01 Apr Stay At Home Mom vs. Working Mom
When you become pregnant for the first time and you are planning a family, there are a lot of decisions you have to make. These range from choosing what delivery you will have, whether you will breastfeed or bottle feed and of course, whether or not you will be a stay at home mom or become a working mom. We are going to tackle the latter. How do you decide on whether you go back to work or solely raise your children from home?
When I was pregnant with my first baby; my husband and I had ‘that’ talk. What was I going to be doing once baby was here? Was I going to be a stay at home mom or would I be going back to work? It was a big discussion, and nothing was taken lightly. We realised that there was so much to consider; there really is two sides to every argument and stance. So, what are the advantages of both?
The advantages of being a working mom
Being a working mom helps to release any financial pressures that running a family may bring. For some, it is a necessity for the mom to go back to work after having a child as they would not be able to afford any other way. For others, going back to work allows some financial freedom so that you can enjoy family holidays and other luxuries in life we may forget are luxuries before children.
When we have children, we forget a little about our own needs and who we were before and it is so important to do something and have something for yourself. As much as being a Mother is wonderful, you have to remember who you are behind the motherhood. By working, it allows you to have that independence and do something for yourself.
It is a lot more social. Imagine years of raising little ones? Well we all know their conversations don’t quite match up to talking to a friend or colleague, so working has it’s advantages with the social side of things too.
Another possible advantage would be feeling more equal in your relationship or partnership as adults and parents. If both were to work, then duties at home would also be shared and a feeling of equality may be reached.
The advantages of being a stay at home mom
For me, being a stay at home meant that I could watch my children grow up without having to worry about their ‘firsts’ and missing those steps or words. It meant that I could indulge in my time being a mother of young children. We could spend the days together, and that was the biggest motivator for being a stay at home mom. They grow so quickly, so I felt like I wanted to make sure I made the most of those early years.
For some, the financial costs of childcare perhaps are not worth it. Perhaps your wage only just equals what it would cost to have a childminder or nursery placement. This was certainly the case for us. Putting our boys in a nursery would have cost more than I would have made; so it really did not make much sense.
Having play dates and meeting local likeminded moms. This has been one of my favourite parts of being a stay at home mom. I have connected with some incredible, beautiful moms who have become great friends. My children have connected with their children and also made some great little play mates. I have created some memories for life over the years.
Being a stay at home mom means not having time restrictions. When you have a job to get to, you are constantly tied into a strict schedule and routine which you can’t break. You will be up early, going to work and then home to cram in all of the play time and housework into just a few short hours in the evening. I’m sure it is exhausting trying to keep on top of it all. You can steal minutes during the day to tackle chores and jobs.
What choice did I make?
The decision is not a quick or easy one to make. You need to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages and to recognize that everyone’s life and situation, priorities and values are different so therefore everyone needs to make that choice dependent on that.
For us, we felt that the best thing was for me to be a stay at home mom. I have to say, it wasn’t easy. The days were long and tiring, the responsibilities of the children and housework mainly fell on me. Which, of course, I understood but it was tiring. Some days were never ending, the children would test me beyond my limits and I felt lonely. I lost myself a little in the ‘momness’ of it all. I felt like a robot some days – I cried others. But I also laughed. A lot. I found the joy in the little things.
I raised my two boys at home until they reached school age, knowing when each of them went off that things would change. Particularly when my youngest started school in the September just gone. I felt lost. I didn’t know what to do with myself next, after being a stay at home mom for 7 years, I was suddenly having to think for myself what I would be doing; not thinking of them.
Being a stay at home mom, personally for me, was the best thing I ever did. No regrets. Although the days were long, the years were short and I got an amazing chance to be there everyday to see my children grow from cute tiny babies, to independent young children ready for their next stage in life. Financially it made sense. But more than that, it is something I knew I wanted with all my heart to do.
So how do you decide?
- Weigh up the pros and cons- write a list with your partner.
- Look at what you can afford to do financially; perhaps going back to work part time is an option?
- Speak to friends who have had to make the decision and see what each of them have said; don’t forget to speak to a mixture of people.
- Follow your gut instinct; and this is something you should do for all aspects of parenting.
Parenthood is such a beautiful journey that you will go on in life. Whatever the decision you make, it will absolutely be the right one for your family.
About the Author
Gayleen Hodson of Tiny Toes and Big Adventures
Tiny Toes and Big Adventures is a parenting blog which focuses on helping parents to become more organised. The blog also aims to help parents with their mental health and to become less stressed with the everyday life of being a parent. The blog also features seasonal posts such as Christmas or Easter guides. I have been blogging for 4 years now and also have a separate mental health blog especially to help people overcome mental health. My parenting blog is www.tinytoesandbigadventures.com
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