The worst advice I ever heard as a new stay at home mom was you can do anything from the comfort of your home. (face palm)
And I’ve worn all the hats over the span of 10+ years, from working outside the home when my kids were little to working from home, and now homeschooling my kids and staying home with them.
Being a stay-at-home mom is a job that comes with a lot of responsibilities, criticism from others, and, at times, poor (but, well meaning) advice.
However, recent research shows that the benefits of being a stay-at-home mom are invaluable to her as a woman and to her children.
Join me and let’s take a closer look at these benefits in order to understand how priceless a stay-at-home mom is for society (and her family).
Research Shows 10 Stay at Home Mom Benefits
Did you know that stay-at-home moms and dads account for about one-in-five American parents?
According to this study by the Pew Research Center more than 11 million U.S. parents were not working outside the home.
But that number changed drastically in 2020-2021 when their full-time job was eliminated due to work layoffs and quitting.
Now the dynamics of stay-at-home parents is changing and this is one of the best things to happen for women (and here’s why).
Stay-at-home moms often face criticism of others for their choice to stay at home with her own children.
But the truth is that young children need their moms to be present at the crossroads of their lives.
And there are so many benefits of being a stay-at-home mom that can’t be found in a daycare, with a babysitter, or in any other child care center in this nation.
Taking on what C.S. Lewis called the “most important work in the world” may not be easy, but it’s so rewarding when you realize you weave a tapestry of love that keeps your family together.
“A housewife’s work…is surely, in reality, the most important work in the world…your job is the one for which all others exist.”– C.S. Lewis
- Benefits of stay-at-home moms
- Possible disadvantages of being a stay-at-home mom
- A Word From Micah Klug of Home Faith Family (A Mom of 5)
Benefits of stay-at-home moms
Know this: You are an amazing mom, doing your best for your children (and yourself!), and staying home full-time is a lot of work.
The work stay at home moms do inside (and outside) their home should not go unnoticed.
Their job is often overlooked, but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make sure families are happy and healthy.
Later in this article we will discuss some potential disadvantages to the world of a stay-at-home mom, and personal battles women face every day.
Here is 10 benefits of stay-at-home moms that we hope will encourage and motivate all moms out there.
Saving on Childcare Costs
The cost of childcare is one of the main reasons why I initially chose to stay home with my five children.
A private nanny in Washington D.C. costs United States parents an average of $885 a week!
American women who choose to work outside the home or work on a part-time basis need to factor in the cost of childcare for each child in her family.
The average childcare cost per week this year for one child in a day care is $284 or almost $1,200 per month.
My family would be paying $6,000 a month in childcare expenses for my 5 children.
Putting a price sticker on your time with your children doesn’t come close to the impact you will make in their life.
As a stay-at-home mom you save your family a significant amount of money and potentially debt to care for your children.
Children’s School Performance
Norway made a choice to encourage parents to stay home with their children under the age of 3.
They found there was a positive effect on the older siblings in their academic performance when one of their parents was home with their younger siblings.
Having mom present in the home meant these school-aged children had a higher GPA, better behavior scores (less aggression) in their human development, fewer absences, and increased emotional health.
Children perform better when their safe people are close by.
And their safe people include you, mom, because they have an incredible trust in you as their caretaker and life giver.
Positive Effects of Moms Being Home
Overall, 83% of moms say that being a mother is enjoyable with 8 in 10 moms say being a parent is rewarding most or all the time.
Okay, I know this isn’t the glamorous statistic, but with motherhood, isn’t that the truth?
We love holding our child in our arms and seeing their chubby-cheek smile.
And someone needs to bottle up the smell of a newborn because there’s something magical about snuggling these new babies.
You adore your children’s silly make-believe games of knights and princesses.
And slamming that green-7 card and shouting “Uno!” with your middle school tween bring some of the best family game night memories to life.
But not every part of motherhood is glamourous or perfect.
Toddlers throw fits.
Tweens roll their eyes.
You might feel unappreciated and sometimes angry with pouring so much into the people you love without getting the help you need.
