Mama Heart to Hearts

Sharing my experiences and thoughts as I live the stay at home mom life!

The Great Debate: Stay at Home Moms vs. Working Moms

The Great Debate: Stay at Home Moms vs. Working Moms

Working moms, have you ever told someone you’re a working mom and gotten the “oh… so you don’t spend a lot of time with your kids” response?  Or how about the stay at home moms.  Have you ever gotten the “oh… so you don’t have a career” response?  Even if you haven’t actually received these responses, I think it’s safe to say we’ve ALL experienced the judgmental looks.  But what about our part-time working mamas.  In theory, they have the best of both worlds, right?  Yet somehow they still get the same look.  So, let’s break down the data and we can once and for all squash the great debate!

I reached out to both my working and stay at home mom friends to hear what they view as pros and cons to their mommy statuses.

Working Moms

Pros

  • Socialization with other adults and therefore less of a struggle with isolation
  • Ability to utilize your strengths both in the workplace and home
  • Feeling appreciated and receiving feedback for the work you do
  • Having “me” time to do something you hopefully love and are passionate about. You have an identity outside of just being a mom
  • Having an income and knowing you are contributing to your family financially
  • More of an appreciation for the time you get to spend with your child(ren)

Cons

  • Feeling like you are missing out on big parts of your kid’s lives and milestones
  • Feeling like the care provider becomes more of an important person your child’s life
  • Balance: managing the stress of work while managing home life at the same time
  • Finding daycare for your child along with the financial impact
  • Having to actually get ready in the morning and look semi-presentable
  • Finding time in the day to get everything done – running errands, cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc.

Stay at Home Moms

 Pros

  • Less distractions from evening family time since you can do chores and errands during the day
  • You can establish more of a consistent routine with your child based on their natural rhythms
  • More time for tedious tasks that can save you money (ex. making your own baby food)
  • More time in general! More focus on intentional habits and time for fun activities
  • You are present for all the milestones and fun/funny moments throughout the day
  • You can get away without showering and getting ready for the day

Cons

  • Financial sacrifice which creates a much tighter budget and stress. You may feel insecure about not contributing to your family’s income
  • Feeling less appreciated and valued for what you do
  • Struggle with measuring your success daily
  • Boredom. Sometimes it can be hard to fill up the hours in the day and keep everyone entertained
  • Loneliness. Even with all of the playdates and activities in the world, being a SAHM can be lonely as you don’t always have the adult interaction you crave
  • You feel like you never get a break since your day job never ends

Alright, so what’s the right answer here?  Which is better – being a working mom or a stay at home mom?  I think the right answer is this: you do what’s best for your family.  Not your best friend’s family.  Not your cousin’s family.  YOUR family.  I can tell you that I LOVE being a stay at home mom, but does that mean it’s always perfect?  Nope.  Does that mean the pros always outweigh the cons?  Nope.  Does that mean I’m doing what’s right for me and my family?  YES.

With that being said, I have SO MUCH respect for working moms.  I have SO MUCH respect for stay at home moms.  And I have SO MUCH respect for part-time working moms.  Momming is hard whether you are doing it while working a job or not.  The bottom line:  YOU DO YOUR FAMILY and respect, love, and support moms on the other side at the same time!

Are you a stay at home mom or a working mom?  Do you feel like it’s a good fit for your family?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

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73 Comments

  1. Mary

    I loved this post, Steph. There’s no right way to be and the best thing we can do is our best and love and support those around us. 💕

  2. I appreciate this post a lot. Every mom is different, just like every baby and there is no correct way. I wish we can all just stop judging if one does more work or is more tired than the other and appreciate that we as moms are doing what works for our family. We are all tired. haha!

  3. Well said! Both side has pros and cons and both sides are hard as hell! Moms are tough.

  4. Where I’m from stay at home moms are quite rare so i never got the “oh… so you don’t spend a lot of time with your kids” comment. But I do wish I could spend more time with them and at the same time I would never give up my career so I totally get the dilemma. Beautifully written for both sides, thank you.

  5. Valentina

    Loved the post. I’ve also read that children do benefit overall a lot more when they’re able to socialise with others their age.

    • Thanks for the comment, Valentina! Yes, socialization can be so important! Since I stay home I try to make sure we do lots of activities with other kids throughout the week!

  6. What a great post! I’m pregnant with baby number three and I work full time at the restaurant my husband and I own together. Everyone assumes because this is baby number three that I just won’t go back to work. But nope! We live in the Bay Area and it just isn’t feasible for me to not work and not take home a paycheck in this current economic environment and still be able to provide everything we want to for our family. Each family is different!

  7. Thanks for this post! I knew the cons of being a stay at home mom would be too much for me to handle so i’m really glad I kept my full-time job! Fortunately, I have a job that lets me work remotely when I’m not doing site visits, so I have a little bit of the best of both worlds right now!

    • Hey Katie! Thats awesome that it sounds like you have a job you love and are passionate about! And how awesome that you have some flexibility along with it! Thanks for sharing your thoughts

  8. I am a SAHM that has a full-time job working from home too, so I may get to spend more time with my kid, but I still have the challenge of balancing work and family time. My child sees me on the computer a lot, and that presents its own challenges. There is no right or wrong, you do what you can to make a happy life for your family.

  9. Thanks for sharing, Jennifer! I can’t imagine how stressful that must be at times! Absolutely, there is no right or wrong!!

  10. Totally agree. I’ve been a working mom and my heart broke entirely too much. We worked for 6 long years to bring me home. No one in my school could understand why I’d give up my teaching career and said the meanest things to me. But I pressed on. It’s what was right for our family, and we are so blessed by me being home now! I love this support-one-another mentality because no one is living the same life, so why try to judge theirs in our own idea of what life should look like? Thanks for this!

    • Thank you for your comment, Andrea! That must’ve been so hard when your co-workers didn’t understand your decision. I’m so happy to hear that you’re doing what you love now and are able to stay home!!

  11. I used to get a lot more upset about the judgement, but aftwr 16 years and 4 kids I know what I did was right for us.

  12. Loved this so much! This is something that is on my mind when I think about my future of becoming a mom.

  13. Why is there this schism between moms at all over anything is what gets me. You have the working moms against the nons, the single vs. the married, the mcdonalds type vs the organics, the traditionals vs the live and let be’s! We are all in this thing called parenthood together just trying to figure it out, and I love how you listed the pro’s and cons, because with everything there is always the good and the bad. Great read!

    • Thanks for the comment, Kisha! Ah it’s so true… why can’t we all support each other as we are all just trying to do the best we can?! Mom shaming is the worst!

  14. Loved reading this. And as a teacher I dO both workING mom through the school year and stay at home during the summer and it’s truly hard on both sides. It’s O true as you said during hats best for your family.

    • Thanks Mai! That’s great that you get to experience both sides! I bet the transition between the two is challenging. Really appreciate you sharing!

  15. Jen

    There’s no winning with this one. Even part time moms have a struggle. Where I live, outside of NYC, many once professional women are simply priced out of their jobs. It’s just too expensive to afford daycare for multiple kids, so staying home ends up being the option. No matter what or why, it’s always difficult. Being any kind of mom isn’t easy.

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