If you’ve ever considered being a stay-at-home mum you really need to be aware of the reality of your decision. Expectant parents are often naive about the choices they’re making because it can be very difficult to imagine the future. They may think it will be better for the baby and their family for mum to stay home, when in fact it’s a full on mental, physical, emotional and often financial test of endurance. Not only does the mother need to be strong, but so does the relationship between both parents.
So, what are some of the downsides to being a stay-at-home mum? OMG, where do I start!? There’s isolation for one – that’s a big factor because the majority of women are choosing to go back to work. Unlike women in the fifties who all stayed at home and raised their children like a community, that just isn’t the case now.
For the majority of the time a stay-at-home mum will be alone with the kids. There isn’t a lot of adult conversation to be had unless you join a local playgroup. However, they are only run a few times a week at most and you would need to find one where you get along with the other mums. So in reality, a typical stay-at-home mum does spend an incredible amount of time on her own.
With all that alone time depression can creep in because humans find isolation so difficult. This puts the new mum at risk of Post Natal Depression and this will put an enormous strain on everything she does. She will struggle to look after the baby, herself, and her relationships, so essentially she will isolate herself even more.
If she’s lucky enough to avoid Post Natal Depression, the isolation can affect other aspects of her life. For example, have you ever tried to have a conversation with a stay-at-home mum who only talks about her kids? Some women get all consumed by the task of parenting and actually forget there’s a whole world out there that doesn’t revolve around their children. This can be an added stress on a relationship, especially when hubby comes home and all she can talk about is dirty nappies and housework.
This brings me to yet another factor that can be affected: the partnership between parents. As they are generally only on the one income, finance is usually tighter than previously experienced. Additionally, there are multiple expenses associated with having a baby because cute little tackers aren’t cheap to keep!
Unless the relationship between the parents is rock solid, becoming a stay-at-home mum will put pressure on both parties. Her partner will likely be tired from a day at work and she will need some time out from bubs when he gets home. Not to forget babies need to learn the difference between night and day and new parents get very little sleep. Overall, this is a recipe for disaster unless both parents are willing to put in the hard work to survive their situation.
Then, depending on how long the stay-at-home mum has been out of the work force for, she will also struggle in many cases to return to a decent position. Some women stay home until their youngest child is in primary school and for some this may take longer than a decade. Imagine the change to workplaces and technology within that time! She would have to stay trained during her stint at home to even get considered for a position.
I could go on and on about the downside of being a stay-at-home mum, but I think you can get the picture. In many ways having some outlet of work, adult contact and responsibilities outside of the home could be a positive thing. Plus, having that away time from the kids is essential to retain some part of the person they were prior to motherhood. Regardless of what choice expectant parents make, they need to fully appreciate both sides of the equation very carefully.