Stay at Home You Feel This Way?

Updated on August 06, 2014
S.D. asks from Peoria, AZ
24 answers

Every School Year I start to feel this weird feeling that I need to do something with my life.... I got a educated degree in 2005 and really have never used it. I am pretty much a stay at home mom to teenagers now . HS and MS.
My husband does very well and I do a few serious volunteer work along with being a home wife. I always feel like I need a job and contribute to the household....but there is no perfect senerio out there wo it making the kids have to stay after school til 5 waiting for a pick up. I get antsy..... and feel like sometimes being a mom is not enough.....
I feel so blessed to be able to stay home and yet guilty that I don't use my time better ............ do anyone out there feel that way ?

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So What Happened?

Great incite thank u
For the record - the private School is far and we have to drive them
So they would Have to stay there until we
Can get them or find a carpool but much more weighs
Then that and u encouragement is helpful - just
Needed that reminder.


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answers from Wausau on

When my kids were in elementary I filled my time with volunteering. I'm also self-employed providing a service, but it is part time, on my own schedule, and I'm choosy about my clients. (Ha, that sounds sordid!) I've spent the past 5 years or so meeting people and making connections.

Now that my kids are both in Jr High and on the same schedule, I've been sending out feelers through my network to find the kind of job I like, in the right location, that works with my preferred schedule. I was told of an opening that is just about as perfect as can be, and I have a phone interview today. :-) If I get this position, the kids will be done with school before I'm done with work. They will walk home and manage without me just fine.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Reading on

No, because although I am not working in my field, for which I have a PhD, I am busy creating a business in a new field. The time I spend on it now is unpaid, but I have a goal I am working toward and it doesn't disrupt my primary job of being home with my children.

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answers from New York on

When you stay home you feel that you should be working at a paid job to add to your family income and utilize your education. And when you work at a paid job you feel like you should be staying to nurture your children and enrich their life experiences. It's the age old battle all mothers fight with ourselves.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Who says you aren't using your time well? Have you raised strong, competent, secure and purposeful children? Have you worked to make their schools or your town or your surrounding community a better place? Have you modeled great behavior and values, showing that people who give to their community are to be respected and admired? Then you have used your time well and have nothing to feel guilty about! (And if you'd had a full time paying job instead of a full time nonpaying job, you'd probably have felt guilty for not being around the kids more!)

The problem is not that you aren't doing something with your life. The problem is that you don't truly value what you have done or feel that you have contributed to the household! More things are required than salary, and you have provided those so that your husband's salary (or your "deferred" salary) didn't get used for day care and chauffeuring and personal shopping and house cleaning services. There's nothing wrong with those things - it's just that money paid out to other people seems to have value while money saved by your doing those things doesn't!

If your kids are more independent (because you have been instrumental in making them that way) and you want to look into some outside employment, then go ahead. But use your years of activities as fuel for your resume, rather than just looking back on formal education as all you have to offer. You will be more in demand by employers if you view what you have done as difficult, fulfilling, purposeful and skill-developing. If you need more rewarding volunteer activities, then branch out, find something more regular, run for PTO, or find a really fulfilling charity of people who need you much more even than the schools (battered women? homeless? illiterate? immigrants?) to dig into on a regular basis.

Don't apologize for where you've been - celebrate it!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Your kids aren't little anymore. They don't need you to pick them up after school. They can take the bus home. If you want a job, go get one.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

As much as I enjoy homemaking and volunteering, it DOES feel good to work, to actually be paid for something you do. Why not work part time? That's what I've done, and it's been a great balance. Many "at home" moms I know work part time. In a few weeks I'm starting an interior design program at the local college. Even though I already have a Bachelor's degree I need additional classes to pursue this new career path, and I'm so excited! My kids are 21, 18 and 15, two in college and one in high school.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I'm reading a great book right now called radical homemakers. You may want to check it out.

I think people feel like they need a paid job because our society seems to think if you don't have one,you aren't doing anything. Take a long look at what you are doing. You have a few jobs, if you have kids, a house, and volunteer. Stop feeling guilty. You have a job already, it's just too bad we live in a society that doesn't value it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Maybe a bit. I have advanced degrees and don't use them. That's fine.

I want some outlet for improving myself, though. I find that through exercise. I would not think a job, though, would give me anything other than stress and (if we needed it) a paycheck.

I also tend to get really anal about the kid schedules, clutter, etc. I am trying to run it all the best I can because it's ALL I HAVE.
If I had to worry about going to work I'm sure the dishes and laundry and toddler music class would suddenly not be as important. You cannot do it all.
I'd have to pay to work full-time anyway with all the little ones and husband does well.

Your kids are older. Can they do sports after school? Even my elementary ones stay until that time doing after-school clubs. They love it and it's much easier and cheaper than driving to various activities all over town with everyone.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

Why do you feel that you're not contributing to your household? Because you don't have a paycheck? Is that the only standard of worth and accomplishment? No - but it's been pretty well touted as the only standard for more than a generation.

