It’s one of the first questions people ask you when you announce your pregnancy – will you stay home or continue working? It’s a tough question and one that is not answered easily. It’s also one that other people are quick to judge you for.
So we’re here to break it down for you — is it better to be a stay at home mom or a working mom? Lisa told you her side of the story as a working mom and I’m here to tell you all about staying home.
Where are my other stay at home moms? What do you think? Did I forget anything!?
What are the pros and cons of being a stay at home mom?
The biggest pro of being a stay at home mom is obviously the amount of time I get to spend with Ryan. I get to see each of his milestones as he hits them and I get to experience everything he goes through each day (the good and the bad). No matter how many cons there are, this is what makes it all worth while every second of every day.
Another pro is control. I am a control freak and because I’m staying home with him I get to control what he does each day; what he eats, when he naps, what activities we do. I worked at schools and daycares and I know they’re great but I would have a hard time giving up that control with my own child.
The biggest con is probably losing a little bit of myself. I worked hard to get where I was in my career and I really enjoyed what I did. It’s tough going from completing tasks at work that make you feel accomplished to making sure the laundry is done and the house is cleaned. I’m obviously thankful that I have time to do those things during the day but it gets a little old.
Another con is lack of adult interaction. I am home most of the day with a baby and two dogs, none of whom talk back to me (even though I think they do sometimes!) Having adult interaction is necessary to feeling sane. Luckily my friends are great about texting and calling and my husband is really good about encouraging me to go out with friends often to get my dose of adult conversation.
Have you been mom-shamed for being a stay at home mom?
Just like Lisa, I’ve mom-shamed myself. Whenever anyone asked what my plan was I would say, “I’m going to stay home for a year and then see what happens”. Our plan was to reassess after a year and see where we were financially and see how I liked it. Once Ryan was diagnosed with Down syndrome, though, it delayed my going back to work. I know I will go back eventually, it was just odd that I always felt the need to justify myself and my decision with “it’s only for a year”.
I don’t think I have ever been directly mom-shamed but I have had people say “I could never do that”, or “won’t you miss your job?”. People also said “are you sure you guys can afford that?” None of those are directly shaming but they have a certain undertone. Before I was pregnant I also heard people I know mom-shame other women for quitting their jobs and staying home, so I’m sure they have said the same about me.
Either way I think we all feel a little guilty and either way someone is going to disagree with your decision. My mom always taught me, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything” so I think we should probably just stick to that if we don’t agree with the choice someone else made!
Was the this always the plan?
I honestly don’t know! When I was young and imagining having kids I always thought I would be a stay at home mom. Then once I started working I couldn’t imagine not working. Then once I got pregnant I couldn’t imagine leaving the baby. So my plan obviously changed often depending on what was going on in my life.
Ultimately my decision was easy to make, though, because the job I had was just not conducive to being a mom along with it. It’s pretty funny since the job I had was the director of a daycare! But the daycare didn’t accept babies and my boss was about the least understanding person I know. So I knew it made sense for me to quit and become a stay at home mom (but just for a year!)
Would you change things if you could?
I don’t think so. Although it seems like I had more cons to write about than pros I do love it. Once Ryan is old enough to go to preschool I would like to go back to work in some capacity. I still want to be able to go to school events and volunteer in the classroom so I would want something part time.
I’ve watched the parents of my students and even my own friends and having both parents working full time looks very hard to me. I really admire those that are able to do it but I’m not sure that I would. Especially with Ryan’s therapies and extra doctor’s appointments I would definitely need something part time and/or very flexible.
Has it impacted your relationship with moms that are in the reverse role?
Not that I know of! I have very good friends who are working moms and very good friends who are stay at home moms and I have the same relationship with them as I always have. Like Lisa said, there might be jealousy sometimes. I sometimes envy my working mom friends when they’re going to the bathroom whenever they want and enjoying their coffee before it gets cold!
I think since I worked in the field I am able to understand the working moms’ feelings a little better than other stay at home moms so that may help. Either way I respect all of my mom friends and support the choices they make!
Does this change your relationship with your significant other?
Maybe? I’ve never had a relationship with my significant other while being a working mom so I’m not really sure. I will say that the first year of parenthood is HARD. Everyone tells you that the first year of marriage is hard, but that was a cake walk for us. Adjusting to life with a new baby is was much more difficult for us, though.
Sure I get frustrated that all of the house work now falls on me, but I’m sure he also gets frustrated at work knowing that we are all depending on him. We made the decision for me to be a stay at home mom together and we both continue to think it’s the best decision for our family, whether it’s changed our relationship or not.
So what’s better? Staying at home or working?
I hope after reading both of our answers to all of these questions that you realize that neither is better. I don’t think any mom is perfectly happy in their choice to be a stay at home mom or a working mom.
Like we said, there are pros and cons to each type of mom and every family has to make their decision based on what works best for them. So let’s give each other a break and support each other! Let’s momFAME instead of mom-shame.