Being a Stay-at-home Mom Is Not Harder Than Working. So What?

Some women go back to work after they have a baby. Some women don’t. So why are we in an eternal contest to figure out who has it the worst?

I’ve had my share of hard jobs. No hard like lumberjack hard, but you know…normal hard. Secretary. Waitress. Day-care worker.

The easiest job I’ve ever had? Stay-at-home-mom.

mom and baby in white room
working moms have lots of laundry too, you know

Is it easier to work outside the home when you have kids?


My mother worked when I was little, and I am friends with plenty of working moms, and they 100% have it harder than me. Yes, I’m sure there’s someone out there with a super cushy job who has it easier than a mother who stays home, but we’re talking generalities here.

Here’s what they say they struggle with.

  • Rigid schedules. They have to wake up early enough to get themselves ready, plus their little kids, plus have enough time to drop them off at child care.
  • Lots of packing. They have to pack and unpack bags of diapers, formula, etc. every single day.
  • No alone time. Some moms don’t feel like that they “deserve” time away from their kids because they work all day.
  • Daytime commitments are a challenge. They have to worry about taking off work when their kids are sick, have appointments, or have special school events.
  • Dueling focuses. There is a constant struggle between wanting to please their kids and their boss. Working parents often feel like neither part of their life is getting the focus it deserves.
  • Their children not getting the best of them. When anyone comes home from a day of hard work, they are tired. Then they have to pick up kids, feed them, bathe them, and put them to bed. Many say that the time with their kids feels like leftover bits of the day, and their job gets the best part of them.

A stay-at-home mom is not the hardest job

mom and boy with orange kitten sitting on floor

And here’s why: you are your own boss. You set your schedule, make the rules for your children, and build your life the way you want.

Sure, input from your spouse and your budget will set boundaries. But beyond that, you’re totally in charge.

I’ve always known I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. Not just because I wanted to be around my kids, but because I would rather not work than work.

You’ll have to believe me when I tell you I’m not lazy: I cook every night, have a huge garden and chickens, keep a clean-enough house, and started a small business in the margin of my day. Last year I homeschooled my two older children and had a preschooler at home. And even though that might seem like a lot, it was still easier than going to work every day. Honestly.

Is being a stay-at-home mom stressful?

Well, sure, sometimes. Everything is stressful sometimes.

Sometimes I need a break from my children, probably more so than someone who doesn’t stay home with their kids.

When I was a waitress, I needed a break from the customers and a medical secretary, a break from the patients. That’s life. Just because someone gets stressed out a little bit and needs time away doesn’t mean they have the hardest job in the world. Come on.

What makes staying home with your kids hard?

Okay, there are some hard parts to this job. Of course, motherhood is hard in general, but let’s discuss what’s hard specifically about not working outside the home.

  • Isolation. If you are a social person, not being able to see your peers and work friends can be a big and hard adjustment. Especially when your kids are very little and can’t talk very much, you’ll feel very alone.
  • Lack of structure. You might think this is good, but it’s not. When you don’t have a set time to wake up, get dressed, and get going, your days can slump into messy, aimless misery. It’s more common than you think and can be really depressing.
  • No time to focus on anything. When you are in charge of babies or little children, you can’t set them aside to paint a shelf or make a cake. Does that mean you’ll never have time to do those things? Absolutely not. It just means that at any time you. can be interrupted. It’s very hard to start projects that require focus and a big block of time when you’re in this situation.
  • A feeling of dependence on your spouse. The big thing you give up when you stop going to work every day? Money. Even if you are saving your family money by avoiding daycare costs and cooking more, the fact that you are not earning a paycheck can be hard. You might feel like you can’t spend money the way you want to, or like you no longer have the right to buy anything. If you’re accustomed to getting what you want with your own paycheck, this can be tough.
  • New expectations. In general, mothers who stay at home are expected to do most of the cleaning, meal prep, and childcare. Now, if you don’t like doing those things, you might not like this job. If you have split this with your partner in the past because you’ve always worked too, it can be a rude awakening.
  • Lack of support. Dad doesn’t always feel like what you’re doing is all that hard, and you might not get much sympathy after a tough day.

Stay at home moms are lucky.

mom and daughter in towels

Every morning, we get to make our own rules for ourselves, our home, and our children. Want to be a crunchy mom and make your organic baby food? Go for it. If you want to be a fit mom and load your kids in the jogging stroller (bless you), you can.

There’s no need to compete with working moms about who has it worse.

Having it worse is not a contest you want to win.

There is a part of everyone that loves to complain, just a little. But stay home at parents: stop saying you have the hardest job in the world.

You’re making us look bad.