Returning Back to Work: A SAHM Dilemma

A SAHM Dilemma
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Planning on returning back to work soon? As most mommy bloggers are, I too, am a Stay-at-Home Mom (SAHM).  Although I’m blessed to have the opportunity to stay at home and raise my own children, I have a very personal love-hate relationship with being a SAHM.  I went to school for Chemical Engineering which is a 100% time-dedicated curriculum and marriage and kids definitely didn’t play into it well.  Little did I know that I would meet my future husband in engineering school.   We got married and my priorities rearranged itself forever. 

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Returning Back to Work SAHM Dilemma

Returning Back to Work: A Stay At Home Mom’s Dilemma

Maybe I didn’t watch enough Disney growing up but the last thing I thought about as a little girl would be getting married and starting a family (maybe getting married but I definitely didn’t think I could ever be a mom). I wanted to make a big difference in the world with researching, laboratory work, etc.  That was always my dream career, not stay at home mom and homemaker.

Eventually these SAHM days will be over for me once both my boys go to school full time and I’ll hopefully be returning back to work.  Until then, a little love, patience and some extracurricular activities to help me survive being a stay at home mom.

Job Title: Stay-At-Home Mom (SAHM)

Sometimes it’s a choice and other times it’s necessary, whichever reason you have for being a stay at home mom, being one isn’t easy.  It’s a job that requires long hours with little to no pay.  Sometimes you have to pull a double back-to-back shift, overtime is always a must and break times are short and far between.  It’s a job that’s different everyday and one that will certainly test your patience and sanity.

Contrary to popular belief, stay at home mom is a job.  Unfortunately it’s hardly recognized and our society isn’t forgiving to those that are returning back to work after some years of being a stay at home mom.  Furthermore, a woman often times have to make a choice between starting/having a family or having a career.  The reason is because employers do not offer appropriate and necessary time and accommodations for families, women in particular.  As women still do not get paid as much as a man in most careers; to have a sustainable family, most women choose to give up their career for their family.

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I hope to return back to my original career goals but returning to the work force is a lot harder than I thought it would be. Most job applications will ask you to explain gaps between employment, try explaining a five year gap. I’ve read about some amazing companies looking to change this and hope one day that it will be required by all companies. I’m not just talking about extending Family Medical Leave (FML). One company in particular has extended benefits for women, allowing them plenty of time-off and restructured work hours to ensure women who choose to have children are given the opportunity and resources to return to the work force. They also provide extra time-off for fathers and have an amazing child care program for their employees. This program allows working parents to enroll their children and also see them during their lunches. An interesting fact about this company is that they have a 95% return rate of women returning to work after pregnancy. This is huge ladies and all companies should strive for these. Seriously though society, when are we going to get this right?

Let’s face it, our society isn’t truly accepting of Stay-at-Home Moms (or even Stay-at-Home Dads) and it needs to change.  Unfortunately I don’t believe this change will happen in my lifetime.  Until then, I make a world of difference in my two boys so I can say I still did what I always dreamed of doing.

Thoughts to Consider

Was it by choice that you became a stay-at-home mom?
Do you plan on returning back to work once your children are older?
What struggles do you think, if any, of returning back to work if that is your plan?
Do you feel the treatment of stay at home status in the workforce is fair?

I would love to hear from you! Please leave me a comment and don’t forget to share!

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87 Replies to “Returning Back to Work: A SAHM Dilemma”

  1. I’m not a Mom (I’m the aunt who watches the niece & nephews because Mom & dad both have to work, lol.) I’d say being a SAHM is probably more of a full-time job than just going to a ‘regular’ full-time job.

    1. It is, and unfortunately it’s hardly recognized as one! It’s really hard to explain to an employer that you’re qualified to do the job when you’ve been “missing” from the work force (according to your years of unemployment gaps on your resume) because they don’t exactly see SAHM as a job. Loved hearing from you! Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment!

  2. I would hope people would be more understand about taking time off from work to be a SAHM. If they’re not, you probably don’t want to work there anyway, lol. I’d love an update on this when you do re-enter the workforce!

    1. I said those same things when I was looking for a job and pregnant for the second time. Fortunately for me I could pass as not pregnant during interviews but realized that I needed to tell them before getting hired that I was pregnant. Shockingly not surprised that I didn’t get hired LOL. They’re not that understanding, even if they say they’re Equal Opportunity. Thanks so much for visiting and sharing your thoughts!

