Sahms of School-aged Children

Updated on September 21, 2015
M.R. asks from New Hill, NC
21 answers

First off, the purpose of my question is to get feedback from SAHMs and not start the working/SAH fight. I always worked 2 days/week when my 2 boys (a year apart) were younger. We moved last year and I have been a SAHM since (they were K and 1st gr). I volunteered in the school last year and really loved it (I have a teaching degree). I recently started working back in my field again and am not very happy. The hard part in all this is that I have son with special needs who has at least one doctor's appointment a month we need to go to. Rescheduling things for work is difficult. But work makes me feel productive. Money is not the issue. So My Question: Why do you choose to be a SAHM? What do you do to feel productive beside your kids? What kinds of networks do you have? Anything else you have to share...pros and cons....would be great!!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Portland on

I used to work full time but then became ill and now am home. My kids are all in school now.

I have a very quiet slow life (I'm very slow, my mobility is affected) so it takes me most of the time while they are at school to get everything I need to do done. I also take time for myself and walk with a friend or sometimes go have coffee. I'm very much bake for my kids, make real meals, have a garden, etc. When the kids get home, I've rested and I'm ready for them - it's just family once they are home. We usually are out in the evenings at someone's activity, or we have kids come over (now they are older it's much easier for me) so it's busy. I use the daytime to get stuff done and recharge.

I would love to volunteer or ideally work part time again some day. I'm not there yet. It's hard for me to commit because my mobility changes daily.

I feel very much like the moms I knew when I was growing up. I just have time. That's the biggest difference.

Funnily enough, my kids prefer this mom to the old mom.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

I took the opportunity to go back to school part-time. I graduated last semester, and now have a degree that has allowed me to start in a career that, so far, I am loving.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Jacksonville on

The big reason I became a SAHM is b/c it was what was best for our family. My husband's work is an extremely atypical schedule. In order for our kids to have any semblance of daily routine or stability, somebody needed to be available. Dad is the breadwinner, so that naturally made me the SAH parent. Which we like.
Even now (our kids are both in high school now) there are a few days during the week when husband basically does not even SEE our children. And he is home (not deployed with the military or traveling for his job). Deployments and traveling jobs I would imagine are difficult enough, but at least there are breaks to the away time. Husband's job (current schedule) requires that he be at work on Mondays well beyond the time our kids go to bed. And they leave for school the next morning before he is up (he works until 11 pm on Mondays and doesn't get home until almost midnight... EVERY Monday). Tuesdays, he works until 8 or 9 pm. Gets home around 9:30 or 10 pm. Most times, our son is already gone to bed. On Wednesdays, he leaves for work before the kids are out of the shower in the mornings. So he does see them for dinner on Wednesday evenings. But he goes to bed before they do, b/c he has to leave for work on Thursday mornings by 5:30 a.m. He gets home while they are at school, naps, gets up to eat, naps some more (the kids get home while he is still asleep) and he goes back to work around 9:30 at night until the next day.
For years, he worked weekends and wasn't available or at home for activities or events. He didn't have enough seniority to get those days off for almost 20 years. And he doesn't get holidays off. He is expected at work. He only gets things like Christmas and Thanksgiving off if they happen to fall on his regularly scheduled off days. Or if he happens to win the holiday lottery. He missed a lot of Christmas Days and Christmas Eves and Thanksgiving Days (and no ability to travel to see family b/c he'd have to work the day before and after as well).
So for a parent to be available to pick up a kid when sick, help with homework, supervise friends being over or taking/picking up ours, having any semblance of a family meal, or ferrying kids to after school activities (especially as they got older)... there is absolutely no way that my husband could do any of that. If I were working as well, I wouldn't be able to either. I'd have lost my ever loving mind, b/c he wouldn't have been any help. Not to mention that I wouldn't have much left over to be in a position to be supportive of his work schedule (which is terrible on his physical well being due to screwy sleeping hours and a high stress job).

I volunteered. Served on committees at church. Helped with programs or special events. Ran the Boxtops program at the kids' schools, complete with monthly special incentives for the kids to bring them in. I proctored a few classes for teacher luncheons. Chaperoned field trips. Got the kids to extracurriculars (karate, piano, confirmation classes, wrestling, mandolin, cross country, allergy injections weekly for 4 years, orthodontist trips).
At various times I participated in my own activities (women study groups, exercise classes/gym time) and now husband and I participate in a book club together. I stained furniture. Painted our walls. Dabbled in watercolor.

