I Still Don’t Want To Be A Stay-At-Home Mom, But Now I Know Why

stay at home mom

by Aja Dorsey Jackson

A little more than two years ago, I wrote a post here about how I hated being a stay at home mom.  Several months later, I went back to work. Although two years later I have no intention on trading in my laptop bag and heels for the home life, some mornings I wake up and wonder, “Why couldn’t I make being a stay-at-home mom work for me? Even with the knowledge that I’m probably better suited to work outside the home, what could I have done to make that year better?”

As they say, hindsight is 20/20. And with the benefit of a little perspective, I realize that if I knew then what I know now I would:

Adjust my expectations of what being an stay-at-home mom meant

My real-life circles do not include many SAHMs. In fact a good 95 percent of my exposure to SAHMs comes from what I see online and on television. Basing most of my expectations around what happens in the blogsphere means that as a SAHM I should also have a strong penchant for baking and Pinterest crafts which would be fine if I didn’t hate cooking  and I couldn’t think of 100 things  I would rather be doing, including slowly removing each one of my fingernails one by one, than making my own crayons. Instead of feeling inferior because I wasn’t making character pancakes, I could have been much better at defining what being a SAHM meant for me, instead of what I thought it should look like compared to the rest of the world.

Talk more to other people

When you spend the majority of your time with your children, it becomes easy to get sucked down in Mommy Hollow and forget there’s a big wide world out there that has nothing to do with your little ones. Not only does it help to talk to other people, but it helps to occasionally talk to those who are not mothers of small children. One of my favorite parts of my job is that on any given day I could be chatting it up with a 22-year-old recent college grad or a 44-year-old divorcee or an elderly gay man. I hear about everything from the hottest happy hours to what it’s like to care for elderly parents. It’s important to have perspective on those parts of life that are very different from your own, and it’s a perspective that’s hard to achieve if you only ever talk to married moms of four-year-olds, or talk to no one at all.

Have a better attitude about my money

My first job was at the library the summer after 8th grade back when minimum wage was, oh, somewhere around 3.75 an hour. From the moment I got that first $75 check and spent it on a Looney Toons jean shirt, I never looked back. Being able to make my own decisions with my own money gave me a level of independence that I didn’t have to relinquish until I found myself unemployed and having to rely heavily on my husband for financial security. Feeling “dependent” changed the dynamics of our relationship in ways that I didn’t expect, or like, but it forced us to start cooperating and planning together a lot more when it came to our finances, an attitude that would have been helpful to have to begin with.

Validated myself

We are trained from the time we get that first smiley face on a Pre-Kindergarten paper that good work comes with rewards. Doing well in school means good grades, just as doing a good job at the office comes with positive evaluations and raises. As a mother, stay-at-home or not, there’s no one waiting around to give you an “A” for laundry or a high five for a sleepless night.  Sometimes its hard to realize that most days you are going to be the only one who can give you a pat on the back, but make sure you take some time to reach around and do it, because if you don’t, no one else will.

They always say the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, and I have learned some lessons that if I were to end up as a SAHM again, I would be a little bit more prepared play in the grass on the other side. But for now, I’m content with seeing it from afar, enjoying the view from my office window.

Aja Dorsey Jackson is a writer and founder of the blog Making Love in the Microwave. Find out more about her at www.makingloveinthemicrowave.com or follow her on twitter @microwavelove.


  1. I loved your article. I am not a stay at home mom. But, I have a home-based business. I get very wrapped in my business and find myself letting my social life fall to the wayside. It ‘s difficult finding a balance. Sometimes, I feel like a stay at home mom.

  2. Fantastic article. Knowledge is repetition whatever path we choose in life. Your article is certainly information that will help other mothers in their decision making. The experiences /or inexperiences of others can many times save us a lot of time and disappointment if we just take the time to learn and pay close attention to what they have gone through, and take what we need from their willingness to share.

  3. wow! I’m at work now, unhappy i don’t like my job, i give thanks for it, but i hate it with a passion…. lol (hope this make sense), after reading your article I’m not too sure i want to be a SAHM… maybe WAHM (I’m starting a lil business now )… great article thank you

  4. I’m a wife with no kids yet.. (planning to have it next year) Until now, I’m not sure if I’m ok being a SAHM. But I’m not closing my doors on it. In a couple of months I will be staying in US with my husband for good and being in the new country is overwhelming. I gave up my career just to have my dream family. Whatever God’s plan for me and my new family, I will embrace it wholeheartedly! :) love your article. Thanks!

  5. I am currently a SAHM, having recently stopped working after Hurricane Sandy. I thought the storm was a a sign that I should follow my dream to make blogging my career. But after several months at home, I’m getting restless,bored,anxious, and I don’t know if that means I should push myself to make my dream happen or throw in the towel and return to working outside.This article has given me some heavy things to think about