Is being a stay-at-home mum (SAHM) the right thing to do?

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Are you considering giving up your job to be a stay-at-home mum? Singapore mums weigh in on the topic right here.

Many women are now opting to be stay-at-home mums (SAHM). It’s not that they don’t have an option,  can’t find work, or are not educated; they make this choice.

Choosing to be a SAHM or a working mum is a tough decision for any woman to make – and there is no right answer.

Working mums speak out

Working mums have a solid explanation as to why they choose to keep their careers. The additional income their jobs bring in surely make their families more comfortable. But is that all?

As one of our working mum readers, Julie Tan, a Vice President at a bank said, “I feel happier and fulfilled because I have a job… and when I’m happy, naturally my family is happier. I know I miss my LO’s ‘firsts’, but there are always ‘seconds’. I don’t work 24 hours a day, you know. It’s a win-win situation.”

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Many mothers say they are happy balancing a career and a family.

Working mum and Media Manager Julia Chen, said, “Although I’d very much love to stay home and be there for my daughter during the early years, it is very challenging to survive on a single income in Singapore. Cost of living is just too high, and there are bills that need to be paid at the end of each month.

“Also, as much as I love my daughter and wish I could see what she gets up to every day, I don’t think I can stand being home all day with her. I need some form of ‘work’ to feel complete.”

Amy Chan, PR executive, expressed her fears for the future, saying, “God forbid something happens to my husband, I need to be able to support my family. We have to think about the future, and working full time and contributing to the family’s income gives me peace of mind.”

SAHMs’ opinion on their choice

Similarly, SAHMs too have a pretty good explanation as to why they have chosen this path.

Putting aside personal aspirations and goals as well as foregoing the extra income are a huge compromise for a mother. Our readers, however, have overcome their trepidation stemming from those sacrifices.

Mom Ivy Poh, for one, believes that “Staying at home is solely for the child, although I need to make a lot of sacrifices. I strongly believe the first few years of growing up is very important. I would like to witness the milestones and educate my baby to the best of my ability.

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Almost all SAHMs say the main reason they have chosen to give up their jobs is to be with their kids.

Former preschool educator  Nur Diyana quit her job to start a family. “When my baby arrived, I knew it was the best decision I’ve made. It’s a great sacrifice financially, but watching my girl grow up right in front of my eyes and achieving developmental milestones makes me feel it’s all worthwhile.”

Another mum, Joanne Lim, says, “I started badly as a SAHM 10 years ago and was regretting it every minute… but after this long journey, I started to enjoy it more. I still wish to go out and work someday, when the kids are older.”

Yet another mum, Nini Chaiyanara, had this to say: “Being a stay-at-home mummy for my 10 month old is the toughest 24/7 job in the world, but it’s the best decision I have ever made. {We’re tight} on shopping money and some days bills are paid a little late, but nothing compares to being the one to raise that little prince in the most important moulding years of his life. I can catch up on making money & saving again anytime. But he will never again be as small as he is today.”

Pros and cons of being a SAHM

It is clear that whatever decision a mum makes – to be or not be to a SAHM – there are pros and cons pertaining to each option, and the decision should not be taken lightly.

Here are some pros and cons on being a SAHM and how you can make the best of your decision.

PROS

1. You have more time to spend with your kids

Like many mums said, the main reason they decided to be a SAHM was to be a first-hand witness to their kids’ milestones.

Make it count: If you take the SAHM route because of your kids, try not to be on the fence about your decision. Celebrity psychologist Dr.Phil McGraw says, “If the child is mothered by a parent who is feeling frustrated, and depressed and empty, that is not a good thing,”

2. You will actually spend less money

If you add up the money you spend commuting to and from work and the cost of buying meals, you will be surprised by how much you are actually spending on the routine of having a job. This doesn’t include the work-related functions you have to attend, the gifts you need to buy, and the work outfits you spend on.

Make it count: Even though you are not spending on all of the above when you are a SAHM, your home’s utility bills are bound to increase because you are at home all the time. Reduce electricity consumption when you can and keep a tab on costs in general.

3. You don’t have to split your time

One thing some working mums struggle with is time management. They find themselves rushing from work to be with the kids and struggling to cope with chores and other responsibilities.

Make it count – Make a timetable for chores and be efficient with your time – even if you’ve got plenty of it. To avoid feeling overwhelmed by being around your kids the whole time, slot in some ‘me-time’ for when kids are at playdates or in school.

CONS

1. Your family income will be less

When making the decision to be a SAHM, you and your spouse need to discuss if your staying at home is feasible. You need to have a good idea of what your monthly expenses are and see if you can live comfortably and save without your salary.

Make it count – Try and enjoy a humble lifestyle and cut costs. Eating out less, limiting luxuries, and making it a point to save even a small percentage of your husband’s salary will make sure you are financially secure.

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‘Me-time’ for a SAHM is very important.

2. Your employability quotient decreases

For every day you are not in the job market, you lose your job-scope with employers. This might make it difficult for you to re-enter the work force when you are ready.

Make it count – Make use of your ‘me-time’ to think about options such as working from home or starting your own business. Think about making your hobbies earn you some money – no one said you can’t earn money being a SAHM!

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Discuss your finances and insurance options with your spouse to make sure you are covered in case the unthinkable happens.

3. Life’s unpredictability can blow the best-laid plan to bits

Life is unpredictable. Should the unthinkable happen to your spouse or if your marriage fails, you might be left stranded in a sea of debt, without a source of income.

Make it count – Make sure your family has a sound insurance plan in place should something unforeseeable happens. Make sure to be in the know about your husband’s feelings about being the sole breadwinner of the family.

Most of all, keep your marriage strong by keeping communication lines open and slotting in date nights with your hubby so your life doesn’t just revolve around the kids.

Ultimately, the decision to be or not to be a SAHM should be yours. It also should be thought out thoroughly together with your spouse as it will affect the whole family.

Women are remarkable multi-taskers and whatever decision you make, be convinced about it, stick to it, and most of all enjoy it!

Mums, are you a SAHM or a working mum? We’d love to hear your thoughts on your chosen path – so please do leave a comment below.

References:

http://drphil.com/articles/article/284

http://www.moneycrashers.com/reasons-why-quit-job-stay-at-home-mom-parents/

 

 

 

 

 

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Written by

Minoli Almeida