What Is A Stay At Home Mom (SAHM)?

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What is a Stay at Home Mom?

Being a stay at home mom and homemaker has increased in commonality in recent years, but what exactly is a stay at home mom? We are going to explore what exactly a stay at home mom is, so make sure you stay tuned. Whether you are looking into it yourself, or are simply wondering about it.

Life for new moms can be a bit of a challenge, and perhaps if you are a new mom, being a stay at home mom is an option you should consider. Like with each decision in life that we make, there are good and bad things about being a stay at home mom. We will look at all of this, and describe what exactly a stay at home mom (SAHM) is. Let’s get started! 

mom holding little boy in the air

What Is a SAHM?

Being a stay at home mom is one of the most important jobs you can choose to do in life. It is a full time job in and of itself. The difference with this job is that there are no vacation days, paid holidays, insurance benefits, you work around the clock, and some days your employers can be pretty demanding. Sounds like fun, right? Actually, though there are difficult days, when you choose to be a stay at home mom, it is one of the most rewarding decisions you can make. 

A stay at home mom is a mom that chooses to stay at home, raise her family, keep the home, and make sure that everything at home stays on track. As a stay at home mom, you get to determine and mold your family life, how you want your family to operate, and what exactly you want it to look like. Keep in mind that the responsibilities and tasks of each stay at home mom might look slightly different, depending on your unique situation. 

Here are some responsibilities a stay at home mom might have at her full-time, around the clock job. 

A 24/7 Job

Some of the primary responsibilities moms take on when they stay at home, is taking care of any children, the household chores, homeschooling, and sometimes other tasks such as grocery shopping, and budgeting. 

Taking Care of the Kids

Taking care of kids is one of the primary responsibilities of the stay at home mama. You might have babies, toddlers, young children, or even older children that are teenagers. No matter what age your kids may be, they still need their mama to take care of them in some manner. 

At younger ages, taking care of babies and toddlers is going to look differently than taking care of older children. The stay at home mom with little people, or a little person, might simply try to keep both her baby and herself alive, fed, clothed, and healthy. It can be hard work, but rewarding work all the same.

Then the mama with older children can begin instilling values, morals, and shaping her child’s character, as well give her children an education. There will still be life basics that need to happen each day, no matter what the age of children. 

The most important thing a stay at home mama has the benefit of doing as part of her daily job is to spend quality time with her children. This can happen in the mundane of daily life, as well as spending quality time in memorable experiences. Just remember, the time you spend with your babies today, is something you will never get back. 

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    Household Chores

    Maintaining the home is another aspect that is usually another of the stay at home mama’s job. By being a homemaker, the mama is often responsible for cooking food for her family, as well as cleaning the home. Remember that the breakdown of each of these tasks may look different, depending on your unique situation. 


    Most of the time, stay at home mama homemakers will also be the ones in charge of meal prep, and cooking each meal. This does not mean that you can’t delegate tasks out, especially if you have older kids. It is always a good idea to teach them how to cook a meal for the family, which will help to lessen your load at the same time. 

    When you are in charge of cooking for your family, it’s a great idea to make foods from scratch if you are able to. That way you know what is in them, and you don’t have to worry about the side effects of your family eating highly processed foods. Some stay at home moms even include baking bread for their family as part of their cooking routine. 

    You can also make larger quantities, so that there are either leftovers for the next day, or extras to have for lunch the next day. However you prefer to handle it, depending on your family’s situation.


    Cleaning your home often seems like a never ending job to most stay at home moms. Though most of us stay at home moms begin by setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves that we see on social media. 

    Remember that your home doesn’t have to be in perfect condition all of the time. After all, it is your home, a place for your family to live, so don’t be afraid to do that living. 

    By cleaning, it is much more realistic to set a cleaning schedule rotation. There might be specific tasks that need to be completed each day, such as cleaning up the kitchen after each meal, putting the dishes away, and picking up toys in the living room before you go to bed. 

    Some other cleaning chores might not need to be done every day, but could be completed once a week, or every other week, and some even on an as needed basis. These tasks might consist of sweeping the floors, cleaning the bathroom, picking up the bedrooms and organizing them, freshening up the kitchen, etc. Your specific list will depend on your unique household. 

