Save. Spend. Splurge.

Why I’ll never be the stereotypical stay-at-home parent

It is too damn hard for me.

(Thank you all for your kind comments, emails & words on my starting post here.)


I am someone who really enjoys working, that is to say I don’t enjoy working for low pay, nor do I enjoy getting mistreated at work or having to deal with office politics, but I like feeling useful.

I like feeling like I contribute at home (50% money, 50% sweat), and I like feeling like I have knowledge and a brain that people are willing to pay $$ for.

I enjoy making money, (my OWN money), and all of that is gone now.

I don’t make any of my own money using my brain and it really sucks.


Sure, I make some pocket change here and there selling things off, but that’s all a bit of a wash because I’ve paid so much more at retail and now it’s all going for a fraction of its prices.

So right now, I feel useless. Mentally useless.

I can still obviously cover my half of expenses without much trouble, but I also feel financially useless.


Staying at home with a toddler who is not even rambunctious, wild or super hyperactive by any account (I have firsthand experiences, accounts to prove this), exhausts me.

Baby Bun is pretty calm, low energy, tranquil, sweet, generous and helpful most of the time, but for that 15% of the time that he is not good, he is (to me) a complete monster.


Those 10 minutes of him screaming, frazzle my brain and turn me into Medusa.

Maybe my expectations of my toddler are too high for his age, and maybe I am being too hard on myself as a mother, but I really feel like I am doing something wrong here most of the time.

I guess every parent feels like that.

My only break these days from Baby Bun is when he sleeps at night (but that’s a wash, I’m sleeping too), and when he naps (which is getting worse as he only sleeps one hour now).


I hate to stereotype but it is true that most parents who stay at home are mothers.

I’m not the one who makes the rules, but there you have it, mothers stay at home.

With most of the mothers who stay at home whom I talk to, they all sort of agree that it is hard work, bla bla bla, but give me a look like I am deranged when I mention that I’d rather go back to work than stay at home with Baby Bun.


In contrast when I talk to other fathers who stay at home (the few I have met), they ALL AGREE with me that it is extremely hard, and they feel like working would be much easier and here is the key point… preferable to staying at home with a child.

Only a few mothers who are truly unable to legally work (they don’t have work visas), agree completely with me that they’re having a hell of a time and it is difficult to adjust.

(Even THEY don’t scream at their toddlers though..)

The others?

It’s like I have grown horns sometimes.

They agree, and sympathize with me, FOR SURE, as they’re going through the same thing, but the general overall response I get is:

Why would you work if you don’t want to?

Don’t you want to stay at home with your perfect bundle of joy ALL THE TIME?!?!

You’ll miss out on all of these best years!!!

Errr.. no, and here’s why:

I get that his “best years” are before 5, but my brain can only handle so much mush.

Not only do I enjoy working too much, I also enjoy him much more when I get a break from him.

My break? It’s work.

I get to interact with adults, have adult conversations where my brain is not half on what my toddler is doing or eating, and I can string together a coherent sentence without getting confused.


Otherwise, it is Baby Bun 24/7 because my partner has even less patience than I do, and he does so much more around the home than most partners/husbands I see, that most of the BunCare ™ falls upon my shoulders.

It’s a tradeoff, really and I’ve accepted that between the two of us, I am better at childcare than he is, so he does other things that I don’t do, and he knows it is easier than what I am doing with Baby Bun.

Even when I worked full-time, my Baby Bun shift at home never ended or had a break.


They’re cooking, baking, cleaning, thinking up all of these amazing Pinterest-worthy arts and crafts activities to enrich their little growing toddler’s brain.

I see them in-person, this is no joke!

When their angels nap, they’re CLEANING.


I can barely get it together these days to get an outfit on without resorting to wearing what I wore yesterday.

I am always 10 seconds away from screaming at my toddler.

Food is whatever I can make in 10 minutes or less, sometimes he just gets fed bread and some fruit because Daddy didn’t make enough.

All that said, I know I am being a good mother (thank you all), and I am definitely helping Baby Bun “enrich his brain” but without baking sugar cookies that make him bounce off the walls or dreaming up these ridiculous activities to Pin on Pinterest.

He gets a books, crayons & a cardboard box, and some homemade flash cards with a zippered bag.. and he spends time zipping in his flash cards and reading out the letters to me in both languages.

That’s pretty much all I can handle these days and I think that’s enough.

This is why I not only want to get back to work, but I’ll never ever be the stereotypical stay-at-home parent.


It’s for my sanity and for his, really.

(P.S. I don’t want to stick him in daycare even though I could because he always brought home all these viruses and I hate being sick all the time, so I’m trying to avoid this when / where I can. Plus, it costs money and I have to pay half. UGH.)


