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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!

Melissa

Sunday 8th of November 2015

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:).

Holly

Tuesday 17th of November 2015

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

Holly

Monday 2nd of March 2015

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.

Jennifer Abel

Sunday 1st of March 2015

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

Holly

Monday 2nd of March 2015

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

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Sunday 1st of March 2015

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.

Holly

Monday 2nd of March 2015

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! :)

Kell @ All Mum Said

Sunday 1st of March 2015

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.

Holly

Sunday 1st of March 2015

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!