    Other cleaning tasks like spring cleaning, or deep cleaning will need to be done less often, but it is a good idea to do them at least once a year. This might look like washing the walls, shampooing the carpet, and rearranging the furniture. Please note that these tasks can be done more often, but in some cases, it’s best to try and do them once a year. 

    mom holding baby above her

    Other Tasks

    In addition to the basic tasks of taking care of children, cooking, cleaning, and tending the basic household chores, there are other tasks that will need to be taken care of by the stay at home mom. While these might vary, some of the main ones include laundry, grocery shopping, and budgeting for your family. 


    Washing the laundry is another very important task that most stay at home moms are in charge of. How you go about doing the laundry will depend on your situation. Some moms will stay on top of keeping clean clothes in the house by using their washer and dryer. Others enjoy washing clothes and hanging them out on the clothesline to dry. A few moms will even wash their family’s clothes by hand, then hang them outside to dry. 

    The standards you set for keeping up with the chore of laundry is completely up to your preference. Just because you feel like you have to do it a specific way to be a good homemaker does not mean this will fit your situation. 

    I personally enjoy using my washing machine to wash the load of laundry, and will hang them outside on the clothesline to dry. This way it helps the clothes last longer when they aren’t going through the dryer each time. However, there is nothing particularly wrong with using a dryer, if it helps you stay on top of your dirty clothes pile. 

    Grocery Shopping

    Grocery shopping is another task that the stay at home mama might be responsible for. Grocery shopping will look differently for each family, for some it might be grocery pick up, or making a quick trip when you have a chance. Other families might need a thorough shopping trip each week to a large grocery store. It all depends on your family’s needs. 


    Although budgeting is usually something that both the husband and wife are responsible for coming up with together. In some cases, the stay at home mom might be needed to prepare a draft of the budget, then both spouses can go over it together to finalize it. 

    In all families, the entire family will need to work towards staying on top of the budget so that they don’t overspend. This is especially important because families with stay at home moms typically operate on a single income. 


    Another important task of the stay at home mom in many cases is homeschooling the children. By doing this, you are making sure that your children receive a well rounded education which will help them succeed later in life. 

    It is important that I point out, not all stay at home moms will choose to homeschool. Many do choose this path, but some may choose to send their children to public school or private school when they are old enough. 

    Though many mamas feel overwhelmed and unqualified to teach their children, it can be one of the best experiences for both you and your children. Before you begin homeschooling, it is important to check out the requirements and laws regarding it in your state. 

    Although the job of being a stay at home mom is not easy, it is one of the most important jobs you can do as a mom. By choosing to be a stay at home mom, you get to invest time with your children, that you will never get back. This quality time spent with your children is a precious gift, and you can make an impact on their lives by living the mundane and extraordinary with them each day. 

    What is the Difference Between a Stay-at-Home Mom and a Working Mother?

    Now that we have looked at the role of a stay at home mom, you might be wondering what exactly the difference is. The bottom line is that the difference between a stay at home mom, and a working mom, is that the working mom works outside the home, and receives a paycheck from her office job, or other type of job. The stay at home mom on the other hand, does not work outside the home, and does not receive an actual paycheck. 

    A working mom, gets to leave her full-time job at the office, but the stay at home mom is on the clock 24/7. The working mom usually gets paid time off, including vacation days, and holidays, while the stay at home mom doesn’t. 

    But, in looking at this comparison, you might think that the working mom has it far better. While this might be a good fit for some mom’s, the stay at home mom reaps many benefits that the working mom doesn’t get. 

    The stay at home mom, makes memories, spends quality time, and invests her time and energy in the next generation. While many working mom’s also do this, they are not able to do it to the extent that stay at home moms can. 

    What Does a SAHM Do?

    In short, a stay at home mom has many responsibilities. Your primary tasks are to take care of your children, make sure that they are fed, and cared for. The stay at home mom is also a homemaker, meaning that she takes care of the chores that need to be completed to maintain the home. 

