Claire Joines/Romper

12 Sacrifices Stay At Home Moms Make That No One Thanks Them For

Ad failed to load

All parents face challenges. Whether you're a young mom struggling to fit in with your kid-free peers, or you're one of a growing number of stay-at-home dads, or you're a working mom figuring out how to balance work and kids, you know that no matter your circumstances, this business of being responsible for a small (and disastrously naive) human (or humans, bless your heart) is going to test your patience, your limits, and your soul.

After the birth of my second child, I left my office job to become a stay-at-home parent. There's a lot I love about my new gig, but a lot of it is thankless in ways that I don't think I would have been able to relate to before I actually did it myself. Because, yeah, before I had kids, no one threw me a parade every time I cooked dinner. When I worked in an office, I didn't have medals pinned on my blazer for every report I submitted on time. But in both of the aforementioned instances, there was some hope of being thanked for a particularly delicious meal that I was not required to create or an email from the CEO telling me how great the latest proposal looked. Being a SAHP means you're constantly and exclusively doing a series of tasks that are so basic to everyday existence that it doesn't strike anyone to thank you for it. The line between what you "do" and what you "are" is blurry and that can be confusing or even deflating.

Obviously I'm not the first person in history to point this out: The hard work of stay-at-home parents is touted on many a Facebook graphic in overwrought language that makes it seem like SAHM stands for "stay-at-home martyr," which is how all of us feel in very isolated moments, but is pretty much not how any of us feel all the time or in general. Still, I would like to point out just a few of the things (of varying degrees of severity) that stay-at-home parents are rarely, if ever, thanked for — but definitely should be.

Ad failed to load

We Are Perpetually Covered In Schmutz


Children are grody as hell. Between body functions and the weird sh*t they do with food, there's virtually no hope for a SAHM to get through a day without having at least one or two really good smears of some foreign substance on them. But no one ever says, "Thank you for willing to be covered in schmutz to keep those kids safe and happy."

We Are Literally* Sisyphus

Ever try to clean a house with a child in it? It's like sweeping in a hurricane... especially if the hurricane hit a Goldfish cracker factory. But here's the conundrum: If we don't try, at the end of the day our house is going to look like the big junk heap Sarah lands in after that ballroom sequence in Labyrinth. This means one of two things: 1) the entirety of our "after the kid goes to bed" hours will be spent cleaning, or 2) we live in squalor for the next 18 or so years. So... sweep in the hurricane it is.


Our Wardrobe Has Taken A Hit


This dog is the best representation of my fashion soul I can conjure right now. Haphazard. Confused. Awkward. Desperately trying to get by. This dog gets me in ways my husband, parents, brothers and sister, and best friends never could and never will.

Go on all you want about how stay-at-home moms don't have to have bad wardrobes, but the truth of the matter is that no stay-at-home parent's wardrobe is going to improve once they start spending 80-95% of their waking hours in the company of their children. I'm not saying you have to dress like you crawled out of a dumpster or anything, but you're probably not going to dress as nicely as you did before you had children. Whether that means you have a closet full of beautiful office apparel languishing in your closet (because when the hell is it feasible to wear a pencil skirt anymore) or that you've moved from jeans to yoga pants for practical purposes, things are more than likely to be a bit... less stellar.

As a former clothing fiend and fashion-lover, trust me when I say that this is a blow to my damn soul, and no one has ever thanked me for it.

Ad failed to load

We Watch Children's TV Shows

My son has loved Curious George since before he was 2. He is currently 4. I have seen every one of that mischievous monkey's hijinks at least 20 times each. There are 108 episodes. I watch the Halloween special from July through October and the Christmas special from November through March. April, May, and June are spent watching Curious George Swings Into Spring. Repeat this same general process with Sesame Street, Wild Kratts, My Little Pony, and all the Tinkerbell movies. Why don't I just introduce him to a wider variety of shows? 1) You don't know how kids work, do you? They thrive on repetition and would choose the same thing over and over anyway, and 2) Watching "Curious George Sinks The Pirates" for the 45th time is still better than watching 1 episode of Barney or Paw Patrol or a whole bunch of other shows out there. I know what I'm doing. I've picked my poison.

