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What It's Like to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom

Has Being a Stay-at-Home Mom Become Taboo?

Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including Denise Cortes's personal reflections on the merits of being a stay-at-home mom.

I've had the good fortune of staying home with my children since I had my first bouncing baby boy almost 16 years ago. When he was 6 months old, the questions surrounding my return to the workforce started buzzing in my ear.

Surely you didn't want to waste your college education (which, ironically, I was still paying for).
Isn't it time to start contributing to the family finances? It's not fair to your husband.
You're "too smart" to just stay home all day.
Aren't you bored?
Your baby is so young, he won't notice you're gone all day.

Related: Brush up on your baby shower etiquette!

I distinctly recall the feeling that I was being pushed into something I didn't want to do — not by my husband, but by society in general. Plain and simple, I didn't want to go back to work yet. The way I saw it, I already had a job — taking care of my baby! Who would look after him the way I did? Who would love him the only way a mother could? Who could I possibly trust to do this job — the job I was certain was mine and mine alone.

My "problem" was solved when I discovered I was pregnant again. My sons were a mere 15 months apart. And then almost two years after that, I had a third son. I guess by that time, I had officially had a "job" — taking care of three babies under the age of three. No one asked me about going back to work after that. I promptly turned in my Feminist card, took off my shoes and kept popping the babies out. Indeed, I did just that. It was never easy — being home day after day and living on a shoe-string budget.

Keep reading to learn more about Denise's internal conflicts about being a stay-at-home mom.

After reading an article titled, Why is it suddenly taboo to say mother should stay home with their babies? I was struck by the amount of vehemence the author said she received for her stance that moms should take time to stay home with their babies. Every woman's situation is different, and I would never cast judgement on working mothers because we are all working mothers, but I loved the sentiment in this quote:

"Despite the maelstrom of criticism I have received, my thoughts aren't anti-women. I'm not anti-women working. I'm not anti-men, or anti-parent — or even anti-feminist. I am one thing: entirely pro-child."

I grew up with a stay at home mom who found herself getting a divorce when I was seven years old. My idyllic family life was turned upside down and I spent the rest of my childhood with a mother who wasn't thrown back into the workforce. It was never the same. It wasn't bad, it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't the same. Like the author of the quoted post, I didn't want the same for my children. That experience definitely shaped my choices when I became a mother.

I still consider myself a stay at home mom, even though I work from home teaching art, creating art, and writing. I don't regret my choices over the years. But now, more than ever, I completely understand the sacrifices of being a working mom. The deadlines, the long hours, the traveling, the piles of unfolded laundry everywhere — it's difficult. I definitely couldn't have managed it when my children were very young.

Every year as my children mature and grow, I feel more confident about taking on more things outside of the home. However, first and foremost, my vocation will always be "mother."

— Denise Cortes

More great reads from BabyCenter:
Was Miley's VMA performance over the line?
Michael Bublé welcomes a son!
Answers to kids' toughest questions
What are your earliest childhood memories?

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Join The Conversation
BadrunisaHolman1378364937 BadrunisaHolman1378364937 3 years
I'm a stay at home mom with four kids witch of the one pair is twins they are boys going to be two years old on saturday I love staying at home but financially its hectic.but I love my kids to bits and its nice raising them myself.
jillr1377845853 jillr1377845853 3 years
I love staying home with my kids.I have 2 kids. My oldest is 9 and my youngest is just starting am kindergarden at the age of 5 I still like to stay close and not work just in case they need me. But that 3 hours that my kindergarder just gives you a tiny break and then after the 3 hrs your ready for them to come home again. But I do babysitting for school age So.I'm getting a little extra income. The money I'm earning I'm going to lay aside and that'd going to be extra money for the movies,bowling just stuff that my family likes to do on a Friday night or the wknd. Have a nice day .
chris-dudley chris-dudley 3 years
When my first child was born I was in the military and it was very hard because I would have to leave my son with people I did not know and I got out and became a stay at home mom. With my husband at that time still in the military and I loved being at home with my son. And then I left my husband and I became a single mother and it was really hard not being there for my son when he was growing up, but I had no other choice. Then 2 1/2 years later my daughter was born and I was working over 40 hours a week and I left my daughters father after a couple months and moved in with my parents and I had to find another job and I did and I worked 40 plus hours a week and I moved out of my parents and I had a place for myself and my daughter and I worked two jobs to make ends meet. And on the weekends I did training with the National Guard. So basically I was working three jobs to support my family. Then I moved out of state and I would be working very early in the morning and I had to drop my daughter of at 3am and would not pick her up until after 4pm. And I hated myself for leaving my daughter for so long. My 2nd husband was hardly ever home because he was an over the road truck driver. And I went home and moved in with my parents again and being able to be able to spend time with my kids. And then I got a job and I moved out of my parents and I had to go back working two jobs. I kept on thinking of everything I have missed with my two children. And Since 2009 I have not been able to work and being able to spend all the time with my children and be able to go their concerts and whatever else they have going on. Being a stay at home mom is been wonderful because I feel I have so much to make up to them for missing so much. I would not trade anything for being a stay at home mom. Yes at times it is hard because of me not being able to work, but my family has made it through a lot, but I would not trade it for anything. I love my children and I missed so much of their lives and now I can enjoy spending the time with my children.
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