Contributing as a sahm

Contributing to the Household as a SAHM

What comes to mind for you when someone tells you they are a stay at home mum (SAHM)? For some, this may be a label you identify with all too well and hopefully one you embrace. For others, the very concept seems alien and difficult to comprehend.

But it shouldn’t be this way.

For as long as there have been mothers, there has been the SAHM. Once upon a time in days gone by, this was the norm. Women were expected to stay home and raise the children, tend to the home and cook the meals. These days, our view of ‘normal’ is quite different.

With the increasing costs of living expenses making it difficult for many to manage on a single income, as well as the early expectations and pressures for both men and women to pursue a fulfilling career, suddenly the SAHM is left to feel judged and inadequate by much of society. For not contributing or being a career mother. So wrong!

SAHM do contribute to the house hold in so many more ways than even they may realise!

First and foremost, you cannot put a price on being present in the lives of your children. Children love having their parents around so having a parent available to tend to daily needs, share joyful memories and kiss their bumps and scratches is a powerful thing.

SAHM’s save the household money. No daily work commute. No expensive work clothes and shoes. It’s perfectly fine to spend the day in track pants or pjs when you are a SAHM! Less wear and tear on the car.

In fact you may be able to cut down to a single-car household, depending on personal circumstances. Otherwise, many car insurance companies will reduce the premium when there isn’t a regular work commute. No buying lunches and coffees on the run. No needing expensive technological equipment. Plenty of savings!

Then the big one… No child care costs! Sometimes earning more means paying more in daycare, which almost defeats the purpose of working to get ahead. And no childcare often means less frequent illnesses for younger kids since they tend to be a breeding ground for sharing bugs. So less medical bills perhaps.

You have more time to invest in supporting your children, through their education and learning, as well as through nurturing creativity and individual expression. Anyone for some painting?

Things like meal planning and creating amazing family meals may be more achievable without the exhaustion of cooking after a day at work. Let’s face it, that can be exhausting. Healthier meals makes for a healthier family too, because there will be less need for expensive convenience foods or meals on the run.

And SAHM’s can choose to contribute in extra ways as well, if they so choose. For many, this may mean applying to review products for free samples, completing online surveys or doing mystery shopping assignments to earn some spare dollars, or even blogging and freelance writing. Or they may even decide to follow their creative hobbies and sell handmade masterpieces online in places like Etsy or Facebook.

Personally, I have been on both sides of the spectrum. Once a career woman for the better part of a decade, managing a professional team and working long hours, while also being the higher wage earner in the household. I could not imagine having it any other way as it was very empowering. Then my first child came along and it was a game changer. Just ask my old boss who likes to tease me about my assurances I would be a working mum.

I did go back to work, negotiating part time and it started well. But soon learnt how much discrimination can follow once you choose your children over your job. I stuck it out part time for more than a year before making the huge and scary decision to quit, rather than have the option of childcare forced upon me.

Losing my income has been a big learning curve and one we are still adjusting too but with benefits too, such as a very settled and bright 2 year old who has her mummy 99% of the time. I still do a little paid employment, having started regular freelance writing and doing some casual psychologist work but with baby two expected soon, the SAHM role is the one I most identify with now and my role is currently in the home. This may not be forever, but for now I am proud of where I am at.

So whether you are a SAHM yourself or if you are on the other end of the scale and feel career is vital, stop and consider the benefits of both and cease the judgment. We can contribute in meaningful ways whether we are working 9-5 or ‘just being a mother’ because in the end there is no right or wrong option. In fact, everything in this post is also relevant for stay at home dad’s too who are often overlooked as potential stay at home parents.

So let’s learn to support our fellow sisterhood in the choices we make – career, staying at home or some combination of the two. We all have our important roles to fulfil and we are all doing a fabulous job of contributing to our households!

Are you a SAHM, a WAHM or a working mum? I would love to hear your thoughts!

35 thoughts on “Contributing to the Household as a SAHM”

  1. Sonia Life Love Hiccups

    I’m a WAHM and man Holly I take my hat off to SAHMs because I think that apart from the fact it is one of life’s most rewarding roles, it is probably by far one of the toughest too xx

    1. So very true. I think what I struggle with the most is you don’t get to take solo breaks like you might working away from home! But I find the WAHM bit even tougher… Toddlers don’t turn off haha always multitasking… Like holding a block tower as I type this ;)

  2. I have been both a WAHM and a SAHM and I can say that both can be really hard. Either way we look at we are on duty around the clock. I do find that being a SAHM I don’t have the extra worry that comes from being apart from my children.
    Stopping by from “Motivational Monday”. Have a great day!

    1. That’s it… Longest hours, paid in cuddles and kisses only. Lucky they are good work perks. Working at home with small kids can be so tough. My toddler wants to be with me all the time and doesn’t nap.

  3. When I first fell p/g I worked part time in my own business but soon realised my heart was no longer in it. Since then I’ve had no. 2, 3 and 4 and I’m still at home. I have struggled so much with not achieving “more” but honestly feel like the place for me is at home. There is so much going on to keep me busy and I know I would have to drop so many little but important things if I returned to work and I’m not really willing to pay that price at this point.

    1. It’s amazing how fast our priorities & passions change when the kids come. And how full life is. Sounds like you have plenty going on :)

  4. It was bad enough me having to be away from home 8 hours for 5 days a fortnight back when my daughter turned 6 months. So much guilt leaving them even though I once loved my job. Missing milestones is the worst!

  5. Great points! I have worked since I was 14 and being a SAHM is the hardest ‘job’ I’ve ever had. No days off, no fifteen minute breaks, no sick days, and no vacation days. I wouldn’t change a thing though. I love spending time with my children. Not to mention, if I worked outside the home, my salary would go to having strangers care for my children. Stopping by from #mumbomonday

    1. Oh yeah, the sick days from work were a good perk. Well the fake sickies! These days even when sick the mum job doesn’t stop lol those days are hard.

  6. I had a rather surprise first pregnancy at 41 so there was no way I wasn’t going to be a SAHM! I knew he’d be my only one so I didn’t want to miss any of it. It does have an impact on children. My girlfriend gave up her high-powered job because when her son was in early Primary, he kept asking her why she couldn’t come on excursions or help in the canteen like other mothers. I don’t think we should ever have to justify our choices and it always reminds me of that saying, “When someone’s on their deathbed, no-one ever says they wished they’d worked more.”.

    1. Such wise words! Making memories counts for so much more than making money and sure money helps, but it is amazing how you can adjust to a smaller family income when the need is there. Wow, that was a huge surprise. My sister has one of those at around 41 too… But he was number 8 and not all hers were so surprising haha just the last few. Not sure how she keeps her sanity ;)

  7. Erika @ Ever-changing Life of a Mum

    Like you, I have been on both sides of the spectrum – working mum and a SAHM/WAHM. Up until the middle of last year I have always been a working mum and didn’t really think I would be able to cope as a SAHM – seriously! But now that I have walked away from my full time job, I love being able to spend more time with my family. I think one of the main things is that SAHM need to make sure they keep their own interests up so they don’t lose or forget about themselves in the process. It’s one of the reasons I set up my blog and started a freelance writing business after I left work last year. After 15 years in the industry it’s still one of my passions and very much a part of me that I don’t feel like I can completely let it go.

    1. Yes that is so true. Losing your sense of identity and passion would be the biggest factor in not embracing the role. I have my crafty stuff that I could easily do in all my spare time (that I no longer have haha) plus writing. It’s great to keep a toe in the water too.

  8. I worked part time out of the home when my first two kids were young. However, I then had number three, my oldest developed special needs and we relocated, so looking for new employment just became too hard. I now stay at home. I would love to go back out to work, but the stress of dealing with childcare for two kids and the school difficulties of the other child would probably be too much. I guess what I’m getting at, is sometimes these decisions are made for us, by our circumstances rather than our desires. I haven’t naturally embraced the sahm role and have some adjustments to make, but hopefully it will still prove the best option for my kids. Thank you for writing this because I’m still struggling to see my full contribution to the family. It’s a shame that society (and I include myself here) value financial contributions more than presence.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences Nikki. That is so true that sometimes the choice is taken from us and we simply have to do what is best for our family. No doubt your kids have benefited greatly from having you there and hopefully one day you get a chance to join the workforce again when the time is right to re-live those passions again also.

  9. Eva @ The Multitasking Mummy

    I have been a stay at home mum and now I work from home in my own business while my son goes to daycare 3 days a week as there’s no way I’d get my work done with my little 3 year old cyclone in the house! I can see benefits for both sides and my view is very much, do what works for you. We could survive on one income no problems but I needed the stimulation that came with my work and because my work makes me who I am. I’m so lucky to have so much flexibility and honestly couldn’t imagine working for someone else. It’s been great for my son too, he’s come along in leaps and bounds since starting at this daycare a year ago.

  10. My thoughts exactly. I agree with everything you wrote. I was in the exact situations as you before. Ambitious but never expected children to change my priorities.

    However, I just started a part time role having been a SAHM for two years prior. Although it’s a nice to be making some extra money now, I’m so much more tired and I miss being with my boys.

    1. It would be a hard transition (but think of how much extra shopping you can now do haha). I am working hard to increase my work at home income but that is a juggle too. Kids just grow up too quick for me want to miss those early moments. I missed enough of them when I was part time early on.

  11. I’m a WAHM some days, SAHM others :)

    But you’re so right – having a parent at home makes such a huge difference to the household in so many ways. My husband and I have both worked part time since our first child was a year old, but like you I found (we both found) the furstrations associated with working part time often offset the the benefits. In the end I took a redundancy two years ago, which makes life much more flexible but certainly leaves us on less income too!

