There is a misconception that being a stay at home mom (or dad) is an easy job. For people who have never done it before, they imagine staying at home all day in your pajamas, drinking coffee, and watching TV while you have fun playing with your baby. The reality is that being a stay-at-home parent is far from an easy, or glamorous job. It is incredibly hard work, and many parents say that they had an easier time staying at their career. Here are 40 reasons why it may even be more difficult than going to work full-time.
40. It Is Physically Exhausting
Babies don’t care if you need 8 hours of sleep every night in order to function. They will often scream and cry in the middle of the night, sometimes hours at a time. Sure, the father can get up to change a diaper, but if the baby is breastfeeding, the responsibility always goes to the mom. This means that by the next morning, the mother is physically exhausted, but she has no choice but to continue doing her daily duties as a mother. Doing this one or two days to pull an all-nighter at work or school might not be so bad, but imagine this becoming the new norm. A lack of sleep can wear someone down over time.
39. You Lose Your Sense of Self
For most people, our identity is connected to our work. So once someone becomes just “mommy” or “daddy” and that’s it, we no longer feel like we are our own person. That can feel like you are losing your own identity. Suddenly, your entire existence is dedicated to taking care of the needs of another tiny human being. For some people, this is incredibly rewarding, because all they have ever wanted is to be a mother. For others, it can be incredibly difficult, and often leads to resentment and depression. If you are in this situation, try to remember all of the things that you enjoy, and what makes you unique. Remember that you are still you, no matter what your job description may be.
38. You Can’t Leave The House Whenever You Want
When you do not have kids, it’s really easy to leave the house. It’s just a matter of getting dressed, grabbing your keys, and walking out to the car. But once you have kids, leaving to go somewhere is a big deal. Suddenly, you have to worry about a stroller and car seat, not to mention extra diapers, food, toys, and anything else that you may need for your baby. There will also be blocks of time where it would be nearly impossible to manage going anywhere with your child, because their needs come first. When you’re only working, though, you still have the freedom to just walk out the door. Most working people take this simple thing for granted, even though it’s considered a luxury for stay-at-home parents.
There is a stigma against breast feeding in public in the United States, even though it is perfectly natural. In fact, most humans were breastfed as babies. So, it should be perfectly normal, but many people think it’s inappropriate. Many women are shamed into breastfeeding in bathroom stalls. Some public buildings have transitioned to creating rooms dedicated to mothers to help them breastfeed, but they are few and far between. Even at home, breastfeeding is a task where only the mother can do it, and they cannot hand it over to the father. This means that any time of the day or night, a mother is responsible for feeding her baby.
36. People Without Kids Can’t Understand You
Plenty of people give dirty looks to parents whose kids throw temper tantrums in the grocery store. We have no idea what this parent has been through, but we judge them, anyway. If you have kids in your 20’s, and your friends are still young and single, they suddenly cannot relate to you. They have never experienced the same issues you are facing, and their priorities are in other places. The good news is that becoming a parent is like joining a new club of like-minded people. Sometimes, it’s better to stick with making new friends who are also raising kids, so that you at least have a supportive group around you.
35. The Pressure to Be a Perfect Parent
When you become a parent, it immediately becomes the most important thing in the world. You want to make sure that your child has everything he or she needs to live a happy and healthy life. This comes with a ton of pressure. A lot of parents read self-help books, and seek advice online about what to do in complicated situations. For a lot of people, they never put this amount of effort into their full-time-job. Most people just go to work to do a very specific task. They can do their job with confidence, and come home at the end of the day to relax. As a parent, this pressure to do a good job never ends, and it’s a 24/7 emotion.
34. Constantly Hearing Advice on How to Parent
Everyone has an opinion, and this is especially true once you become a parent. Your friends, family, and complete strangers suddenly start giving you advice on how to feed, clothe, and take care of your new baby. If you post something on Instagram that some people disagree with, be prepared for an onslaught of criticism from people who think they know better. It can be a lot of pressure for anyone to handle. In the working world, no one is judging one another so harshly, and new parents are often shocked to see how judgmental and toxic other parents can be with one another.
