Stay-at-home mom guilt is real. It takes persistence and self-reminders to keep them at bay (and encouragement from loved ones goes a long way, too).
Did you ever think it was a dream job to stay at home with your kid? Maybe at some point, I did.
Like many moms who decided not to go back to the workforce after having babies, I did feel guilty for staying at home.
Contrary to what many (working) people think, being a stay-at-home mom is a tough job even though we’re just here all day.
What does a stay-at-home mom do?
Everything. Okay, maybe not everything ’cause my husband’s in charge of taking out the trash and he washes the dishes on weekends (and cleaning the bathroom is also his). Other than that, the household chores fall on me, a SAHM. Cook meals, clean the house, load the laundry, fold clothes, I can go on and on.
Aside from those, I parent, which turns out to be a not-so-easy 24/7 task.
Most of the day is spent around my very busy toddler. I have things to do; my son also has things to do. But then he wants me in his business so I always have to pause my tasks and join him.
I’m in charge of remembering doctor’s appointments, paying bills, updating grocery lists, preparing the diaper bag whenever we have to go outside, taking the toddler for a walk outside, chasing him so he can take his vitamins.
I like it though. I enjoy being on top of everything home-related. Sometimes I get very little done during the day and the night is still used for house chores.
And yet, I sometimes still feel like I’m not doing enough.
Why do stay-at-home moms feel guilty?
There’s a boatload of answers but here are the three big reasons for stay-at-home mom guilt.
1. Not contributing to family finances
Staying at home to raise our kiddo is a mutual decision by my husband and me. Still, there used to be that nagging sound in my mind that said I should find a job.
Aside from having your own money, keeping a job contributes to your confidence. So it is normal for moms who opted to stay at home to feel guilty, and insecure even for not bringing home a paycheck.
2. Not spending enough time with our child
Despite being home with our toddler, I feel guilty for not spending enough quality time with him. Isn’t the reason why I am a SAHM is to care for him all day? I catch myself saying “wait, baby” not just once a day. This clingy boy only wants my attention and I cannot always be there because there are other babies waiting for me (hello dirty dishes and clothes).
I am also always tired and sleepy and I just want to hit the sack while we are quietly playing.
3. Wanting to spend time on the things I want/used to do
This yearning is so strong I remember feeling awful for not doing things other than house chores and watching over our son. It can make you feel like you are losing yourself.
Having time for those things that make you happy is self-care. But then it’s so easy for moms to brand themselves with guilt for all the other activities their limited time cannot manage to accomplish.
I see moms online talking about this same situation. Some are even stressed and I found that there are two factors that greatly affect their desire to ditch the SAHM role.
Moms are more likely to feel guilty or worthless when:
- Their financial situation isn’t afloat.
Of course, you both weighed the pros and cons before deciding to be a single-income family. It doesn’t always go smoothly though, especially when emergencies arrive. When you know your family barely makes ends meet, it is understandable that a mom would want to help.
- The husband is not supportive or doesn’t appreciate what the wife does at home for the family.
Is he berating you for not working? Or do you get thank yous and sincere regard? A partner can make or break your day.
I recently asked my husband again are you really okay with me not working? And he says yes because what I’m doing is for our son. We are fortunate that we can live off his salary and I can focus at home. When he’s not working, he goes full-on dad mode.
Get rid of the stay-at-home mom guilt by doing these
I no longer feel sad about being a stay-at-home mom. The guilt shows up every now and then though, and each time I lead them out the door.
Remember your worth and own the role
I bet you already know how noble a job you have at home. But if you want to paint a figure to how much value you are contributing, know that as of Investopedia, a stay-at-home parent should be paid $178,201 annually. That is around PHP 800,000.00 per month! Feeling mamahalin already?
There are also things only you can do (better). These may seem small but for us, clipping our tot’s fingernails falls on me, since I have good eyesight. I pack the diaper bag because I know what needs to be there.
Your commitment to fulfilling your family’s everyday needs is as important as the income your husband brings.
While we’re at it, instead of feeling guilty for staying at home, why not use it to your family’s advantage? I’m saying you can own this role. Do you want a sustainable lifestyle for your family? Work on making the switch. Plan to get everyone eating more veggies? Be your kitchen’s queen.
Live in the moment with your kid
Be there. Really there. When I’m feeling torn every time my son takes me away from my computer, I remind myself that he is not forever young. Besides, engaging with your little one benefits him more than any other toy could.
I love seeing him discover how things work. I giggle when he knows he’s made an accomplishment and starts to clap for himself. My favorite right now is his wide and triumphant smile each time he presses on our doorbell.
My heart melts each time he sits on my lap and we read his books. Don’t be too busy at home that you forget the reason why you’re home. You are allowed to slow down.
Work on your passion and earn from it
Squeezing time to work on my craft, no matter how little I could manage, makes me feel like I am doing something bigger than myself. As if I’m investing and I’ll get the fruits in the future.
Passion is fuel. It might not make you money right away but it can definitely recharge you so you can function better the next day.
Often, guilt stems from not having enough time. Be strategic with how you use yours. Do what is needed for today and let go of what won’t help in the near future.
Do I miss working?
I do. I like to have my own business though and decide completely how much time I’ll put into it. But having a job is cool especially when you are in a generous company. Or when you love what you’re doing.
Besides, I totally agree with a tweet I’ve read last year. When you’re a parent, working outside the house is considered vacation. (might not be true for every job, I know)
Working moms deal with guilt too. They think they should be at home attending to their families. I guess whatever you do if you’re a parent, you’re bound to feel guilty for something.
On some days I still sigh when I have to put “housewife” on a form or document. And it irks me because there’s nothing bad about it. In fact, my mom was a SAHM, and never did I once think she didn’t do enough.
Don’t beat yourself up. You are doing well.