22. Is the stay-at-home mom life right for you? Or are you a working mom? - Advice and experiences from moms who chose the SAHM life
Are you wondering if you should return to work or become a stay-at-home mom? (SAHM)
This is something we all have to think about when we have kids. There’s a lot to consider – finances, childcare, emotional well-being, and so much more.
I asked a group of SAHMs about their own experiences when making this choice. Listen to the episode to hear a variety of takes on being a SAHM.
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FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION:
welcome to the better postpartum podcast. I’m your host, Angel Swan, crunchy Christian mama to one and postpartum doula to many. I help moms care for their bodies, minds and newborns naturally during the first three months after birth. If you’re looking for pro tips on how to nurture your body naturally after childbirth, take care of your newborn baby using crunchy mama methods and help your whole family thrive during the fourth trimester, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got a lot to cover. So let’s dive in. I’ll see you inside the episode. Hey, guys. So first off, I just want to say like, sorry for missing you last week. And, you know, I been a little inconsistent because we got sick, and then I got better made a podcast thought I was back up and running. And then my laptop died. So I had no way to record a podcast episode or even put one together. Yeah, so I finally have a new laptop. And I’m sitting down to record this. So that we can start putting podcasts out again, because I really liked doing it. And a lot of people have reached out to me and said, it’s been helpful. So thank you to all of you who’ve done that, that means a lot to me. And actually, if you really do enjoy listening to my podcasts, it would mean so much to me, if you could leave me a five star rating, write me a sweet little review, like a little love note. And then once you do that, screenshot your review, and post it on Instagram stories and tag me my Instagram is at post partum companion. That way I can shout you out too. And it’s just a faster way for me to see the reviews as well, because I actually don’t have an iPhone, so I’m not able to get on Apple podcasts.
So Apple podcast is the best place to review. However, any other podcasting app that you use, if it gives you the option to review, that is also super helpful for me. And it’s just a really nice way to show me that you like what I’m doing encouraged me to keep going. So anyways, I had put out some feelers about what people would like me to talk about on some upcoming podcast episodes. And something that came across my requests was, you know, how do you decide if you’re going to become a stay at home mom or go back to work? Or, you know, people who are seriously considering becoming a stay at home mom, like how do you even make that decision? What kind of things are going to come up for you emotionally, and stuff like that. So first, I’ll tell you about my own experience. Now, I’m not a stay at home mom, I do work out of the home part time. I work like maximum three days per week for four hour shifts. So I am home most of the time. But I do still get to go out and work. So not a stay at home mom. But this is kind of how we decided what work was going to look like for me. So before I had Jenny, I was actually working as a sales associate at a retail store. And I was not making a lot of money. I made like 1250 an hour plus like commission, but the commission was crap. And I really didn’t make that much money. My husband’s the primary breadwinner for us. So when we’re looking into, you know, childcare options, I was like, you know, unless we want to hire like some crazy person to watch her daughter. There’s no way we can afford childcare. There’s just no way, like 1250 an hour. You know, babysitters at least in this area, they cost at least $20 an hour for a decent babysitter. daycare is expensive, too. So there was just like, if we didn’t have a free or really cheap option for childcare, I was gonna have to just stay home. So luckily, my mother in law is a stay at home mom. All her kids are older now. But she still stays at home. She is so so generous and offered to watch Jenny, my daughter while I go to work. So thankfully I do have free childcare. And I’ve been able to work but not everybody has that luxury. And so because I’m not a stay at home mom. I wanted to ask other stay at home moms what their experience was like, do they like being a stay at home mom, things like that. So I’m just going to read you the post that I put out into the wonderful world of Facebook, one of my mom groups that I’m in, and then I’m just going to share some of these responses with you. I’m not going to name names because I just want to maintain people’s privacy. But here’s what I put out there. So I asked, Did you leave work to become a stay at home? Mom, can you tell me about it? I’d love to hear from you. Was it a tough decision for you? What kind of things came up for you emotionally? Do you miss going to work? What is your life like as a stay at home mom? So I’m just going to read some of these responses that stand out to me. So, okay, first person says I did and I absolutely hated it. Okay, being a stay at home mom is not for everyone. And I can relate if I don’t get to