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Why Working as a Stay-At-Home Mom Is the Hardest Job

I remember my mom defending herself and her decision to stay at home with all five of her kids regularly. So many people, including her so-called friends would scoff at the idea, often saying things like, “So, that’s all you do?” or “With all that spare time you can (fill in the blank – bake sale, volunteer, clean up…).”

The comments always left her feeling diluted and disregarded, like she was at the bottom of the barrel. It was assumed that she was either too lazy to get a “real” job or not smart enough to work outside of the home.

being a mom

I Didn’t Know What a Stay-at-Home Mom Went Through Until I Became One Myself

As a kid, I didn’t always understand what my mom went through. Now that I’m a stay-at-home mom, I feel as if I understand so much of her pain and what she went through. And to be honest, thinking about it breaks my heart.

Any stay-at-home mom will tell you that working at home is more than just difficult, it’s exhausting. You’re constantly on-the-move and there is never an end in sight when it comes to your to-do list. Just when you finish all the “must-dos” you approach the land of all the “should-dos.” Another reason why those pinned posts on Pinterest don’t seem to ever get done!

Why Being a Stay-at-Home Mom Is Hard Work

As I take a rare moment to myself to write this blog, I’m reminded that I should really be doing the laundry that is piled up in the corner of my bedroom. I’m anticipating that my three-month-old son will wake up at any moment, causing my writing speed to decrease tremendously. I know I will then be forced to type with one hand so I can nurse him back to sleep. I’m noticing the clock and realizing that dinner needs to be made, which means I need to clean the dishes first.

And that’s just what immediately comes to mind.

For the past five years I’ve been at home with my kids full-time, and here’s what I’ve learned about it being difficult.

  • A Stay-At-Home Mom Is a Working Mom
  • This distinction, while often used at schools and in friend groups, does not hold up to the realities of staying home. If you stay at home with your children, you are working around the clock.

  • You Are Always on Call
  • Unlike other jobs that allow you to punch out when you’re done or leave your work at the office, moms never do. We’re up for the 2 a.m. feedings and in the kitchen at 5 a.m. at the insistence of our family wanting waffles for breakfast before school. Even when you’re “out” with your friends, your phone is within easy reach, waiting to be summoned home by crying babies or runny noses.

    stay at home mom

  • Your Work Often Goes Unnoticed
  • I would venture that at least 75% of what I do each day is completely unrecognized by my family. That’s not counting my five-year-old son, of course, who notices everything. So much of a stay-at-home mom’s work goes on behind the scenes, allowing the home to operate smoothly. It isn’t until you leave that your work finally gets recognized. Even a two-hour absence can create utter chaos in my home. I hate coming home to it but love knowing that finally my husband sees what I do all day!

While being a stay-at-home mom is hard, I would also like to acknowledge that being a mom, period, is difficult. Whether you stay-at-home or work a 9 to 5 only to jump right into mom duties the moment you walk through that door, you go above and beyond each and every day.

Moms everywhere, you are awesome.

Being a Stay-At-Home Mom Has Its Rewards

messy life stay-at-home mom

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Julie Schoen

Julie Schoen

Julie is a stay-at-home mom of three and a freelance writer. She has her MFA in non-fiction creative writing and is also the founder of Buzzy Blogs. She lives in the high desert of New Mexico's foothills with her family and their dog, Watson.

10 comments

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  • My own family thinks I am doing nothing all day. Yet, I am busier now than when I had a full-time job outside the home. I appreciate others recognizing all I do as a work-from-home, homeschooling mom of a high-needs child.

  • I used to be a working mom and totally scoff at the idea of stay at home moms being busy. ‘What are they doing all day?’ I thought to myself. ‘How can they say they’re tired, if only they knew how easy they’ve got it?’ Three years later and I’m at home with twin toddlers and a seven year old… wow. What I would give for a quiet moment with the photocopier and a cup of hot tea with my emails in the morning, lol!

  • I became a stay-at-home mom after giving birth to triplets. Having triplets and daycare was just too expensive, and it would have been more than I made to put them there then to work. I have loved every minute of staying home with him, but others definitely make it seem like an undervalued job.

  • So many of my girl friends now who are new moms choose to stay at home and help with taking care of the kids and do house chores. I’m thinking, is this really a good route to go, or continue working in the office and running the business and just hire a house helper or nanny instead?

  • So true! Working from home is a 12+ hour job every day. Between working and house stuff it is neverending. Though I wouldn’t trade working from home for an outside job. I’m able to work at my own pace.

  • Indeed!!! As a work at home, stay at home, homeschooling mother for decades I can agree with this 100%!! My kids are young adults now but the work never ends lol. Even young adults need help now and then. I am so proud of all women no matter if they work from home or not but NO woman who stays home taking care of her kids should ever be looked down upon. Great article!

  • Being a SAHM is definitely the hardest job I’ve ever done. There are some days I feel like I am totally failing at it. But then, those days when I have dinner ready, the house is relatively clean and my kids are at their activities, I feel like a rockstar!

  • Thank YOU for pointing all of these out and showcasing it in an article. Sometimes, I feel very under appreciated for all that I do – especially when I have peers who are in the corporate world. It’s hard to try and prove how much work gets put into being a SAHM (not that I have to prove myself to anyone) but I can’t help but feel discouraged at times.

  • I tried being a stay at home parent, but only lasted nine or ten months. It is by far the hardest job that I ever had. I actually feel like I am more together and a better parent to our daughter while working outside the home. I admire those that can handle it.

About Author

Julie Schoen

Julie Schoen

Julie is a stay-at-home mom of three and a freelance writer. She has her MFA in non-fiction creative writing and is also the founder of Buzzy Blogs. She lives in the high desert of New Mexico's foothills with her family and their dog, Watson.