    The Role of a SAHM

    In short, the role of a stay at home mom is to take care of the family’s needs. What specific tasks this requires will look differently depending on your family. 

    Taking care of the family’s needs will mean that you care for your babies and children by making sure they have their needs met. Children at different ages will have different needs that need to be taken care of. 

    The other role of a stay at home mom is to maintain the household. This will also look different, depending on the family. These chores include cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and other various tasks.  

    Why do Women Become Stay at Home Moms?

    One of the primary reasons women become stay at home moms is because they want to be a part of their children’s lives. The raising, educating, and caring of the children is something that is very important to these moms, and they know it is one of the most important things they can do in life.  

    When did being a stay at home mom stop being common?

    Did you know that it used to be a common thing for women to get married, keep the home, and raise their children? This was the way society was, then things changed about the time world war II took place. 

    As men were getting called up to go fight, the women needed to keep food on the table, and companies needed workers. Women began entering the workforce like never before. 

    As is the case is much of history, once something is done, it’s hard to undo it. Even when the war was over, many women continued working. 

    The other factor that has contributed, to women staying at home no longer being common, is rising inflation. This is when the cost of goods increases, therefore you need more money to purchase those same basic goods. Because the cost of living is higher, and it being common for families to live beyond their means, it has become necessary for many families to have both spouses working outside of the home in order to make ends meat.   

    mom with little girl on back

    What Are the Challenges of Being a SAHM?

    There can be several challenges to being a stay at home mom, which is why it is important to be very sure it is the right choice for you. As I already mentioned, when you are a stay at home mom, you don’t receive an outright paycheck for the work you do like you would if you were working outside the home. There are also no vacation days. 

    Some other challenges of being a stay at home mom, is that you are typically living on only one income, making finances a bit tricky in many cases. This can be dealt with by finding a mom job that is of interest to you. 

    Other challenges are that you never have a break from your job. As good as it can be, there are some days where you just need a break, and you are always at your job. Another one to mention is that you will be giving up any career goals you may have had to pursue being a stay at home mom. 

    Let’s be honest, being a stay at home mom is a lot of work. If you choose this life, you will have difficult days, but there are also many good days. 

    What Are the Benefits of Being a SAHM?

    Although there are several challenges, there are also a lot of benefits to being a stay at home mom. Some of the benefits are that you get the opportunity to invest in the lives of your children, which is priceless. You get to instill morals and values in your kids, which will have lifelong benefits. 

    You can also homeschool your children, which allows them to receive a quality education. Plus homeschooling your kids helps your kids to learn important information in a way that fits their learning style. 

    You also get to teach your children valuable skills that they can use in their daily life. This might be gardening, cooking, or simple chores around the house. They will need to learn these things so that they can function later in life. 

    Then there is quality time that you get to spend with your children, no matter if you are working on school work, teaching them a chore, making food, or going on a fun memory making adventure. When you spend time with your children, you get to enjoy the moment, get away from screen time, and simply enjoy time with them, and that is extra special. 

    In addition to taking care of your kids, as a stay at home mom, you also get to be a homemaker. This means that you get to take care of your home, so that everything stays on track. There is something for dinner, clothes are clean, the house is picked up, lessons have been learned and fun has been had. Although it can be a lot of work, there are many benefits as well. 

    Should You Stay Home?

    Deciding whether you should stay at home or not is a very important decision. One of the main determining factors is going to be your financial situation. How much debt do you have as a family, and can you survive on a single income? 

    The answer to this question may make or break becoming a stay at home mom. When you are deciding if you should stay at home, you and your spouse will want to carefully consider your finances, and make sure to address any financial concerns you may have. 

    Then the other large factor will be child care costs. Believe it or not, depending on your child care situation, it actually costs less money for you to quit your job, and be the primary caregiver to your children, rather than paying for daycare. 

    In addition to the financial costs, you should also consider opportunity costs. Are you willing to miss out on that time with your child? If not, there may be some creative ways you can swing it financially, if you are determined to be the one raising your children. 

    When it comes right down to it, deciding if you should be a stay at home mom or not is something only you and your partner can decide. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of both situations thoroughly before making the decision. 

