Having kids is no walk in the park. But the whole experience can be made harder if one parent has to leave for work every single day, while the other stays home to take care of the children. In the event of a stay-at-home-mom and working-dad dynamic, resentments and negative feelings often abound. However, that isn’t always the case.
Everywhere we turn, we hear about the stereotype of the SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) who takes care of the kids while still managing to take care of the household by cleaning and cooking daily. Meanwhile, the working dad goes to work and doesn’t lift a finger at home.
But this isn’t the 1950’s anymore. Family dynamics, roles, and responsibilities have evolved drastically in the last couple of decades. It’s not true that if a woman chooses to stay home, she should be able to have the house be spotless and dinner ready and hot for 6pm or whenever her husband comes back home from work.
Unlike before, stay-at-home moms actually willingly choose to stay home now. It’s not all due to a patriarchal society anymore, at least not in the Western world. But even if it’s their choice to stay home, it doesn’t mean that the choice doesn’t come with its fair share of feelings on the matter.
20 May As Well Be A Single Mom
As much as some moms look forever to their husbands going to work, others end up feeling quite lonely. Meaghan shared:
“I feel like a single mom. My husband works 8-5 with an hour’s drive each way. When he’s done, he goes to the gym first, then comes home for dinner and goes to bed. At this point, I’m wondering why we should even stay together when I can be alone with the kids and have no expectations. Rather than expecting him to put the kids to bed (and having him not do it most times), I’d rather know I have no choice but do it anyways if he’s not in the picture at all.”
19 Is It Really Her Fault?
When it comes to stay-at-home moms and working dads, there’s the stereotype that moms don’t do enough housework some days because they are lazy. While we can all agree that couldn’t be further from the truth, Danielle gave us her take on being a SAHM:
“I’m ok with doing all the housework. I don't know if I just have an old school mentality but I don't think if your husband is working full time he should have to worry about things around the house. I am a SAHM as well I wish sometimes my husband would pick up after himself but I created that monster!!”
18 As Long As They’re Both OK With It
Mari shared a bit of a different perspective with us. She candidly revealed,
“I have always hated doing chores, so now that the cooking and cleaning rests entirely on me just because I’m a SAHM, it’s just too much for me. I’d much rather play video games than do any of it, especially since I know that’s what my husband would do in my shoes. When he’s home, I even out the playing field by asking him to do laundry, cook, sweep, mop, and dust the house in exchange for some after-hours activities. That way, I have more time for myself to have coffee with a friend, go to the gym or take a yoga class alone.”
17 It Can Happen
When one parent stays home and the other goes to work every day, it can sometimes happen that younger kids will have trouble forming a bond with the working parent. Nikki told us about her struggles with this exact situation,
“I'm a stay at home mom to my 14-month-old. My husband works from about 8am to 4pm every day. When he gets home from work, I feel like my son wants nothing to do with me really. He wants daddy to read to him, hold him, play with him, etc. It makes me feel really bad but I’m hoping it’s just a phase.”
16 The Crippling Loneliness
Even if a stay-at-home mom makes it’s a point to leave the house on a daily basis, the loneliness can still be too much to handle. Amanda shared,
“I never know what day it is because they're all basically the same. Even though I go out every day, whether to the store or for a coffee with a friend, I just feel so lonely. I need way more social interaction than I actually get and a casual chat at the grocery store doesn’t do it for me. Some days I wish I could work at least part time and get out but then I'm stressing about kids clothes, sitter etc.
15 Can You Do Some Overtime, Honey?
For some moms, the prospect of their husbands leaving the house while they stay home with the kids is actually a much-welcomed one. Although she made us promise we wouldn’t tell her husband, Susie candidly shared with us:
“Mine works 4-12. One less person I have to take care of.”
While many might be quick to judge her statement, any mom is sure to understand to some extent though. Worrying about kid #1, kid #2, the dog, the cat, and of course, yourself, then worrying about a fellow adult can be an overwhelming task for most.
14 Trust The Second Time Around
Trust is like a paper, once it’s crumpled it can’t be perfect again. And that’s exactly the issue Lidia has been running into a lot lately. She openly shared with us:
“Before we had our first child, my husband broke my trust by messaging other women. We have worked hard to repair that aspect and are now two kids in. I’m a very independent woman in general and wouldn’t mind him leaving for work every day. The trouble is that he’s gone a lot, works long hours and I’m starting to recognize the same pattern we ran into before. It doesn’t help that there are lots of weird numbers on the call log. I don’t think I can go through this a second time.”
13 A Well-Oiled Machine
What’s it like to be an Instagram Mom? After interviewing famous Instagram Influencer Mom Hannah Carpenter, Mic summed up her life saying, “The unique appeal of Instagram motherhood: Carpenter is one of many well-known "Instagram moms" who've built their social media presences into a picture-perfect lifestyle brand, even when the reality of motherhood is anything but.”
For Stacey, an Instagram Influencer Mom we spoke to, she actually feels a little different about her husband going to work.
“I can’t wait for him to leave! I usually get all my work done while the kids nap and on the days my husband stays home, I can’t focus at all. He makes so much noise that he nearly always wakes up the kids and then after that, it’s game over.”
12 If Only He’d Ask
For Courtney, she just wishes she had more help. She told us,
“I truly don’t mind that my husband is always gone for work. But when he comes home, all he wants to relax. He has a busy job that requires a lot of social interaction, so by the time he gets home, he doesn’t feel like interacting at all. I wish he would inquire more about me though and not assume that I didn’t do anything just because I stayed home all day. I still have lots of things to share, whether it’s something funny the kids did or a new venture I started for myself online. But he has no idea because he hasn’t asked.”