go to work. A couple days a week, I am miserable. So I totally understand that. That’s why I really was trying not to be a stay at home mom. so thankful that it worked out in a way that’s good for me. But it’s not for everyone, just like this first person is sad. Okay, second person says, yep, I was a nanny with a wonderful family. But they were having a second child. The same time I was having my first to keep working, I would have had to find childcare for my child, which didn’t make sense. I could have tried to find another child to take care of with my baby, and did do a bit of babysitting, but I really didn’t want to look for a new family and potentially take a big pay cut. I also wanted to be the main person in my baby’s life and not have to work around someone else’s schedule. We could go on outings when we wanted sleep in be flexible with our daily plans. I missed having an income and missed the child. I was previously nannying, but I don’t regret being a stay at home mom, I really like that answer. She kind of goes over a little bit of everything there. So you know, she does Miss working a little bit, but the benefits outweigh
what she had to leave behind. Next person says, I was a stay at home mom for six years. I’m back at work now. But I’d love to give my perspective. Okay, so she was trying to like, reach out and tell me a little bit more. But still, she did stay at home for six years and is back at work now. So just because you stay at home for a little while, you know when your baby’s younger. Those are the days when people really feel like they might miss out on stuff, especially those like the first year first two years, your child does a lot of developing and growing. So I understand wanting to stay home for that stuff. But then maybe as they get a little older and they slow down a little bit then go back to work if that’s something that you really want to do. Next person says, I stayed home with my daughter, my first child in 2018. And loved every second I was home with her. It was an easy decision because our finances were great little debt and husband got a promotion. I stayed home for a year and it was a dream. I did not miss work not one bit. And I had a great days almost always went back to work a couple times a week because I disliked asking my husband for money and ended up getting pregnant a little over a year later. But due to COVID was laid off. I can relate. Being a stay at home mom, under your own terms is one thing but being forced to is another my son, my second child is now eight months old. And while I love being at home, I’ve had a tougher time with this go round. It’s almost it’s also more challenging with two kids. We found ourselves a good rhythm but I do find myself longing the day I can go back to work just part time because I still do love my time with at home with the kids. I will say I’m very fortunate to have several mom friends that are stay at home moms. So it’s nice to have company of other adults several times a week. That’s a really great point. If you’re gonna be a stay at home mom, you do need to still have adult interaction because being around tiny people all day, who can’t hold like real, intellectual conversations with you. It kind of drives you bananas. So get some mom friends or just parent friends. They don’t have to be moms but talk to other people besides your children. Next person says I stayed at home and hated it. I spent 15 years working and building a great career. And then we moved across the country to help husband foster his new job opportunity. And I was going to stay home and raise our one and a half year old. I got pregnant six months later with number two after she was six months of staying at home. I realized I was lost in this role. I finally started a part time now full time small business I always thought I wanted that stay at home mom role and had to realize a balance of working outside the home was vital to my mental health. I can relate to that. I definitely yeah I mentioned before, I cannot just stay at home, it drives me crazy. It’s bad for my mental health, I get depressed. So if that’s something that you think is, you know, relatable to you, then something to consider. Next person says, I stayed at home. And I think it was one of the biggest contributors to my postpartum depression. So she didn’t really elaborate, but that is something you know, if you don’t have people to talk to, and you’re kind of isolating yourself by staying at home, and not able to go on outings and stuff, which is really hard right now with COVID. But yeah, staying at home can be really lonely. So you have to plan to go out whether that’s just going outside you need to plan time with adults, even if you just like schedule a phone call with somebody. Because adult life is hard and you can’t just call people and chat on the phone. They don’t really go for that anymore. You plan phone calls. I do that with my friends. Next person says I semi stayed at home. I was laid off at five months pregnant due to COVID cutbacks, my husband and I decided that it made more sense for me to stay home. It was definitely a transition but worth it. In the end. I do have days where I seriously consider going back to work though. Happy to give my perspective as we were kind of forced into it. Yeah. It’s hard when you’re forced into it. It’s better if you can make that decision for sure.
