Being a stay at home mum is often envisioned as being a life of luxury. There’s no worry about getting to work early, staying late for meetings, or dealing with difficult clients. On the face of it, it sounds as though it should be a wonderfully relaxing way of life. But the reality is very different. While there are lots of amazing aspects of being a stay at home mum, it is definitely more hard work than luxury.
One of the great things about being a stay at home mum is that you’re always there when your little one needs you. The downside to this is that you literally do not get a moment to yourself, not even to watch EastEnders.
You can’t just nip to the loo or pop to the kitchen to grab a cup of tea. Wherever you go, your little angel will be there too. Usually clinging on to your leg in a way that means you can’t walk any faster than snail’s pace.
On the positive side, you won’t have to feel the pangs of sadness of being separate from your child during the working day. You will be there for every unmissable moment. You will see their first steps, hear their first words, and watch as they learn about the world around them.
Managing the household
As a stay at home mum, you’ll probably find that managing the household falls to you. This can be a good thing as it means you are in control. But on the other hand, it can seem a bit unfair.
You’re already doing a full-time job looking after your little one. Having to keep on top of the housework and bills as well can seem to be a lot to manage.
Once your little darling is old enough to ‘help’ with household tasks, this can make them take even longer. Putting clean laundry away, for example, can take hours if every time you put one thing in the drawer, there’s a little person stood next to you taking two other things out.
Try and share household tasks with your partner. Make sure that they are aware that your days are probably just as busy as theirs are.
Being social as a stay at home mum
Being a stay at home mum doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll spend that much time at home. There is a myriad of activities available to get you and your little angel out of the house. Baby yoga, baby swimming, baby gym… pretty much think of any activity and add the word ‘baby’ in front of it.
Keeping up with your baby’s social calendar can take a lot of organising. You may feel you’ve left your employment only in order to take up a new post as Personal Assistant to a very demanding little boss.
It’s a great idea to arrange play dates with your friends who have children of a similar age. This means that your little one is kept occupied with a fun social activity. At the same time, you can have a chat with someone whose vocabulary extends beyond ‘da’ and ‘ba’.
Multi-tasking as a stay at home mum
Being a stay at home mum can be pretty hectic. You have to be great at multi-tasking. Being able to concentrate on one thing while simultaneously entertaining your little sweetheart is often the only way you’ll ever get anything done.
As an example, the other day I was trying to reverse my car out of the driveway with a screaming toddler in the backseat while singing along to a nursery rhyme CD in the vain hope that my slightly hysterical rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star would calm the situation. Managing to get safely on the road demonstrated a level of concentration that I’m sure would be a great transferable skill in any job situation.
Without your contribution to the family income, finances may be a bit tighter than before. However, staying at home may mean that you save money in areas such as travel, car maintenance, and buying clothes for your work wardrobe.
A major money saver will be not having to spend anything on childcare. This can be very expensive. By staying at home with your little one, you won’t need to worry about the costs of childcare.
Set a budget for your family income to keep your spending on track. This can help you to be economical in your spending choices each month as you will already know how your income and outgoings will balance out.
If your child is old enough, get them involved in the budgeting process. This will help them to become money savvy when they are managing their own income in the future.
Have a read of our article Family Budgeting: 11 handy money saving tips for more ideas to help with family finances.
Steer clear of stress
Not being at work may mean no more workplace stress. But that doesn’t mean that life will be stress-free. A toddler in full meltdown mode can make you question why you decided to become a stay at home mum in the first place.
When you’re feeling stressed, try and take some quiet time for yourself. This may mean asking your partner to take your little darling to the park for a while at the weekend. If this isn’t an option, try using stress management techniques like breathing exercises. You can even teach these to your kids to help them learn to manage their own stress.
If you’re thinking about returning to work, you may find it helpful to have a read of our ’10 simple tips for balancing work and family’.
Being a stay at home mum is hard work. There’s no doubt about that. But, as you look at your gorgeous little angel sleeping in their bed, you realise that there’s no other way you’d rather spend your day. Now, quick, go and grab a cup of tea before they wake up and the whole exhausting experience of being a stay at home mum continues…
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Last updated by Robert Edwards, May 2022