Working Mom vs. SAHM: Mapping Out The Best Decision For You

Yes, there thousands of articles out there about the benefits of children having a mom who works outside of the home. And yes, there are thousands of articles on why being home with your child is the best decision. But after being a full-time working mom at a corporate job, working part-time at home, and being a full-time stay at home mom, I have figured out the best solution.

All of them! What works best for your family at that moment in time is the best option for you. I am 11 years into this whole journey of motherhood and I still waffle daily on how I want to shape my professional life and in turn, how it affects my personal life. You might discover your ideal situation through trial and error or necessity, but with a little flexibility, you too can figure which path is the right fit.

The Working Mom

How to be a working mom. Now, I’m not sure I’m qualified to write this as I definitely caught a child wrapping fishing wire around my entire house to make booby traps (after tripping over it) during a conference call. But dang! Ain’t that just the way it is when you’re a working mom? You are rocking the job, have everything under control, and then a kid gets sick or there’s a world-wide pandemic and you’re all of a sudden trying to do two full-time jobs at once. And feeling like you are half-a**ing both of them. The following is a list of the pros and cons I experienced from being a working mom.

Pros of Being A Working Mom

  1. You can go to the bathroom without a child staring at you. Amiright? There is a reason I have this listed first because you can’t truly realize what a privilege it is to pee in private until that privilege is stripped away.
  2. You can make lunch or coffee dates WITHOUT children. This is clutch. Whether it’s just a quick 30-minute catch-up or a full hour of lunch to gab, this one-on-one adult time is so beautiful and needed and sometimes just not possible for someone who is not a working mom.
  3. You have something that is just for you. So many times as parents, we wrap our self-worth into our children. Being a working mom allows you to have a piece of something that does not revolve around your kids which is often a welcome break.
Working Mom Vs. Sahm: Mapping Out The Best Decision For You
Read More: Breastfeeding Basics For The Back To Work Mom

Cons of Being a Working Mom

  1. The stigma around being a working mom can be unfair. Especially among co-workers. Trying to plan doctor appointments and leaving early for your child’s activities and days off school can be so difficult. It’s often easy for a boss or colleague to overlook the fact that you work through every lunch hour to optimize the time away from kids. And yet the same person keeps a mental tally of the days you need to cut out early.
  2. Taking PTO when you have a sick child. The number of times I received a call to grab a sick kid and then had to plot out how to keep him or her at home for at least the next 24 hours was exhausting. And so many companies require a PTO day for these unplanned occurrences. Boo to that. I prefer my PTO on a beach thank you very much.
  3. Missing out on milestones is a given con for all working moms. I think my in-home daycare lied about my oldest son’s first steps so that I didn’t think I missed that precious milestone. And his first word? I have a guess on what it was but seeing how so many more of his waking hours were spent in daycare, there is no way I was the first to hear him speak.

The Part-Time Working Mom

In the past two years, I have really enjoyed being a part-time working mom. And then coronavirus happened and I had to figure out how to remain professional and deliver on deadlines while educating and occupying my three children. My husband’s job had him going in regardless of the pandemic so the part-time working mom/full-time parent balance fell solely in my lap. This experience helped me round out a list of the main pros and cons of being a part-time working mom.

Pros of Being A Part-Time Working Mom

  1. Ability to schedule working time around “mom” time. Being able to wake up early, stay up late, or work through nap or screen time is ideal for working moms who have flexible and part-time hours.
  2. Staying current on credentialing or competent on excel. I am an excel freak. When I was a SAHM and forgot how to do a “v-lookup” on excel without the use of a YouTube video, I seriously cried. For others, it might be credentialing or the use of specific computer software. Regardless, working part-time is great for its ability to allow you to keep your foot in the pool of professional competence.
  3. Adult interaction is welcome and wanted. Being at home all day with children sometimes made me feel like my ability to socialize was diminished and I had diarrhea of the mouth when talking to another adult because I was so conversation starved. Working part-time helps scratch this need for adult interaction even if it is solely digital.