We "Don't Work"

Not only does opting out of the workforce for however long we're doing it have an effect on our likelihood to be hired later on, but working outside of the home can be a tremendous source of satisfaction for a lot of us. That's not to say we regret our decision to "lean out" or that we don't enjoy staying home with our children...but it's a sacrifice, though it's rarely perceived as such. More often than not, we're told how lucky we are that we get to stay home. Well, sure, but it's usually much more complicated than that.

We Never Get To Eat A Decent Meal


Whether we have to attend to a child as our lunch gets cold and stale or we are required to get our children seconds before we've had even two forkfuls of our meal, stay-at-home parents are guaranteed a life of hunger and disappointment in the food department. Working parents at least have the possibility (usually) of a lunch or dinner break during their shift away from home. Us? Not so much. Pretty much all our meals are eaten in the company of our children, which, in addition to the aforementioned issues, usually means we have to "share." Of course it's only ever "sharing" when they want what you have. They're Karl Marx when you have something they want. If you want a bite of their pizza all of a sudden they're oligarchs.

Many of us have just given up and eat whatever our kids leave behind: PB&J crusts, half-eaten baby carrots, a slightly chewed banana, residual yogurt clinging to the side of the container. Fortunately for us, children are wasteful and will inevitably ask for at least four things they have no intention of actually consuming. Our meals are unsatisfying, but at least we won't starve.

Ad failed to load

"Lego Stigmata"


All parents are susceptible to this terrible affliction, but there can be no doubt that SAHPs receive this wounds at higher rates than working parents since we are in the house most of the time. We get the Legos jammed through our feet so you don't have to.

We Do The Worst, Monday-Friday, Nine-To-Five Errands

If something for the good of the family or household needs to be done at the DMV, or the bank, or the mechanic, or the kids need to go to the doctor or dentist, this will automatically fall on the stay-at-home parent. It makes sense, of course: SAHPs are not tied to particular schedules whereas working parents would have to take time off to run said errand, but jeez Louise, it's still super annoying. The DMV is annoying enough in and of itself, but managing DMV wait times with small children? That's an even deeper ring of hell.

When The Cable Guy Says He'll Be There Between 7:30 A.M. And Midnight The Next Day...


"Oh, that won't be a problem. My partner will be home, won't you honey?"

Wait, remember how I was just discussing all those annoying errands that need to be run and I'm the only one able to do them? (And those are on top of the usual errands, like shopping, picking the kids up from school, going to the laundromat, etc.) Now you want me to just sit around the apartment all day waiting for someone who, let's face it, may well call 15 minutes past their scheduled window to tell me they'll be there between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. the next day? And let's forget about the errands for a second: you want me to keep these crazed children inside all damn day? No park? No outing? Nada?

You know what? Fine. Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnneeeeeee.

Ad failed to load

We Drink Cold Tea


Your youngest is napping and your preschooler is quietly occupied with a coloring book. You're all excited to enjoy a nice hot cuppa when suddenly the baby starts crying. Then your preschooler needs help cleaning up a bottle of shampoo that "accidentally" spilled all over the bathroom floor. Then your baby starts crying again. When you finally get down to your tea, it's tepid at best. Such a minor thing, but so very, very demoralizing.


It. Just. Never Ends. And when it does? Well that's when it's time to start over again. Repeat this cycle for the rest of your godforsaken life.

We Refrain From Destroying Idiots Who Make Sexist Presumptions About Us With Our Laser Vision


Even though we desperately want to.

Ad failed to load

We Keep Our Laser Vision A Secret


For two reasons.

  1. We don't want our powers weaponized by world governments, resulting in an arms race the likes of which hasn't been seen since the Cold War.
  2. We know you would all be consumed with jealousy.

Everyone has their problems, and stay-at-home parents probably don't have more than most, but everyone is entitled to their complaints. So, if you get around to it, go ahead and thank a SAHP, if for nothing else than that you'll want someone with laser vision on your side at some point.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills