Why ‘I Quit’ Being a Stay-at-Home-Mom

“You’re so lucky you get to be at home with your kids,” is a comment I hear often. In response, I nod like a bobble head and say, “Yes, it’s a privilege. I feel so blessed.” Although my response might sound canned, it’s heartfelt. I know being a SAHM is not a choice every woman gets to make. At one time in my mommy-hood, staying at home with my kids was not an option for me either. In fact, being a SAHM, only became a choice about a year and half ago when my family and I picked up and moved across the country for my husband to pursue a new job. While leaving NY also meant leaving all our friends and family behind, we knew moving to FL would give us additional options as a family both in finances and time.

When I first became a SAHM, I was beyond grateful that I would have more time and energy than I’ve ever had to give my kids.  And I loved the idea of getting to spend my days cultivating a life at home that would help us all thrive. But while I count being a SAHM a privilege, I’ll be honest that my intro is only a disclaimer to say this:

I don’t want to be a SAHM anymore.

There, I said it! My confession comes with rush of guilt, relief, and memories…memories of my own childhood at home with my mom. I see her standing at the stove cooking a homemade meal while my sister and I sit at the kitchen table, rolling out the homemade playdough we made earlier in the day. A thousand more pictures like that one flood my brain. If I told you each one, I’d essentially be describing the ideal childhood. I absolutely want to give my two girls the same. But I’m coming to the realization that my path through motherhood, to be a good one, doesn’t necessarily have to look like my mother’s. Or any other woman’s for that matter.

While I have a long list of reasons of why I think going back to work might make sense for our family right now, one reason stands out among the rest. For me, the way being a SAHM turns a relationship into a job is horrifying! The line between the two feels so blurry. I love my children. I love being a mom. I love the connection I have with my children as their mom. But tasks associated with my role as a SAHM – folding endless mountains of laundry, prepping snacks, wiping snotty noses all days – make some days feel so monotonous. My biggest fear, as a SAHM, is that I’ll somehow confuse some part of momhood that is really quite special with being mundane.

I can’t help but notice that as the working parent, my husband’s experience is so much different from mine. He walks through the door and my 3-yr old shrieks like a wild woman while charging at his knees. She smiles bigger and becomes more animated than I’ve seen her the entire day. What happens when he gets home is magic. Honestly, I wish I had more moments like that with my family. I think my girls deserve more moments like that with their mommy too. Even though I’m the one who’s home with the kids the whole day, sometimes I feel like the parent who is missing out. It’s all very ironic…

As a SAHM, I get lots of time with my kids . . . so much time that, honestly, I often take it for granted. I can’t help but think a break from routines and taking on some projects outside the home would help me focus on making the time I spend with my kids count more. I’m often reminded by friends, and even strangers in the grocery store with nostalgia in their eyes, to enjoy this time with my children because “they grow up so quickly.” I believe them . . . it’s my joy to watch my girls turn into their own little people, with thoughts and ideas that are uniquely theirs. But then sometimes between the tantrums, potty-training, and sleepless nights, time doesn’t feel like it’s moving very much at all. I feel like I need to step outside SAHM-hood to gain some objectivity and to see the bigger picture.

 

girls

Will some time away from the house mean more quality moments with my girls? Not necessarily. Work outside the home will also mean a busier and more tired mommy. It will be up to me to find balance and to build in moments of quality time together.   What I do know for certain is that if I go back to work, I’ll never regret my past choice to be a SAHM. My role served the needs of our family for that season of our lives. Our family feels settled, my kids are thriving, and I’ve learned more than I could’ve ever anticipated from the experience. Mostly, I’ve learned a lot about what’s really important to me as a mom. And for me, that’s time well spent!

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19 Responses to Why ‘I Quit’ Being a Stay-at-Home-Mom

  1. Colleen September 19, 2014 at 7:45 am #

    Great post! I think being a working mom makes me a better mom and makes me appreciate the time I have with my kids. There is so much pressure to be a SAHM that it makes you feel guilty for wanting to work!

  2. Melissa September 19, 2014 at 8:04 am #

    I’m in a similar situation. We relocated ad I’m currently a SAHM. I do love the quality time but there are days that it’s overwhelming. Looking forward to the day that I can go back into teaching because I love it so much. Like you, I won’t regret my time being home with my kids. Great post!

