“Be a stay-home mum or be a working mum?” This is a dilemma that faces many modern women as they struggle to balance family and work commitments. With many companies demanding more of their time, many women find it increasingly difficult to fulfill their roles as home-maker and mother.
In this article, we take a look at the pros and cons of staying home, and what are the factors you should consider when making the decision to be a stay-at-home-mum (SAHM).
The Pros of Being a SAHM
1. More time for your family
Being a stay-at-home mother allows you to be more present in your children’s lives and to be involved in their daily activities and routines. Instead of coming home drained after a whole day of work, now you have both the time and energy to completely focus on your children’s needs. Gone also is the “mum-guilt” that many women go through, especially when they have to travel for work and miss out on important milestones in their children’s lives.
2. More flexibility in your schedules
SAHMs often have more flexibility in their schedules, which can make it easier to manage household tasks and responsibilities. Instead of having only a few hours after work to rush through homework and housework, SAHMs can plan the entire day or week around their to-dos and availability.
For households with two or more children, this means being able to work around everyone’s enrichment class/after school schedules or unexpected sick days with at least one parent available.
3. Financial savings
We are well-aware that childcare and after-school care fees in Singapore can be exorbitant. Not having to pay for these expenses can be a significant cost savings for families when one parent is at home to attend to the children’s every need.
4. Greater control over child-rearing
Being a SAHM can give you more control over how your children are raised. Some mothers are also concerned about the values and beliefs their children are exposed to from other caregivers and will choose to raise their children themselves.
Others are also concerned about the quality of care that childcare or student care centres may provide. Hence taking over the reins in their own home will give more peace of mind.
5. Career development
Being a SAHM can give you a chance to develop new skills and gain new experiences that can benefit you in your future career.
Some mothers use their time at home to start new businesses that allow the flexibility of earning some income while caring for their children.
The Cons of Staying Home
Being at home with young children can be isolating, as you may not have as much interaction with other adults as you would in a work environment. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. In particular, new mothers are at risk of prenatal depresssion as they suddenly find themselves having to cope alone with a newborn.
Being a stay-at-home mother can be isolating and stressful. Consider whether you have a supportive partner, family, and community to help you through this transition.
2. Loss of identity
Before a child comes along, many women take pride in their careers and personal achievements. Staying at home may take away all that from them as their responsibilities are relegated to only within the home. Some may feel that they have lost their sense of identity and purpose outside of their role as a mother.
Being a stay-at-home mother can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also be challenging. Consider whether this is the right decision for you and whether it aligns with your own personal goals, desires, and well-being.
3. Financial strain
Being a SAHM can put financial strain on a family if she does not have her own side hustle. This is because her spouse is now the sole breadwinner while household expenses might not reduce significantly. Thus, it is crucial to talk this through with your partner and work out the financial feasibility before deciding to quit your job and stay at home.
Consider how you will manage living on a single income and whether you have enough savings to sustain you during this period.
4. Lack of professional development
Being a SAHM can mean missing out on professional development opportunities. This can make it harder to re-enter the workforce later on. Being a stay-at-home mother can have an impact on your career goals and plans. Consider how long you plan to stay at home and how this will affect your ability to re-enter the workforce later on.
However, there are resources available to keep SAHMs in touch with the marketplace. Tools are also available to equip those who are thinking of returning to the workforce.