It is likely that most moms only get to experience being either a working mom or a stay at home mom in their early motherhood journey. In turn, it leaves many moms wondering if they could in fact switch roles what would be the differences and challenges between a working mom vs a stay at home mom.
Well, as I sit on this relaxing hilltop Starbucks’ deck, drinking my delicious white chocolate mocha while breathing in fresh ocean air…………. okay just kidding, a mama can dream though.
Let’s try that again…
As I sit here at my kitchen table pursing down a two-year-old from climbing up my leg, and as I watch my 5-year-old fly off the couch in his attempt to mimic Super Mario, I’m trying to recall how my life turned into this crazy adventure right before my eyes.
I became a stay-at-home mom 2 years ago after my second daughter was born (first child was 3 at the time).
Being a stay at home mom has been an incredible honor and a blessing which I don’t take for granted.
However, it has also been packed with challenges and self re-invention.
Transitioning from a working mom to a stay at home mom has taught me a thing or two about motherhood. The joys and struggles of being a mother, the undeniable rewards and sacrifices of taking care of them full-time, and the ability to adapt to a new reality.
Next we will cover everything you might be asking yourself regarding a working mom vs stay at home mom, plus the pros, cons, tips, and challenges.
Working Mom vs Stay at Home Mom
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My Working Mom vs Stay at Home Mom Backstory
I became a registered nurse at the age of 21 (almost 14 years ago). My profession has always been a huge part of who I am.
Not only was it the source of a good income, but it provided a sense of professional accomplishment and personal satisfaction.
Caring for others and receiving a paycheck for it seemed like a win-win.
When my son was born (first child), my mother offered to watch him since my husband and I had professions to get back to.
Living in a big city, meant that both of us needed to work to provide for our family of three and all of our commodities.
When he turned two-years-old we placed him in daycare. It was the only choice at the time and we felt it would be good for him to start interacting with other children.
It turned out to be a great choice from the social interaction side of things, not so much from the health aspect of it all.
Sickness was imminent. It seemed like every other week there was a new virus to deal with. It broke my heart to see him sick all the time. We knew that as beneficial as the interaction with other children was for him, we also knew that he needed a break from it all.
He attended daycare for a year until the age of three, then our daughter was born.
With my mom unable to take care of her this time around, and my in-laws living out-of-state, we brain stormed for options.
The big question: “what are we going to do when she turned three months and maternity leave expired?”.
Hiring a daytime nanny to take care of them while we were both at work was something we weren’t comfortable with, and sending them to daycare (especially my three-month-old baby) was almost unbearable for me to even think about.
After much thought we finally agreed I would stay home with them both. Initially we talked about 6 months, then a year.
We knew it would be financially challenging to make the decision of cutting our family income by half. However, in our hearts, we knew it would be the best choice for our children.
My daughter is currently 2 years old, and thanks to having found profitable blogging, I have been able to stay home and watch them grow.
* Note: Little did I know when I first started blogging that it would become my new-found passion and “career”. It changed my life and if it is something you are interested in looking further into here are some great resources that can get started you started:
- FREE 7-day email course on “How to Start a Money Making Blog”
- Blogcabulary Plus (The Ultimate Blogging Terminology, Reference, and Resource Book): this book contains everything you need to know about blogging for a complete beginner.
- Building a Framework eCourse (this was the course that got me started)
This journey has come with tears of happiness and tears of exhaustion to say the least. But most of all with a grateful heart for having this incredible chance that many parents wish they had.
In only two years as a stay at home mom, I’ve come to learn a great deal about myself, about my husband, and about our children. I’ve learned about what truly matters, and about the enormous strength of our little nucleus.
Having lived through both experiences, here is my take on the pros, cons, tips and challenges of a working mom vs stay at home mom.
Related article: 10 Things about Motherhood No One Can Prepare You For
STAY AT HOME MOM
I think this is one of the main reasons many moms make the drastic decision to stay home with their children.
Being able to be with them from the early morning hours until they are sound asleep at night is truly an incredible privilege.
Having the opportunity to watch them grow. On an hour by hour basis. Without intermissions. Without meetings, without late night emergency calls from the hospital (in my case), and without external barriers.
Being able to teach them from a young age everything you intend them to be and implement.
One of the many advantages of being a stay at home mom is that it gives us flexibility to fit in our schedules anything that otherwise would have been a struggle.
Things such as doctors appointments, dentist appointments, groceries, and running errands are now much easier to manage.
Take a hold of your house
Being a stay at home mom allows you to take care of all household duties without the rush.
As a working mom laundry would pile, leaving the weekends for the dreaded chore.
As you can imagine, at the time, working anywhere from an 8-20 hour s a shift at the hospital and then coming home to a 2 years old was exhausting.
Lets just say that survival activities took priority (eating, sleeping, bathing, and spending time as a family).
Spending all day at home can feel lonely. Especially if you have your hands full with small children.
Some women are introverts by nature, so this wouldn’t be a big disadvantage.
On the other hand, many women feel that being stuck in the house all day for multiple days at a time can start to take a toll.
Losing your identity
This is especially true for moms who make the transition from a working mom to a stay at home mom.
As women, having our own goals, plans, visions, and income feels empowering and satisfying.
When children come into the picture, and our day becomes oversaturated with meeting their needs, it might feel sometimes as if we are losing our identity.
Possible financial strain
Sometimes being a stay at home mom means living on one income. Although not the case for every stay at home mom, it requires planning, budgeting, and creativity to make ends meet.
Unfortunately, many working moms aren’t able to transition to stay at home moms because of financial reasons.
Having your own bank account with your hard-earned money is a pretty good feeling.
Being a working mom usually means that you have full control of your finances and that you don’t depend on anyone for financial support.
That’s a pretty good feeling in my opinion.
Stepping out of the house and being able to interact with other adults (even if it is while working) helps to balance the motherhood overload.
Lead by example
Showing our children the value of working to earn a living is really important.
In addition, it teaches them the importance of contributing to their community.
Even more so, working moms can lead by example and teach their daughters the significance of being financially independent.
Unable to stay home with your children
Obviously, the biggest disadvantage of a working mom is the inability to raise their children on full-time basis.
The sad truth of a working mom is that most of the time they are at the mercy of their employers. Of course, with the exception of self-employed moms.
There is usually no flexibility in the schedule of a working mom. Therefore, missing school events, sporting event, family outings, and even holidays is not unusual.
Okay, let me say this first… EVERY SINGLE MOM suffers from exhaustion one way or another.
However, working moms tend to have a bigger physical demand. Despite of the nature of their job, working moms are required to not just perform at work (mentally and physically), but also tend to her mom duties after work.
Motherhood is exhausting. Period.
Having done the transition myself from a working mom to a stay at home mom, here are the challenges from a personal standpoint.
Having always relied on two paychecks have allowed my husband and I to live comfortably.
Therefore, only having had to depend on one income at the time (and our savings) wasn’t something I was comfortable with.
It’s was really challenging for me not to be able to contribute financially to our family.
I loved my career.
Being a registered nurse allowed me to do what I’m passionate about. Teach, inform, educate, motivate, encourage and comfort others.
Not being able to educate my patients, collaborate with co-workers, and put my skills to work is something I really miss.
Heck, having a normal adult conversation I really miss, haha.
Thankfully, through blogging, I have been able to fulfill two of my biggest passions: stay home with my kids and continue to motivate and educate others. Plus, earning a living while I am at it is a the cherry on top.
It feels pretty lonely at times, and it can definitely be overwhelming to take everything on my own while my husband is at work.
It’s unlike anything I’ve ever had to go through before.
Time for myself is non-existent. Even while using the restroom I have a 5-year old sitting in front of me playing with his toys and a 2-years old emptying the bathroom cabinets.
Working from home
I love what I do now. I can’t see myself doing anything else.
However, managing two blogs, two kids under five, the house, and everything else can prove to be a struggle some days.
When house chores, two kids, two blogs, and other responsibilities collide, an inevitable sense of overload takes over. It’s been undeniably challenging finding a balance.
Related article: Avoid Mom Burnout: 5 Places to Think Clearly for Busy Moms
TIPS AND TAKEAWAYS
Here’s what I’ve leaned so far and what you can take away from it as well.
Understanding that life itself changes can give you a better outlook on things. Everything comes in phases.
Adapting to your new reality and finding ways to cope and enjoy the ride is the way to go.
This too shall pass.
Invest time in what matters
My children and husband are what matter to me most, so what better investment of my time than that.
Granted, there are many other things that are “necessary”, but prioritizing and focusing on things that “matter” will give you a bigger return.
I’ve learned to be grateful for so many things.
For my children’s existence, their health, their love, their joy, the opportunity to be constantly present, and grateful to the people who lend me a hand from time to time (my mother and my mother-in-law in particular).
They won’t be little for ever
I recently read a quote on Pinterest that read “Motherhood: where the days are long and the years are short”.
That is so true.
Before we know it they are off to college and living their own lives. It is my personal goal every single day, despite the craziness of my routine, that I get to enjoy them and be in the moment.
Practicing mindful parenting has taught me a lot to slow down and be present.
That sweet baby smell of my daughter’s skin, and the gentle touch of my son’s embrace as he whispers “I love you, mommy” sporadically through the day, is something I want to engrave in my mind and my heart forever.
It’s okay to cry
Many see it as a sign of weakness, but motherhood is definitely an emotional rollercoaster. A “good” cry helps to relieve the load at times.
Things don’t have to be perfect
As a perfectionist, checklist enthusiast, and organization freak of nature, this has to be one of my biggest takeaways.
Prioritize, and do what’s important first. I promise you the dirty dishes aren’t going anywhere.
Find a creative outlet
Blogging for me has been crucial for my sanity! Not only as a creative outlet but as a much-needed distraction. Find something you love to do and designate a little time for it.
Take time for yourself. Even if you can’t go anywhere, find places to think clearly and reboot.
I can’t stress enough the importance of detaching from our kids from time to time.
Allowing you body and mind to recharge and refocus allow you to be in a better mental state to meet the constant demands of motherhood.
Connecting with other moms helps a ton.
No one else will be able to relate to you more than, well, other moms.
Find a mommy tribe, and stick to it.
Family and friends with kids, local mommy meetup groups, community groups, church, and Facebook Groups for moms are great places to start.
Knowing that your household isn’t the only kid crazy circus running around town is very refreshing.
You are stronger than you think!
Whether a working mom or a stay at home mom, embrace your motherhood journey and make it the very best that you can.
Never in a million years did I think parenting would be this hard and this rewarding.
I am amazed sometimes at the things I can do and at all I’ve accomplished through God-given strength.
Everyday we face new challenges as we find a way to make it through another day, and we do. We do it over and over again. All for the love for children and our immense responsibility to provide for them in every sense of the word.
The truth is that although sitting on the deck at that seaside Starbucks, drinking my favorite coffee, and writing without interruptions sounds lovely… when it’s all said and done, I wouldn’t change this view, in this very moment, from my kitchen table, for anything in the world.
What is your take on working mom vs stay at home mom?
Related article: 5 Ways to Deal with and Prevent Mom Anxiety Naturally