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Working mom or stay-at-home mom? I’ve heard a lot of opinions about what option is best and I’ve felt that I need to write about my experience. I hope this will help the moms that are struggling with finding the right answer! My journey of being a working mom and a stay-at-home has taught me a powerful lesson and I’m glad that I can share it here. If you already made this decision, I’m really curious if you agree with me about the pros and cons of each alternative.
In the past years, I’ve been both a working mom and a stay-at-home mom, so I have a personal experience with both alternatives. I stayed at home with my son from birth until he was 11 months old. Then I returned to my job with a 6-hours program and my son went to a creche. By the time he was 2 years old I switched to a full-time program. When he turned 3 I’ve decided to quit my job and become a stay-at-home mom. Now, six months later, I am a work-at-home mom as I’m blogging and I’m taking care of some online projects, but my main focus is taking care of my son.
Both changes, from SAHM to working mom and vice versa, were challenging for me! When I returned to work when my boy was a little baby I felt a strong anxiety about leaving him with other people. I felt guilty and it took me some time to adjust to the change. I was lucky to find a great creche for him that made this adjustment easier and things slowly became normal for us. The change from being a working mom to being a stay-at-home mom was also challenging, even if I wasn’t expecting this!
It was my choice to quit my job, so I thought that everything will be easy. But I started to miss my job really quickly! I’ve always liked being active in my professional life and the sudden change was a little bit overwhelming. Now I’ve finally found a balance! Working from home allows me to still feel useful and active and I also get to spend a lot of time with my child!
Looking back at these experiences I honestly cannot give a verdict on which is best! I think that the decision is strictly related to the things that make the mom happy. Some mothers enjoy spending time with their kids so much that they don’t really need anything else! Other mothers only feel accomplished when they also have a professional life. Others even want to build a strong career and invest a lot of time and energy in their job even if they have young kids. There is nothing wrong with any of these! In my opinion, the secret to a fulfilling mom life is finding the balance between all the things in our life! When we feel happy with what we do, we are more likely to be better moms and provide to our kids the peaceful and loving environment that they need!
There is no right way to choose! Making the right decision is more about putting into balance the advantages and disadvantages and choosing what’s best for you!
The advantages and disadvantages of being a working mom
I’m writing this list from my experience, I’m sure that other working moms could add a lot of other perspectives!
– you can be active in your professional life and feel the accomplishments that a job brings
– you don’t have a long break in your career and you have better chances to build a successful career
– the job also gives you more satisfaction when it comes to your natural yearning for intellectual stimulation
– you have more social interactions
– the child has the opportunity to see an equal working status between mom and dad
– you get to have a break from your role as a mom
– you have more financial freedom and overall the family has more financial resources
– you will feel that feeling of guilt sometimes, especially if you start the job when you have a little baby (at least, I did so at the beginning!)
– you spend more time away from your child
– your program is stricter and the mornings are usually more stressful because you need to prepare everyone to get out on time
– you may miss some of the small accomplishments in your child’s life (i.e. the first time the child used the big slide in the park 🙂 )
– the time you can spend with the child doing family activities is limited
– if your child is going to a daycare or preschool, you will have some challenges to face when it comes to illnesses and missing work to stay home with the child
– if you have a stressful job, you may be tired and less likely to be playful when you get home.
The advantages and disadvantages of being a stay-at-home mom
Again, these are opinions from my experience as a SAHM, I’m sure that there could be other things to add.
– you have the chance to spend a lot of time with your child
– being a mom can be the most rewarding job in the world and can bring a lot of wonderful accomplishments
– you can be involved in any activity in your children’s life and you’ll be around for every milestone
– in the first years, children benefit a lot from having their mom close to them and this has a great influence on their emotional development
– you don’t need to have a strict program every day
– you have more control on everything related to your child: the persons that interact with him, the food that he is eating and so on
– sometimes being alone with a child all day can be overwhelming and exhausting
– you may lose some important years in your career if you take a long break from the job
– you have limited social interactions (and they are often about the kids)
– boredom can become part of your life even if you really enjoy staying with your kids
– you have no financial independence and you must rely on your husband for providing money to the family.
Working mom or stay-at-home mom: What I’ve learned from having both experiences
1. Sometimes we have some impossible standards that we feel that we need to meet as mothers! And those standards only provide us more guilt! A working mom may feel that she cannot offer enough love and protection to her children. A stay-at-home mom may feel that she is not a good role model when it comes to teaching kids about the equality between men and women. Or that she is missing an important part of her life by choosing to stay at home with the kids. The only solution is to feel at peace with whatever decision that you are making. Once you acknowledge that every decision has pros and cons, the guilt will disappear and you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of your status.
2. It’s not selfish to be a working mom and this doesn’t make you a bad mom! Not only the number of hours that you spend with your child is important! Most important is the quality of this time! I’ve seen stay-at-home moms that leave their children in front of the TV all day and hardly play with them. And I’ve seen working moms that take their children to the park every evening. So we don’t need to compare the amount of time spent with the child but rather the amount of quality time. And working moms can also have a lot of amazing time with their kids!
3. Being a stay-at-home mom doesn’t have to mean that your career has ended! Being able to have a break from work and focus on your child is a wonderful privilege! Also, there are a lot of things you could do at home to keep you connected with your work life, like courses and online projects.
4. Kids need happy moms! This is one of the most important things to remember. When mom feels accomplished and happy, the child feels this positive energy and enjoys it. An exhausted and bored stay-at-home mom is not better that a playful working mom! Kids need us to be present in their life in an authentic way and this is only possible when we feel happy about ourselves!
5. The time spent with the kids is precious! Even if you are lucky to spend your whole day with the child or you just spend the evenings and the weekends together, enjoy this time! Years go by really fast, children grow and we’ll never have these moments again! So play, laugh and enjoy! Being a mom is wonderful, no matter if you stay at home or go to work every day!
Finally, if I could give an advice to every mom that is struggling to decide between being a working mom or a SAHM, this is that the secret is to make the choice that works best for you and then find a way to keep the balance in your life! As a mom, it’s not easy to keep this balance. But once you manage to find it, the whole family will benefit from it!
At the end, I would be really curious to find out your opinions! What do you think it’s best: being a stay-at-home mom or a working mom? What have you chosen?
photo credit: Canva.com