Please don't feel guilty for not bringing money home. If you analyze your present work, you'll probably find that you're making the best use of the money that does come home, and that it would be expensive to replace you. Not to mention your volunteer work, which brings value to an organization without taking funds away from it.

I think that in a few years' time you'll realize that you have used every bit of your education - just not in the way other educators do. Teenagers benefit from having a parent at home in an important but different way than little ones do.

If you really decide at some time to get another job (I won't say "a job" because you have a big one right now), do it because you have the energy and the desire to do that job, not because you'll feel inferior if you don't.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I have a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) that I have never used. It's funny because I wanted to get the degree before I had kids but once I had kids I only went back to work PT for a few years. I stopped working all together though after my youngest was born 11 years ago.

My husband encouraged me to find a hobby. The hobby I found ended up turning into my passion. (I am a mosaic glass artist) My work is now in a gallery and I am fortunate to get small commission work. (I am not making a living off of my income but it helps support my glass addiction:)

Find a hobby. It took me a while to find something I love but it has brought more joy into my life than I could have ever imagined. Good luck!!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I'm a working mom and Diane D said it well. Guilt all around... Try to remember too that yes, a paycheck is nice and I am the primary breadwinner but not like work is always so satisfying away from the paycheck. I certainly don't feel like I am helping society in any way. So if it's all about contributing financially to the household that's one thing but if it's more a feeling of just not being productive enough or something, remember lots of us get no intrinsic satisfaction from our jobs and want to feel like we are really doing something worthwhile... But my mom did get a PT job when we were in MS and HS. Your kids certainly are old enough now for you to get out some if you want. I was by no means a latch key kid but started coming home to an empty house some days I think in MS. I loved it. :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I always worked part time and volunteered while the kids were at school, so I never had to worry about day care, but I was contributing financially. I wouldn't trade a minute of my time as a SAHM. Most important job I ever had! How old are the kids? HS and MS kids could probably figure out a way to get home on their own if you really want to go back to work.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Canton on

So glad you brought this up and I appreciated the responses! As a professional who worked in my profession full-time for the past 23 years while raising my older children, who are all now in college.....I have recently become a SAHM of our 2 year old that we adopted last year who has multiple medical issues.
I am enjoying the time at home with him, since I tried to continue working while he was with us a foster child, but it was not conducive to caring for him or my family, so we chose to change our budget and for me to stay home.
I recently struggle with feeling like I am not doing enough, but feel affirmed that that is not the case after reading many of these answers, so thank you!! Once he starts pre-school I may start to volunteer, but for now I will continue to enjoy the time I didn't get to spend with my older five in this capacity. God bless!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

It took me all of my son's last year of preschool and kindergarten years to deal with those feelings of "I should be earning." I became an earner at 16, was contributing to family expenses and saving to move out by 17 and 18. Worked nearly solid until I was 36 and pregnant with Kiddo, and returned to work about 4 months later, doing child care and running a preschool up until 2011, when we decided we wanted our house back (from being a preschool, that is.) :)

I think some of this depends on where we are in life. This last December, I was talking with a friend I met volunteering at the school. We were shelving books and I asked her if she felt pulled to do 'more'. She paused and said that she'd talked to her husband about it and his reply was "it's okay if you want to do that, but I can't step in to fill in for you" because he was supporting the family financially with his demanding job. He really valued and was very aware of her contribution to the family life in staying at home.

That conversation made me decide to focus on being content in relying on someone. It made me realize that despite some of our culture's perception of 'women relying on men' = automatic negative, there is something lovely about how we have crafted our lives. My husband and I agree that if we were to deal with the childcare aspect of things (before and after care), as well as the increase in expenses and stress with me working, it would be a negative shift for our family.

But the other part of it is that I am no longer *aching* to work. And that's the difference in our situations. I'm very satisfied with my moment in life, but it sounds as though you are questioning the status quo. There's nothing wrong with that. And if your family isn't needing you, maybe you designate the time before the five o'clock pickup as a homework time. Families do adapt. Your kids are at an age where this may be an inconvenience in their lives if they have to step up and help around the house or you aren't as able to run them around, but families have to pull together sometimes. If you think you will be considerably happier, it's worth trying it out.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

If you feel that bringing home a paycheck would make you happier, go for it.

As for your teenage kids waiting at school until five to be picked up, why would that be necessary?
At the age of twelve, my daughter rode the bus home, let herself in, let the dog out, got herself a snack, and started on her homework. She was perfectly capable of taking care of herself for a couple of hours until I got home from work.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Amen, Diane D.

I have had the best of both worlds. I stayed home for 10 years, and volunteered heavily at their school. Then I went to graduate school and now I work full time. My kids are older, both are now in high school.

The main difference here is that I didn't go 'all in'- I started working part time, then moved into a full time position.

Like you, my husband does very well, and we really didn't NEED the money, but it has helped us to achieve some financial goals much sooner than planned.

