Whether you work outside of the home or are a stay-home mom, you love your child and find joy in raising children. All parents work hard, but a stay-at-home mom seems to have the most demanding job of all.
Editorial Note: Saying that stay-home moms have the most challenging job isn’t to downplay the experiences of working mothers, but those in the workforce have an advantage over those who opt to stay home with their children. Nor does this downplay how hard dads work–either at home or in careers. However, we are following the data, specifically regarding stay-home moms. Most of us at PoP are all working parents, and we acknowledge that parenting can be challenging for all.
Kids are blessings and offer so much love and affection, but they also require lots of care. For stay-at-home moms, the responsibility falls solely to them without reprieve.
While most stay-home moms love their role, it can still take its toll. It’s a stressful job that you can’t take a break from since it requires feeding, bathing, changing, cleaning, soothing, and more. Staying home with your baby is fulfilling and wonderful, but that doesn’t decrease the amount of work motherhood takes.
People who haven’t stayed home with their kids sometimes falsely assume it’s an easy job, but that’s far from the truth. Studies show that a stay-home mom has the most challenging job, despite the false assumptions. Moms who stay home to take care of their kids don’t get a break from the emotional, mental, and physical energy that it requires.
Ten Reasons Why a Stay-Home Mom Has the Hardest Job
There’s been a long-standing debate on if a stay-home mom or working mom has a harder job. However, one study now shows that the moms who stay home win the discussion. The study indicated that stay-at-home parents are more stressed-out than parents who work.
This study involved 1,500 parents from a variety of career fields. It showed that even working parents stopped judging stay-at-home parents after having a child of their own. More than half of the participants said that having a baby was hard, even if they had a great support system.
For stay-at-home moms, most of the child-rearing is on them alone. While it is a blessing to have that time with your child, it doesn’t make it any easier. Some of the reasons it’s the hardest job include:
1 – There Are No Salary or Health Benefits for the Stay-home Mom
Stay at home moms work 24 hours a day, but they don’t get paid for any of it. Even working parents that don’t enjoy their job get a paycheck, but a mom who stays at home can’t say the same. Parents who stay at home never stop working, and they do many jobs at one time.
2 – The Stay-home Mom Can’t Say No.
In a regular job, employees can speak up for themselves if they’re asked to do something that isn’t in their job description. However, parents who stay home can’t say no to any task because they’re the only ones there to do it. No matter how gross or complex the job, the primary caregiver has to deal with it.
3 – They Don’t Get Breaks
When a parent stays home with the kids, they don’t get to take breaks whenever they want. Instead, they spend each moment getting things done around the house or setting up appointments. They end up multi-tasking and trying to get everything done before preparing dinner.
Even when a stay-home mom goes to the restroom, they usually don’t do it alone. Their kids will follow them in the bathroom or sit outside the door waiting for them. Plus, they have to eat lunch while working, too.
4 – The Hard Work of a Stay-home Mome Goes Unseen
Even when parents who stay home go above and beyond, their hard work often goes unseen. Their little ones won’t notice all the hard work they put in, and sometimes their spouse doesn’t either. There’s no chance of recognition, a bonus, or a raise like in a regular job.
5 – Other People Assume It Isn’t a Real Job
While other people’s opinions shouldn’t matter, it doesn’t help make things easier. People who don’t have kids assume that staying home to take care of kids isn’t a real job. Some working parents even carry the false assumption, hurting the moms who do it all.
All parents have demanding jobs, and it isn’t fair to assume someone who stays home doesn’t do anything. Staying home means raising humans to become functioning members of society, a job that doesn’t allow for many mistakes. There’s no job more real than one that prepares kids to interact with the world around them.
6 – They Don’t Get to Eat an Uninterrupted Lunch
Regular employers legally have to provide a lunch break for full-time employees. However, when your child is your boss, they don’t follow the same standards. Many times, moms end up eating their lunch standing up in the kitchen, not finishing before it gets cold.