Down side? In 3 years or less, one child will be out of the nest, and the other will be driving herself where she needs to go. And now I've been at home for 17 years and my skills are completely out of date.

I should probably go back to school myself, or at least brush up on a few skills. Husband is looking at retirement in a few years, just as the kids leave the nest. We have an aging dog who's grown up with me home every day as well. (another thing I did... trained from a puppy 10 weeks old.) I worry how well she would transition (at almost 12 years old) to suddenly being home alone every day, should I take a regular job.
The first few years were the hardest for me. I thought I'd go stir crazy at home all day with an infant. Now, I see my son starting to spread his wings and fly away, and I wonder where all the time went.

There is no solution. Just do what works for you. You can find ways to stay busy. Take up hobbies (I started running, something I never imagined I'd do... but I did two 5ks with my teen daughter last year). Find a niche to volunteer. (I even take my daughter to play piano at the local hospice from time to time... she can't drive herself.)
But, if you can figure out a way to keep your skills up to date, I would do that. Keep your certificates up to date. You never know when you may want to go back to it.
My former career was in family law, and when I finally left and became a SAHM I realized I didn't want to go back into that. Too depressing. I was angry a lot. Not a fun field, and it left me very jaded.
So now I try to look ahead to how husband and I will spend time together when the kids are gone. We probably won't still have a pooch tying us to limited time on trips, so some traveling would be in order. My parents are aging and visiting them more frequently would be good, too.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My daughter is 20 now. I've always been home. Before preschool we did Kindermusic, Little Gym, regular play dates. We had a close knit neighbor group and we got together daily.

My hubby has always been in sales and in the road a lot, sometimes 3 nights a week. I managed his travel arrangements and helped him as needed.

After she started school, I volunteered heavily at the school. So much so that the principal asked me to apply for a sub position. I did that and I'm now in year #15 of subbing. I only sub at the elementary where my daughter went.

She had after school activities and playmates that also kept her and me busy.

7 years ago we started our company where hubby and I office from our home. Daughter has been involved and knows what we are doing and why. She has learned much of the family business and she is poised to take over after grad school if she chooses. Automatic job out of college that pays very well. She has been on my payroll and in the 401K program several years.

I loved being home with my daughter. We did a lot of things together. We still love to cook together. She moved out 2 years ago and we still lunch at least once a week.

I would not trade my experience for anything else because I am mom and I wanted to spend the time with her... Good and bad times.

I've never felt lonely, left out or unproductive. I've been involved in the PTA programs, cheer and athletic booster programs and volunteered a lot with these programs and the school. While I was volunteering with these programs, I was helping my daughters school and extracurricular programs to be better. Due to the volunteering I did, I helped myself by being on boards, officer positions in the boosters and strengthened myself with selling, raising money, public speaking and more.

I treasure my time spent and we have a bond that goes beyond mom/daughter. I would not trade what I did for anything.

We were fortunate that I was able to have the choice to stay home. That choice also helped me greatly because I learned hubby's business which is what we are in now... Raw materials (plastics).

I hope you figure out what is right for you and your family. Everyone is different and what works for one doesn't always work for the other! There is no wrong answer.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

First, I choose to be a stay at home mom because we found it simpler for us to have one parent at home and available to do the work of taking care of the house and the kid. My husband's job can be very demanding at times, with long hours and a heavy workload.

To be quite honest, it took me a few years to feel okay with not working at all. (I worked for the 20 years before I had our son and after that, went back to work doing childcare and running a preschool). These days I find a lot of value for myself in doing what you do-- volunteering at the school. This year I'm coordinating/developing the school's geography program which serves about 360 kids as well as helping out in a few other areas of the school that I love, esp the library. I also find value in being home, in keeping house and making good meals for my family. Perhaps that seems a bit simple, but having grown up coming home to an empty house a lot of the time, I like that I can be here for my son and his friends. While we have no family nearby to help, we have some wonderful friends and neighbors and we all help each other out in a pinch, however we can.

