As a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) you often hear how lucky you are to be “able” to stay home with your kids. That statement is usually followed by, “I wish I could be a SAHM mom.” These comments aren’t generally coming from a place of malice so when I would hear them I would simply smile politely or make some non-committal response. Unfortunately, when you are a SAHM working your but off for your family, these statements can seriously piss you off no matter how well-intentioned. Why? Because being a stay-at-home mom is very much a choice and as with anything in life, if you truly want it bad enough then you will find a way to make it happen. There are hundreds (possibly thousands) of articles out there telling you how you can be a SAHM but the hard truth is: you may not be cut out to be one. To help you decide, here are 8 reasons why you can’t be a stay-at-home mom.
You’ve never been good at budgeting.
Budgeting skills are essential to being a SAHM and living on one income. You need to know exactly where your money is going and why. If you are cutting your income in half this only highlights the importance. You have to know where all of your money goes before you can figure out where and how to cut back.
Work is your only time spent outside the home.
Being a SAHM can be incredibly lonely, especially when your kids are little. If you can’t think of a hobby you do outside of the home or if you are the first of your friends to have kids, chances are being a SAHM won’t work for you. Taking care of yourself can come more naturally when you work outside the home. You might get time during the commute to recharge with some tunes alone or you might enjoy lunch out with your coworkers. Once you are a SAHM you have to be incredibly intentional about making the time to recharge and socialize.
You don’t cook.
Having meals at home is key to saving money, whether both parents work or not. If you’re not willing to meal plan (sometimes having to plan how leftovers will be made into another meal) then stick with it, being a SAHM isn’t for you. Even if you aren’t going to be at home, you still have to figure out a way to save money on food on the go.
You aren’t good at saying “no”.
Once you are a SAHM people will suddenly assume that you have all of this free time. In some cases this will lead to friends and family making more demands on your time. Grandparents will think that you can run an errand for them. Friends with kids will always call you in a pinch. There will be no time that is truly respected as “Do Not Disturb” because they will assume that you are technically always available.
Perception is important to you.
SAHM’s are under appreciated, under paid, and very akin to slave labor. Chances are, the people inside your home will never realize how much you do and the people outside of it will assume your life is easy. This will actually leads to the next reason you can’t be a stay-at-home mom.
Being a SAHM is not easy.
In fact, it is incredibly hard. When your kids are home all day, messes are made all day. You are responsible for making every, single meal and serving snacks. This will inevitably add to your never-ending pile of dishes. You will fight to establish a routine and get incredibly mad when that routine is balked because it will throw off your entire schedule and likely lead to cranky kids.
You aren’t a fan of late nights.
As a SAHM, you will in fact get less sleep than you did before. You will be forced to use the precious moments when kids are sleeping to get things done that you simply can’t focus on while they’re awake. If you usually update your calendar, pay bills, and the myriad of other life tidbits at work, now you will have to find time to fit them in.
You don’t want to change your current standard of living.
This one is huge and, I would argue, is the number one reason you can’t be a stay-at-home mom. If you aren’t willing to give up your cable television and morning latte then being a SAHM isn’t for you. If you are living on 2 maxed out incomes, you can’t expect to go to one income and keep the same standard of living. You have to prioritize and sometimes that means not even having Netflix and learning to make your own bread. If you’re not willing to live like that, you can’t be a SAHM.
I wasn’t “lucky” to be a SAHM. In the beginning, I sacrificed like crazy and worked my tail off to be able to do so because I wanted it bad enough. I learned to make a lot of our food from scratch like Poptarts, bread, sauces, and more. It was hard work to make but the ingredients were much cheaper and saved us a fortune on groceries. All of our furniture and décor was hand-me-downs. Our clothes and toys were either given to us, thrifted, or handmade by us. I budgeted constantly and stretched every penny as far as it would go and then some. At one point, we were even down to one vehicle. These were the hard choices we made to live that lifestyle.
If you aren’t willing to live your life like that, then you can’t be a stay-at-home mom. More importantly, there is nothing wrong with that. Not wanting to give up working outside of the home doesn’t make you less of a mom. Doing what you need to take care of you and take care of your family is the only true requirement of motherhood. That doesn’t always mean staying home with your kids. If that is you, own it. Besides, that jealousy goes two ways. Sometimes that SAHM is envying your ability to get out of the house kid-free and be around adults every day.