What a stay-at-home mother sacrifices—and what she gains

When people inquire about my work status and I tell them that I am a stay-at-home mom, I am most often met with positive responses.

But there is also the stigma that because I stay at home all day, it isn’t that tough of a gig and I just sit around and play with my child all day. The truth is, while I am very grateful to stay at home with my daughter, I’m also giving up a lot of things. Yet, what I am giving up doesn’t compare to what I am gaining.


High-speed Internet and Other Luxuries

After my six week maternity leave, I worked for another three and a half months before quitting my job. My husband and I came to the conclusion that it didn’t make sense for us to keep two incomes when one was essentially paying for babysitting services. But quitting meant we were making less than before and would have to keep a close watch on our spending. We cut from our budget some of the luxuries we were living with: internet and TV, eating out and ordering in, new clothes, desserts, and even cloth diaper service.

Occasionally—My Sanity

The reality of staying home all day with a young child is that it can be quite isolating. Besides the few brief encounters I have with family, friends, and strangers at the store, park, or library, it isn’t often that I interact with adults. Granted, I don’t participate in any meetup groups or yoga classes, but even if I did, that might be at most only once a week. For the other eight to ten hours of my day it’s just the two of us, reading the same 6-page book over and over and over. Let’s be honest, mamas, as much as we love our baby time, responding to the same request again and again is enough to drive you crazy! There’s no reasoning with these kids! Sometimes I just need to speak to another adult.

My Body

Outside of those individuals doing physical labor at work, being a stay-at-home mom is straining on your body. My body is always in demand and I am constantly on the move: doing housework, standing up and sitting down, playing with my daughter, tending to her when she’s sick, nursing, cleaning up messes, changing diapers – and this is just with one baby!

An Obsessive Control of Every Minute

In addition, there is no set schedule to our day. Most of the day revolves around her needs and when she needs them. Whether it is time to eat, change a diaper, sleep, or play, it’s all up in the air. I don’t have my own personal schedule anymore.



Learning to live with less has forced me to see things in a new light: many items I once considered necessities have changed into luxuries. The SAHM lifestyle gives me the opportunity to find unique ways to do things. Because we don’t have cable or internet, my husband and I must be creative with how we use our time as a family. Because we share one car, we must plan ahead to arrange rides. I’ve learned to be okay with less and to see simplicity as a value. It has actually given me a lot of joy.

A Watchful Eye

Especially in her toddler stage, my daughter has begun to hold me accountable in what I do. Now that she is able to repeat words and actions I’ve got to be more careful with how I interact with her and others. Her presence alone gives me more responsibility in general, but I am also discovering just how much she truly witnesses and therefore repeats. Every day is a teachable moment and I am glad she is around to hold me accountable.

A New Me

I have never been truly confident in myself, but since becoming a mother I have noticed how much I have grown in my roles as a wife, mother and homemaker. I am starting to be more confident in my abilities and myself. Without the opportunity to stay at home, I wouldn’t have been able to nurture this part of me as much as I have over the past two years.

Choosing to be a stay at home parent is the right choice for me and my family because we are able to cherish what is truly important to our well-being. We’ve started to focus less on what we don’t have and the inherent challenges of this lifestyle and learned to simply appreciate the time we have together.

It’s not always easy, but for me, it’s worth it.

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When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.


Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.


Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.


Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.


boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.


Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.


Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.


Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this


One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.


Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.


Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.


Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.


BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Because parenthood is challenging, we can sometimes forget how to just be happy in the midst of it all.

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