Our son has ADD, too, and while I will not say he's a high-needs kid, he needs a lot of support from us in managing his time, getting started with his homework (I make sure he understands the directions -- but he can get upset and take a loooooong time) and making sure his day has good balance. At eight years old he really cannot do that himself. We are fortunate-- we can afford for me to be home to keep the house, garden and kid relatively happy and healthy. This works for us.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

I have had it both ways full time worker mom, SAHM mom, part time working mom. I enjoyed the time at home with the kids when they were little and we spent time doing things together and separately with friends.

I was involved in school activities with my kids and selling of coupon books for football, girl scout cookies, bake sales, class trips to different countries.

My children are my life but my life is not my children. They are a part of who I am. I worked because I liked it and it made me a better person. My being part of a business overseas helping to keep military members' uniforms current was a joy. Yes it was a lot of hard work but it was so worth it to see a service member on the base and know that you made them look professional in their appearance. I can't count the number of stripes, patches, pockets, shirts/blouses, pants/skirts that I have worked on. There are classes I want to take to improve myself personally and professionally in the near future.

You make your life for you to be what you want it to be. I hope to have my own business in retirement where I make boutique clothing or one of a kind custom items. Find your spot and go for it. Also doing something for yourself prevents the empty nest syndrome where there is no one and nothing to do now. Not a good spot to be in at any age. Been there a few times and I am now a lot better.

Have a great day.

the other S.

PS My kids are grown and gone now but they still keep up with me and my activities.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I was pretty busy as a SAHM when my kids were preschool/elementary aged. Between caring for them, taking care of the house and yard, working on home improvement projects, going to the gym, taking classes and volunteering at school and in girl scouts (I led two troops and was on the local council for years) I felt VERY productive. I honestly didn't understand how I could ever even have TIME for a job lol! I also made time to see my girlfriends, and did things just for me, without the kids, which helped me stay, well, ME.
Once they hit middle/high school they naturally needed less hands on care so I started working part time. I didn't enjoy spending as much time at home without little ones running around, that's how it was for me.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I am a working mom and there are definitely days I wish I was a stay at home mom. There is so much to do around the house, field trips I have to turn down, appointments I have to rush to at lunch, etc. I do very much enjoy my job and putting my degrees to use, but it's bitter sweet.

If I stayed at home, I like to think I would take up photography classes. I LOVE my camera and it takes great pictures, but I want to learn HOW to use it...and we live in a gorgeous area, I'd like to get some landscape pictures done. I also want to learn to paint more. We have been taking painting classes (wine and design classes really) and I love them.

So I would say find things YOU enjoy, make sure it's not all appointments, cleaning, errands. I think as long as you feel fulfilled, you'll feel productive.

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

When I was a SAHM and my kids were in school I did have a part job, but I also volunteered at school, at church and took a class. I cooked all our meals from scratch and did all of the housework, shopping and errands while the kids were in school, so we had more time for enriching activities on the weekends. Now that I am working I find myself using a lot of expensive, unhealthy convenience foods and wasting half the weekend catching up on household stuff.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

My kids are almost 16 and almost 13. I worked full time and made more than my ex when I was married to him. I divorced him a year after starting my own insurance agency (not great timing lol). After we had a scare with a lady watching our grade school kids over the summer, my new husband didn't want anyone else to watch them so I ran my agency from home. I did that until 2 years ago when I sold it. I have been a SAHM ever since.

Technically I *could* go back to work but had some weird health issues last year that made it clear I couldn't work full time. I probably could go back part time but my son is in a charter school that doesn't have buses and has weird hours. So I'm home. My husband would rather I stay home because of my health.

I'll disclose that I consider myself a homebody. I could stay home forever or go out locally and be happy. That being said, I'm active in my church and with some of the lady's there. Until it recently closed, I volunteered at our church's food pantry. I have a couple close friends who are older and don't work and we hang out a couple times a week. I also have a couple Christian books that I am reading and doing a study on. I also am trying to "live simply" and when it cools off will be clearing out the garage. I already have most of the house done which I have been working on since January.

I worked very hard for many year and am blessed that I can be home now. My kids are happy that I can pick them up when I need to and go to all their school events that are during the day.

We all have our own path and own lives to live. Don't compare yours to anyone else's. Life is too short to spend it unhappy. Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We budgeted from the beginning for me to be a SAHM.