Next person says I was made part time while pregnant due to COVID cutbacks I was really upset about it at first and struggled for a bit. But I forced myself to look at it from a more positive place. had first baby in November went back to work still part time at the beginning of the year. Currently a stay at home mom while working that job plus two other freelance gigs. I’m fortunate as I can work from home and take my son to work with me when I need to stop in usually once a week. I don’t think I could solely mom. But almost daily. I contemplate my work slash stay at home mom situation it isn’t easy. How parents have coped this past year with working plus distance learning is beyond me. Yes. So yeah, this mom is a stay at home mom, she stays home, but she does still work. She works from home, which is hard. So just like working outside the home can be hard financially, and just logistically staying at home. And working is also really hard. Even if you have like a rather laid back job. It’s just really hard to balance those things. Because your kids especially really small like babies up to two years. And even older than two years. Honestly, they demand attention. So definitely something to think about their next person says I stayed at home, it destroyed my self worth leaving my job. But it aided me in raising my baby and spending the last two years of my mom life with her of my mom’s life with her. It was the single most bittersweet decision I’ve made in my life thus far. I struggle every day with who and what I once was but so grateful to have had the time with my mom and son. So I guess her mom was with her mom passed away recently, which is very sad. I’m sorry. But she because she stayed home, she was able to have that time with her kid and with her mom. So again, you don’t have to stay home forever. If you want to be home for those early days and see all their first you know, that is something you can do. Next person says I stayed at home and I don’t regret it for one second. I took five months of leave after my first and hated having to go back. Part time after those five months were up. We actually tried to sell our house and downsize to make it affordable to quit my job after several months without success. My husband and I sat down and figured out a plan to make it work financially. With a note with a known end in sight. I was able to suffer through until I could be home. I felt nothing but happy leaving and seldom Miss much of anything about my former life. Other than some of my co workers. Being a stay at home mom is harder than working in my opinion. You can’t call it in, can’t take a sick day. Can’t make a grocery list during a slow meeting. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We’ve talked a lot over the last year how lucky we feel that we got ourselves to this place as it as it has made being home during COVID. So much easier to do with number three soon and so grateful that I don’t have to think about how soon I’ll have to head back to work after her arrival. I’m the first to say being a stay at home mom isn’t a great fit for everyone and there are hard days hard It is in capital letters, guys. But I love it and I’m so grateful my husband supported me in him. Next mom short and sweet says I stayed at home best ever. I love that. That’s one of my friends. She’s great. She’s such a good mom. Alright, next person says I loved working. But my husband was has a very demanding job with long hours, and I felt stretched too thin with three kids. When I stayed home, I had a really tough transition. I wasn’t used to not having any time alone and struggled. I also felt bored a lot and even though I was always busy, I ended up joining a gym with childcare and carved out part of my hand carved out a part time job with my former employer. I would go for two hours in the morning after I dropped the older two off at school for 30 minutes i’d exercise and the other 90 minutes I’d work. It made me feel like I could have it all because of COVID I stopped going to the gym and as a result stopped the part time work. But it really helped with my transition to keep myself challenged. I’ve been reading a lot of trade books in my career field and studying for the GR ease though I’m not sure I’ll actually take the test. I’m happy now and much less stressed even in spite of having a fourth child three months ago. But even still I am considering going back full time since I miss work a lot. And we can now afford the childcare support.
