The Choice to be a Stay at Home Mom


stay at home

This week my manager announced that one of our senior employees is not returning to work after her maternity leave because she decided to be a stay at home mom.  To be honest I don’t even know what that means.

I feel about stay at home moms the same way I feel about homeless people.  I think they are just lazy people who choose to rely on someone else instead of working for life’s luxuries themselves.  It actually makes me extremely mad to think that I am out hustling and working five jobs (I have a day job as a social media consultant and freelance on the side as a personal finance writer) while others just sit at home and watch TV all day.  Or is that just a misconception?

I would like to think that stay at home moms are not sitting on the couch all day eating snacks while their husbands are out working their butts off.  I would like to think that “stay at home mom” is another term for “working from home”, but I don’t think that’s true.  So I did whatever any sensible person does when they don’t know something, I asked.

I sat down with my former co-worker and asked why she decided to be a stay at home mom instead of going out to grind and hustle in the workforce like the rest of us.

Why would you want to stay at home all day?

When I asked my ex co-worker this obvious question she said “If I had to choose between going to work and staying at home to raise my kid, I would choose to raise my child.”  Although I understand what she’s saying it seems like a totally bogus answer.

I don’t have children nor am I a stay at home anything I believe in street smarts and the importance of social activities for a child’s development.  If her child is stuck at home with his mother all day isn’t he going to grow up to be extremely dependent and what is the child missing out on by not being properly socialized in daycare and kindergarten?

What about the loss of income?

Then there’s the fiscal aspect of only having one spouse working.  When I asked my co-worker how she can afford to feed a family of three on one income she said “My husband makes enough money for us to get by.”  My first thought was who just wants to get by?  It seems like a ridiculous answer, especially for someone who now has a child.  Don’t parents always want their children “to have more than I did”?

Even if your husband or wife makes enough, what does that even mean?  Can we ever have enough money?  My answer is NO. We can always have more money.  Making more money means we can do more things, travel to more places and have more experiences.

Don’t you feel useless?

I’m not really one of those people who likes to lay around and do nothing, especially if I feel I should be working. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a good vacation and a long weekend but it doesn’t mean I would like to do it all the time.

Being a stay at home mom is not my choice of lifestyle and I don’t ever think BF would expect me to stay at home all day if we ever had a child.  If he did it would be a clear sign that we were not meant to be together.

Photo from Pixabay


  • “I feel about stay at home moms the same way I feel about homeless people. I think they are just lazy people who choose to rely on someone else instead of working for life’s luxuries themselves.”

    I kept looking for the punchline but you’re serious about this? I’m a WAHM and I can’t conceive of where you get the notion that having a child that’s completely dependent on you isn’t work.

    This is an incredibly narrowminded view of both SAHM and homeless people. Offensively so, in fact. Have you ever had to keep a newborn, or an infant, alive and well? Have you ever been responsible for a small human? It’s actual work. You don’t get to sit around on your duff, OR AT ALL, in many cases, when you’re home with a kid.

    SAHM don’t just sit around the house. They’re cleaning it, they’re keeping up with all the household chores (cooking, auto maintenance, paying bills, buying groceries, buying household goods, fixing things that break around the house JUST FOR A START). They’re reading to their kids or even homeschooling them, taking them for walks, to museums, to parks, to fairs. I WISH child-rearing was as hands off as you suggest: just farm them out to a daycare or center. Even if you do, there are still tons of basics you’re responsible for. You’re making sure they eat, they sleep (in fact, this isn’t just a hey-presto, put them to bed thing), that they’re properly clean and changed and get the appropriate amount of exercise and socializing. A kid isn’t “stuck at home” with their parent like a freaking prisoner, they’re home with a primary caretaker who has a very vested interest in their wellbeing.

    What about the loss of income? Well a huge portion of it is generally quite offset by not paying for the cost of childcare. Which would be obvious if you’d considered anything that goes into having kids and continuing to work – if you’re not home with the kid, then SOMEONE has to care for him or her. And that costs money. In the Bay Area, you easily spend over $2000/month on childcare. You had better be making quite a lot more than that to afford to keep the roof over your head and food on the table.

    Yes, you lose traction in your career but that’s a long term question that you’d address in other ways. But for you to judge your coworker’s ‘we get by’ as ridiculous is incredibly ignorant. Do you know what she means by that? Do you know if they have a shortfall every month or if they actually only spend half their income? And if you do? What business is it of yours? Not everyone buys into the consumerist ‘more more more’ philosophy that you share here. And for the record, I know plenty of people who can easily afford to live on one salary. Because it’s half a freaking million dollars a year. Yeah, I think they’ll manage just fine on that one piddling salary. But they sure wouldn’t be explaining that to someone they didn’t know well.

    No one would expect you to choose to be a SAHM if that’s not what you wanted to do but you need to step way the heck back from the assumption that it’s “doing nothing” because it’s RAISING A HUMAN. It’s more than a full time job. So until you’ve been in those shoes, on behalf of all my friends who are incredibly hard working SAHM, I’d suggest you seriously stop calling them lazy or unproductive. They’re raising the next generation of taxpayers so even if money is all you care about, then you should still be glad someone cares about doing a good job at it.

    And to suggest that homeless people are homeless because they’re lazy? That’s a whole other diatribe. I’m going to point out that most people don’t become homeless by choice, most get there through a few unfortunate events that include serious medical issues and job loss, which aren’t things that most people CHOOSE.