Struggling to stay off your phone is real, and wanting five minutes to yourself so you feel “normal” is something you don’t get as often as you should.
But you would never trade this life in for all the gold in the world because moms know that all children grow up, a financial situation of stress will change, and the labor force and career goals will always be there waiting for them.
But the early years of a child are fleeting and a mom’s presence in her home makes a big difference to in the care of the kids.
There are more options for women this past decade to bring in additional income through remote work experience or starting her own business online.
This is something our parents never had the opportunity to do while they were raising their families.
Not only do work-at-home jobs have a flexible schedule of working around your family’s needs, but there are also other advantages to consider.
These might include health insurance, potential income growth, and the ability to set your own rates.
There’s also the option of running an online business from home that can be tailored to a family’s lifestyle with minimal start-up costs.
Aside from providing financially for her family, a working mother has the opportunity to build her own business from the comfort of her own home.
From running a blog to freelancing in web design, the possibilities are endless for women who want to have their own career or side hustle while being able to stay at home with their families.
This type of flexibility allows a working mom to build a career and have time with their children without sacrificing one or the other.
A new study co-author Marion O’Brien shares that a mothers’ part-time employment in the work force provided more learning opportunities outside the home for their toddlers than stay-at-home moms and moms working full time.
Having this work schedule allows a mother to step away for a few hours a week and focus on her own interests.
This has been proven to help a mother’s mental health, as well as have a positive effect on her children.
When women are able to take care of their mental, emotional, and physical needs, it helps create a balance that is necessary for the entire family.
And as women are the primary buyers for their family, they are able to reinvest what they earn into their children’s learning, future education, family’s savings, and the overall family budget.
Whether women decide to use the cash-only system or some clever budget envelope ideas, the results are the same.
Part-time working moms can be an added welcome to a number of women who are wanting to stay at home and still help contribute a few work hours to their family’s budget.
Another benefit of being a stay-at-home mom is that it allows you to have more flexibility in your schedule.
As a stay-at-home mom, you don’t have to worry about having to be at work during certain hours or having to take off so much time for doctor’s appointments or other errands.
This increased flexibility in your family life gives you the opportunity to create a routine that works best for your family and allows you to be there for your kids when they need you most.
I know not everyone has the option to homeschool their children, or the desire to.
For my family, homeschooling has been an incredible adventure of molding character, shaping dreams, and learning from the best books we can find for our children.
Moms have ultimate control over their children’s education and is the springboard to their child’s success in their young adult years.
If a mom truly values a quality education, so will her children.
The best option for teaching your kids, even for single parents, is to find a learning system that works best for your family.
Homeschool moms understand that their goal is to not recreate the public school experience.
One of the first steps new moms learn is to teach the way that works best for her children.
Intimate Quality Time With Family
One of the greatest benefits of being a stay-at-home mom is the quality time that can be spent with family.
This includes spending time with your children, but also with your spouse or other family members.
Whether your family is growing, you have older children, or your parents are aging, being a stay at home mom may be the best decision of their lives (and yours as well).
It allows for more meaningful conversations and activities, as well as providing an opportunity to build stronger relationships with those you love most.
Deepen Relationships With Children
The American Psychological Association shares the complexity of women who choose to stay at home with their children.
There is a range of complex emotions and experiences that often have women feeling guilty, no matter their choice.
One of the biggest challenges women face is the need to not feel guilty for making a decision that is best for her and her family.
When this feeling of guilt is removed and a mom feels like she has the social support network she needs, she is able to deepen her relationships with her children.
She is able to strengthen and help her high school-aged children navigate peer pressure and prepare for their young adult years.
And her young toddlers and growing children are able to learn about the world around them in a safe and loving home.
Millennials’ Attitudes about Marriage
When most people here the phase “stay-at-home mothers” they think of the Victorian lifestyle of locking a woman inside her home and keeping her barefoot and pregnant.
That is so far from the truth from my generation of Millennials’ and their attitudes about marriage and parenting.
Millennials agree that both husbands and wives need to help each other as equal partners to care for the home and family.
Now, let’s not argue about what this equality looks like. That’s up to the spouses to decide together.
