On Being A Stay At Home Mom

I always wanted a career. I always wanted children. But I could never quite figure out how to do it all.

Part-time work, day care at the office, stay at home dad? Nothing seemed quite right. Being a stay at home mom honestly never even crossed my mind. My husband, on the other hand, was more than eager to be the stay at home parent, at least theoretically.

In the end, everything worked itself out. The economy tanked and when I got pregnant, my husband was the one with the bigger paycheck. Since I wanted to nurse, it made sense that I would be the one staying at home in the beginning. Eventually, we would look for a good day care.

When Livi was born, however, it became clear rather fast that she needed me a lot more than I had anticipated. She also did not want to be held by anybody else, except my husband. Due to her high needs, Livi required a lot of attention and physical contact and patience. So much so that we were both beyond exhausted for the first year.

I began to doubt that she would get all she needed at a day care center. The more I thought about it, the more I became concerned about the idea. There were days when taking care of Livi took all I had and then some. What if someone at the day care center could not handle her demanding personality and her often constant crying?

I did not even want to think about it. And I did not have to think about it. I decided then and there that it was best if I stayed at home. Thankfully, we were fortunate enough to have that option, although it meant a few cutbacks here and there.

And so I became a stay at home mom. Do I miss work? Not really. Do I miss not having a career? Not at all. Do I miss all the action and (meaningful?) conversations with other grown ups? Not so much and definitely much less than I thought I would.

I will be honest, many days are challenging with Livi. And once we get her to bed, I still have to do all the housework as it is nearly impossible to get anything done during the day while I take care of her.

But despite all the challenges and the fact that some days can be really rough and difficult, I truly enjoy spending my days with Livi. For now, it is far more important to me to watch her grow up, take her first steps, say her first words, and most importantly, for Livi to feel cared for and safe than to work on my career. And I am very thankful that I got to make that choice.

How did you decide to be a stay at home parent or go back to work? Do you regret your decision? Would you change things if you could? And if so, what would that be?

20 comments on “On Being A Stay At Home Mom

  1. I went back to work because we had to. We live in a high cost-of-living city where even with our relatively high salaries compared to the country, we still need both salaries. When I first went back to work, I was part-time, which for me was ideal because we had extra money but I still got to see my kid a whole lot more. Now I’m full-time again which kind of sucks but I work a flexible schedule so for that I’m fortunate (I get to work from home some days).

    If I could have all the money in the world, I would probably spend most of it at home with the kid with a bit of volunteering or alone-time stuff like blogging on the side. But the cool thing would be that I would get to choose and it wouldn’t be out of necessity.

    I love this topic, hnMom, and hope you don’t mind if I talk about it over at my blog in the near future!

    • hnMom says:

      It’s so hard when you have to go back to work just for the money. But at least you got some flexibility, so that’s nice.
      And absolutely, go ahead and use the idea. I look forward to your post. 🙂

  2. I’m a stay at home mom. That’s all I ever wanted to be. For a long time I looked into schooling to have some sort of career to make money. Once Phil entered my life he made it possible for me to stay home full time. Once the kids are deeply involved in school and don’t need my time as much then I’ll probably pick up some minimum wage job somewhere, but what? I don’t know, and I don’t really care. When I work it will just be for some extra money, not for any sort of goal or desire. 😀 Great topic!

  3. Steph says:

    I stay home full-time as I had always planned to. Since I had always planned on it, I was surprised when the adjustment was harder than I expected. I wouldn’t trade it for the world though. 🙂

    • hnMom says:

      I’m glad things worked out the way you’d hoped. And I agree, the adjustment is not easy. It’s just such a change in every aspect. But like you, I wouldn’t want to change it. 🙂

  4. linneann says:

    I decided to become a “stay-at-home” mom when my son, Erik, was born with Down syndrome. My only regret is that when my ex left (and disappeared) many years later, I had no practical way to support my family. All in all, I agree with and admire your decision. 🙂

    • hnMom says:

      Thank you and ditto. I definitely would do the same in your situation as well. And yes, I am a little worried about having to support my family In the future and I will have to come up with an idea sooner or later. Most don’t want to hire you if you’ve been out of the game for too long. But I am still too overwhelmed by it all to even think about it. We’ll see.
      Sounds like you had/have your hands full as well and probably even more so. I look forward to checking out your blog.

