What is the True Value of a Stay-At-Home Mom?

Can you really put a value on raising kids and taking care of the household? According to Salary.com, you can. Using their salary wizard, the annual salary of a typical stay-at-home mom (SAHM) in 2018 is $162,581; that’s up $5,000 from 2017. That figure considers a base salary of a 40-hour work week and overtime equating to about 52 hours. According to this estimate, being a SAHM is invaluable; yet many moms struggle with self-worth.

Do You Think Your Life Is Not Important?

Have you ever found yourself thinking…

  • My husband keeps a roof over our head, but what do I bring to the table?
  • Sure, I have a degree, but I can’t use it now that I’m a mom.
  • My friend has a career and she seems happy at work. Her life is so much better than mine.
  • I’m just a stay-at-home mom.

Thoughts like these can destroy your confidence. I have had similar thoughts myself. After being a SAHM for several tiring, thankless years, I slowly lost my identity and my voice.

A few years ago, I wrote a chapter in an anthology book called Emerge: Real Stories of Courage and Truth. I remember the excitement I felt during one of the weekly writing assignments where I had to write a speech to an imaginary audience. The confidence and power I felt speaking on things I had learned over the years was exhilarating. I imagined I had a captive audience; it felt so good and so real. Sometimes we must step out of our comfort zone and take a leap of faith into what we believe. I got so excited about the possibilities, and I realized that when I have something to say that I’m passionate about I want to be heard! During the writing, I found my missing voice. To this day, I still get stage fright, but my desire to be heard gives me the courage to push the fear aside.

Too often, moms fall into the trap of self-doubt and self-pity. When we entertain this way of thinking, it’s impossible to fully love ourselves. We’re not able to see what good we’ve accomplished or our significance. On the other hand, learning to value ourselves can extend beyond us and even boost our children’s self-esteem because we can only show them how valuable they are by first valuing ourselves.

Do You Think God Designed You for This Alone?

Maybe you’re thinking God designed you to be just a SAHM, and that is a divine calling. But, I also encourage you to consider that there may be something more you can be and do. I bet you’re saying, “Where can I find the time to focus on anything else?”

Sure, being a SAHM is a very important role and somebody must get the kids up and off to school in the morning, clean the house, wash, fold and iron the clothes. And, of course, dinner must be on-time because hubby will be expecting it as soon as he walks in the front door. Then baths and bedtime, and the routine starts all over again the next morning.

I used to measure my worth by how clean and tidy my house was and how well-behaved my sons were. One thing out of place or one unruly outburst from one of my sons could send me into a downward spiral of self-condemnation. I rationalized that God wanted me to focus on my family; not myself. I figured there would be plenty of time for my personal interests once the kids were grown and gone.

However, I’ve learned that taking time for myself, my passion, and my mental growth helps me to see myself the way God sees me and to see my worth and value in a healthy way. Feeling confident and staying positive, helps me to assist my sons when they get down on themselves or can’t see their own strengths.

Do You Think There Is No Time to Focus on Yourself?

My self-esteem dropped so low that I didn’t feel worthy to take time out for myself. I stopped feeling anything and buried my needs in busyness for others. Numbness was easier than facing my own unhappiness. I felt guilty expressing any discontent, especially when I was fulfilling such an important role as a SAHM. I thought it was selfish to focus on me. I told myself, “Who has time to read or indulge in personal practices? I’m too busy taking care of  everyone else.”

As I invested in my personal and spiritual development, I soon realized that I had nothing supportive to give until I practiced self-love. Now I take daily time out for a game of Word with Friends. I read Christian fiction books and listen to encouraging, uplifting audio books. These are a few of my refueling practices that give me energy to face a busy life filled with To-Do lists. As SAHMs, we must take time-out for ourselves before we can give quality time to others. This is not an optional exercise but extremely necessary and important.

When we make self-love our priority, we nurture a sense of worthiness inside ourselves, which overflows to our children so they won’t have to search for it outside of the home. Our children are watching our actions. Through our example, they learn to value and love themselves.

But, How Do I Begin to Value Myself?

Here are three quick and easy suggestions for busy SAHMs to begin to build their confidence and self-worth.

  1. Make a list of everything you like about yourself. If your list is short, enlist your children, husband, and friends to add to it. Read over your list slowly, taking it in, and feeling appreciation for who you are. For example, on my list I wrote, “I love that I am smart. I love that I write well. I love that I am a thoughtful and considerate wife and mother.”
  2. Make a second list of everything you’ve accomplished in life (big and small). Read each accomplishment out loud (or silently if you’re a bit shy). My list sounds like this: “I’m glad that I coauthored an Amazon best-selling book and have been featured in several articles. I’m glad I received a bachelor’s degree and graduated Magna Cum Laude. I have two handsome sons and a husband who adores me.” 
  3. Surround yourself with encouragement. I invite you to Be My Guest in One Degree Shift. We are a virtual learning community supporting each other to live happy and meaningful lives. Being part of this community has made a world of difference for me, and I know you will find more ways to build your confidence as a SAHM. As a member, you’ll have access to our online forum and learning circles on a variety of topics to gain greater self-discovery. The support has been invaluable to me.

To begin to value yourself more, it’s important to recognize the attributes you already possess and surround yourself with others who can help you see the important contribution you make in this world. By bringing your personal attributes to a conscious level, you will avoid wallowing in self-doubt. And, with each reminder, you will begin to appreciate what an awesome person you truly are and be able to see more of the many blessings around you. As you recognize how incredibly blessed you are, your kids will be blessed as a result.

Leave me a comment below and tell me your biggest challenge as a SAHM. I’d love to hear from you!

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9 Comments

  1. Candice August 30, 2018 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    Great points! Being a sahm is truly 2 full time jobs and grossly underappreciated but as more awareness happens that may change. There are some people who’s gifts and callings are to the home and they have accepted that and then there are those like you mentioned who feel like they’ve lost themselves in stay at home world. If more couples will recognize and honor the significance of each role as well as understand the role given to us by the Lord, I think the respect will increase in the homes and the burnout will be virtually non-existent! It is everyone’s role to help run a household even if a mom or dad is not in a career field and a common misconception is that if one is at home with the children instead of out working, that it is solely their responsibility to cook, clean, bathe, nurse etc while the other unwinds from their day away at work. The sahm or sahd also needs time to unwind and deserves just as much. This time will allow them to be energized enough to cultivate other ideas, dreams or visions they may have so that they don’t lose sight of what else is within them. We can only truly know ourselves by knowing the Lord intimately which reveals our identity, purpose and calling so I know the saving grace for me when I felt I wasn’t contributing anything of value was immersing myself in the Word of God and constantly welcoming His tangible presence into my everyday life. I love being a sahm even though I work and own my own business now but this topic is near and dear to me. Proud of you!!

    • Johnnene Gay August 30, 2018 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      Thank you Candice. What wonderful insights. I look forward to what you’re going to impart to the world soon. Additionally, you touched on my next blog topic, “having a relationship versus routine religion.”

  2. Sue Corbran August 31, 2018 at 1:00 am - Reply

    I considered myself as a SAHM for 32 years. I raised my own three kids and my three step-kids. Even though I graduated with a BA in Education, my main goal was to be home with my kids. Of course, by the time they were in school, I filled my time with home-based businesses or other part-time jobs. I felt it was important to have another purpose or at least have something to bring to the table when meeting others. Not everyone knows what it’s like to stay at home. Although I’ve had to work harder now to support myself, I wouldn’t have changed anything. You learn to make the best out of every situation.

    • Johnnene Gay August 31, 2018 at 3:42 pm - Reply

      This is so true Sue: “You learn to make the best out of every situation.” That is, if you are aware. Sometimes when we fall into the trap of ‘doing’ we sometimes don’t stop to ‘think’ about a better way to make things happen more efficiently. I went through years of not knowing there was more that I could do to make my situation better. I’m learning now that I have the tools I need to be successful, if I don’t let inactivity stop me (if that makes any sense). Thanks for your comments.

  3. Priya Sweetenburg August 31, 2018 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    Great insight! I look forward to the next read. Keep up the good work.

    • Johnnene September 3, 2018 at 3:37 am - Reply

      Thank you Priya. With your encouragement and countless others, I will do just that. I love writing!

  4. Christy Porterfield September 11, 2018 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    Very nice. I love the section about valuing yourself.

    • Johnnene September 13, 2018 at 5:56 pm - Reply

      Thank you so very much Christy. More to come. Please don’t hesitate to share with other women whom you think could benefit from my words of encouragement.

  5. Kim October 8, 2018 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    Great article, Johnnene! When I went from the workforce to staying home, I felt guilty for no longer helping out financially. I got over that, but when the economy tanked, we lost a lot of money & I needed to go back to work. THAT was when I realized how important having a parent at home is. Now, I have found a way to be home AND add to our family income. No guilt. Just grateful.❤️

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