Okay, so another mom, she’s got a lot going on. Seems like when you have more kids, there’s more challenges that come along with staying at home makes it a little bit harder. But again, she’s so she did a good job of transitioning to that stay at home role and then now is considering going back to work again later. Alright, next person says it was really hard at first and has gotten easier in some ways as my children have grown from babies into toddlers. Although the pandemic has made things difficult in new ways. My biggest pieces of advice to new moms considering this are get outside and feel that sun and air on your face every day. Try to plan something extra fun once a week doesn’t have to be big like the zoo or Arbor Arboretum can mean walking in a park instead of a neighborhood a coffee and donut from Dunkin and don’t lose touch with your friends out there in the world. I’m editing this to add that staying at home can feel isolating if you don’t consciously make an effort to put yourself out there. That feeling of isolation is the hardest part for me in these pandemic days because I’m naturally a very social person. And I’ve gotten that fulfillment through work as an adult. I’m probably an introverted mom’s worst nightmare at the playground because I simply just cannot shut my mouth. Okay, so she’s a social butterfly. And I really like her tip of making a point to go and do something extra special once a week and again doesn’t have to be you know, something super fancy she’s just going to the park instead of the neighborhood are going to get coffee and donut from Dunkin just something a little bit out of the ordinary to get you shaking up your schedule and interacting with other people. Next person says stay at home mom for eight years now with three kids working on getting the minions ready for school but feel free to pm me if I forget to circle back to this. Okay, I will pm you later. Okay, next person says I was extremely unhappy at my school but not with my co workers or my kids. I was missing so much of my son’s early childhood, which is what my graduate work is it then I got pregnant with number two and they don’t pay teachers enough to put two kids in daycare. Granted, we picked a more expensive daycare, but it was how I balanced my guilt of paying someone to teach my kiddos something I’d studied my whole life. Now with COVID-19 It’s the only way our family has been successful. currently pregnant with number three and I will go back one day when this when this only is I will go back one day when this only is likely in first grade. Okay, so probably going back. I think she means she’s going to go back to work once her kid is in the first grade. So again, somebody else who really misses going to work, but financially can’t really swing daycare and plans on going back to work a little bit later once our kids older. I think that’s a really good idea. Next person says I was in the military and chose to leave. I’ve been a stay at home mom since 2007. I love it. I’m in the last two weeks of my bachelor’s degree now and may go back to work in a few years. Cool for another person who’s staying at home with her kids and going to go to work in a few years.
I love it.
Next person I’ve only got three More. All right next person says, I resigned April 1 and have a two year old and an 18 day old. Whoo, new baby. Congrats. My salary would barely cover daycare. It was a no brainer for our family. Yeah, I feel that daycare is so expensive childcare in general is so expensive. Oh, alright, next person. Yes, I left the news industry after my first was born. There you go. Love staying at home, then apparently has no regrets short and sweet. Alright, last person says, I did leave work to be a stay at home mom to my first child. My mother had just died. And I had no support network nearby. I couldn’t leave my baby with a stranger. It is not my favorite. But it is better than the anxiety i’d feel with the alternative. I kind of feel the same way. Honestly, I’m so glad that one of our family members is able to watch our daughter because that was another thing that scares me is like leaving my baby with somebody that I don’t really know. They can come with references and stuff and I can install baby cameras. But I personally do have anxiety. And that is something my daughter is just something I’m very, very particular about, you know, who gets to take care of her be around her. So I totally get that.
I think that is that is everybody that I’ve gone through. So we’ve got about 20 minutes worth of advice and feedback from moms who are stay at home moms. I hope that’s helpful to you guys. Again, like I mentioned in the beginning, just when you’re thinking about whether you’re going to become a stay at home, Mom, just think about how you will feel Do you really like your work? Do
you think that you’re going to miss working? Do you think that you’ll be able to stay at home? What can you do to keep yourself from being bored? What kind of special things can you do to spice things up? And
financially, obviously, you need to consider what you can or can’t do. I hope this was helpful, guys. Thank you so much for listening. Like I said earlier, please please, please leave me a rating and review five stars, five stars, five stars. That would be super helpful to me as I’m trying to grow this podcast and just help moms thrive during the postpartum period through the first year.
Now that is my goal. If you feel like you need some one on one support, you can schedule a consult with me through my website. The link is in the episode description. Thank you guys for listening, and I will see you next week. Buh bye. Hey, lady, thank you so much for hanging out with me today. I hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you did, Would you do me a huge favor and rate and review this podcast. The more ratings we get the more moms we can help. If you want to get more postpartum tips and encouragement, subscribe to this podcast and hang out with me online. You can read my blog at postpartum companion.com slash blog. hang out with me on Instagram at postpartum companion. And join my free Facebook group called the better postpartum support group. If you have your own postpartum story that you’d like to share, head on over to postpartum companion comm slash podcast and submit an application to be on the air. Thanks again for listening. And be sure to subscribe and meet me back here next week. Have a blessed day and don’t forget to pray. Bye Bye now.