What did I do? I got a job at the Outback - yep - Outback Steakhouse! And got out of the house after my husband got home from work - I got to meet great people and had time away...

I had a Mommy and me class that the boys and I went to. My oldest son (now 15) was 2.5 years old when his brother was born.

We also did Mommy and Me swimming classes - our community has a great indoor pool with year round lessons!

We also had a great play date circle. there were probably 6 or 7 of us and we took turns taking care of the kids so we could go grocery shopping, massage, manicure, etc. without the kids underfoot. We also took advantage of our local theater offering movies to mom's and kids only so you didn't have to worry about offending anyone.

I found that journaling my kids life was good for me too. I have numerous composition books from birth to 4 - i was there to see them growing up.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I am going to start a long term sub job in January and am not sure how "working full time" is going to go, honestly.

I have teaching certification and currently sub at my kids school. So that gets the productive work thing covered for me. And it is so flexible...until January then I am locked in for 12 weeks.

Anyways...I am in a MOMSnext group for moms who have school aged kids. I volunteer at my kids school and have a great group of other SAHM friends because they are usually the ones up there volunteering. I type when I should be getting back to work...I am doing the set for the school play...gotta go I have stuff to paint.

I am so busy with part time work, volunteer work and just life keeping the kids and house together...I don't have a spare moment. I think you can fill up your time easier than you think you can...

I do really get the feeling productive by working outside the home thing...I feel better on the days I work...more tired but more fulfilled...but doing it everyday for me would be very tough, I am used to the flexible-ness of the SAH schedule.

Big hugs!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I love being a SAHM. My girls are in 12th and 7th grade. Years ago, I found a hobby that soon became my passion. I spend a few hours a day pursuing that passion (mosaic art). I also found other people that have the same passion and I have made many fabulous friends. I also serve on two committees, one as a chairperson, the other as co-chair so that takes up a bit of time. I try to go out to lunch 1x per week but last week I went out 3xs.😊

I have loved every minute of staying home. However, now that my oldest is a senior and is currently applying to colleges, I wish we had saved more. My daughter can graduate from a state school debt free but she really wants to go to a private school. I have considered going back to work but after being out of the workforce completely for the last 12 years, (I worked PT until my youngest was born) I don't even know where to begin. (I have an undergraduate degree in marketing and my MBA). I also need knee surgery and once that heals I also need foot surgery but after that I may start looking for a job.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

In the beginning I never planned to be a stay at home mom, but we moved to England when I was 7 months pregnant and quickly discovered that my husband would be spending half of every year for the next 4 in the middle east, so staying home with them was the only thing that made sense. I always said that as soon as they were in school I was going back to work, but then the youngest started kindergarten and I found that I could feel up my week nicely with volunteering at the school and with activities and sports it was still just easier for me to be home. Fast forward to this year, I have a 4th grader and a 6th grader, and I am still at home. I still volunteer at the school a lot. I like that I can coach soccer and do all those things I might otherwise not have time for with the kids. I decided I just wanted to still concentrate on them because time is running so short. To fill the days I sew, redo old furniture, read, hike my dogs, paint, just whatever. It is still working for all of us right now, when it is no longer working for any one of us then we will reevaluate our approach.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I stay home because we are Homeschooling for philosophical, life-style reasons. They are my full-time job.

To keep myself feeling productive, i organize things. I started a homeschool group, then a coop. I plan field trips, fun events, etc. We spend a few days a week with our friends, so I have enough adult conversation. I also do a monthly bookclub, and I recently started a bi-monthly Friday happy hour playgroup with two friends. And we have neighbors we see weekly-they homeschool too. This morning we are playing with bubbles-giant ones and ones I'm going to beat into rainbow colored foam.

As my kids get older, I plan on getting back to writing. In fact, I'm planning on attending a conference in April. I read for an hour every day, 30 minutes in the morning, 30 in the afternoon.

I love staying home. I couldn't imaging having a set schedule. I was in acaedmia before, I don't really do well with set work schedules. I like to have a natural rhythm to my day, but I enjoy doing different things, going different places. I really feel spoiled! I get to go to the zoo all the time! And this is my job.