  3. I stay at home, and work from home, and homeschool. I wouldn’t change a thing! Staying at home, and adding those on top of the already piling up laundry, cooking dinner, cleaning…totally a full time job.

    1. That’s awesome, I thought about homeschooling but there is probably just some things I do not have patience for lol. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  4. Salute to you! I think, the world now has changed a little. I could see a lot of SAHM and I have many friends as well. It is the noblest job ever!

    1. It is a noble job, its just difficult if you want to do any OTHER job lol. Some things are different about our society now but there are things that hasn’t changed… like employers view on potential candidates that have spend time at home for the past few years raising children. Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts!

  5. Beth Davidson says: Reply

    You sound like me. My master’s degree is collecting dust while I’m home with my kids, but I hate the idea of a 5 year gap so I started my own bookkeeping business from home. But now I go crazy trying to get everything done, so I figure I might as well go back to work, it’d actually be less stressful!

    1. LOL I tell myself that I’d rather go back to work too! SAHM is NO JOKE. It’s so stressful! I like your idea of filling the gap with your own business! Definitely not a bad idea! That’s a wonderful tip! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  6. Rebecca Timmins says: Reply

    It can definitely be hard for some Mums and there can be so much pressure out there to both go back to work and stay at home with the kids

    1. There’s that pressure for sure but it’s also not always easy to return to find work in today’s society when you’ve been “unemployed” for so many years while you took time to raise your family. It’s sad that we do get penalized for it. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  7. Melissa Chapman says: Reply

    I am at home but I am working all day and at night so I don’t think SAHM is synonymous with slacker. Good luck with all your aspirations.

    1. Thanks! Absolutely! I don’t think that any SAHM could ever be compared to a slacker but in company’s eyes, that’s sometimes what they see. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  8. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for mothers to make the decision whether to work or stay at home, or even work from home. I think there is unnecessary pressure and I think unfortunately a lot comes from mums themselves, judging each other unfairly. Everyone needs to do what is right for them and their family!

  9. I don’t have children but I can imagine the struggle of moms going back to work or deciding not to pursue the career that they’ve always wanted. It’s definitely a huge decision and it’s something that you have to think about thoroughly. I think pursuing your dream job is great, it doesn’t make you less of a mom. And it doesn’t make you a bad mom either.

    1. Thanks for your insight! I agree with you and I believe its true that the decision is yours to make. It’s unfortunate though that choosing to stay home and raise your kids is sometimes looked down upon when you’re ready to go back to work after so many years of being away from your career. It’s hard to get back in when a company would rather hire someone that has had no breaks in the employment years.

  10. Brittany Muddamalle says: Reply

    My aunt works full time and she’s always telling me how hard it is to explain why she has to leave early sometimes for sick kids.

    1. That hurts to hear. Its’ unfortunately that your aunt’s job doesn’t understand those things. Years ago i found myself looking for a job while pregnant and told myself that if a job doesn’t want to hire me for the untold reason as that Im pregnant, then I wouldn’t want to work for their company who isn’t family-friendly.

  11. Going back to work was the hardest decision that I ever made – I was able to stay-at-home with my son for a year. But, if I took longer, I would lose my job (I teach at the #2 high school in my state). I would never find a gig like this. Also since my husband travels weekly for work, I craved adult talk and interaction. However, I feel like I’m missing out on my babies growing up. I’m constantly running and doing way too much alone. It’s all hard.

    1. Oh Susan! You are a brave strong good mama! You’re doing exactly what it is you need to do and you need to take a breath and give yourself a break. You’re doing great and even though all these decisions must’ve been hard, you didn’t take them lightly because you love and care for your family as you should. I’m sure the decisions you made was always for your family and not against and no one could ever tell you otherwise 🙂

  12. I loved my time as a stay at home mom. It was hard but I have zero regrets being available to my kids. I transitioned to a working mom and that has been a struggle. Thanks for writing this!

  13. I am planning to go back to work and study as well, I’m pretty sure I’ll feel the same guilt that I felt before but I’d love to do something for myself, you know. I think it’s always going to be a struggle, but we have to stop judging ourselves.

    1. Yes we are definitely our biggest critics right? We sometimes expect too much from ourselves and need to take a step back. I agree with you, I actually started blogging as a way for some “me time.” YOu’re doing what best for you and your family and that’s all that really matters 🙂

  14. Jessi Joachim says: Reply

    I became a SAHM not really by choice as I lost a job while pregnant (long story) and couldn’t find one while pregnant (what a shocker lol). I will say though, I have loved every moment and I plan on waiting until my baby is older to even try to go back. I decided being a WAHM worked best for me so I have my blog and a few other ventures to keep me busy, working and with income.

