Redefine being a SAHM on your *own* terms

Four years ago I left a successful marketing career to stay home with my firstborn.

Redefine being a SAHM on your *own* terms

Four years ago I left a successful marketing career to stay home with my firstborn. Back then, I thought I knew what motherhood was. I thought I understood what “staying home” looked like. I’d seen plenty of stay-at-home moms portrayed on TV shows and commercials. I even had fond memories of my own mother staying home with my sisters and me when we were young.

My thoughts swirled with rose-colored visions at home with my precious baby—nothing but bliss. It seemed the stay-at-home mom role had already been written for me by what I had absorbed over time—a woman happily dedicated to home and family—simple. Easy.


And while that image of a stay-at-home mom is amazing in theory, it forgets to factor in the multifaceted woman herself.

As I wrote in From Boardroom to Baby: A Roadmap for Career Women Transitioning to Stay-at-Home Moms ”During my first few months in my new role, I tried to emulate what I had seen in the media about being a ‘successful’ stay-at-home mom. I devoted my entire attention to cleaning, cooking and, obviously, caring for my precious babe. I kept an immaculate house, and I had dinner waiting on the table when my husband got home from work. I was Mrs. 1950s Housewife in the flesh.

Wasn’t this what life as a stay-at-home mom looked like? And if it did, why did it feel so uncomfortable?

“I found that as a modern-day woman, I didn’t fit the mold of the traditional stay-at-home mom. While domestic responsibilities still needed to be a part of my new role, I began looking for ways to redefine this new path on my own terms.

“From this realization came the courage to deprioritize the ‘expected’ domestic routine and responsibilities and prioritize raising good humans, venturing outside of the house and exploring the world with my children, nurturing my own body, mind, and soul, and empowering myself to resurrect old passions and turn those into a hobby, and eventually, a side business.”

Of course taking care of children and a home are huge, important pieces of our roles as stay-at-home moms—likely the very foundation of our choice to stay home in the first place! However, we have the opportunity to add more to this existence. We can design “staying home” in a way that reflects our dedication to family and home, and also reflects us as empowered, thriving women.

How to feel empowered as a stay-at-home mom:

1. Set intentions and goals for your time at home.

As stay-at-home moms know, the days often get lost in the chaos and routines of raising tiny humans and it’s sometimes hard to see the importance of the work we’re doing every day. Vacuuming cheerios off the floor and changing dirty diapers has a way of clouding the bigger picture.

Try writing down your big intentions and goals for your time at home and refer to these “north stars” when the days get long or when you’re feeling a little lost in your new role. Try asking yourself: What am I trying to accomplish on a larger scale? How will I make my time at home count?

2. Redefine success

In your past career life you probably defined success through raises, praise, promotions, or big goals accomplished. As a stay-at-home mom, when external reinforcements like raises and praise do not exist, it’s important to give yourself these same feelings of “success” through internal strength and confidence.

Count your daily tasks, big and small, as real accomplishments in the most important job you’ve ever had: raising children. Give yourself praise and be proud of your loving, hard work.

3. Allow the space for “more than mom”

It’s easy to encompass the stay-at-home mom role quite entirely since we live it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But it’s imperative to leave room for an outlet outside of mom—something you have for yourself that fills your cup back up and allows you to grow and thrive separate from motherhood. Whether it’s a newfound hobby, a resurrected passion, or starting a business from home—allowing yourself to flourish in something outside of motherhood will refresh your soul.

4. Nurture your own body, mind, and soul

Raising tiny humans all day, every day requires dedication, love, strength and extremely hard work. There’s a reason that flight attendants inform parents, in light of a change in cabin pressure, to secure their own oxygen masks first before assisting their children—it’s because we can’t help anyone else if we can’t breathe.

Find ways to breathe and recharge by taking care of your mind (read, write, learn a new language, stay up to date on current events), body (exercise, make yourself healthy snacks and meals), and soul (meditate, pamper yourself every now and again, make time for evenings out with friends and hobbies.)

5. Seize the day

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last four years as a stay-at-home mom, it’s that the dishes can wait, the laundry never ends, but children have an expiration date. It’s sometimes necessary to deprioritize the domestic responsibilities and prioritize making memories with your children.

They’re only little once, and you have the time and space to introduce them to the world, one experience at a time. Throw dance parties in the kitchen, go fly a kite, take a day trip into the city, go for a hike in the woods. Seize the day and enjoy the magic in these special moments with your precious babes.

In This Article

    Sunday Citizen

    I live in the Northeast and when I woke up this morning, my house was freezing. It had been in the mid 40's overnight and we haven't turned the heat on yet. Suddenly, my normal duvet felt too thin. The socks on my bare feet too non-existent. Winter is coming, and I'd been drinking rosés still pretending it was summer.

    I couldn't put it off any longer. It was time to do my annual tradition of winterizing my home—and I don't mean making sure my pipes and walls have enough insulation (though obviously that's important too). I mean the act of evaluating every room and wondering if it has enough hygge to it.

    If you've never heard of hygge, it's a Danish word that means a quality of coziness or contentment. And what better time to make sure you have moments of hygge all throughout your house than right now? As far as I'm concerned it's the only way to get through these dark winter months (even more so during a pandemic.)

    So I went room by room (yes, even my 4-year-old's room) and swapped in, layered or added in these 13 products to get us ready for winter:

    Keep reading Show less

    Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

    Thank you for understanding. ❤️

    In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

    Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

    Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.


    I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

    Keep reading Show less

    In a recent survey shared in the Reproductive Health journal, one out of six women in the United States reported being mistreated while in labor, where mistreatment included, "loss of autonomy; being shouted at, scolded, or threatened; and being ignored, refused, or receiving no response to requests for help."

    One out of six.

    To make these numbers even more sickening, mistreatment was more common among women of color, women with partners of color, women with lower socioeconomic status, and women under the age of 30.

    (And yet people still question the validity of stating that black mothers are at a higher risk of pregnancy and birth-related complications.)


    Rarely at a loss for words, I find myself almost unable to speak.

    I am a midwife, and I am disgusted.

    Keep reading Show less