Are you considering whether you should quit your job to be a stay-at-home Mom? Well, rather than just feed you a load of anecdotes about yummy mummy Starbucks dates and more “me-time” for you, I’m going to share with you the list of things I wish I had considered before I became a stay-at-home mom. I was a stay-at-home mom for ten years before I went back to work, and if I had known then what I know now, I might have done things differently.
Why reasons would you have to quit your job to be a stay-at-home mom?
There are many varied reasons why someone would consider quitting their job to be a stay-at-home mom, and nearly every single person has more than one reason. Often there are a number of different reasons why you would consider not going back to work after having a baby. Here are a few scenarios.
Maybe you’re pregnant and have already checked your leave days based on the due date calculator, so now you are considering what you will do with your baby when you must return to work.
Maybe you’re coming to the end of too-short maternity leave and hating the idea of leaving your baby with strangers at a daycare.
Maybe you’ve realised that childcare costs are basically the same as what you’ll bring home after going back to work and can’t really see the point in paying someone else to take care of your kids when you can do it yourself, and your economic unit won’t be any worse off.
Maybe you’re struggling with the idea of the commute and logistics of being able to drop your baby off at childcare and then travel to your place of work. Anxiety has kicked in as you stress about how to do it all and work.
Maybe your side hustle is really important to you, but it’s just not bringing in what you could earn if you went back to work, so your passion project is going to have to take a back seat or be completely sidelined, and you’re feeling resentful.
Whatever stage in this journey you are in, you’ll be thinking to yourself, should I quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom?
Getting to the point of this post, I’m going to give you the answer right now …
“It’s up to you and you alone!”
That’s the best answer I have for you because, ultimately, it’s the only answer you should need. Of course, that doesn’t make it any easier, but I want to share a few things you should consider before quitting your job to be a stay-at-home mom.
I’ve broken the list down into the pros and cons of being a Stay-At-Home mum because, as with all things in life, there are good and bad options on either side of your choice, and it’s important to consider them all.
10 Pros of Being a Stay-at-home Mom
This list might sound incredibly obvious, but it’s necessary to be transparent if we’re going to fairly represent both the pros and cons of being a Stay-At-Home-Mum. Let’s start with the pros:
- More time with the baby for you. This might sound ridiculous, but every mum has a selfish streak where they want to stay at home with their baby and believe that their baby can’t possibly be okay or happy without them. It’s a purely selfish but valid reason – you want more time with your baby. Don’t apologise for that, ever, because it’s okay.
- You won’t have to pay for childcare. Unless you’re an ostrich, you’ll know that you’ll have to pay extortionate childcare costs at some point in the near future. The minute your maternity leave ends, you’ll likely have to put your kid(s) into childcare, and the costs of that are often so high that it can almost be the same as your salary.
- Your baby gets more time with you. Yes, I know this sounds like the same reason as the first one I mentioned, but that one is about you; this one is about the baby. According to the experts, the more time a baby can spend in the warm, safe, loving home environment with their parent, the warmer, safer, and more loved they will be. This is always going to be beneficial to the child.
- Improved academic performance by children. Studies have shown that children with a stay-at-home parent have a 1.2 point increase in their academic performance than they would otherwise have. The idea behind this research is that children with a stay-at-home mum/parent get more help with their homework and school work in general than children of busy working parents who are time-poor.
- Invest in your well-being. Now, this isn’t to say that working mums don’t invest in their personal well-being, but there is undoubtedly less time to do this. Being a stay-at-home mom will give you more time to invest in things that bring you joy. You could start a side hustle, study something, take on a new hobby, of even join the gym.
- Fewer job-related stresses. There’s no denying that being at work will add stress to your day that you won’t have to deal with if you’re a stay-at-home mom.
- Spending time with children is de-stressing. Now I realise this might not be the same for everyone, but spending time with their children can be de-stressing for many people. Children have an innate ability to bring out the child in all of us, to take those stresses and worries away and make us more present in the moment.
- Children feel more secure. When you’re the parent who is there with your children most of the time, it makes them feel more secure knowing that their parent will always be there. Even when they start school, knowing that the same parent will drop them off and collect them every day is a benefit to them that is almost immeasurable. Children thrive on routine; this is just one example of a routine that benefits the children of having a stay-at-home mom.
- You’ll be able to meet new people who are on the same journey you are. Making new friends as a stay-at-home mum will be daunting and a bit scary, but through baby groups, and toddler messy play dates, you’ll meet people who you would otherwise never have met and who you’ll be able to connect with as you share the highs and lows of parenting. You’ll truly be able to find your mom tribe.
- No worries about caregivers. One of the biggest worries that parents have is who is looking after their child. If you decide to quit your job to become a stay-at-home mom, you won’t have to worry about who is looking after your child because it will be you. And you trust yourself, right? Most of the time, anyway.
10 Cons of Being a stay-at-home mom
One might assume that there are only pros to being a SAHM, other than the loss of income, but I’m here to tell you that there are so many more to consider. Most of the cons of being a stay-at-home mom will relate to losing your financial independence and the impact on your career, but there are a few other issues you should consider too.
