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The 10 biggest misconceptions about stay-at-home moms

Do you really know stay-at-home moms?


We asked our community for the biggest misconceptions about women who raise children full time, and you had so. Much. To. Say. TL;DR: It’s hard, rewarding and fulllll of surprises. ?

Here are the 10 biggest misconceptions about stay-at-home moms, according to our amazing community:

That we're not feminists

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“Automatically believing that choosing to be a stay-at-home mother is antithetical to feminism relies on several axioms about men, women... perpetuated by the very forces feminism fights against,” Jamie Kenney writes at Romper. ?

In other words—saying that full-time motherhood is anti-feminist is deeply unfair to women.

See also: No one’s worth is defined in any way by their job title or paycheck. By judging a woman’s accomplishments by her career or salary, we’re defining ourselves according to patriarchal values.

So, no.

That we're lazy

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Only someone who has never taken care of kids full-time could accuse stay-at-home moms of laziness. It’s a 24/7, all-hands-on-deck, no-breaks kind of job.

NEXT.

That we can get work done while watching kids

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Lots of women juggle work and babies from home, but it’s not easy.

Kristen Cox explains:

“People think that I can work from home while my daughter plays next to me! Uhhh no. I'll type two sentences at a time before running to whatever precarious situation she’s gotten into.”

BRB baby’s eating the laptop cord.

That we can pick up all the slack

Stay-at-home moms have schedules and obligations just like everyone else—so don’t assume that we can just pick up all the slack in all of our community groups.

Jennifer, a mom of three, explains:

“People think that I have time to head every single volunteer thing for every kid at every activity and school.”

But in reality, she has tons of obligations. See also: three young kids.

That we're bored

Um, no. Between the antics of potty training, teaching ABCs, taking our little one to fun activities and getting to bond with these small souls, we keep ourselves quite entertained, thankyouverymuch.

One Motherly reader explains: “I get all the time, ‘You must be bored’ or ‘You must sleep late.’ HA. My kid rises at 5:30 before many are up to go to their 9 to 5. And he expects a fully participating mom who can keep up with him.”

That we don't care about our careers

Most stay-at-home moms plan to go back to work someday—we’re just planning to spend these years with our babies.

Millennial mothers are the most educated generation of moms ever. Full stop. And with more companies like The Mom Project and Après working to on-ramp women after their time staying at home, it’s clear that mothering full-time can be a pause in our career journeys, but not the end of the line. Onward!

That we don't need breaks

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O RLY?

Elizabeth, a mom of two, has been a working mama and a stay-at-home mom. She says:

“Either way, I feel I am busy, whether I am working or staying home with my kids. The misconception that SAHMs aren’t as busy as working moms is definitely not true. SAHMs are busy, just in a different way. I am just as exhausted come nighttime being a SAHM as when I worked.”

VACATIONS FOR EVERYONE. ?

That we're "just" moms

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Aside from being super offensive (what’s more impressive than making humans with your body and raising them to be good people?), it’s just not true that stay-at-home moms lack an identity outside of motherhood.

“Our identity isn’t only in being a mama. We desire a life and identity outside of motherhood, too!” fabulous mama Cole Portocarrero explains.

That we don't experience mom guilt

Mom guilt isn’t just something that working moms feel.

Motherly’s video editor, Juli Williams, says that she experienced mom guilt as a stay-at-home mom... for all kinds of reasons:

“By letting my kid watch TV—a little too much—so I can get a break. By being on my phone instead of reading that book for the 1,000th time. By falling asleep during nap time instead of washing the dishes, cleaning the bathrooms or switching that load of laundry. By saying no to that play date because I didn’t shower and blame it on the kids being sick. By ordering food instead of cooking at night. People think we shouldn’t really feel guilty because we’re supposedly at home with our babies, but at the same time, we have super-high expectations of all of the Pinterest projects we should be doing because of ‘all the time we have.’ In reality, we're just trying to make sure our children are alive,” she says.

Aren’t we all?

That staying at home is no fun

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Kids are hilarious, creative, adorable and fascinating.

Reader mama Whit has this to say:

“I think a big misconception is that it’s joyless. I’m sure lots of us have read the statistic that says most mothers enjoy housework more than childcare ? . I can tell you firsthand staying home with kids is sometimes SO HARD, but I feel that in order to validate our choice to stay home with our kids, we stay-at-home moms sometimes focus on how hard it is rather than how wonderful our opportunity to spend so much time with our kids is. And there are so many moments of fun and, yes, joy.”

To our fellow stay-at-home mamas rocking life on the home front: Motherhood looks so good on you. You’ve got this.

Psst: Want to get personalized tips for your life as a fabulous stay-at-home mom? Join Motherly + get inspiration emailed to you each week. Try it. You’ll like it.

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My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.

$79

Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.

$30

Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.

$32

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.

$37

The Snoo bassinet

Snoo

Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!

$1295

Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.

$59.99

Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!

$46.99

Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.

$259.00

Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.

$27.95

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