Why Being a Stay At Home Mom is Bad for Your Health*

*Caveat 1: Randy told me it’s too early for me to form this opinion. I was ready to agree until my doctor told me the urge to throw your kids against the wall doesn’t go away as they get older when I questioned the existence of not postpartum depression, but “my boobs hurt and the laundry WILL NEVER END” rage. Ahem.

*Caveat 2: Yes, I do think being a stay at home mom is bad for your health. I also think hamburgers aren’t good for you. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy hamburgers. I do. I just enjoy them in moderation and with relish. Not the pickle kind; I prefer slices. Rather, I sit down and savor every moment of my sandwich. I look at my future as a SAHM the same way. I will enjoy those moments when it’s just me, Eggroll, and my ratty yoga pants, but I’m also reading the business section of the paper and getting as much freelance work as I can. More power to you if this is your gig, but this mama needs a professional agenda to feel complete.

So why do I think this is a job that should come with hazard pay?

Relationship Health

With Your Significant Other

You harbor a ridiculous amount of frustration and jealousy that he gets to go to work everyday and still appreciates the weekend.

Maggie Smith What is a Weekend?

This drives a wedge between the two of you and makes you unfoundedly stabby when he signs up for a softball league since nighttime is your time “off” since he gets off time during the day. (See also: you now think going to work is fun. It’s not.)

It’s OK that there is a wall of pissy smoke between the two of you, because if he could see through it, he’d see that you now have dress yoga pants for the days when you’re feeling fancy or flannel pjs you’ve been wearing for the past four days straight if not. Mascara? Combs? Toothbrush? Ah, pishaw. Baby doesn’t care if your breath smells or you aren’t wearing a perfect smokey eye, so why bother.She’s only going to get milk, formula, poop, and/or spit up all over you anyway, so no sense in putting on a clean shirt. Or makeup.

Oh, and when you finally do get baby to sleep and have a chance to talk one-on-one, he will totally tune you out when you talk about your new cookie recipe, the only non-baby-related thing you have to report. And honestly, you can’t relate to his conversation on CPS reports, so you both just watch TV while sleeping with your eyes open. You can talk again when the kids leave for college.

With Your Child

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and y’all are attached at the hip (or the boob, as the case may be) 24/7. Need I say more? Yes, I do. I have a lot more to say on this topic. Stay tuned for it next week.

Mental Health

-Lacking a water cooler, you forget how to make small talk. Also, you have no professional projects in the works leaving you with nothing to talk about but baby poop and your Zumba class when you do interact with the stranger at the grocery store. Oh, poor stranger at the grocery store that I just talked to for 15 minutes. Don’t you wish you picked a different aisle?!

-You watch the fourth hour of the Today Show on a regular basis. Yep, this is now your life.

-Crying. Oh my lamb, the crying.

Baby Crying

Physical Health

-Actually, I think being a stay at home mom could be really good for your physical health. You’re not sitting at a desk all day. Instead, baby probably demands you do laps around your house bouncing her to sleep. The issue – you get great arm muscles … on one side. Just like you write with one hand, you carry a baby on the same side every time.

-One day, you find yourself watching The Chew and realize “I have got to get out of the house!” You go to the gym since that’s the only place you can get free child care and talk to grow-ups. And then somehow, you find yourself going every day. And staying for an hour and a half – as much time as you and baby can be away from the house before you need to hurry back home for the next nursing session. Cool, right?

When you get home, you jump right back into diaper duty, keeping you from a hot meal until dad gets home from work (unless its softball night, then you’re eating cereal one-handed, getting one out of every four corn flakes in your mouth as you balance the spoon from bowl to mouth over a squirmy baby.) You tell yourself “hey, I’m not eating much and working out a lot, I can afford this cookie.” You then proceed to shove six cookies (and a glass of chocolate milk) in your maw, undoing all the good work of the day.

-Sleep. Remember that novel concept? Why do parents whine about teenagers sleeping late? I’m so looking forward to those days!!

Financial Health

-Even if you go to the gym everyday, you can only go for so long. (Damn afternoon break in kid care!) So what else do you do to get out of the house and/or talk to humans? You go to Target. You go to Target, pay the $50 entree fee, and load up on more dish soap, diapers, $5 t-shirts, and house brand fruit roll-ups than any one family needs. Cartwheel be damned, it’s at least $115 every time you go.

Another meeting on CPS reports would be a much cheaper way to interact with humans. And the donuts would be free.

-There is no pay at all. Lame.

So what do you think? Can you be a stay at home mom without losing your sanity?


  1. Heather E

    As much as I absolutely adore an extra day with Jordyn, I don’t think I could be a stay at home mom (though, I work from home now, but she goes to day care). I need something ‘professional’ to accomplish, as well as my own time. I believe it makes me a better mom most days. And J has thrived at a wonderful day care and I fear that if she had been home with me she wouldn’t be singing her ABC’s at 18 months. Even if I stayed home I think I’d need a part time job of some sort. My mom was a stay at home mom with my brothers for a long time…she did really well with it, but I don’t know how on Earth she didn’t go crazy. Wait, maybe she did:)

  2. Jamie Goll

    I love it! And you pretty much nailed it all on the head. I am so much in love with my kids that it makes me cry sometimes, but I also LOVE the fact that I do go to work. Granted, if I could go part time, that would be ideal. I do feel like I don’t get enough time with the babes, but I am working on cutting back. And yes, Maggie, things will continue to get more and more busy as she gets older, and potentially more eggrolls come. But somehow, it is ALL worth it. 🙂

  3. It gets so much better with time…you begin to find outlets that make you much healthier. There should be an entire major in college designed to prepare you for this job though!

  4. I promise it gets better. Once they hit 3 months, they are so much easier to manage (and a lot more fun!). They are on a better routine, and they actually do more than eat-sleep-poop-repeat. Maternity leave is NOT easy, but it gets more fulfilling.

  5. Christy Tramel

    There are days that I do think of going back to work. But then I remember the drama and stress and I am happy to be home with my boys. Especially with summer coming. Days at the pool, playground , or just playing outside are my favorite. And starting in the fall Baron starts preschool and life will mever be the same. Staying home is challenging but I have never heard a mom of teenagers say “I wish I would have worked when my babies were little.”

  6. I love being a SAHM! I am not the type to just stay home though. I go to the Y a lot (ours has a child watch and it is the kiddos time to get in their social interaction). I take the kids to the Childrens Museum (we have a yearly pass), have playdates, go to the park, the pool, go grocery shopping, run errands, etc. I am out of the house at least once, usually twice a day. I never turn on the tv (except for an occasional cartoon for Lucas). I never have enough time in the day to cook, clean and take care of the house. I am always on the go, go, go and I love it! I don’t feel like I don’t get to talk to other adults. I talk to the regulars at the Y, Mommies at playdates, neighbors, and friendly people at the stores (daytime shoppers are more chatty and not in a hurry)!

    It’s not for everyone though. I think it just depends on the person. Everyone is different. I don’t think you can say being a working Mom or a SAHM is good or bad. It’s what fits YOU.

  7. Ladies, I love this. Look at your responses. We’ve got the full range of options here! I’m so happy that I have surrounded myself with women of all stripes. You guys rock!

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