But Millennial men say that the top two qualities of an ideal wife include being:
1. A good mother (93%)
2 Caring and compassionate (88%)
3 Putting her family before anything else (74%)
4 A good sexual partner (57%)
5 Well educated (52%)
For men, having their women provide an income for their families is at the very bottom of the list.
And the same question was asked to Millennial women and their results are nearly identical with chores being the last on the list.
It didn’t need to take a study to show that the young adults of today’s generation value parenting and the relationships couples are building with their children.
Possible disadvantages of being a stay-at-home mom
While being a stay-at-home mom certainly has its advantages, like being able to spend more time with your children and not having to worry about a work commute, it’s not always easy.
In fact, there are a number of disadvantages that are rarely discussed.
For starters, there’s the isolation.
Spending all day with your little ones can be wonderful, but it can also be incredibly isolating.
You start to miss the adult interactions you used to have at work or when you were earning your college degree.
Then there’s the fact that being a stay-at-home mom means you’re basically on call 24/7.
There are no breaks, no vacation days, and no weekends – just endless days of feeding, cleaning, grocery shopping, and playing.
And finally, there’s the reality that being a stay-at-home mom often means a big sacrifice to your career, which can be frustrating for those who spent years building up their skillset.
So, if you’re considering staying home full-time, just remember: while it can be amazing, it’s not without its challenges.
Woman’s Mental Health
The stress that comes to women as a stay-at-home mom is evident in this 2012 Gallup report.
It’s so easy for an isolated woman to feel stress, anger, depression, sadness, and feel like it’s hard to smile.
When a woman has young children at home, her body is going through so many hormone changes, leading to a higher risk of postpartum depression.
The added stress of being the main caretaker for your children can take an emotional toll on a stay-at-home mom, leading to loneliness and isolation.
There are significant differences in this study between economic differences with low-income stay-at-home moms suffering the worst.
They struggle the most in terms of depression, sadness, and anger.
Teaching moms the skills and tools they need to maintain their mental and emotional health is important.
It’s important for these women who are serving their families, but also necessary for the children they care for every day.
This study done in recent years proves the importance that women need each other.
Moms need other moms to trade babysitting, talk through the depression and stress of being a parent, and as for help.
Identity As A Woman
As a woman, there are so many identities that we juggle on a daily basis.
A woman’s first identity was being someone’s daughter, and maybe even a sister.
Eventually she grows into a student, employee, friend, spouse, but perhaps one of the most overlooked identities is that of a mom.
Stay-at-home motherhood is one of the greatest sacrifices a woman can give.
She is laying down the status quo of her life to raise her children.
And often when you fill up your days being in the service of your family, you might forget your own passions and interests for a time.
A stay-at-home mom is more than just the snack queen and a diaper changer.
She is fulfilling her divine right as a woman to create moments to nurture her family by transforming a house into a home.
She sacrifices for a time so that she can ensure a better future for their children.
The sacrifices involve time, energy, and money.
And her ultimate sacrifice is her own personal interests for a small time, but the rewards often outweigh them all, as her relationships grow stronger.
There is often social pressure for stay-at-home moms to “have it all together” – from keeping an immaculate house to maintaining perfect parenting techniques – which can be overwhelming and unrealistic expectations for any one person!
Not to mention everyone has an opinion if moms should be working outside the home and those who think they should be devoting more time to their children.
It is so important for moms to remember that every family has their own needs and goals.
And what works best for one family may not work best for another.
Family Income: Financial Insecurity
Daughters who come from homes where her mother works outside the home are 1.21 times more likely to be employed and spend 44 additional minutes at work per week.
According to the Harvard Business School that 0.21 times makes all the difference in a woman being away from her children.
Now, this study does not account for the differences of single mothers or mother’s who work to provide for the necessities of life.
This is a matter of a woman choosing a career over her children in hoping that they’ll be great workers one day, too.
But Harvard shows us a woman’s daughter is more likely to work because her mother worked, not her son.
A successful SAHM is more than a woman who works for a paycheck.
