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

The reality of staying home all day with a young child is that it can be quite isolating.

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.

Join Motherly

In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

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

    Our Partners

    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

    The important safety tip parents need to know about sleep + car seats

    Why you might want to plan for more pit stops on your next road trip.

    When we become parents we don't just have to learn how to take care of a baby, we also have to learn how, when and why to use all the different kinds of baby gear.

    Keep reading Show less