Deciding to stay home and raise your children instead of going to work every day is not a decision that is made lightly. But it’s a choice that many mothers make for their families. A survey from Motherly found that in 2023, 25 percent of mothers reported being stay-at-home moms. That’s compared to 15 percent of mothers staying in the home in 2022. Some of the reasons moms made this change were to have more time with their kids and because of a lack of childcare. Moms admit that it’s tough to balance full-time motherhood while still trying to have a life outside of their home and kids. Could being a stay-at home mom work for you? That answer depends on who you ask.

A Mom’s Perspective

Ashley Gilbert is a mother of seven children. Five of whom live in the home with her. They range from 8 years old to 4 months old. She says she has been a stay-at-home mom since 2017.

“At first it was a challenge of finding a work schedule that allowed me to work around my kids schedule,” Gilbert said.

Eventually, childcare costs became a concern.

“The price of daycare is too high for the amount of small kids I have,” she explained. 

Joy Ferrell is a married mother of three. She says the death of Sandra Bland led her to leave her job in 2015. She was pregnant with her second child.

“Just seeing the response from some of my coworkers…I got tired of being the token black girl. Trying to explain how you should just feel humane about situations,” Ferrell said.

After spending a few years in her house taking care of her children and others, Ferrell has now returned to the workforce, but in a flexible remote position where she can remain available for her children.

Advantages and Disadvantages

A decision to be fully present in the home every day obviously has its advantages. Gilbert says she enjoys having ore time with her kids as well as being able to save on daycare costs. She also find that she is more organized. Ferrell says she appreciates being able to be there for her children.

“Seeing them grow. You don’t lose that time or special moments,” she said.

But there are some disadvantages that can weigh heavily on mothers. Gilbert says some of the biggest feelings she has struggled with are having limited to no interaction with adults, spending too much time in the house, getting occasional negative feedback from her spouse and the weight of having more household responsibilities. Ferrell says she has experienced having mommy guilt when she wants time to herself.

“If you don’t fill your cup or maintain yourself, you can’t give [anything] to [anyone] else,” Ferrell reasoned.

Balancing Independence

While Gilbert feels that she does a good job of being independent, she is considering going back to work.

“I feel as though my kids would benefit more from me working and being productive outside of the house, instead of being at home all the time,” she said.

Gilbert feels that as a stay-at-home mom,  it is harder to fulfill her own desires.

“Despite always being at home I rarely have time for myself, having to prioritize everyone else’s wants and needs.

Ferrell says doing her own thing away from the kids hasn’t always been easy. But with support from her husband, Ferrell also makes it a point to have time with her friends and herself.

“When you have that village that can tell you it’s ok to have a break, ‘have you [done] something for yourself today?’ then that keeps me in check of that maintenance of myself,” she said.