Busting The Myth That Stay-At-Home Moms Do Nothing All Day

Attending any adult function will have the inevitable conversation piece of “So, what do you do?”

When you answer that you’re a stay at home mom (SAHM), you get a flood of responses ranging on the spectrum from “you have the toughest job out of us all”, to a simple, yet awfully judgmental, “Oh.”

After all, the hardest part of our day is making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for school lunch, right?

I can hear all the SAHM out there echoing “As if!”

Many people wonder what SAHMs do all day while the kids are in school, and often make assumptions that it can’t be much; but that’s just not true.

Before having children, every new mom has a neat and tidy idea of what life at home with the kids will be like.

You may have pictured a routine that incorporated craft time, and aerobics with your friends to stay in shape.

After having children, especially multiple ones, you quickly realize that there is not enough hours in the day sometimes to get your growing to-do list done.

Then there is playdates, sports, after school clubs, diaper changes, and all with dinner on the table by 6:00

Pew Research Center reports that 29% of moms are staying home with their children now, compared to 1967 when about half of mother’s opted to stay home.

This could be for many reasons: the modern interpretation of feminism, an increase in single mothers, or society’s emphasis on pursuing a higher education.

Another reason may be that mom’s find it easier to work outside the home than care for their children, because it is a tough and relentless job that takes copious amounts of patience and attention.

Mothers that spend their days attending to the home and family have many roles; they are caretakers, cooks, chauffeurs, cheerleaders, companions, advocates, friends, and much more.

Very Well Family points out how the SAHM has more on their plate than one may realize:

The modern-day stay-at-home mom is continually evolving and can’t be limited by a dictionary-type definition or a society stereotype. Her contributions to the family are more than just being the on-site grown up in charge of the children.”

So, what do SAHM do all day?

We are seeing that our kids get off to school, while encouraging them when they have doubts about passing their math tests.

We are bouncing a baby while doing laundry so your husband doesn’t have to wear yesterday’s socks to work again.

Bills need to be paid, so that is attended to while you are making the toddler snacks as they scream at the top of their lungs because you had to look away from them for a moment.

Groceries need to be bought incessantly to feed the bottomless pits children have for stomachs.

The floors are being swept, mopped, and vacuumed to free them from the trails of crackers and foot traffic on a daily basis.

Gardens need to be weeded, kids need to be bathed, dog has to be walked, and dishes don’t load themselves in the dishwasher.

Scary Mommy points out additional tasks that need to be accomplished:

Some of us are spending hours coordinating doctor’s appointments and dealing with insurance companies to get our kids’ medication or medical procedures covered. We’re meeting with teachers and behavior specialists. We’re washing and folding and putting away mountains of laundry. We’re making 17 trips to the grocery store so that we have enough snacks to feed the gaggle of kids who will come over after school for the playdates we host on the regular.”

With the endless work from morning until bedtime, you may wonder why a mom would choose to stay at home when they can leave for work and avoid some of the stress of raising children.

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Studies have shown that children have countless benefits when a parent stays home with them.

Graduate School at Stanford Business reports that there is an increase in school performance all the way to High School when a parent had the opportunity to stay at home with the children.

On the flip side, children who spent their days in daycare “experienced higher stress levels and aggression as opposed to those who stayed home”, according to a study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Institute of Child Development of the University of Minnesota.

It’s true that as a stay at home, we may occasionally get to have a lunch date with a friend, or that we get to check out the clearance section at our favorite store while our toddler naps in the carrier.

However, these luxuries are rare. Despite the stress of dealing with a crying baby, a toddler hanging on your leg while you try to make dinner, all while helping your oldest with homework, you wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Being a SAHM means that you get to be the one to comfort your child when they fall off the playground, or the one to dance to “wheels on the bus” as you catch on to your toddler’s contagious laughter.

There are tough days and easier days as with all jobs, but the lifetime reward of not missing any of your children’s pivotal life moments gives you a sense of worth that is hard to find in a typical performance review.

Please let us know in the comments section what you think about being a stay at home, or how you think it has impacted your children.