Would You Trade Your Paycheck for an Apron?

Recently, cnn.com/living reported that a growing number of women are choosing to leave the workforce to become stay-at-home wives.  Good choice, ladies!  I applaud your decision and raise my margarita glass to you! 


In the 1960s, our mothers and grandmothers fought for our right to choose a career path fitting to our needs and free from the constraints of society’s expectations or demands.  Almost fifty years later, we can choose to stay home to maintain a happy home and raise a family without shame, criticism or question.  Even though the pay stinks and vacation time and sick days are an absurd notion, many of us refuse to hang up our aprons any time soon.  


As the article reports, some women have the option to stay at home with their decision having little or no financial impact.  As in my case, my husband’s salary covers all of our household expenses and I feel fortunate to have the opportunity and choice to be a stay-at-home mom  Domestic Diva.


Even once my children are in school full-time, I have no desire to return to teaching, but my professional skills are by no means “wasted” as I apply those skills in all aspects of my life as a stay-at-home mom.  The skills acquired during my teaching career are utilized when managing my moms group and raising my children.   Essentially, I teach children all day long.  I also dust off my teaching tools on days that I volunteer at my daughter’s school.


Even the women in my moms group tap into their professional skills as SAHM.  In her former life as an administrative assistant, Erika adopted the most amazing organizational skills.  Those skills play into her stay-at-home career as she generates and maintains filing systems for every project in her life.  Perhaps, if Erika does not return to work, she should offer how-to organizational work-shops in between pedicures and household chores.


However, stay-at-home wives have an advantage over stay-at-home moms.  A stay-at-home wife has the luxury to focus on her own needs and personal goals, whereas stay-at-home moms often find it difficult to put their needs first.  The needs of a stay-at-home mom often fall behind the needs of her children and her husband, and therefore her personal goals are put on hold.   


When choosing to trade your paycheck for an apron, there are two important points to consider: lack of income and lack of adult interaction.  While in the workplace, you are accustomed to having frivolous spending money and a disposable income. Upon entering the world of domestic bliss, the absence of an income becomes a difficult adjustment.  One less paycheck means a lot less spending.  To help with your transition, plan a budget for fun money in your weekly or monthly budget, which excludes household bills, groceries and other expenses.


Unless you prefer solitude, staying at home can be a lonely choice for some.  Although work may have caused you some stress, there were co-workers to chat with and many opportunities for stimulating adult conversation. Therefore, to keep you sane and connect with other people, join an on-line social network to find others with similar interests, such as scrapbooking or an outdoor adventure group.  Also, search for local special interest happenings related to your hobbies.  An all night scrapbooking event or a book discussion at a local coffee shop can provide a means to satisfy your craving for adult interaction. 


As for me, working was over-rated.  Sure the money was a perk, but the stress out weighed the benefit for me.  I actually prefer a pile of poopy diapers over a pile of paperwork.  These days, I have achieved a work-life balance like none other.


  1. Rachel says:

    This is only month 3 of my SAHM days; I agree with your comments about adult interraction. I didn’t realize how badly I needed that until just a few weeks ago. I’m in the process of trying to find some playgroups, etc. that we can join.

    Great post!

  2. Laura says:

    That article has interesting timing for me. I have been a stay-at-home mom for 8 years now and wouldn’t trade a day of it. But now I’ve decided it’s time for me to follow a dream so I am going back to college to be a nurse and I really don’t even care about the paycheck. I’m not completely a stay-at-home mom anymore but I’m not a work-at-home mom either. I trying to figure all of this out. I’m journaling it at wifemomstudent.blogspot.com.

    Thanks for sharing the article.

  3. Erika says:

    GREAT post D! I will help you organize anytime you need.. my pleasure! I would not trade my SAHM, Domestic Diva role in for the corporate world EVER. As long as the Nights out sans child and the occassional sans husband remain free flowing, I know I will remain sane!

  4. ali says:

    Wonderful, well-written post! My youngest will be starting Kindergarten next year and often people assume I will find a job and work outside the home then. They’re surprised when I say I plan on continuing to stay home. I love not having to call into work when my son is sick, I love picking him up from school, I love ‘snow days’ with the boys, and I love having the whole summer to spend time with them. I know it’s not possible for some families to do this. Believe me, it was a shock financially the first couple of years after I quit work. But we have made it work and I wouldn’t change a thing!

  5. savvysuzie says:

    Great post! I am lucky enough that I only have to work part time but if we could afford it I would LOVE to trade my pens for crayolas permanently. It’s definitely a challenge to make time for adult interaction though. When I was on maternity leave I was practically BEGGING people to come visit just so I could use words with more than two syllables for a while 🙂

  6. Andrea says:

    Interesting post! I have done both, working mom and SAHM. I would love to just be a SAHW though one day. I guess I have to wait like 18 years before that happens. LOL

    Either way, for me it has been a struggle. I absolutely hated being a working mother. I was riddled with guilt of leaving my child at daycare, at missing precious moments and at feeling like I was so pressed for time that dinner and cleaning and time with my husband went out the window.

    However, being a SAHM also has challenges. I find myself praying for patience to be with my son and be on duty 24/7 because patience is not my strong point and testing my patience is one of his favorite activites some days. I also desperately miss having my own lunch hour to eat lunch at Panera in solitude or with my girlfriends from the office. I really really miss my paycheck and all the fun things I used to do and buy with it. Slowly over time I feel like I am sinking further and further into motherhood, and instead of embracing it and loving the sweat pants, I am rebelling and feeling a loss of self.

    Of course everyone has to find their own balance in things. For some of us it can be quite tricky. I have come to believe that being a mother means finding happiness in what makes your children happy, not just yourself anymore.

  7. Sha says:

    I’ve been a stay-at-home-wife since June ’06… But it’s less of the traditional SAHW scenario, as I’m 25, have no kids and stay home because I prefer to spend my time concentrating on my art or being in school…

    We never thought of it as trading my paycheck for an apron, since I don’t do most of the housekeeping or cooking… And I’ve always had side income, either from blogging or my art.

  8. Alyson says:

    love this post. For me, staying at home and actually homeschooling my kids is sooooo much better than a ‘job’. It is 830 and I’m in my jammies writing this to you….and I get to plan my day according to what I want to get done…I am CEO!!!!! yay!!
    and I don’t find it lonely at all. I have a ton of friends and meet my working friends for coffee on their lunch breaks all the time.
    seriously good post.

  9. Angela says:

    I love your post! I have been a SAHW for 5 years now and love it. My husband and I decided on this together for financial reasons. He is in the Navy and when we eventually have children it will not be cost effective for me to work. Besides 6 months out of every year he is gone. Who is supposed to take care of the house and the children then if I do not? If given the choice all over again, I would defiantly trade my pay check for an apron.

  10. tina lane says:

    This is not in the cards for me just yet but I hope it will be one day. In the meantime I have purchased a pretty pink apron for when I graduate to domestic diva-ship.

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