33. Being Responsible For Someone Else’s Life
A newborn is incredibly fragile. Once you hold a tiny baby in your arms for the first time, you will know what it feels like to want to protect them at all costs. But this is also a huge responsibility for anyone to take on. Think about it- In the working world, the people who are responsible for keeping other human beings alive are doctors, nurses, and EMT’s. Usually, those people are paid a great salary, because the level of responsibility is so intense. But anyone can become a parent. Suddenly, you are responsible for keeping a tiny fragile baby alive. Unless you were already working in the medical field, it can be very nerve-wracking to handle.
32. Postpartum Depression
Pregnancy creates a lot of hormones flowing through the body, and it can trigger a lot of intense emotions in a new mother. After the baby is born, it is common for new mothers to feel overly emotional for a few days following the birth. Sometimes, it can sometimes lead to extended periods of intense sadness and anxiety. According to the American Psychological Association, 1 in 7 mothers experience postpartum depression. In the working work, people can experience stress and anxiety over their job, too, but it is very different than the all-consuming sadness of postpartum depression.
31. Potential Lack of a Support System
If you have parents, grandparents, and friends to help you raise your child, you should consider yourself lucky. Some parents do not have a good relationship with their family, or they have moved far away from where they grew up. So they don’t have anyone to turn to if they need help with babysitting, or just to have someone there to watch over your baby while you take a shower or have a nap. When you are working full-time, you might want to vent your frustrations to someone, but you can at least come home at the end of the day and leave work at the door.
30. Listening to Constant Crying
Every baby cries. There is no way to avoid it. It’s really the only way for them to communicate to you that they need a new diaper, food, or comfort. Some babies have colic, which is when they cry for extended periods of time. They will sound like they are in pain, but they are actually perfectly healthy. Parents have done nothing wrong, and a parent can try their best to soothe the baby, to no avail. Thankfully, colic is usually temporary, but it can be an extremely stressful and frightening experience. The parent with the full-time career has the ability to walk out the door and get some relief from the baby’s cries while they are at work.
29. Changing Diapers
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that parents have to change diapers…Lots, and lots of diapers. Usually, both parents take turns changing diapers, and a supportive spouse will do their fair share when they are home from work. However, this doesn’t change the fact that whoever stays home is going to get stuck with the most “doodie” duty. The partner who goes to work can blissfully walk around without having to worry about any baby waste getting on their clothes throughout their day.
28. Losing Self-Care
It is important to practice self-care, no matter who you are. When you become a parent, you probably need self-care more than anyone, because your body is undergoing serious amounts of stress on a daily basis. Unfortunately, it becomes more and more difficult to take care of yourself or relax on a daily basis when you have to take care of a little one. Most people who work a traditional 9-5 job have free time when they get home from work, and they can choose to spend it however they like. For a new parent, this amount of after-work time seems like a luxury.
27. There is No Lunch Break
Every full-time job gives you 30 minutes to an entire hour for a lunch break. This is time set aside for you to get away from your desk, use the bathroom, eat, and make phone calls if you need to. Employers do this for their employees because they realize that everyone is human, and needs a break around mid-day. Unfortunately for stay-at-home parents, there is no such thing as a lunch break. They cannot drop their responsibilities of taking care of their child in order to eat. Many stay-at-home moms say that their lunch break is one of the things they miss most about working, since a lot of the time they are too busy to eat until their partner gets home from work.
26. Being Forced to Get Along With Fellow Parents
Once your kids are old enough to go to daycare and primary school, you will begin to meet the other parents in your local area. In some ways, this can be a great experience. You might make amazing friends who you can bond with. Other times, though, it’s kind of like having a bad boss or co-worker. You don’t like these people, and suddenly you are stuck having to interact with them. At a normal job, if you truly hate the people you work with, you can either move to a different department, or start applying to new jobs. Sure, you could change schools for your kids, too. But you might have to pay additional tuition, out-of-county fees, and explain to your kids why you’re taking them away from their best friends.