She is a woman who is fiercely loyal to her family, who will do everything she can to help her husband provide for them.
Sometimes this providing is through contributing to their family income.
But more so, she provides for her child’s life through emotional support, nurturing, teaching, and guidance.
More often than not, a working mom’s income is spent on childcare.
And unless she earns more than her husband (or he needs to be a stay-at-home dad), a woman’s hourly earnings are below poverty level after she pays for the expenses of working outside the home.
Limited Time for Self Care
Staying at home with young children can mean long days and little time for yourself.
It’s important for parents to take time out of their day for self care activities such as exercising, reading, or praying.
But this can be difficult when caring for small children who require constant attention and supervision.
This is why family studies show that moms need a built-in community through friends, church members, or good neighbors who are willing to give her a rest.
Loss of Professional Status
One of the potential disadvantages of being a stay-at-home mom is the loss of professional status.
When you are not working outside of the home, it can be difficult to maintain your professional identity and credibility in your field.
This can make it difficult to reenter the workforce after taking time off or even to find meaningful volunteer opportunities that will help you stay engaged with your profession.
Difficulties with Career Advancement
Being a stay-at-home mom can make career advancement more challenging.
Women choosing to spend their time at home might require more effort and dedication than someone who is able to work full time in their chosen field.
The best way to stay up-to-date in your chosen field is to keep reading everything you can get your hands on.
Taking time away from work does not mean you need to face an employment gap when you’re ready to go back.
If a stay-at-home mom takes five minutes each day to read up on her field, she will be ready to enter the workforce if she chooses to do so.
Affordable Childcare Options
Another disadvantage of being a stay-at-home mom is finding affordable childcare options that meet your needs and budget constraints when you do need a break from parenting duties or need additional assistance with child care responsibilities .
Finding quality childcare that fits within your budget can be difficult as most daycare centers charge high rates for their services.
The primary reason most women stay home is because the full-time work they would do outside the home would be enough to pay for the childcare.
And women would rather spend time with their children in teaching, strengthening, and nurturing their own kids.
A Word From Micah Klug of Home Faith Family (A Mom of 5)
If there’s one wish I could make for women everywhere my wish would be for the mommy wars to stop.
We are all trying to be better parents and take care of our family well-being.
But the negative effects on the contention based on other people’s choices needs to no longer be the focus of our judgement.
I know the immense guilt that comes from bundling up and leaving a big eye six-month old baby with a babysitter to go to work full-time because your family needs to eat.
I hated myself for having to leave my children and hearing people ask, “when will you quit and stay home?”
And then there’s the guilt that comes when you’re finally a stay at home mom and you feel awful you’re not financially contributing to the family.
And then people think you have all the time in the world because to them you’re “just at home all day,” so they expect you to do everything and be everywhere.
But deep down, all you want is for your family to be happy.
And you lose a piece of yourself with each passing day.
You spend more time teaching your children about kindness, and your heart bursts when you see them fist-bump their competitors after a race they didn’t win.
The old you becomes a long-lost memory and over time motherhood transforms you into a new creature.
A mother who sets aside the vanities of the world and cares for others above self.
She is the woman who becomes your new you.
A woman’s role as mother in the world’s eyes might seem shallow and unimportant.
But her role in the far reaching span of future generations both in this life and in God’s eyes into the eternities will be the best work she could ever do.
So, friend, from one mother to another, don’t underestimate the good you’re doing in your family.
You are flawed and make mistakes.
It’s wrestling and acknowledging these imperfections that allows motherhood to transform and change our very nature.
And whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or an outside-the-home working mom (because, all moms work hard), don’t judge yourself too harshly.
Be kind to the women around you.
And please know you’re doing what’s best for your family, so make sure you take advantage of every opportunity you can when you’re with your children.
Micah Klug is a wife, homeschooling mother to five children, and author. She teaches time-tested solutions to help parents remember what matters most in life, including strengthening their home, faith, and family relationships. To learn how a child who grew up in an authoritarian home is now creating an environment of peace and joy in her own home visit this page. If you want to contact Micah, send her an email here or email [email protected].