little relieving to read your post and know that someone else is there with me. Sometimes I forget how awesome we are as stay at home moms.

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  11. Very well said. I was an on and off stay at home mom because so many times I fell into the pressures of what defines a successful woman. I’ve been home now for 9 months and no longer use the word “just” and feel so very humbled to be able to serve my home in this manner. Again, love, love your post.

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  12. This is brilliantly written and really shows your true feelings. I am recently married and a housewife, we don’t have any children yet but plan to in the future. I feel awkward when people ask me what I do especially because I don’t have any children. I love taking care of the house and my husband. In today’s lifestyle we are made to feel that we have to have a career or a name tag. I have learnt to embrace what I do and that being a housewife is an important role, it was how we chose to live and I am happy this way. Don’t let anybody tell you what you should be doing with your life. God bless you and your family.

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  13. I just wrote about this in my blog as well!
    Society really makes us feel like we have to justify why we are stay at home mom’s! It’s a REAL job and a hard one at that! One that never has a break. But it is so rewarding (:

    Like

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