  • Kelsey

    This post resonates with me so much… I am on mat leave right now with my 2nd child, and people are always amazed when they hear that my 2 year old still goes to a dayhome every weekday. They can’t believe that I wouldn’t want to spend “this special time at home” with a newborn and a toddler! But honestly it would be my worst nightmare. I need the time to shower and run errands and get some sort of dinner on the table, and I just don’t know how other mothers pull that off with two little kids. Also I’m not good at being fun and entertaining for a 2 year old all day, sometimes I just want to sit and drink coffee and read, so he’s much happier playing with his friends at the dayhome. I went back to work when my son was 6 months old and I’ll do the same with my daughter. I love my kids and I love being a mom but I also love my job and wearing nice clothes and having adult conversations! The other women in my neighbourhood all think that I’m insane.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      You have to do what is best for you and your child. Mine hates daycare, and I wish he liked it more, but he hates it. So I am waiting until he is older before I put him back (based on research I read anyway)… at any rate, I am stuck in between contracts for the spring so I am enjoying the time now as much as I can.

      THAT SAID.. I am dying to use my brain again. I am out right now, every week, a few hours a week to hang out alone and regain my brain. I can’t concentrate when I am at home with him, and honestly, there is only so much of playing I can do with a toddler. HE wants to do the same thing constantly. *braindead*

      I also do love wearing nice things and having conversations 🙂 We aren’t alone. Mothers unite!

      I don’t love my son any less for feeling like this and you shouldn’t either with your kids.

  • Chantelle

    I’m not sure how I found your website but I want to say… I feel the SAME way. We live in Vancouver, BC so had that GLORIOUS year of maternity leave when my daughter was born. She is 15 months old now. I went back to work part-time when she was 9 months old because: Sanity. Adult conversations, 30 seconds to zone out at my desk in peace and quiet, bathroom breaks, no need to be “on” and vigilant 24 hours a day… it truly is a vacation to me, one I feel guilty that I need. But, I do. My mom told me that when I was born and they only had 6 weeks of mat leave it may have been a good thing for her, in the sense that she HAD to find childcare for me. She got a break. She understands me. You understand me. Mothers who love being mothers but understand it’s not everything. Unite!

    • save. spend. splurge.

      #Unite 🙂

      I’m so happy you found the post and it connected with you. My mother was the same, perhaps it was passed on to us… My mom had to go back after a month of maternity “leave” (LOL).. and she ended up having to get a nanny and her mother-in-law to help with the kids, especially with me as a newborn.

      She said it was tough but she could never ever imagine quitting to raise children, she was asked by my brother if she would, and she told him: HELLS NO, and shoved my father in front of him to propose his services instead.

  • Lila

    Yea Holly Johnson from Club Thrifty wrote a blog post about why she’s not a SAHM.

    She’s a work at home mom, she works as a freelance writer and blogger making six figures! You’re not alone and there’s no one way to do motherhood right. I hate it when moms get all uptight in the mommy wars.

  • ArianaAuburn

    You do not grow horns just because you are expressing how you feel. In spite of what other people think, motherhood is as unique to each woman as a fingerprint. Besides, you are doing the best you can and if your brain craves work for the sake of your sanity, then work. Sanity is SO IMPORTANT that it affects EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE in your life. Don’t compare yourself to others regarding this unique experience.

  • Alexis

    Not to mention… if you have a job, you get to go to the bathroom by yourself 😀

  • chezloup

    I don’t have kids but I could not stay at home and not work. My brain would rot, especially since research is a major part of my job. There’s a direct correlation between how fulfilled my brain and my quality of life.

    However, I do not understand how so many women manage to have kids, jobs, relationships, all at the same time. It is bloody difficult looking after myself, let alone other people..

    My conclusion: mothers are superhuman. I don’t know how they do it, don’t know how my own mom survived.

    So I sympathize and wish you strength and patience. And hope you get more sleep. I suffer from chronic insomnia so I understand the ravages of sleep deprivation in any form.

  • raluca

    Heh, I don’t have children and I definitely prefer working to staying home sometimes. I also have breaks from my partner, where each of us does his own thing for a couple of hours a day. We’ve had this conversation actually, and we both agreed that having to interact with each other 24/7 would probably end in divorce, even though we love each other very much.

    Not all people are the same, some of us need time by ourselves to recharge, or just to use our brain and working can provide that. It’s nothing to be ashamed about, it’s just the way we are. And we need to make sure we take care of ourselves first so that we, in turn, can then take care of our dependents afterwards. There’s a reason that in airplanes, they always tell you to put your oxygen mask first, before helping your kids. Because that’s the best way for everyone to survive. You’re not good to anyone when you’re sick or impaired.

    It definitely comes more natural to my husband than to me though. For example, when we were taking care of his mother, I felt I was always more “on” then he was. He had a football match, he went out and played. He wasn’t insensitive, rather, it never occured to him to factor everyone else in decisions. I feel that we, as women, are taught to put other’s needs first. I took me until I was 25 to start fighting my programming and to aknowledge that I was important enough to have my needs met. And that there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not selfish, it’s not being a bad wife/daughter/mother, it’s just what I need to lead a good life.

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