Cons of Being A Part-Time Working Mom

  1. Balancing both can feel like you aren’t doing anything well. When I had kids home full time and also attempted to be a working mom with part-time hours, I struggled to find a balance. Planning out the day chalked full of activities for the kids was so often derailed by work or an unforeseen circumstance making me feel like a failure at everything.
  2. Sometimes you just need to put your kid in front of a screen to get work done. When I had a phone call or a deadline, I often just turned on the TV to occupy my kids. It is so hard not to feel guilty doing this but when it’s out of necessity, it is what it is.
  3. Progressing professionally is often stifled. The part-time working mom is not usually the person highlighted as the career climber. Making the decision to work part-time usually indicates you are stepping away from climbing the corporate ladder and instead, deciding to just hold steady.
Working Mom Vs. Sahm: Mapping Out The Best Decision For You
Read More: 10 Tips For Working On The Go

The Stay-At-Home Mom (SAHM)

Oh the days of being a stay-at-home mom. Something I swore I would never be and yet I now miss the days of having a little one with me at all times. Making the decision to solely focus on being the CEO of your home is a family choice and one that comes with sigmas fair or not. If financially it works for your family to have one parent at home, the following includes the ups and downs I experienced as a SAHM.

Pros to Being A SAHM

  1. Spending quality time with your kids. When your main and only focus is on your children and this focus isn’t split with work outside the home, it is truly a gift to spend quality time with your kids. No stress of having to get something else accomplished: your goal is to feed, clothe, and play with your kiddos.
  2. Your child’s day and activities are 100% you. The number of times I would pick my toddler up at daycare only to find he was watching TV was maddening. Being a SAHM allows you to have full control over what your child is doing when without having to accept the decision someone else might make.
  3. Planning social outings during the day. The friendships I made and cultivated while being a SAHM are lifelong and priceless. I loved making plans to meet for a picnic lunch or signing kids up for swimming lessons at the same time because it allowed me the social time I needed. It gave me time to connect with women going through the same parenting issues and have confidants when personal problems arose.

Cons to Being A SAHM

  1. Spending time with your kids. Yes, this is the #1 pro. But sometimes, I can only take 5 minutes of playing games my kids made up with rules that make no sense before my head explodes. I mean, my kids have a game called “ugly baby” that revolves around a figurine of a baby that is kind of ugly. No thanks.
  2. No time to yourself. Being a SAHM, I found myself staying up later and later just to get time alone. While it is nice to always have one or two little buddies, even the biggest extroverts still need time away from the kids.
  3. Finding a balance with your partner. When I was a working mom, we split the household responsibilities. Being a SAHM landed all of those into my lap. Most of this pressure was self-imposed because my husband was more than happy and willing to help. But I felt this need to justify not working outside the house by doing everything inside the house. Always keep the lines of communication open with your partner so that there isn’t any unnecessary resentment.
Working Mom Vs. Sahm: Mapping Out The Best Decision For You

Working mom, part-time working mom, or SAHM. Whatever you decide, just know that your current situation is just that: a current situation. Not future or permanent. If parenthood has taught me, a type-A planner, anything, it’s that there really isn’t a lot that we can 100% control. All we can control is what we choose to do with our current situation. Know that you are the best mom for your children and you are doing a great job, momma!

Check out this article on Your Kids Do Benefit From Having A Working Mom.

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Working Mom Vs. Sahm: Mapping Out The Best Decision For You

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Katie Cowan
Katie Cowan
A Kansas City native, Katie is a mom of three and wife of one. She enjoys being at home, freelance writing, and volunteering at her children’s school and her family’s Parish. She loves working out, trying new restaurants, reading, and binge-watching TV shows. All the TV shows. Follow as she attempts to read @onebookeachweek on Instagram!

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