From The Confessional: SAHM Life Is Freaking Hard

by Karen Johnson
Child lying on the carpet while his concerned mom is sitting on a chair

As a woman who has been a stay-at-home mom/work-at-home mom for the past 12 years, I can attest firsthand to how hard this life is. Am I fortunate to have this option? Absolutely. It is not lost on me that there are millions of parents out there who do not have the choice between being a SAHM and working outside of the home. I did have the choice when my first child was born, and I’m grateful. I don’t regret my decision either—my husband works very long hours and travels for work, so by being home, I am able to fill in the gaps and provide my kids with stability. They know there’s always a parent there for whatever they need, and it works for our family.


SAHM life turned out to be 9 billion times harder than I ever imagined. I was not prepared for the loneliness. I was not prepared for the isolation. I was not prepared for the depression that would set in when I walked away from my career. I was not prepared for the darkness that would settle over me when I realized my days were pretty much spent breastfeeding, changing diapers, and wiping sticky surfaces over and over and over for what felt like all eternity.

And I was not prepared for how much the loneliness, the isolation, and the depression would impact my marriage and sprout a giant mountain of resentment in my heart toward my husband—who got to go out into the world every day, wear clean clothes, feel smart, and “grab lunch” on a whim with coworkers. He had freedoms that I didn’t have. He received regular accolades and praise for his work that I didn’t receive. And it was hard on us for a long time.

We need to talk about how hard SAHM life is and validate that some mothers really struggle. That doesn’t mean moms who work outside of the home have it easy—because they absolutely do not, but SAHM life is a whole separate beast, and moms in the trenches need help. They need support. They need a lifeline. And they need to know they aren’t alone.

To the dad at the bus stop with 5 kids, shamelessly using the SAHMs for childcare while you take your work call and ignore them: fuck you

Confessional #25857454

Husband is WFH while I'm SAHM. I was sitting on the couch relaxing while 4yo had his screen time and baby napped. My husband looked at me and said, "what are you doing? Shouldn't you be cleaning or something?" WHY DO MEN DO/SAY THIS. FUCK. YOU.

Confessional #25853442

i want to cry my eyes out but can't. dh tells me to stop but won't comfort me. so i hold it in. this is why i am 50 lbs overweight. so frustrated and sad. feel like if i could be some meds i'd be ok. but dh discourages it. sahm life right?

Confessional #25851808

H: 12 years of marriage, 6 of them w/kids, ms SAHM. Not once have you told me to sleep in, you’ll make their bfast. Not once, when its ur day off, have you stepped up to make their dinner. Its those little things that start erroding my love for you.

Confessional #25851502

First of all, if you’re a partner to a SAHM, you need to ensure that she feels validated and appreciated, not taken for granted. Encourage her to take some time for herself and practice self-care. Let her sleep in—you get the kids at 6 a.m. on Saturday. If she gets out of the house by herself kids, DO NOT CALL HER. Be a supportive partner. Don’t be a dick.

I'm a SAHM who went back to school. I have ZERO fucking help with the baby,no day care yet so I'm with him 24/7.I watch the recorded lessons when baby is napping, also study at night with max 5 hours sleep.H just said he's tired. He "works" 3-4 hours/day.

Confessional #25857592

My biggest regret during my time as a SAHM is not carving out time & a plan to have a career after they're a bit older. Because one day your DH will say if you disappear tomorrow, it wouldn't matter. Because financially I don't contribute

Confessional #25857522

Despise my job & going on leave for baby next week. H wants me to stay home, I for sure am not coming back here. Just don't know if I will hate being a working mom or a SAHM more. Terrified of getting out of the field & not being able to find work again.

Confessional #25857478

if i had financial independence, i'd be able to make more of my own choices. but sahm and gave up career. love time w/the kids but now they are grown and i am totally dependent on dh who is mostly good, but turning into a grumpy oaf. can you say regret? '

Confessional #25852789

Quite often, SAHMs sacrificed, or at least put on hold, their careers to be at home during the baby and toddler years. That choice can really impact a women’s psyche and make her question her worth.

struggling to find positive even though i know i have a good life mostly. tired of mental/verbal abuse of dh. more angry at me for letting career/education go to be the good sahm wife/mom our religion idealized. grown kids fine but i'm not. just sad.

Confessional #25853780

H is selfish in bed. He seldom attends to my needs like he expects me to meet his. I can’t cut him off because he would just get it elsewhere, and that would be worse; I’m a SAHM with no income and would be either stuck with a cheater or kicked out.

Confessional #25857452

if i had not fallen for sahm trap, i'd be financially independent and possibly living in a country where health care, housing, and education are prioritized for all. now i am stuck and watching my kids struggle and i stay w/dh for financial/insurance.

Confessional #25853779

And because they don’t earn an income and have spent the last few years feeling like their uterus is a baby-conveyor belt, they might feel trapped, with no way out and nowhere to go.

Was a working mom till oldest was 6. Been a SAHM since. SAHM is definitely harder. Not only is the work relentless, but I also get almost no in-person time with other adults who don’t live in my house to talk about things that are not my 4 kids.

Confessional #25857301

Embarrassed to admit that the reason going back to work (after being a SAHM for 12+ yrs) is easier than staying home is due to my complete failure to parent well, set boundaries with my kids, address sibling rivalry and maintain an organized household.

Confessional #25857275

Went back to work after 9 years as SAHM. Holy shit this is so much easier.

Confessional #25857165

I didn’t know it was going to be this hard being a SAHM.

Confessional #25853341

I thought I was a SAHM fail. Then I started anti-depressants and all the kids went to school for the first time in 12 years. Turns out staying home with kids continuously for 12 years is not my jam. I was burnt out, lonely, isolated, and depressed.

Confessional #25854315

The truth is, for many moms, the stay-at-home mom life is fucking grueling. There are, of course, women who are 100% made for this gig and soak it all up with joy. But for many of us, we feel like we are drowning. We stare at the clock at 9:45 in the morning, wondering how in the hell we are going to get through another day of playing Barbies and doing puzzles and begging tiny people to pee on the toilet, not the rug. We aren’t motivated to shower—because what’s the point? And we hate that our partners get to be out in the world with real-life other adults every day, while we’re at home with crusty spit-up in our hair.

SAHMs, if you’re reading this, I know your life. I know your world. You’re an absolute rockstar, and you’re still hot AF—crusty spit-up or not. Don’t you forget it.