    1. I’m doing exactly as you! I also went through the same exact thing! couldn’t get a job because I was pregnant and got discouraged but I told myself that if that’s the reason I wasn’t getting hired, then they aren’t a family-friendly company and I didn’t want to work for them anyhow. I started blogging for the same reasons as you and currently thats what I’m doing until my kids are old enough to go back to school 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts Jessi! <3

  15. It can be hard returning to work! While I’m in Australia and I had my job kept for me while I was on leave it’s been tricky getting back into the mindset of working when there’s so much on at home. I’m lucky I was able to return to work part time too, so I get to keep my stay at home mum days and get some adult conversation and the chance to use the bathroom in peace at work, haha! I just returned back recently after nearly a year and a half away.

  16. I had to leave to take care of an elderly parent. I would say while you are away, if appropriate and if you can, try to stay in a professional organization, publish articles, try to stay in contact with your network, if there are any new skills, if you can take the class(es), it should help make the gap seem like a blink to the employer.

  17. I work from home so I see both sides for sure. Some days I wish my office wasn’t at my house so I could get out and be around other people but other days I am thankful I am home for when my kids get out of school. Whats most important is that we do whats best for our families

  18. Melitta Campbell says: Reply

    I think this is a real dilemma for so many parents – so thank you for discussing this subject.

    I used to love my corporate job, but when I started a family, I just couldn’t bring myself to leave my daughters with anyone else. I interviewed lots of very strange nannies and took the decision to become a Stay At Home Mum.

    To keep my hand in and feel that I wasn’t loosing myself altogether, I started freelance writing (my background was in Corporate Communications, so it was a natural move). This worked out well, but as my business became busier, I found that freelancing is actually very stressful and lonely.

    Three years ago I set up a home based wellness business which was more flexible, offered more social interaction and has enabled me to achieve so much personal growth – I love it!

    Realising that there are probably many more mothers out there who would value the opportunity to work 5-20 flexible hours a week, I became a home business coach 18 months ago and I am really loving working with other like-minded women to help them achieve their goals and desired life balance.

    I don’t think any decision to work, stay at home, or do something in the middle is easy – every option requires some form of sacrifice, but I think it’s important to think deeply about your personal values and what you want from life personally, and for your family, so you can be confident that you are making the right decision for you.

  19. Helene Bludman says: Reply

    It is definitely a problem and there are no easy answers. Employers should not penalize SAHMs but they do.

  20. Stay at home moms have tons of experience. Companies need to see that.

  21. Stay at home mum is defo a job! and a really hard and tiring one! And if it comes from a choice I am absolutely fine with it but if it comes from necessity, I think it should be share between the two parents. you need to be two to make a baby and you should be two to raise him/her as well. But it is always a tough call to make and employer should not use it against you

  22. Our society should do more to support working parents or stay-at-home moms. You shouldn’t be punished because you choose to stay at home, or had to stay at home. It’s still a job and a lot harder than sitting in a cubicle all day. I’m glad to hear some companies are changing their policies in favor or parents and hopefully even those who have to take time off to take of loved ones.

  23. I can imagine it is a hard choice when it comes to being a parent and thinking about returning to work, I think you should be able to do what you feel is best without being judged be that stay at home or going back to work.

  24. Being a Stay at Home parent is a tough job. Sometimes it is not your choice, but you go that route because it is the best one for your family. If I decide to join the workforce again, I would be looking for companies that are equal opportunity employers. Those that do not have any prejudice about having employment gaps or what nots.

  25. Being a stay at home mom is harder than any job that I have ever done. I was so happy to get back to a job outside of the house.

  26. Being a mom is the toughest job out there despite what people may say. It’s also the greatest job. No matter what life has in store for you, never let others make you feel like you’re not working hard enough. 🙂

  27. Maria McGrath says: Reply

    I am not lucky enough to be a mum, but I have great respect for those that are & choose to be a stay at home mum!! The most important thing you can do is KNOW you are doing the right thing for YOU, & the opinions of others do NOT matter…

  28. I agree that being a stay at home mum is a full time job and I admire anyone who is able to look after kids 24/7.Returning back to the workforce must be tricky but I know that for some parents it is a necessity x

  29. I had a four month leave with my first and then I went back to work. I have now happily been a SAHM of my 2 — soon to be 3 — kiddos.