25. Driving Kids to School and Activities
When you kids are old enough to begin taking dance classes and sports practice, it’s time to start taking them to practice. Sometimes, taking a kid to practice can be a great way for you to drop them off for an hour or two while you get shopping done, and you have the added bonus of knowing your children are experiencing an extracurricular activity that is going to enrich their lives. However, it also means that you are dedicating your afternoons to these things. Certain activities have a rule that parents must be present the entire time. Or, you may want to stick around to make sure your child is being treated fairly. After all, you would be leaving your kid in the care of strangers.
24. Losing the Ability to Bring in an Income
Some parents are lucky enough to have a job that can be done from home. Working remotely has become more popular in recent years, but it is usually difficult to balance parenting and making money at the time time. Many new parents had a career that was in a traditional 9-5 setting. For those who had to give up their jobs, they immediately lose their ability to make their own money. This can be incredibly stressful on both partners. Obviously, the partner who works has money to spend, and they are ultimately in control of providing the finances at the end of the day.
23. Bodies Physically Change
Even after a baby is born, mothers still have extra weight on their body for several months. The stomach is swollen, and it will take weeks for it to flatten, but extra skin and stretch marks will still remain. Breastfeeding will help to take the weight off, but most women end up with bodies that can never the same again. Obviously, fathers are not going through the same experience. Their bodies get to remain the same before, during, and after pregnancy.
22. There is No Predictable Schedule
People who work full-time usually have a set schedule. They wake up at the same time every day, get ready for work, and they know where they are supposed to be during every hour of the day. Some may call it “boring”, but schedules are actually very important for productivity in someone’s life. Predictability helps us to sleep better, and feel less anxiety in general. But being a stay-at-home mom means squeezing in whatever needs to be done for the house, children, and pets on any given day.
21. You Can No Longer Go Out For Drinks After Work
The phrase “TGIF” Thank God It’s Friday doesn’t exactly apply to stay-at-home parents. Working people often go out for drinks with their coworkers to celebrate a job well done. For moms, they are lucky if they can sit with a glass of wine and Netflix. For stay-at-home parents, it is important for them to still connect with their friends and maintain friendships. Many of them forget to do that, and their connections change as time goes on.
20. No More Coworkers For Support
When you have an issue at work, you can usually go to a supervisor or a co-worker to ask for advice. And if there is an issue going on with your boss, everyone gossips around the water cooler to say a lot of; “I know, right?!” If you are friends with other mothers, it’s sort of like having a support group, but it’s not really the same. Every child is different, and the solution to a problem in one household may not work in another. And when a spouse comes home from work, they might not be able to relate the the problem, either. As a stay-at-home parent, you are truly on your own trying to figure these things out.
19. There Are No Sick Days
If you work full-time, you are usually allotted days off. And if you are lucky, you might get paid time off, so that you are still bringing in an income even when you go on vacation or stay home. In the worse case scenario, you can call out of work, and you will lose that income for the day while you recover. As a stay-at-home mom or dad, there is no such thing as a sick day. Your child still needs to be taken care of, especially if they are too young to care for themselves.
18. You May Not Be Able to Shower or Brush Your Teeth
There are a lot of new moms who are so incredibly busy taking care of their infant, that they do not even have time to brush their teeth or take a shower. If they are alone, they cannot exactly leave a newborn alone while they take a shower, because something may happen to them in that 20 minutes. In a lot of cases, stay-at-home-parents have to wait until their partner comes home before they can even begin to take care of themselves for the day. Obviously, someone who works a full-time job would never have that issue. They need to groom themselves in the morning in order to get ready for work.
17. No Bathroom Breaks
Everyone who works full-time is given bathroom breaks. Depending on where you work, you might have to wait for your designated break time, or you can just ask a co-worker to watch your station for a few minutes. At offices, you can often just get up and go whenever nature calls. For stay-at-home parents, they have to figure out how to be in the bathroom and still watch over their infant at the same time.
