SAHM or SAHD? Finding what works for our family


If you’re already a parent, you’ve already discovered that parenting is a series of lessons in fantasy versus reality. For instance…

The Fantasy:

As my belly grew, dreams of lounging around in my robe all day snuggling with my baby danced through my head as I anticipated the upcoming maternity leave. When my daughter was born in the middle of winter, I secretly hoped to never go back to work after maternity leave. Up until I became a mom, being at home had been my dream. I enjoyed my maternity time off even though I spent most of the time recovering from childbirth and surgery.

The Reality:

During the four months I stayed home with my baby, I hardly got anything done. Even when my daughter became easier to set down and I could get a few things done around the house, the dishes still piled up in the sink, the floor looked nasty, and the mountain of laundry grew to a mini Mt Hood. Now, I know this is very typical for most homes of newborns, but I thought that I could be little Suzy homemaker, write my next great novel (you know, the one that’s going to hit the NYT bestseller list and allow me to stay home forever), and still care for my little one.

Fast forward five months later. I’m working 40 hours a week, 30 of the hours at home and 10 in the office. The floor is swept every day, the dishes are loaded in the dishwasher daily, I take walks with my daughter after I clock out almost every day, and I also make time to catch a yoga class once a week. Laundry still piles up but it’s more manageable–like Mt Tabor sized. I even cook dinner once in a while.

What the heck? Why is stuff getting done when I’m working now and have less time? Part of this mystery, I believe, is structure and schedule. I work better under deadlines and organized time management.

Now let’s talk about my husband. NOTHING but the bare minimum gets done when he’s working. He’ll play catchup on the weekend, but during the work week, forget it. But on his long weekends, all kinds of things get done. Sometimes he’s required to take a couple of weeks off for work budget purposes. When that happens, it’s like a magic house elf moved in.

He makes breakfast. breakfastfordinner

And then he cleans up.


He bakes banana bread. bananabread

He builds things (or assembles them). helpingdad

And there is always time for snuggling. snuggletime

He loves being at home and taking care of it. I love being at home, but I dislike household chores. About six months ago I had this realization that I’m not a good housewife, and I’m okay with it. In my career I have the potential to increase my income significantly once I complete my bachelor’s degree. I realized I like making money and would rather be the sugar mama in this family than the stay at home mama.

We talked about it, and hubby agreed. He would LOVE to stay home and run the household while I bring home the veggie bacon. He likes to putter around the house; I don’t. He’s a better cook and cleans more thoroughly than me. I like to work. So, two weeks ago, I applied to return to school to finish up my degree and work on getting my house elf to move in for good!

What about you? Has your family “plan”–or what you thought you wanted–changed since having kids? Whether your family includes a SAHM, a SAHD, or two working parents, I hope you are finding what works best for you, your kids, and the entire family.


{Featured Image Credit: Studio 623 Photography}


  1. I can relate to so much of this. I definitely don’t like chores, especially now that they are left entirely up to me. I want us to switch soon.

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