  30. Michelle Gwynn Jones says: Reply

    The best thing one can do if they intend to return to a career eventually is to try and stay as current as possible. If that means taking courses do it. It is one thing to say I took 5, 10, 15 years off but know what is current, it is another to have to admit you have no idea what has been happening in your field for the last 5, 10, 15 years.

  31. I don’t have any children but this post still really resonated with me as someone who always put education and career over any thoughts of getting married and having a family. Although I’m still not married, being in a loving relationship has changed my old priorities where I can see family as not just a possibility but something I want in the future. I’ve worked lots of different jobs in my life but I know being a mom will probably be the most difficult as well as satisfying and I look forward to it one day!

  32. I don’t have any children, but it’s very true what you’ve written. It’s not fair how our society looks and deals with stay at home moms and women in general.

  33. Jessica Taylor says: Reply

    I went back to work fairly quickly after having my daughter (Single mom here)! I know SAHMs have a lot of work to do, and it can be hard to return to work after a long time has passed.

  34. Gideon Akachukwu Okorie says: Reply

    It takes a lot of work to actually make this SAHM job work glad you are making it work.

  35. Anosa Malanga VA says: Reply

    I really admire those who are stay at home moms. Being a mom is a tough job and I salute all the moms. I am not yet a mom but I am preparing myself for that. I am sure things and priorities will change when I become a mother too.

  36. It can be tough returning back to work. Hopefully you have found someone to take care of your lil one that you trust to help you feel more confident about going back.

  37. I’m due in October, and I know I’m going back to work right away. Child care arrangements have already been made. I’m sure it will feel hard when I first come back but I’m confident that it’s the thing I want to do and the benefits will quickly be worth it to me. I think that I’m fairly fortunate in that I have clarity on what I want to do, and my circumstances are such that it’s actually advantageous to do the thing that feels right to me, so I don’t have to be too conflicted.

  38. Kim's Cravings says: Reply

    I am glad you are making it work because a mom with little kids is always challenging!

  39. Annette Yedlin says: Reply

    I was a stay at home mom for 2 years and homeschooled my children during that time. Although I do miss that time with them, I was happy to go back to work. It’s a rough transition on both you and the children. My suggestion would be to start off slow and work your way to more hours…if the company will allow you to work from part time into full time.

  40. You are so right that being a SAHM is a job — and a tough one at that. But our society does not recognize or value it as such. I hope to see that change in my lifetime.

  41. Jean Standley says: Reply

    This is an interesting read and something that has been on my mind recently. I’m currently trying for a baby whilst working a full time job. I would love to be a SAHM but I’m not sure our finances would allow for it.

  42. I think this is a very interesting article. It’s always a dilemma i guess

  43. I planned to return to work after my first but childcare cost more than my wages so not possible. Now I have 3 children and 3 part time jobs and my blog so the best of both worlds

  44. Reesa Lewandowski says: Reply

    I think about going back to work all the time. It’s so difficult. THere hasn’t been anything that really has been worth it for me.

  45. I can only imagine how hard the decision to go back to work is. I know that my cousin was faced with the choice and just couldn’t bring herself to do it.

  46. First of all Let me appreciate you if you have taken this decisions to go back to work. I think life comes in phases and we all have to do new beginning now and then. I loved reading your post thanks for sharing

  47. David Elliott says: Reply

    Making the choice to go back to work does have to be rough. I know that my mother had to do that and it was very difficult for her. She did make it though. But her career never got off the ground the way it was before having my brother and I.

  48. Priyadarshini Rajendran says: Reply

    I don’t know if I will go back to work but this is a great read

  49. Crystal Carder says: Reply

    Going back to work with little ones at home is hard! I know when I made the choice to work here and there throughout the years, I had a tough time leaving my kids at home and they missed me like crazy.

  50. nadia de leon says: Reply

    I admire the decisiveness and courage of women who choose to become stay at home moms and dads. It’s sad that it going back to work has become more difficult because of the gap or time that parents spent rearing their children. If only all companies have programs that will ensure women to perform their jobs both as an employee and a mother.

  51. kim@hungryhealthygirl says: Reply

    Such a hard decision! I know for me, it was nice to get out of the house and interact with other adults, but I always missed my babies terribly.

  52. Sam Temsah-Deniskin says: Reply

    It’s something I struggle with as well! You’re doing what’s best for your boys and family and that’s all that matters!