- Loss of income. Starting with the obvious, if you choose to quit your job to become a Stay-at-home-mum / parent, the first and more significant thing to consider (in the short term) is the loss of income. You will need to carefully reconfigure your economic unit budget to adjust to a reduction in household income. Please do not underestimate the impact this can have in the short and long term. If you have the opportunity to save and plan in advance for the end of your maternity leave, try to make provisions for the future.
- Financial dependence on your partner. Whichever parent decides to give up working will become dependent on their partner’s earnings. This takes a toll on a relationship and on each partner in different ways. The working parent will undoubtedly feel the pressure to provide for the family as the sole earner, and the stay-at-home parent will become accountable and dependent on the working parent for all finances. This includes big expenses such as mortgage payments and holidays to smaller payments such as getting your hair done or even buying that cup of coffee from Starbucks. Please take this into consideration jointly before your quit your job to become a stay-at-home mom.
- You will be taking a career break. As someone who has been job hunting for the past few months, even with the progressive thinking about supporting women and parents back into the workforce, you will inevitably have to account for the ‘career break’ on your CV. As stay-at-home parents know, you are working whilst caring for your child and many of the skills you acquire during that time are completely transferrable. But … it isn’t an employed role that you can put on your CV, and when you do return to work, you will be asked to account for that gap of time. This has made me feel quite defensive at times, and I feel annoyed that I’m even questioned about it. Ironically I get that it is not fair of me to feel like that. The poor recruiter is simply asking a question, but in the interest of being honest, that’s one that you need to be aware of.
- Pause in your work experience. A career break also means that you’ll have to accept that gap in experience compared to those who did not quit their job to be a stay-at-home parent. People who were your equal at work will be much further along in their careers than you will. You need to simply accept that. There will be people who were not even qualified or working before you left who are suddenly in more senior positions than you are. This can be a humbling experience but also one that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, so to speak. Of course, you’ll be able to look back on your time with your beautiful children and realise all the positives, but keep this in mind.
- Lack of self-confidence and struggle to find a new role. I’m not talking about people who go back to the same job after maternity leave. I’m talking about finding a new job and re-entering the workforce after an extended amount of time not working. The sad reality is that some employers will lose confidence in you for having been out of the working world for some time. You’ll have to work extra hard to find a role that even gives you the opportunity to interview, and you’ll likely have a lot of interviews. It’s not just their lack of confidence in you; you yourself will likely suffer a lack of self-confidence.
- You might have to take a drop in salary. Often, returners to work decide to take on part-time jobs rather than go back to work full-time. In this case, you’ll bring in less money than you did before, which is fine considering you’re working fewer hours. But sometimes, you might have to go back to work accepting a more junior role than you had before you left. This option is often taken by choice, such as having a no-stress job, or it might be simply getting a foot back in the door of your old career – to give yourself time to build up your confidence. Whatever the situation, taking a salary drop can be detrimental to your self-worth, so it’s worth thinking about this before you quit your job to be a stay-at-home mom.
- Reduced contribution to your pension. You will no longer be contributing to your pension when you stop working. This is probably one of the little-known/considered issues when discussing whether to quit your job to become a stay-at-home parent. For full details on how to calculate a UK state pension I recommend consulting a professional financial advisor.
- All the work at home doesn’t just disappear. Moving away from obvious career and work-related issues, no matter whether you take a high-flying job or simply a 9-2 job that gives you something to do during school hours, when you get home from a day at work, all the housework that you used to do to fill your time when you were a stay-at-home mum, will still be there. As someone who hated being a housewife (really but not really), take it from me, you will have to readjust your routine in order to fit it all in around your job, the kids, and making time for your partner. This can take some adjusting, trial and error, a fair few arguments, and some more adjusting. But this is something you can definitely make work. You got this!
- No Sick Days and no days off! If you’re a stay-at-home mom, I guarantee you, you will get no time off. Even if you’re sick, and you will get sick because kids bring home their germs and bugs from school, even then you won’t get time off. You’ll still have to carry on with the routine that you so carefully crafted and put in place because quite frankly, who are you going to call in to? Your partner, who has to go to work? Unlikely.
- Loss of your identity. I saved the worst till the last. Take it from me, if you do decide to quit your job to become a stay-at-home mom, you will likely suffer from a loss of identity. Being beholden to your partner financially, being at your children’s beck and call, and dedicating every waking moment to serving your family can lead to a loss of your own identity. You’ll end up giving up so much of yourself to care for your family that sometimes you can forget what you want to do, what you like, where you want to go, or who you want to see.
Conclusion … or is it?
At some point, either when you’re pregnant or about to go back to work after your maternity leave, you’ll inevitably have that discussion with your partner about what the options are: go back to work or become a stay-at-home parent. Inevitably it’s impossible to be impartial when making this decision – you can’t account for that primal urge to be with your young. But as someone who is at the end of 10 years of being a Stay-at-home-mum – I position I feel very honoured to have been given the opportunity to do; these are some of my reflections on the pros and cons that you need to consider before you decide to become a stay-at-home mum.
In all honesty, I didn’t think of them all. I probably didn’t think of half of them. The main reason we decided I should be a stay-at-home mom was that we couldn’t agree on who was best to look after the baby for me to go back to work. We were fortunate that financial issues didn’t play too big a part, although, of course, they took a knock.
If you’re thinking about quitting your job to be a stay-at-home mum, please consider each of the options here very carefully and as I mentioned at the beginning, only you can ultimately make the decision. You and your partner, of course.