Kids don’t care if you want to eat lunch if they need something. Sure, you can teach them to respect your meal times, but that doesn’t work with all kids, specifically infants and toddlers. Even teenagers will interrupt and expect their mom to drop what they’re doing.
7 – They Often Suffer from Social Isolation
Studies show that societal pressure is causing moms to spend too much time with their kids, invoking social isolation. Stay-at-home moms spend all day with their kids but then feel guilty for leaving them in the evenings or on weekends. After a while of little to no adult interaction, social isolation kicks in and leaves the mom feeling depressed.
When moms are always with their kids, it hinders their emotional well-being. Adults need time to spend away from their children, whether at work or not. Motherhood can’t be the only way they define themselves.
People who work outside of the home might complain about their co-workers’ stories, but they at least get to interact. Plus, they have a chance to discuss their interests with people who can understand them. It might not seem like a big deal, but having a chance to be an adult is a blessing.
8 – Full-time Parenting Takes an Emotional Toll
While a regular boss might be hard to deal with, they generally have to follow some professional rules. There are things they can’t do or say to you, and you can have a conversation about any issues that come up. However, stay-at-home moms deal with raising children all day who sometimes don’t care how they make you feel.
While a parent knows their child doesn’t mean hurtful things they say, it can still get to you. Stay-at-home moms have to put up with their child’s bad day without taking a break from the tantrums and anger. After a while, it starts to wear on their heart.
Studies show that stay-at-home moms suffer from depression, sadness, anger, and guilt more often than other moms. 26% of them repeated feeling sadness the previous day, and 50% felt overwhelming stress. Some of the sorrow and anxiety stem from tantrums, but many other things contribute, too.
9 – Stay-home Moms Are Always Scrutinized
Stay-at-home moms always feel scrutinized by everyone around them. If the doctor says something isn’t right with their child, they feel judged. Likewise, if teachers, lactation consultants, and experts question what they do, it feels like a performance review. There are always other ways to do things as a parent, causing moms to be scrutinized no matter how they do it.
Plus, their performance review involves the way they’re raising their child, making it even more personal. People always make them feel like they aren’t doing their job well enough.
10 – A Stay-Home Mom Always Puts Herself Last
All parents make sacrifices, but a stay-at-home mom does it non-stop, all day long. Their entire life revolves around their child, making it impossible to put themselves first. Moms strategize their morning to accommodate their child’s schedules and habits.
Then, the stay-at-home mom strategizes their evening before they can go to bed at night. Planning their time around someone else’s schedule doesn’t stop at any point during the day, either.
When it’s lunchtime, they don’t get to go ahead and eat, no matter how hungry they are. Moms first have to make sure all of the kids eat, and then it’ll be time to clean them up before the mom can eat.
If a stay-at-home mom has anything they must focus on, they have to figure out how to get it done while taking care of kids. For many stay-at-home moms, figuring out how to get it done means squeezing those tasks into a small window of time.
Stay-at-home moms even share their bodies well after the child comes out of the womb. Kids tend to hang on their mothers and tug at them non-stop. No matter what the parent is doing, the child will be right next to them or underfoot the entire time.
The Bright Side to Being a Stay-Home Mom
While there are many reasons that a stay-at-home mom has the hardest job, it is still a blessing. Studies show that kids who have a parent at home do better in school, behave better, and experience less stress. These children also exhibited less aggression than kids who go to childcare.
Final Thoughts on A Stay-Home Mom Has the Hardest Job, According to One Study
Parenting is hard whether you’re a stay-home mom or a working mom. However, the stigma that stay-at-home moms have it easy is now disproven by research. Regardless, it’s a blessing to have that time with your kids, and stay-at-home moms understand that.
Whether you stay home or have a regular job, stop beating yourself up. Parenting is never easy, and we should all support one another. Focus on doing what is best for your family, but recognize the essential role stay-home moms play in society.