  53. Kelly Hutchinson says: Reply

    I went through this several years ago. After being a SAHM for 10 years, I went back to work. It was what my family needed, but it was super hard on all of us. Of course we adjusted, but initially, it sucked!

  54. Homemade for Elle says: Reply

    I have always been a work-away-from-home mom, and I am endlessly grateful for the women who care for my children while I am gone. I know it is a tremendous amount of work to take care of little ones. Working can give some independence and confidence in other skills, but it is also hard to be away from your children. There are good and hard things with either choice!

  55. Jhilmil Bhansali says: Reply

    I had been working for 10 long years and had to finally quit this year to take care of my boy and now become SAHM with blogging and freelancing. It was difficult but I have planned to join back corporate once my kid gets that mature to understand things and settle in daycare happily.

  56. Making the decision to become SAHM was really hard for me. But after #2 the cost of childcare didn’t seem worth it for me to return. But being a SAHM and blogger has been amazing, and I wouldn’t change anything.

  57. militaryfamof8 says: Reply

    I have been working from home and i am glad to work from home so i can take care too with my family.

  58. I think there needs to be a major shift in the work culture that assumes physical presence at some office or institution is the only way to function. We need to start moving towards remote and flex schedule careers so that mothers can choose to work from home with the schedule that accommodate young children. Companies are missing out on a lot of brain power otherwise.

  59. It can be a challenging decision! Also, I’ll never understand why stay-at-home moms (and dads) are frowned upon in this day and age.

    1. Mercury Helium says: Reply

      bcause society doesn’t glorify “dependent” able-bodied adults.

  60. SAHM are so brave and work harder than I ever did at work. My daughter is a SAHM and I don’t know how she keeps up with family, home, blogging, etc. It’s a full time job and then some.

  61. OurMiniFamily says: Reply

    I am not a mom so I cannot say how I feel about SAHM, but I applaud and support all mamas who want to work and also support mamas who want to be SAHM! We just need to love and support one another!

  62. redheadmomblog says: Reply

    That is definitely a tough decision. I went back to school and was a paralegal for a little while after being a stay-at-home mom and going through a divorce. It’s definitely a difficult transition.

  63. Hanna J Smith says: Reply

    I’ve been both a stay at home mom and a working mom – NEITHER are easy! Companies are hesitant to hire a person who’s stayed home with their kids – but will always say they “commend you” for doing so – it’s the worst slap in the face ever.

  64. so funny. my kids are older now and i’m freelancing. I was divorced so, had no choice but, to work. Otherwise I would have opted to stay home. Although that’s easy to say until you’re actually in the situation. I can see the monotony getting to you. It’s not for everyone and hopefully you can get your career back on track.

  65. I am looking forward to getting back to work too.

  66. I have many reasons why I’m a SAHM. I cherish the moments of being with them during their early stages of development. At this point in my life, I’m happy with the job title “Mom”. The benefits out weighs all other options…

  67. Claire Santiago says: Reply

    I am currently a WAHM and returning back to an employment would be just a second option for making a living for me. I am now the bread winner and it is really stressful that I work at home at the same time I do the household chores including taking care of the kids. But despite the hardships, I still enjoy seeing my whole family everyday. (Gee Villaruz)

  68. Krystel Seijo says: Reply

    I can see how being a SAHM is not everyone’s cup of tea. It def wouldn’t be mine… I’m sure it’s super rewarding.

  69. I have been thinking about returning to work, now that my kids are in school full-time. It’s a tough decision!

  70. Christiana Acha says: Reply

    I am not a mom yet but I can totally relate, being the first child I was well aware of how much sacrifice my mom made with her career as a SAHM. ultimately your kids are everything, I wish you luck with choosing a career path eventually.

  71. Phaytea's Pulse says: Reply

    I ‘m not a mum yet but i think we should take up opportunities that make us happy..if it’s time, just do it….all the best with your choices

  72. Mercury Helium says: Reply

    Even if I get married and have kids, still, I won’t give up my civil engineering career.. I can negotiate a flexible time with my boss, or quit the job and do part-time job like freelancing online that is related to my field. I have to set a great example for my kids that women are as capable as men to be a productive member of society.

  73. This was a very thoughtful article. When my daughter was born, there was no choice. We HAD to work so I worked as many hours as I could so she could stay home with our daughter. It would have been nice to spend more time with her growing up, but I can’t feed tiny bellies with nostalgia and hope.

  74. TheSecretsMillionaire says: Reply

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