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SAHMs vs Working Moms: Motherhood in Their Shoes

Motherhood is a wild ride.

There isn’t a manual handed to you when you leave the hospital. With time, you learn what works, what doesn’t and what sacrifices you are willing (or have) to make. Motherhood, no matter if it’s in the home or outside of it, comes with its nuances, struggles, accomplishments, and fears. No one way is better than the other. Each experience is unique in and of itself.

Every circumstance, every scenario, and every opinion is different. That’s the beauty of it. Every mama has a choice, and that choice is built from love. Some days are hard, no doubt. Sometimes we question our decision, while sometimes we can’t imagine life without choosing that path. We may have different daily routines, but at the end of the day, we share the similar motherhood struggles and love our children just the same.

Ever wonder what it’s like on the other side?

I spoke with a few stay-at-home and working mamas to get the dirt on what motherhood is like in their shoes.

SAHM vs Working Moms: Motherhood in their shoes

When do you start your day?

{SAHMWhenever my husband wakes me up with his noise getting ready for work or whenever my daughter gets up. Ranges anywhere from 5 AM to 8 AM.

{Working Mom} 5 AM, to drop baby off at daycare and be at work by 7 AM.

What do you love about your job?

{SAHM} That I have the ability to be here with my daughter! I’m so appreciative to my husband for being willing to sacrifice and go to work every day so that I can be here living out my dream!

{Working Mom} I love being able to have adult interaction and to use skill sets and knowledge that I learned in college and graduate school.  Working in education, I’m lucky to have a couple of months off in the summer to spend with my kids, so it’s a perfect balance for me!

What’s the most chaotic part of your day?

{SAHM} The time between afternoon snack and dinner.  I’m spent and don’t feel like cooking since I’ve already made and cleaned up two meals for everyone that day. The kids are unsettled and the house is somewhat of a disaster from rest time since no one naps anymore.

{Working Mom} After work. Cooking dinner, cleaning up, feeding baby, eating, playing with baby, getting baby ready for bed, all in less than two hours is quite the task.

What makes you happy about your job?

{SAHMI love being the one to make all the decisions about my kids. As a perfectionist, I like being the only one to set their routines, decide on screen time, and teach them healthy eating habits.

{Working MomI have great co-workers and great relationships. A close second though is the benefits offered through my organization. It is a huge burden lifted knowing we have good, affordable health care as well as a generous retirement plan.

SAHMs vs Working Moms: Motherhood in Their Shoes

What is your favorite part of the day?

{SAHMMy daughter’s bedtime…equal parts sweet because it’s our time together, but also that means my job is done for a little bit. Or when daddy comes home! It’s so cute to see my daughter light up when he walks in.

{Working MomGetting to see my kids after work. 90% of the time, they’re both very happy to see me. A close second is when they go to bed and I can finally sit down.

What makes you proud?

{SAHM} Making a healthy dinner that everyone eats or when my daughter does something I’ve asked her to or something I’ve taught her.

{Working Mom} When daycare tells me my daughter is such a good/smart/sweet/polite kid! Or when I complete a project and get a lot of praise for being so detailed, organized, well spoken, etc.

What could you not live without?

{SAHM} Friends! Going from working to being a SAHM can be really isolating. You have no co-workers, so having friends who understand the struggle and the joy of motherhood is invaluable.

{Working MomsGood daycare – knowing my kids are happy, healthy and safe during the day. Without that, I would throw my career away in heartbeat.

When is your “me” time?

{SAHMI’d like to say nap time, but that’s usually when I get a lot done that would be hard with my daughter around. It usually ends up being at the end of the day when my daughter is in bed.

{Working MomLunch. I shut my door, read a book or watch a TV show on my phone and have 30 minutes of time where no one needs me.

What is your least favorite chore?

{SAHMMeals! I feel like SO much of my time is taken up by figuring out what we are going to eat, buying it, making it, and cleaning up after it. I feel like it gets in the way of all the fun stuff we can be doing!

{Working MomCleaning bathrooms, specifically toilets and showers. I will have good intentions by putting it on my to-do-list, but it usually is a good month or two before it gets done. I would love to be able to afford a cleaning lady just to come in to clean my bathrooms.

What frustrates you?

{SAHM} When I’m trying to get something done and my daughter is throwing a tantrum or being so clingy that I can’t do it and have to do it later.

{Working MomWhen my dog wakes up the baby before she’s ready to get up, leaving me to scramble to get ready, get the dog outside and fed and get her ready before leaving for work. Usually I have a good 20 minutes to myself if my dog cooperates.

