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Are You “Just” a Stay-At-Home Mom?

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Up until a few years ago, I was blessed to be a stay-at-home mom, homeschooling. I loved (almost) every minute of it, even the bad days had treasured moments. There was this little thorn in my side though, and since returning to work, I have heard and seen that I am not alone.

“Hey! I haven’t seen you in ages, I work at (insert amazing sounding job and income). So what do you do?”

“I’m just a stay at home mom.”



This conversation sound familiar? This is the conversation I’ve personally had about a hundred times, when I was a stay-at-home mom. Every time resulting in me feeling useless, good for nothing, a nobody. It’s the sneaky word in that sentence that implied I was a nothing. Nobody.

So today we are going to get rid of that little word and start realizing just how important your job is! I want you understand that what you do every. Single. Day. has meaning. Worth something.

And the sneaky word is… “Just."

According to the word as an adverb implies “By an narrow margin, barely. The arrow just missed the mark." Or "only or merely. He was just a clerk until he became ambitious.”

As you see, the word just can imply that what we are saying or doing really isn’t that important at all. That we are merely doing nothing. That we are barely raising our children, looking after a family, balancing life and running a household.

So whether you are a stay at home mom, working at home mom, homeschooler-if you are a parent you are important!

The upside of being a stay-at-home mom:

The blessings of a being a stay-at-home mom are truly priceless. I am going to be completely transparent here and let you know I thought I valued the blessing of being a stay-at-home mom. I thought I knew what I had and what it was worth.

However, when I had to return to work, then I truly knew what I was missing. Now my favorite day of the week is the one where I get to stay home all day. Yes doing laundry, Yes doing dishes, Yes reading to my kids and doing so much “nothing” that I fall exhausted into bed and need to go back to “work” to recuperate.

My personal pluses are:

1. I get to spend time with my kids and watch them grow up. I don’t have to miss a thing. (bonus time because we homeschool)

2. I know I am helping to shape my children into responsible adults, as a parent.

3. I am maintaining the home.

4. I am a valuable part of a team.

5. I help the household running smoothly.

6. It was less stressful than now (working outside the home).

Being a stay-at-home mom is truly a blessing. One to be cherished. However, it is not always a walk in the park.

The downside of being a stay-at-home mom:

Being a stay-at-home mom can be draining. It is long hours, little sleep, and often thankless. You are so busy, you don’t know which way you are going half the time. You spend too little time actually at home. You learn to multitask out of necessity, walk fast, write lists and juggle a million things at once.

However, it was always dealing with how others viewed me that was exhausting, disheartening and would lead to me throwing myself under the emotional roller coaster.

One conversation I used to hate having was one with banks, insurance, cell phone contracts, credit cards of any sort. Anything that had the dreadful question:“what do you do for a living?” and “what income bracket are you in?”

Watching them write in that goose egg was devastating to my self-worth. I wanted to sink down and disappear. In fact, I usually avoided all of these types of encounters if possible.

One day, I was with my husband and the insurance broker asked the questions. I answered with, “Oh I am just a stay-at-home mom, so whatever that is listed as. I don’t make any money.”

He leaned over and said something amazing! He told me that I had the hardest job ever and to stop pretending it was no big deal. He praised moms in general for all the hard work that goes into being a stay-at-home mom.

I had heard it all before but from a complete stranger-no. It was like he knew how uncomfortable, how worthless those questions made me. I am thankful for those kind, understanding words to this day.

Price of a stay at home mom:

Sometimes we need to put a dollar amount to see value, which in my opinion is sad, but true. So please check out these resources and see how much you really are worth, dollar wise:

1. A few years ago the Vancouver Sun newspaper (Feb 2006) did a labor analysts estimate that if a Canadian stay at home mom with two school aged children were to be paid for all the works she does, including overtime she would make $163,852 (Canadian).

2. I found this article which is updated in its income amounts for April 2015. Here a husband writes his wife a letter, he states how much she would make if someone paid her.

When you list some of the everyday tasks you do as a stay at home parent then add in working and homeschooling it is quite a list. Imagine if you had to pay someone? I know we couldn’t afford it.

How to overcome this “just” a stay-at-home mom mindset:

I struggled personally with this mindset for a long time, even surrounded by an amazing family and friends. Below are two steps that I found really helped.

-Remember why you do what you do, write it down somewhere you can see it if need be

-Stop using the word “just” to minimize what you do everyday

Being a stay at home mom is a hard, sometimes thankless job-but it is still the best job ever! I look forward to the day I get to return to being a stay-at-home mom!

Jen Mackinnon is a 30+ crazy married momma of two who spends her time homeschooling, working and living life! Between homeschooling and working outside the home, you can find her curled up with a good book or cooking in the kitchen.

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