The only thing I feel that is missing is "a room of my own." I'm hopeful to have it at some point, but right now, I still have a toddler, so im busy picking her her messes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I work so can't answer this directly but I contemplate staying home soon and am kind of part time now. One thing I'm surprised people don't mention is exercising. That's the one thing I lack now.Because I work short hours, I have plenty of time with my kids but still don't exercise and as I get older, I'm starting to worry about the impact on my health. I have no weight issues but I should be exercising anyway for my heart and bones. So if you don't exercise now bc you're too busy, I would think that's one thing you could add that would be satisfying.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

As a Work at home mom, I'd have to say that I'd SLEEP more. I do all the SAHM things with the kids and the home, but I also work 6-8 hours a day. Today I had to get up at 4:30 after going to bed at 12:30am...deadlines for work. So, I'd gladly do all the lovely SAHM things I get to do each day and subtract the stress of someone else's deadlines. I do love my work, but I could easily volunteer and do the same thing for non-profits and charities. I'd also spend time painting, gardening, cooking and doing things for kids' scrapbooks. I dream of having a good 6 months to catch up, but our business requires me to keep plugging away. Thankfully, I love what I do. I used to do part-time work from home and that was a perfect schedule when the kids were smaller. I'd work when they were sleeping and playing nicely. I was able to live in both worlds and have a good balance. Now, I try my best to balance it all and would gladly slow the work down if I could afford it. I have a special needs child who needs a great deal of time and attention. I'm so very thankful that I am home with her and can drop everything and help her when she needs me.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I am currently working PT from home and plan to get a FT job this year, hopefully with telecommuting options. I work because then I have my own money, but PT allowed me to work while DD was in school and save us childcare. If money is not the reason to work, then perhaps volunteer? There are many schools, community centers, etc. that have options. I went to being a SAHM/WAHM because I had a dreadful job and we were able to swing it financially. I wanted to spend time with my DD, my only biological child. I wanted to be more involved in her life and school. I feel productive when I volunteer and give my time to others and not just do dishes and take the cat to the vet.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

If I could work outside of the home I would. I loved having outside fulfillment and being able to thrive at something not related to kids or the house. I enjoyed having co-workers that weren't part of my household and that I could work with on things and achieve many things.

I think you can look at it like this. I have to provide for myself if something happens to my husband. How are we going to pay for college? How are we going to pay for weddings? What about if one of the kids is injured?

Then you can see the benefit of working. If you truly don't need to and can just be a homemaker then by all means, go for it. No one says you have to do anything other than do what you think is right.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i never got to be a SAHM (oh, how i'd have loved it) but i've always had plenty to make me feel productive beyond the kids. when i was younger and more outgoing i volunteered more, even with a busy work schedule, in addition to my horse addiction and extensive spiritual and religious pursuits.
i don't really get how anyone gets bored staying at home, i guess because i'm a solitary sort of person at heart, and as long as i've got a book to read, a pony to groom, a garden to tend, a path down which to jog, weights to lift, food to cook (and eat! i do love to eat! :D) and prayers to pray and shrines to tend and words to write and a house to clean (ugh) and fences to mend and pastures to mow and naps to take and FB and MP where i can waste time, i'm good.
that being said, i went back to work this summer, just part-time, and i'm really enjoying that too. i teach in the spring and fall, and now i work in a beautiful little shop a few days a week, and it's kind of perfect. it gets me out and has reminded what it's like to deal with humans regularly in a cheerful low-key kind of way, and makes my days off extra sweet.
can you do part-time? since my dh is a workhorse and his income is what pays the bills, part-time is the perfect answer for us.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Well, I've done it all, working mom, SAHM, work part time mom....I prefer work part time mom because money is an issue (without my income we can't save for college and our vacations would be out). But, when I was SAHM, I volunteered at my sons' elementary school, volunteered at church, led a chapter of International Cesarean Awareness Network, and went to some mommy's nights out. I enjoyed my volunteer work and I liked the way I had things together all the time when I was SAHM. At the time, my younger one was in preschool (9-12) so I only had that time when I was "alone" - but I did enjoy it. Dinners were always prepped and ready, I had a pretty clean house, didn't stress over doctors appointments, and the laundry was done. I even got to bed at a reasonable hour and wasn't tired most of the time! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions