Brittany Hambleton
Brittany Hambleton
January 24, 2024 ·  3 min read

Staying at Home with Your Children is Harder Than Going to Work

There are many social stigmas attached to women (and men) who choose to leave the workforce to become “stay at home mums/dads” or “homemakers.” Most people view the ability to stay at home with growing children a luxury. But is it?

Becoming A Stay At Home Mom

A lot of stay at home parents express how difficult looking after kids can be, even though friends and family may challenge this belief. After all, for some people, staying home sounds like a vacation when compared to the daily 9-5 bustle.

So, that leaves us with the burning question, is staying at home with kids easier than going to work?

This is what research has to say…

A study conducted by AVEENO Baby surveyed new parents with 31% claiming that staying home with kids is much harder than returning to work.

22% say you will never finish a cup of tea again. 33% say you will eat most meals with one hand. 17%: say your back will always hurt. 48 % (only half of all new parents) believe that starting a family is a perfect experience. 

 4 Key Findings (by Pew Research Center) About Stay-At-Home Moms

1. More moms are staying home

The share of mothers who do not work outside the home has risen over the past decade. (1)

2. Stay-at-home moms are more likely to be impoverished

34% of stay-at-home mothers are poor, compared with 12% of working mothers. They are also less likely to be white and more likely to be immigrants. (1)

3. Stay-at-home moms in poverty have doubled since 1970

While more stay-at-home moms are in poverty — those with working husbands generally are better off than those without. However, stay-at-home moms with working husbands are not as well off financially as married mothers who work outside the home. (1)

4. Home by choice or obligation?

  • Married stay-at-home mothers with working husbands are more likely to say caring for family is their primary reason for being home. (1)
  • Single and cohabiting stay-at-home mothers are more likely to say they are ill or disabled, unable to find a job, or enrolled in school (1)

Overall, a growing share of stay-at-home mothers say they are home because they cannot find a job: 6% in 2012, versus 1% in 2000. (1)

More Research Findings

1. Majority of Stay-at-Home Moms Consider Going Back to Work

Research firm Reach Advisors conducted a study that found 57% of moms think about going back to work someday. (2)

2. Stay-at-Home Moms Report More Depression, Sadness and Anger

A Gallup poll revealed more stay-at-home moms report experiencing sadness or anger in their day than moms who work outside of the home. Of the 60,000 women surveyed: (2)

  • 42% of stay-at-home moms felt like they were struggling compared to 36% of working moms.
  • The number of stay-at-home moms who smiled or laughed a lot the previous day was 81%, compared to 86% of working moms.
  • 50% of SAHMs reported stress in their previous day, and 26% reported sadness.

Every stay-at-home mom must establish a support network, including regular outings with other mom friends to get a much-needed break and prevent mommy burnout.

Final Note

Despite all of these findings, 60% of Americans say a child is better off with at least one parent at home while only 35% said kids are just as well off with both parents working outside the home. (1) (2)

With all of society’s pressures and common misconceptions about stay at home mums/dads, it seems that parents can’t win either way. That’s why doing what’s best for you and your family is really the only thing that matters.

It isn’t about the ‘luxury’ of choosing between staying home or working, because as research has shown us, both options come with their own set of challenges and circumstances. It’s really about making the decision that’s right for you.

(1) Cohn, D., & Caumont, A. (2014, April 08). 7 key findings about stay-at-home moms. Retrieved from
(2) Duncan, A. (n.d.). The Discoveries, Studies, and Other Research Found on SAHMs. Retrieved from
(3) Khokhar, H. (2018, August 06). New Study Reveals Staying At Home With Your Children Is Harder Than Going To Work. Retrieved from
(4) Reporter, S. (2018, August 05). Staying at home with your children is HARDER than going to work. Retrieved from
(5) Thurrott, K. (2018, August 08). Is staying home with children harder than going to work? Retrieved from
(6) L. (2018, July 11). Transitioning from a working mom to SAHM was much harder than I thought. Retrieved from