SAHMs vs Working Moms: Motherhood in Their Shoes

What’s one thing you would change about your routine?

{SAHM} That I had something tangible to show for a hard day’s work other than just the fact that my daughter is still alive.

{Working MomI wish it was an option to work part time with part time daycare. If I cut my hours by 25%, my pay would go down 25%, but my daycare costs would stay the same.

How do you de-stress?

{SAHMTake a nice long hot shower without a toddler banging on the bathroom door yelling “mom mom mom mom!” and then cuddle up with my husband.

{Working MomWorking out after the kids are in bed or a nice long bubble bath with a glass of wine. Both don’t happen as often as I would like though. I usually end up on the couch watching TV.

When do chores get done?

{SAHMI feel like I’m constantly doing chores. I have my daily routine that varies a bit each day, but I feel like it never ends!

{Working MomOn Saturday mornings primarily. Unless there’s an obvious need for a kitchen scrub down or load of laundry, then we get to it when my daughter is in bed.

What is your most dreaded day time task?

{SAHMGetting where we need to go on time! It’s like a contest to see how many different ways can I say, “Get your shoes on!” before I lose it.

{Working Mom} Dropping my babies off at daycare. Or working 9 hours and then having to cook and clean up dinner. I wish I could plop down and take a break but motherhood doesn’t allow for that.

What’s one thing you want the world to know about your job?

{SAHMIt’s without pay, but not without rewards. That said, just like working moms, we struggle with feeling guilty about what we are doing or not doing with our kids.

{Working MomIt’s hard to fit all the week’s errands/chores into two days, plus still have quality time with my kids. Also, I get my adult interaction time at work, so play dates and girls nights outs for me are few and far between by choice.

What made you choose the path you’re on?

{SAHMMy mom was a SAHM and that meant the world to me growing up, so I always wanted to do the same when I became a mom. I can barely leave my daughter with a babysitter, so I can’t imagine daycare! I think it’s a personality thing for me, I just couldn’t be a working mom unless I needed to.

{Working MomI finally found a job that I see myself in long term, that makes me feel whole and offers everything I want in a career. Great work-life balance, down to earth co-workers, awesome perks and the paycheck doesn’t hurt! Financially, we can’t afford for me to stay home, but at the same time I don’t think I would want to. I’m a better mom when I am able to recharge my batteries and have adult conversations from time to time.

SAHMs vs Working Moms: Motherhood in Their Shoes

Describe your job in two words.

{SAHM} Constant & Ideal

{Working Mom} Balanced & Necessity

Is there anything that worries you about your job choice?

{SAHM}  I fear losing myself. At some point, I won’t need to be in full-time mom mode and then, who am I? What do I do then? Older women tell me how they recently became empty-nesters and hate it. Sometimes, they talk about how their kids are in high school and they rarely see them because they have this whole life outside of their family now. They sadly tell me how fast it went by and how much they miss the days of caring for their small children. I am afraid of becoming them when I am older.

{Working MomI fear losing my job and not being able to provide for my family. I also worry I can’t give work 100% because being a mom comes first. I don’t want it to affect my performance or raise. And since I can’t be a mom 24/7, it makes me worry that the bond with my daughter won’t be as strong as I’d like. I also dread and lament missing her milestones.

What is one thing you hope your kids take away from your choice to stay home or work?

{SAHMThat their parents made a choice and both had to sacrifice to have the life they do. I sacrificed my career goals and some of my lifestyle, whereas my husband sacrifices daily to provide for us so I can stay home. I hope they know that we were just trying to do what we think is best for them because we love them!

{Working MomI hope she sees that she always comes first and that Mama is always there for her even though I’m not always present. I hope she’s proud of me and understands that I chose this path out of love – to give her things she needs and to be a good role model. Mostly, I want to show her that she can have both worlds.

What stereotype about your job do you want to help combat?

{SAHMSAHMs sometimes get the rep that we weren’t strong enough, smart enough, or useful enough women to be in the workplace, so we opted to stay at home. But then a lot of people swing way the other way and think that we are superheroes because we can survive a whole day with our kids. I’m just a mom doing my job…nothing more, nothing less.

{Working Mom} That working moms are selfish for wanting a career outside of the home. Personally, I’m a better mom when I can miss my baby and I love being challenged in the workplace. I know she is getting socialized and is well-adjusted to her routine in daycare, far more than what she’d get with me at home. What I want to convey is: we all love our kids the same and do what we do out of love!

Motherhood in Their Shoes

What would YOU like to say about the motherhood path you chose?


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