      • linneann says:

        Likewise. My boy is 18 now. Trust me, I needed plenty of time after he was born to deal with my “new” life. I can tell you, every difficult and overwhelming moment is worth it and then some. 🙂 I look forward to spending more time on your blog but it’s bedtime for this old lady. 🙂

  5. sassandspice says:

    Hi, I’m a new follower! I went back to work part-time as we live in a very high cost city and managed to live off our savings for 8 months. Australia has bought in paid maternity leave by the government – which only payable to women who work (part-time and full-time) so hopefully if I’m lucky enough to get pregnant again I’ll get paid maternity leave from my employer and the government!

    If money wasn’t an option, I’ll be volunteering two days a week and on those days my daughter could spend time with her grandparents and father. I much prefer spending time with my daughter than working. But I guess it does force me to do things I wouldn’t normally choose to do or meet people I wouldn’t normally socialise with so in that sense I guess it can be challenging.

    • hnMom says:

      Thank you for following. 🙂
      I agree, while taking care of a child, we do socialize with different people. And yes, it can be challenging at times; I had my fair share of difficult situations. But it’s all worth it. 🙂

  6. […] The High Needs Baby Blog asks how did you decide to be a stay-at-home mom or working mom? […]

  7. Oster's Mom says:

    I love being a stay-at-home mom! Although a career oriented person, I would choose my son over any career (even though I love my current position). I have one more year of maternity leave and then I go back to work. I don’t know if I’m ready to do it; but I’m really taking advantage of the time I now have with my 14 month old.

    Reason to go back: $$$$. We saved enough to get through one year of leave and because my district offered me another year I took it right away since he’s going to be our only one and I won’t have this chance again. We’re currently figuring out how to do it now and it’s really not that hard. But, eventually we will run out of cash if I don’t go back.

    If I didn’t have to work: my time would be spent volunteering in my son’s preschool – Kindergarten classes. I would probably want to be on the board of education in my son’s district and even volunteer for administrative tasks in the school. I would have no problem keeping busy while he is attending school. Ahh…to dream 🙂

    • hnMom says:

      I really enjoy being a SAHM, too, though I never would have guessed it.
      Its hard when you don’t have a choice and need to work, although I am sure you will enjoy getting back to teaching, too. And don’t you usually have a little bit more time off during the summer? At least you get to spend that time with Oster.
      And yay for another year of maternity leave. That is so awesome. 🙂

  8. I’ve always worked hard for my career and was quite successful. I took exam after exam for my profession and was the breadwinner in our home. However, I always knew I wanted to be an at home mum. Mainly because, like you, I couldn’t bear the thought of someone else raising my child and not necessarily meeting all of their needs. Especially, as she turned out to be a high needs child too. It was never a question or debate for me, I was always going to take a career break. However, now I’m a SAHM i’m finding that I do miss working and it can be a lonely road. Also, I don’t doubt that nursery would provide socialisation in a way that I can’t. That said, I have a special bond with my daughter and am going to stick it out!

    • hnMom says:

      I have also thought about Livi missing out on spending more time with other children. But she is still little and at her age it’s quite common to be home with a parent. I also try to provide as many opportunities as possible for her to play with other kids. I recently read in an article or book that it can be rather stressful for toddlers to spend time in day care, especially in larger groups because of the complexity of the social interaction. This will change when they become preschoolers, so somewhere between 3-5 years of age.
      It is not always an easy decision to be a SAHM but I think in our case it’s somewhat necessary and better for our children. 🙂

      • Thanks for your comment. I wasn’t aware of that research but it’s good to know. It’s funny because I often find myself having to justify to friends / other mums why i’m not going back to work. They don’t really seem to get it and it can be difficult to explain without sounding judgemental (which i’m not at all).

      • hnMom says:

        Yes, I can relate to your struggles. Sometimes it is even difficult to explain it to your own family. Only someone who has experienced it, can really understand it. It’s sad that we have to justify it to others, I wish we didn’t have to. But thankfully, there are also some who are supportive even if they don’t “get” it completely.

  9. Thanks for coming by and liking my most recent post (TGI July 6th). Your posts are clever and thought-provoking and I enjoy spending the time to read them! We lost our nanny and the search has created a gray cloud over my summer! I am considering working part time and being home in the afternoons. I think that the many benefits outway the negatives ($$$, my need to be with adults, and my shortage of patience at times). However, I’m thinking this could be ideal-who knows?!

    • hnMom says:

      Thank you for your nice comments, I appreciate it.
      I hope everything works out for you. Sounds like part-time may be a great solution. Out of curiosity, what did you do when your son was younger, i.e. a baby or toddler?

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