Having said that, I wouldn't have traded those years at home for anything. I am grateful that I was able to be home, but quite honestly, I am a better mom because I work. I manage my time better because I am forced to. I make sure I have time for family and for ME because it makes me a better person. I am just as involved in my kids academic and social life as I would have been as a SAHM, and I still volunteer at their school.

If you are feeling antsy, why not start out part time? If being a SAHM isn't enough, give it a try! And if it doesn't work? Give your two weeks notice and try again when you think you might be ready again.

Good luck- and don't feel guilty or apologize for being at home!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I am always struggling with the same issue. I do work fro an hour and a half a day but i still fell like although i love being home with the kids, and keeping on top of the house, i would love to have some kind of job or business. I am constantly looking at some friends who do both and i admit that i am jealous that they get to do both and i start questioning why they can do it and I can't, but then when I look closer I see that although it looks like they have both you cant compare the quality time i get to spend with my kids and the way my household is run! That usually makes me feel better till i flip flop again and start thinking of a new career.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If they are in MS and HS, can they 1. go home alone and wait or 2. do an afterschool club? My sks were latchkey kids from about 11 or 12 yrs old and definitely in HS. The only reason SD didn't go home by herself in HS was because I had left my FT job when she was a sophomore or junior and would pick her up after theatre. If you feel you need to work to contribute, has this been stated by someone else's opinion or is it just an itching of your own? I ask this because the source is important. I work PT because I want my own money, to feel like I contribute and to keep current. But I do not absolutely have to for a roof over our heads. I do it because I want to - and if you want to, maybe a PT gig is the right option?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Yes, I do. I am still trying to figure out how to fulfill that void in my life. I have been out of the work force for a long time. Both of my younger kids will be in school this fall. I too, like you, have a degree that I haven't really used in my chosen field because I married and became a stay-at-home mom. I have always fantasized about inventing something. The problem is I haven't thought of anything worthy to invent. One day, I will get motivated and return to the work force. For now, I am blessed to have the opportunity to stay home and watch my babies grow.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

If you don't need the money, and know that your husband's income will always be enough to support you and retire on, then why do you feel you need to get a paid job?

You already volunteer, so it's not like you aren't contributing to society. If your husband does "very well," why do you feel like you need to contribute financially? In America we equate worth with income, to an unhealthy degree. There really is enough for a SAHM to do at home. However, imo there won't be much to do around the house once the kids move out. Now that my kids are essentially gone, I would be totally bored at this point if I had no job.

If you need money, however, it's time to get out there. I wish I had done it a little earlier, rather than waiting till my kids were almost done with h.s.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Just because you are supposed to be at home doesn't mean you have to stay there. Why not go find a part time job and put the money in savings to pay for the kids college? Why not save up money to pay for a month in Europe for you and hubby? Your kids are old enough to leave for a while if they have adult supervision.

Why not get a job if you feel like you should have one?



answers from Phoenix on

I felt the exact same way, so I am back in school and it is extremely fullfilling. I take classes through Harvard's online program, which very difficult and very stimulating. They offer Master's degrees in addition to bachelor's degrees.
I highly recommend it. You have to pass 3 courses with a B or higher to get admitted. The best universities also offer free courses at or You don't earn credit, but you can learn about a variety of interesting topics from the best professors in the world for free.

It's hard feeling like you have to choose between what's best for you and what's best for your family/children. This way I get to be at home when my kids get home, be with them during the summer, but I am also working hard to develop myself and growing, which positively impacts my family. It's perfect for me. Our lives need to be full of meaning and purpose in order to maximize our emotional well-being. I also take care of myself by exercising and I spend time reading enriching books and listening to awesome Ted Talks or podcasts while I do stuff around the house, drive to get my kids, and work out. It makes doing chores much more enjoyable and productive when I'm filling my mind with good stuff. There is more to life than being a mom (as wonderful as that is), so what do you plan on doing when they move out or can drive themselves to school? Start planning/envisioning a future for yourself that is appealing and taking steps towards making it happen.


answers from Santa Fe on

I felt exactly the same way and so I got a part time job. I work about 12 hours a week and I LOVE IT. It is the perfect amount of time to work. I feel like I am contributing to something and I am making a small paycheck. I can do this when the kids are in school. I can work at home in the summers if I want to...but I often hire a babysitter and go to my office (my kids are younger than yours). Why don't you find a part time job that interests you? Try out working about 10 hours a week and see how you like it!


answers from Phoenix on

My kids are 14 and 11 and I'm home. I have recently been considering volunteering at a local thrift store. I love seniors and it's all seniors that work there so I think it would be fun and the shifts are only 4 hours at a time. My husband and I hired an attorney to get guardianship of his daughter and we owe a ton in fees so I keep telling him I should work full time to help pay it off. (Our 2 kids take the bus so could be home without me). He insists he wants me "available" for the kids, "just in case". So I don't want to stress him out more if I'm working and not home. lol This time in our lives are only temporary and so many women would LOVE to be in our shoes. Maybe check into doing some volunteering. I volunteer for 2 hours on Fridays at our church food pantry. Good luck!

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