16. You’re Working For Free
In the working world, you get a paycheck for your efforts at the end of the week, or every two weeks. As a mom, though, you’re not getting paid at all. Sure, you get free room and board, and some spending money from your partner. But when you think about how much it costs to hire a nanny, housekeeper, and personal assistant, you are basically doing all of those jobs, and more. The value a stay-at-home mom brings to a family far outweighs the credit they are given.
15. Your Ability to Get Quality Child Care Depends on Your Budget
A lot of parents choose to have one partner stay at home, because they cannot afford child care options. Hiring a babysitter, nanny, or putting your child in a daycare is very expensive. More often than not, the cost of child care is more expensive than having one parent stay home. Even if you are choosing to help save money this way, stay-at-home-parents still need help sometimes. They may benefit from having a babysitter stop by a few hours a day, but if they cannot afford it, they simply have to go without receiving that help.
14. If You Complain, You’re a “Bad Parent”
There is this expectation that mothers have to love motherhood in order to be considered a good mom. Fathers are expected to provide for their family, but if they complain about the crying baby and their wife’s hormonal mood swings, people tend to laugh it off. But if the mother does not think that raising a child is this magical and wonderful experience, it makes them seem like a bad person in the eyes of society. With any other job on the planet, it’s okay to complain about work sometimes. Everyone goes through problems in the workplace, even if you love your job. So, why can’t moms complain sometimes? This becomes especially toxic on the Internet, because parents are judging one another constantly. Next time, instead of calling someone a bad parent, try to take a step back and put yourself in their shoes, first.
13. No More Intellectual Adult Conversations
When you are with kids all day, you can’t exactly talk about politics or the economy. If your children can speak at all, they will want to talk about simple things, like your dog, food, and colors. This can be very sweet, and it’s actually enjoyable to have such an innocent conversation with a little one. However, this can get tiring after a while, especially if you were used to having really in-depth conversations at school, or with your coworkers. Both parents will have to endure baby talk, but the working partner will be able to speak with adults all day beforehand.
12. You Can No Longer Binge-Watch Your Favorite TV Shows
A lot of people love coming home from work, plopping down on their couch, and binging their favorite show on HBO or Netflix. This seems like such a common and simple thing that everyone does, so most people without children take it for granted. Once you have kids, you need to get used to watching their favorite TV shows, which will mean seeing tons of cartoons and educational content. Sure it’s still possible to squeeze in one or two episodes of your favorite show, but this is usually after the kids go to sleep. And by that time, you may want to go to sleep, too.
11. The Difficulty of Going Shopping
Shopping as a parent is a whole ordeal. First, you have to go through the task of packing up the car and getting to the store. Then, you have to take out the stroller or secure your baby in a shopping cart. Your child might be fussy, or grabbing at items on the shelves. Or, like in the photo above, maybe you decided to carry your baby in a sling, and use a hand basket. Even though that seems easier to maneuver through the store compared to a stroller, it is still incredibly difficult. It’s really no surprise why so many stay-at-home moms are getting on the band wagon of getting grocery delivery with AmazonFresh. Thankfully, we live in an age when we can have almost anything shipped to our door, and it’s honestly so much easier.
10. The Embarrassment of A Child Crying in Public
Everyone has witnessed a crying child in public before. No one enjoys it- least of all, the parents. They get dirty looks, and people wondering what they have done wrong. In a lot of cases, parents may have to leave a movie theater or restaurant with their baby in order to make sure everyone else has a good experience. Whoever stays at home, whether it’s the mom or dad, they will be the one to have to experience these temper tantrums and public outbursts more often than the other.
Every stay-at-home parent is often alone all day while they are taking care of their child. If the baby is too young to talk, they cannot talk or communicate with their child, so it feels almost like being alone. It is still possible to feel lonely when you are going to work, and everyone has periods of feelings like they are all alone. But being a mother is especially difficult when you don’t have anyone to talk to. If you go to a job, you are at least surrounded by your co-workers. Craving social interaction, moms are known for texting their partners, wishing they could come home early from work. If you are a stay-at-home parent in this same situation, try to reach out to friends and family whenever you feel lonely.