  3. Tiffany Beech September 19, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    It took me a while to go back to work after my first son… I was home for a year and a half. And even after I decided to go back I refused to work more than 2 days a week. Luckily my career gives me lots of options to do that and I have an awesome mom and aunt who share the duty of watching my children while I work. Those 2 factors made me very cibfortsble wth going back to work. Now I have a job that I really enjoy and I work with awesome people. In fear of losing that job I agreed to go back to work shortly (2 months) after having my 2nd son. When I look at him sometimes I am sad that he will miss out on all the individual time that my first received. But on the other hand I know that working part-time does make me a better mom! It gives me a much needed break and a change in “scenery”. Sometimes being a SAHM feels like you are living in the movie Groundhog Day. People have to do what is best for them. We made big financial and personal sacrifices for me to stay home full time and you make sacrifices in time with your children when you decide to work. I tried to find a happy balance and I think I have. Everyone is different but no one should feel guilty about their choice. Happier mom means happier kids/family.

    • Stefanie September 19, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

      Thanks Tiffany, great points! I agree with you . . . every choice we make has its advantages and drawbacks!

  4. Shawna September 19, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    I feel like you read my mind with this post. I love being a working mom because I think it makes me a better mom and take advantage of our time together. 🙂

  5. Stefanie September 19, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

    @Colleen, Thanks so much! Sounds like you’ve found a great balance.
    @Shawna, I’m so glad to hear you can indentify! Glad I’m not alone!

  6. Ingrid September 19, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    Hi Stef. You don’t want to be a working mom. It seems you want to be daddy! Just remember that daddy might still want to be daddy, too but that someone will still have to do mummy’s tedious tasks. Good luck!

    • Stefanie September 19, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

      Hi Ingrid, thanks for reading. I’ve been a working mom before and I really enjoyed the balance of working AND being a mommy:)

  7. Lindsey September 19, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    Stef,

    This is Lindsey (Erica’s old college friend). This is truly, beautifully written. I applaud your choice to do what’s best for your family- whether that be with you at home full-time or employed outside of your home. It is very clear that you are a loving, committed mother- your daughters are incredibly blessed.

    • Stefanie September 19, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

      HI Lindsay! Thanks for reading and for your kind words!

  8. Jasmine September 19, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    Thank you for this post!! I was contemplating starting a blog or going back to hospital or rehab work or dance teaching, but worried about the effects on my mommy hood and kids. You spoke my mind.

    • Stefanie September 19, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

      It’s great to hear others can relate, Jasmine! Thanks for reading!

  9. Karen September 19, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

    Hey Steph….very well said and great article! Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a working mom. It doesn’t take away from your parenthood, you can be a great parent either way! I’ve stayed at home and now I work, and I enjoy both aspects! You have to do what works for your family in the season that your in. We make parenting what we want it to be….what we put in is what we get out!!! Enjoy….it’s all worth it!!!!

    • Stefanie September 19, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

      Thanks Karen, I completely agree! That’s good wisdom — “what we put in is what we get out!”

  10. Stefanie September 19, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    Thanks, Karen! I completely agree! That’s good wisdom — “What we put in is what we get out!”

  11. Ashley September 20, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

    Mind #2 you must have been reading was mine. You expressed my feelings more eloquently than I’ve been able to so far when talking with friends about what it’s like to be a SAHM right now. Thanks for the post!

  12. Becky September 20, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

    Thank you for your honesty. My family and I have also relocated recently leaving family, friends, and my job as an R.N. Transitioning to a SAHM of a 1 and 3 year-old has been quite the transition! You struck a chord when you talked about your “biggest fear”. I have felt that way, but have never been able to express it so clearly. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being open and honest about what I (and probably many others) have felt but feel too guilty or ashamed to admit. There is no shame in having the courage to admit and accept what is best for you and as a result, what’s best for your family.

  13. Christina September 22, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    Great topic. Making the decision to stay home or return to work as a mom is always hard. But one should never feel guilty for the decision they make. You have to do what is best for you at the time. I’m a working mom and I’m happy with my decision to return to work. I’ve been fortune enough to only work three days a week, so I can divide my time evenly divided between work and home. Also my husband and I work opposite days so my son is always home with one of us. We both get to experience the excitement of our 3 year old after a long day at work, which always makes you feel like a million dollars. We may miss some quality time with each other but we make it work. I applaud you for being honest with yourself and returning to work. Sometimes we need that separation just to stay focus and sane.

  14. Cheri Brooks September 22, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

    Nice article Stefanie. I know you put a lot of thought into your decision. I’ve spent the last 10 years as a SAHM. Sometimes I think it’s time for me to go back too. But I’m in to deep. In 4 years my oldest will be in college and in 6 my youngest will be off to college. I want to remain available to them.