    How to Decide if Being a SAHM Is Right for You

    The first steps to decide if being a stay at home mom is right for you is to consider your finances, and the opportunity cost. Then it comes down to a basic weighing of the pros and cons to decide if it is right for you.

    Here are some questions you and your partner can consider when trying to decide what you should do. 

    How much debt do you have?

    Can you survive on one income?

    How much does childcare cost?

    How much do you make at your job?

    Are you willing to miss out on the time spent with your children?

    Are you willing to let a stranger raise your child?

    Are you willing to maintain your home?

    At the end of the day, there are many factors you will need to consider to make your decision. But the most important thing will likely be the impact you want to have on your child’s life. Are you willing to do what you can to raise your children to have a good foundation to begin their life? If so then becoming a stay at home mom might be the best option for you. 

    Ultimately, being a stay at home is one of the best decisions you can make. There will be hard days, but overall it is the best choice if you are able.

    What is the Difference Between a Housewife and a Stay-at-Home Mom?

    The main difference between a housewife and a stay at home mom is that the housewife may or may not have children, and the stay at home mom does have children. Many stay at home moms are also caretakers of the home, but housewives may not have their own children to raise. 

    What is a Homemaker?

    A homemaker is a specific term that refers to someone who takes care of the home. Just like a housewife, a homemaker may or may not have children to also care for. A homemaker will do the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and any other tasks that help to keep the household on track.

    Tips for New SAHMs

    Harness the Power of Routine

    Many stay at home moms have a dedicated routine that they follow each day to help them stay organized. Their morning routine might look something like getting everyone fed, doing school, then branching off for the day to do chores around the house or other various activities. 

    Having a daily schedule will help everyone know what to expect each day. This will help you to accomplish your tasks as desired.

    Keep a Daily To-Do List

    Many stay at home mom’s enjoy keeping a daily to-do list. This might be different for each day, but it helps them stay on track with what they need to accomplish on a given day. 

    Keep Connected

    As a stay at home mom it is very important that you find an outlet to stay connected with other women. They can be other stay at home moms, or a group of friends. Because you are at home most of the time, it is important to keep that connection so that you don’t feel alone. 

    Snag Some ‘Me Time’

    Even though most of your role as a stay at home mom revolves around caring for your husband, children, and home, it is still important to slip in a few minutes for yourself. This way you will not begin to feel so neglected. 

    Let me just say, nap time is often the perfect opportunity to get some me time. Even if your children are older, instituting a quiet time will help you have a break each day to rejuvenate. 

    Learn the Art of Saying ‘No’

    Because you are a stay at home mom, others may not understand just how much you actually have going on in your life. Even some well meaning people will ask you to do other things, because you must have lots of extra time. Don’t let this overwhelm you, it’s okay to say no, so that you don’t stretch yourself too thin. 

    Celebrate the Small Wins

    Remember it is important that you take the time to celebrate the small wins in your life. Some days might not seem like much, so when you have a win, make sure you take the opportunity to celebrate them, no matter how big or small they might be. 

    The Stay at Home Mom

    Now that you know what a stay at home mom is, and have an idea of what the role entails, it is time for you to determine if it is a good fit for you. Remember, just because this is how the average stay at home mom’s role looks, does not mean yours has to be this exactly. 

    Often when we think of stay at home mamas or homemakers in general, we think that their life must be perfect. They are perfect every day, wearing dresses, caring for their children, having a perfect clean home, and cooking everything from scratch. However, this is not usually the case. Many stay at home moms have weighed the cost and decided to choose this life as their full time job for their unique reasons. 

    Not every stay at home mama has all of her ducks in a row each day, or even the majority of the days. It’s okay if you take a while to get the hang of it. And it’s okay, if life is a little messy. The main point is to be able to raise your children yourself, by investing time with them, and taking care of your home, and as a result, your family. The stay at home mama’s best asset is time, which is a gift. 

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    About the author
    Thank you for stopping by! My name is Faith, and I am the author behind thestayathomemama.com. It is my hope that you will find some inspiration here for your journey of being a Stay at Home Mom.

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