    • Hi Revanche,

      Thanks for commenting. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. The fact of the matter is you are choosing to let your husband be the sole breadwinner while you stay at home all day. In my opinion that is no O.K. It’s selfish to expect someone to take care of you just because you have a child because you know what, your husband has a child too and he works. I think it’s totally ridiculous that your argument is that you’re not sitting at home all day, you’re cleaning. Well there are lots of parents who work and can still come home to cook dinner, clean their house and spend time with their family. If you can’t fit all that in then maybe you need some lessons in time management or multi tasking.

      • I hope the “you” in your response was referring to the collective you. If you’d read Revanche’s comment, you’d notice that she said she’s a “WAHM.” She works from home AND takes care of her child all day. It’s okay. Reading comprehension is hard. /sarcasm

      • Revanche never said staying at home consisted solely of cleaning it. It consists of a numbers of activities that no, do not get done to perfection when both parents are working. I’ve heard from more than one person that having a SAHM improved their quality of life immensely growing up. You are not CHOOSING to let your husband be the sole breadwinner, it’s a decision that a couple makes TOGETHER based on their financial means. For the record, I’m not a SAHM nor do I ever plan to be, but it’s incredibly insulting that you judge other women for their life choices.

  • Maybe the post was a little harsh, but you’re saying what I wouldn’t say out loud! You’re going to infuriate some moms (like the one who really took offense above), but believe it or not, we are all entitled to an opinion that doesn’t have to match Suzie Homemaker. Millions of women work and raise great kids. If you barely make an income when you factor in childcare, okay, maybe it might make sense until the child is in school. Otherwise, cool, stay at home and then after school, ferry your kids to the same activities the other kids do. Clean during the day, which other people do when they’re not working.

    Simply, a SAHM can do whatever she wants and you and I can think whatever we want of it. When I hear them complaining about how the rest of us don’t get it though? It’s not some super top secret mommy club. Come on, you just choose not to juggle as much as a working married or single mothers out there. Good for you for being able to pull it off financially. Quit preaching to the rest of us about how hard you “work” though.

  • Hey M,

    I’m so glad we’re on the same page, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Why SAHM’s think being at home is a super power full time job is beyond me. I think the real super women work, take care of their kids, clean their home and spend quality time with their husbands – they do it all.

  • Wow! At first, I thought that this might be a parody. Unfortunately, I fear it is not. This is disgusting! What? Women don’t get enough judgement already for their weight, sexual lives, appearance and intelligence from men, now we get other women judging our life choices? I really have no words. I’m stunned and sad that this was your idea of a worthwhile subject and content for an essay. I suppose there is something wrong with me in thinking that my judging others life choices is wrong. Apparently you exist in such a place that you are in a position to judge the rest of us. What a limited view of the world you must have. What made it even more appalling is that out of 2 comments, one actually agreed with you. Just makes me so sad.

  • Are stay at home dads just as guilty? You don’t mention them anywhere in this post, but they do exist. It seems you reserve all your judgment for women, which is sad considering you are a woman yourself.

    I don’t really have anything to say that Revanche and Kim haven’t already said except that I’d love to see you spend a week, hell, even a day, caring for a baby or a toddler and then come back here and tell us about how you did nothing but sit on the couch watching Netflix all day. (For the record, I’m a childless 20-something, and my husband and I don’t plan to ever have children.) Is a SAHM not “taking care of” her partner by cooking his meals, cleaning their home, taking care of the household bills, grocery shopping, doing his laundry and caring for his child while he is out of the house? Why is one form of work valid because it earns an income while the unpaid form of work is laziness? I know one SAHM, and her partner has told me in no uncertain terms that he’d much rather be out of the house working than doing what she does. Why? Because working outside of the home is less strenuous than doing what his partner does all day.

    A child left at home with their parent is in a much better position than one sent to daycare. First of all, we can assume a mother or father cares more about their child’s growth and education than someone who is watching 30 other kids. A child alone at home with their parent is getting the full, undivided attention of an adult who loves him/her. And I don’t know what experiences you think children in daycare are having, but a stay at home parent can just as easily schedule playdates for their children or join groups to socialize them. You are not chained to the couch with your kid when you decide to become a stay at home parent.

    I have to conclude from this article that you live in a fantasy world where working parents can “have it all.” We all only get 24 hours in a day. My mom was a working mother who put us in daycare at first and later paid our grandmother to babysit us while she and Dad worked. She tried to be a career woman in addition to doing all of the house cleaning, all of the cooking, and most of the parenting. (Dad would take us to sports practice, but Mom was the disciplinarian and helped us with our homework. Basically, Dad was the fun parent.) She was stressed out through most of our childhood. In fact, I remember very few moments of my mother being rested and having fun because her stress levels were so high. She missed sporting events because she had to work, and she spent at least a quarter of our annual beach vacation working from her laptop. She was tired and stressed when she came home from work every day, but instead of getting to rest and relax, she would start on dinner, help us with our homework, and usher us through our bedtime routines.

    I’m guessing “M” in the comments above is another non-parent who’s never spent any alone time with young children. Feel free to crawl out from under the rocks where you live any time, ladies. There’s a great big world out there! One last thing: This post was very wordy for what could have been summed up in seven words. “I don’t want to be a SAHM.”

  • TK,
    Great post but your forgot to mention overweight people in your rant on SAHM and the homeless. It’s a known fact that fat people are extremely lazy too. Wait, is that you in the photo? How many months? Big boned? Born that way?


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