This article was written by Tania Bhattacharya on behalf of Sherley Altidor.
Most women have to rethink their priorities when they become a mom. And for many this means making the move from being a career woman to a stay-at-home mom. The decision is harder than it apparently seems, but what is even more difficult is to stand by it every single day. Of course there are many positives, being able to stay with your baby every moment of the day is no less a driving force. But as any stay-at-home mom will say, not all is mushy and rosy. Yet, more and more women are choosing to ditch the workplace and be with their children full-time.
So where is the rainbow?
The primary advantages of being a stay-at-home mom is the fact that you can be there for your child whenever your little one needs you. Any mom knows how difficult it is to leave a baby for hours while she has to go to work. While separation anxiety in a baby does not start before six months of age, a mom probably starts feeling it right after giving birth. Plus, no matter how superior the level of care is provided by a caregiver, there is always a certain degree of stress associated in your mind. While staying at home may mean the stress of managing more dirty diapers, many would happily choose it over putting your baby in someone else’s care. Plus it might be easier to meet the increased responsibility of personal life rather than trying to balance work and family. The long hours at work, which might have been okay before you had a kid, might not fit into your daily routine any more.
Since a stay-at-home mom is always ‘available’ to the child, she is also there when the list of surprising ‘firsts’ take place. This is perhaps one of the most rewarding part of being a stay-at-home mom. There is hardly anything else in the world that is more satisfying than witnessing all the milestones of your baby rather than hearing about them from a teacher or a nanny.
The shift from being a career woman to a stay-at-home mom is not always easy. The choice is even more difficult for someone who has always considered her professional life important and a part of her being. The new life might mean decreased social interaction and no hanging out with colleagues, and might even cause a sense of alienation. Trading a fast-paced life with one that mostly revolves around an infant is not always ideal for everybody.
Since kids become the most and often the only priority, a stay-at-home mom often finds almost no time for herself. Staying-at-home means a mom is not only taking care of the infant, but most of the household chores. The role of a supportive partner cannot be enough stressed under such circumstances.
Finally, there is the ever looming financial question. While for many families a stay-at-home parent often means a more cost-effective option when compared to a childcare, this is not the case for all. There are families who have to make many lifestyle changes which might be less satisfying and sometimes, frustrating. You might not be able to go on as many vacations as you did before or eating-out might have to be replaced by home-cooked meals.
The truth is, there can be no one-line generic solution. It is best to remember that the decision to become a stay-at-home mom is as much about your child as it is about you. And if you are not completely satisfied with your life you might not be able to give your child the best care. Understanding yourself is of utmost importance. Self-introspection is the way to go.
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