It may be for a few months beyond your allotted maternity leave, a whole year or an entire lifetime, but making the choice to take time off from work to stay home with your child(ren) ain’t no joke – especially for the 21st century mamma (or mamma-to-be). Being a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) is an unusual gig. From the outside looking in, it can be viewed as a luxury. Change the viewpoint ‘round and it can be considered the ultimate sacrifice. And it’s not for everyone, nor should it be. BUT, if you are one of those women who are seriously considering taking that leap, here are some potential realities to mull over:

An Ugly Truth, a.k.a., Save Yo’ $$!!
The road is exceptionally rough when the sole income is just enough to allow you to abandon your livelihood. For those fortunate enough to claim money’s a non-issue, God bless ya. Perhaps the suspension of income isn’t missed because you live with family or your partner’s got a generous salary – but ask yourself this: Does the person your leaning on have a generous heart? Once the euphoria of newbornism fades away and the real stressors of parenthood set in, how long will your support system stand? Prepare for even the staunchest supporter of your choice to stay home with baby to show occasional signs of resentment. After a while, he may grow a tad bitter, spending long hours at work while viewing you as freewheeling, just chillin’ with the younglings without a care in the world (on his dime no less). When you begin to feel the indignities of having to ask for cash to cover day-to-day expenses – or Heaven forbid – a personal luxury like getting your hair done, or buying shoes to replace the ones that now resemble a dog’s chew toy, you may wish you had put some money away for some measure of financial independence.

Professional Career
You learn WIDE variety of skills in the fast paced, 24×7 career as SAHM, but unless you’re planning on taking up a line of work in early childcare, a lapse in employment can be a serious professional setback. From the perspective of an employer, your lack of work experience may not land you on the shortlist. Likewise, the idea of work that interferes with your responsibilities as a heavily engaged mom may be difficult to adjust to. For some women, the mere thought of returning to the workforce is absolutely intimidating. The pace, culture and energy level required for most jobs is demanding in a manner much different from the challenges of being a SAHM.

Your Social Life
This is a tricky one. Once you take on the role of SAHM, pretty much everything in your life revolves around your young one(s), including your social life. As their development demands a certain amount of socialization, you’ll inevitably find yourself neck deep in daily kid-stimulating activities, surrounded by nannies, as well as other SAHM’s. Some women are lucky enough to develop a community with other full-time caregivers they can truly vibe with, however from close observation many of these relationships are nothing more than a marriage of convenience. Consider this: Women you would’ve never considered being associated with in the past could very well become an integral part of your social life…

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  • Angie

    Very good article! I never had the luxury as I was the bread-winner in my house-hold (as most Black women are…). Now i’m divorced with 2 teens that will be going off to school soon. I recently moved to a city that reflected my interests and had more of my friends than where we were living. I now feel like it won’t be so bad when they leave. Seeing how I had them in my mid 20’s, I have lots of time to now focus on my career.

  • Christy

    Great article and a must read. I just had a little one (9 months now) and I work part time (stay at home all day and come into work for 4 hours in the evening). I must say staying at home with a baby is hard work…you don’t get to chill at all. The decision works for my husband and I because I still get to have an income and our baby gets the benefit of staying out of daycare, my husband cares for baby when his work day is over. He also gets to see first hand how much work it is taking care of an infant. I know alot of women who stay at home and their spouses are the bread winners…..I have noticed a change in some of the women. They have completely let themselves go ( taking care of a baby 24/7 takes a toll on you) and some of their husbands feel they don’t need to help out with the children because they have worked all day and they are the ones bringing home the money. It’s a tricky situation especially if the man does not have a generous spirit or appreciates what you do.

  • Lisa

    I’m a SAHM and the resentment has kicked in. He is so ready for me to contribute financially to the household, not realizing that my contribution to my babies is priceless. It’s time for me to get out there and get a job though. I strongly believe that it’s ok to be a SAHM, but not for too long. Always protect yourself as a woman, continue to build on your skills, and stash that cash.

  • MommieDearest

    Interesting article. Any woman, or man, who wants to be a stay at home parent needs to go into the situation with their eyes wide open.

    I’m a SAHM and I have gone to great lengths to NOT fall into the traps that the article talks about. We planned on me staying at home after I had my son (I had been working since I was a teenager, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything- LOL) and I’ve made investments that, fortunately, are looking much better these days since the financial collapse in 2008. So I do have cash stashed away. My husband and I have a great relationship, and we’ve settled into a lifestyle that works for our family. While I view my child as my fulltime job (24/7/365), I still maintain my own “life” with my friends, and activities that have nothing to do with kids.

    Eventually, though, I want to get other streams of income coming in. But I will admit that being a SAHM has spoiled me in that I don’t have to answer to anyone but myself. I can manage my time how I see fit. So, it will be hard for me to go back to a “9 to 5” after experiencing this kind of freedom. Therefore I have taken steps to start working for myself. I’ve laid the groundwork, and I should see the fruit of my efforts this year.