11 A Change In Shifts Can Make A World Of A Difference
Sometimes, a particular work schedule can make a world of a difference. The usual 9-5 can be perfect for some, while for others it’s a later shift that can work the best. For Rosita, the latter works the best and it’s a shift she wishes her husband would go back on. She explained,
“I LOVED when my husband worked second shift. 3 to 11. It was absolutely amazing for me and our family. Honestly, I was much happier, our family was much happier. We had 3 school aged kids, one at home and one on the way. But now that he works 7-3, we barely see him as he’s always exhausted.”
10 The Realities Of Deployment Life
"Military Wives", "Army Moms"… no matter the name, the consensus is clear: the life of a woman whose husband is away for months at a time is unimaginably hard. At least with a husband who comes home daily, there’s the expectation of some help but for those who are gone every single day and don’t come back at all, even for an hour, that expectation isn’t there at all.
“My husband is army and is gone all the time. Deployment sucks and I end up a wreck every single time, in therapy and on meds. I try to stick to routine as much as possible but some days are spent just watching cartoons with the kids,” shared Hope.
9 The Daycare Situation
As much as some moms would rather be working, many choose to stay home because it’s cheaper than paying for daycare.
Sarah said, “[Money] was the decision maker for us. I was going to be paying out almost as much in daycare as my normal check. I think $200 a month would have been my salary. I decided that if I was "working for $200 a month" I'd likely not take it seriously anyway. I went part-time and then quit when my youngest was born. I’d much rather be working but I just can’t justify working for so little.”
8 She Does It All Herself
We all know the importance of asking for help – we read about it enough everywhere on the web and in mommy support groups! But for Caitlin, she would much rather do everything herself,
“I hate asking him for help because even though being at home with two kids is not that simple. I get to take breaks when they take a nap and he does help when he knows that I’m a little exhausted. He works from 6-6 five days a week and sometimes Saturdays too so when he gets home I want him to rest and spend time with the kids!”
7 Burn-Outs Can Happen To Anyone
No, stay-at-home moms aren’t lazy and no, they don’t just do nothing all day. In fact, even stay-at-home moms can go through a burn-out! As hard as that aspect can be for some husbands to understand, spending all day with the kids is no walk in the park.
“I’m every negative emotion I can think of. My husband goes to work every single day, leaving me alone with four kids and I just can’t anymore. He knows exactly how I feel but doesn’t try to help at all. I’m a SAHM 24/7 and get no downtime whatsoever. I get zero ‘me time’. I’m at the point where I just want to leave,” said Nicole.
6 Green With Envy
“I am SO jealous of my husband. I wish I could be the one to go to work while he stayed home with the kids,” told us Jacinta.
“Every day, he comes back fresh as a cucumber, while I look in the mirror and can barely recognize myself anymore. I used to have a very good high-paying job and now my life has been reduced to cooking, cleaning and wiping snot all day long,” she also added.
Sometimes, the stay-at-home-life isn’t for everyone and it can be worth switching roles. While the mom goes to work, dad stays home with the kids. It’s not a situation for everyone but it can certainly work.
5 If Only...
Once again, the SAHM life simply isn’t for every woman. Katie shared with us her feeling on being a stay-at-home mom while her husband leaves for work every day:
“I feel so guilty but I’ve been so depressed and feeling so lonely. We go to play dates, parks, play centers daily. I try to do something fun with them every day. I also give myself some “me” time. I’ll go to the gym in the morning and my husband lets me go and do whatever in the evenings. But things are just so bad for me, I feel awful all day. I know moms would do anything to have my life but I wish my husband could be home more, so we could do things together.”
4 If Only He Could Come Home In The Evenings
Feeling lost while staying home with the kids is a very common issue. Brianna told us,
“I have 3 (6, 3 and 3 months) I feel like I've lost myself. My husband is in the army and not around a lot. It's very difficult some days. I used to sleep in as long as I wanted and now I’m lucky if I can get 6-7h. I used to be an avid video gamer and now I have no energy to even do that. My kids literally suck the life out of me. It would be different if my husband was home every evening but unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury.”
3 It’s Not For Every Mom
Speaking of being home every evening, Heidi found that she ran into a bit of a different issue. Although her husband would be home every evening, she just couldn’t handle him being gone all day long.
“I have four kids and although we figured at first that daycare was totally out of the question, we ended up making it work. I couldn’t handle being alone with the kids anymore, so I sat my husband down and told him things needed to change. I got very lucky and scored a high-paying job, making the cost of daycare not too bad now. On the bright side, I get to do something for me every day,” Heidi told us.
2 Just Bidding Her Time
While some women find themselves unable to handle being alone with the kids all the time, there are others who pretty much count down the hours until their husbands need to head off to work already.
“As terrible as it might sound, I’m happy to have my husband out of the home every day because of all the fighting. We’re pretty much only staying together for the kids and I’m waiting for the youngest to turn four before leaving. When he’s home, all he does is scroll Facebook. There’s no affection between us, only resentment. Even counseling hasn’t helped,” shared Michelle.
1 She’s The Only One
Guylene bravely shared her story with us:
“I have two kids and my second was born disabled. He has different appointments at opposing ends of the city on a near daily basis and I’m the only one who can take him because my husband works long shifts. It’s very hard, I have no time for myself and I wish my husband could be home more. We need the money but I wish he could at least work different hours. Although, it probably still wouldn’t work out because he often goes through depression.”
References: Interview with moms and Mic.com.