8. Sometimes, Your Partner Doesn’t Understand
Even when two parents are raising a child together, it is still difficult for the working partner to understand the problems of the other. If a husband comes home from work and hears a lot of complaining from their wife, they might think, “What’s the big deal? You don’t have to work.” This can be incredibly frustrating, because there is no way to possibly understand what that is like day after day unless you experience it first-hand. Working, on the other hand, is something that people can understand when they don’t have kids yet.
7. Every Day is The Same
Every single day as a stay-at-home mom is very similar to the one before. There is a lot of breastfeeding, changing diapers, burping, playing, cleaning, and (hopefully) squeezing in a shower and laundry. There is no spontaneous sense of adventure and excitement. When you are working, it may seem monotonous at times, but you always have the option to leave your job and get a new one. When you have a baby, you are making a life-long commitment to be there for your child.
6. Your Relationship May Suffer
Raising a child is incredibly difficult. One or both parents might begin to realize that they disagree on how to raise their son or daughter. And with a lot less sleep and personal time, both partners are likely to feel very cranky and annoyed with one another more easily. These problems can lead to a lack of intimacy in the relationship. If you are a new parent, remember that it is still important to continue working on your own personal relationship, too. Consider hiring a babysitter to help look after the kids, or ask your parents to come over so that you can enjoy going on dates.
5. The Potential for Financial Abuse Increases
Financial abuse is when one partner is using money to control the other, or act out in a behavior that ruins the finances of the family. Sadly, this happens more often to people who are stay-at-home-parents. When a mother is living at home without an income, an abusive partner has a lot more control over how much money she gets out of the paycheck. Needless to say, the working partner is still earning an income, and will have far more control over the finances in their own life. If you are not aware of the signs of financial abuse, you may want to read our guide to looking for all of the signs.
4. A Stay-At-Home-Dad May Be Judged Harshly
Unfortunately, we still live in a world where there are traditional roles in the household. The man goes to work, and the woman stays home to take care of the children. Logistically speaking, this actually makes a lot of sense, especially if the child is still breastfeeding. Yes, it is possible to pump breast milk, but mothers are also lactating, even if they go back to work. But there are some couples where the mother is making more money than the father. If they are going to go down to a one-income family, it only makes sense for the man to be the one to stay home. Life as a stay-at-home dad can be a struggle, and he may find it hard to find other men who can relate to his new role.
3. You Will Have to Learn New Skills
Learning new skills is not necessarily a bad thing. It can actually be a lot of fun to learn how to cook and do the “life hacks” that moms seem to be able to do. However, when you go to a traditional job, you learn a set of skills, and that’s pretty much the end of it. Your job requirements probably have something to do with what you went to school for. No one is expecting you to figure out new tasks every single day. As a stay-at-home parent, you are going to have to constantly increase your skill set.
2. Learning to Ask For Help
At work, you may have a manager or coworker who you can go to for advice whenever you run into an issue. When you are a stay-at-home mom, there is an expectation that you should be able to do everything yourself. Even the most independent-minded people will have to ask for help eventually. If you are in this situation, don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends and family to see if anyone can home over to help with babysitting for a few hours.
1. Everyone (Wrongly) Assumes You Have an Easy Life
Remember in the beginning how we said that some people assume being a stay-at-home parent is a life of lounging in your pajamas and sipping coffee? Unfortunately, you will encounter this type of opinion from a lot of people. Your friends, family, and even your partner may say, “I wish I could stay home like you.” It is incredibly frustrating when people assume that your life is easy, or that you are lazy, when you are actually working non-stop. No one ever makes this assumption about people who go to work, because they can all relate what it’s like to have a job. It is a lot more difficult for people to relate to full-time parents if they have never been one.