    In any case, what I really wanted to say was, now that our third and last child is in school 3 days a week, we are both working longer hours, and it does make managing the household that much harder. Financially we’re looking at my husband possibly having to go full time this year (we’re currently both doing 4 days), and with me also working every available minute, things are already slipping (bills not paid in time, doctors and dentists appts that need to be made etc, not to mention it’s much harder to find time to shop efficiently).

    1. I completely relate. Anything non essential is going to the wayside and yep that did include a dentist appointment recently. I forgot. Oops! Sounds like a period of ongoing adjustment going on for you all but at least you are working towards a new routine that will hopefully suit and have everything running smoothly. All the best.

  12. I have only ever been a SAHM, so I am not able to compare it to anything. Yet I know it was the only choice for me, and our family situation. #teamIBOT

  13. I am currently more a SAHM than the WAHM Mum that I wanted this year. I battle with unrealistic expectations of myself and what I can realistically get done. Being a little unwell lately, it also is frustrating that for some reason I can’t just rest and still feel that I need to be presenting a calm and spotless house every evening. But on the other hand, I feel like I am more involved with my kids than ever before. Sometimes just being there with them more is all that a household needs to fall into place.

    1. Sounds like there are some amazing memories happening at least and now it’s just a matter of taking some of that pressure off yourself because you aren’t super mum. Maybe you need to come look at my house.. Decorated by a 2 year old haha then you will feel very good about yours ;)

  14. Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages

    I am somewhere in between SAHM and WAHM and it is certainly harder than people make it out to be. And it is so much more than “JUST” a SAHM, we contribute more to the family life than we are given recognition for.

    1. Could not agree with you more. I’m probably in the same in between place as you and it’s a big juggle… In fact even my hubby is not the best support with my WAHM stuff. Thinks I’m just wasting time on the PC lol frustrating!

  15. Kell @ All Mum Said

    I am a SAHM but I also blog and freelance write to contribute financially. While I don’t contribute a great deal of money it is just nice to have that little bit extra income while I manage the home and kids as a SAHM.

    1. I definitely like being able to do that too Kell. I only started freelancing late last year but love it as an extra earner. The freedom to work from home is lovely!

  16. Great post! I have done both. I have to be honest and say I found being a SAHM really hard when the kids were tiny and struggled without contributing financially so I went back to Uni and have done two degrees since the kids were born, worked one year full time, worked 2 years part time and worked 2 years as a casual teacher. My last child started school this year and I am grateful for the time I had home with all my kids now and can see how much they learnt from our fun days together. While I sometimes struggled with the long days of three kids under 4, juggling study, part time work and kids and being there has been great for all of us. We were lucky to be able to do it. Thanks for sharing a lovely blog post.

    1. Wow Anna, 3 under 4 would have been busy and the fact you managed 2 degrees as well – amazing! I just deferred my own studies in teaching due to my 2nd bub due right around assessment time. I found my first term easy enough as my daughter would sleep while I studied. Second term was a lot tougher with her no longer napping and me exhausted and sick with morning sickness lol it is amazing what we can make work when we really want it though! :)

  17. I like your post and it is good to see so many sahm that is a full time job alone. thanks for sharing #mum-bomonday

    1. Thanks Jennifer. It’s so important to embrace all types of family situations because there is no ‘right’ option :)

  18. Some of the other contributions are worth more than what money can buy :) Sorry to hear your health has been the reason to stop work though.

  19. I am a working mom, but I am thinking about being a SAHM. I have 3 children ages 13, 11 and 8. I work 3, 12 hour nights a week from 7pm-7am and I have been at my job for going on 16 yrs. I haven’t always been on nights, just the last 4 yrs. It has helped us with not having to pay childcare but working nights and going through early menopause and depression is slowly taking a toll on me. I feel like I am not there enough for my kids or my husband because I am constantly tired. My housework I can not get caught up on. I am slowly starting to unravel. So I have been thinking about quitting my job but I am really scared to do it. I would love to know if anyone else has struggled with the same thing feelings and I am not just crazy:).

    1. Not even slightly crazy! Night shift is hard on the body and the mind. I get the avoiding child care costs. That’s pretty much why I stopped work but also the reluctance to be away from the kids. It’s a big decision but can be worked around. Plus if needed, you can always take up something you can do from home to make a little cash. For me it was freelance writing and blogging but I recently surprised myself by becoming a Jamberry consultant after a lifetime of saying sales wasn’t for me. I do it online mostly so I’m home & earning some dollars. Might not be the same amount of money, but it’s still nice.

      Plus of course you will be surprised how much you can cut your costs when you have to. We relied on my income, but suddenly we were living on just hubby’s and still can manage on just his and it was lower than mine once was.

      Big decisions but when health suffers, you need to consider that first! xx

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