Feeling a Sense of Achievement as a SAHM

Hubs and I were sorting some bits out recently and ticking things off our very long to do list. After making a couple of big purchases I was feeling very pleased and Hubs said “you like spending money don’t you?” To which (a little affronted as generally no I don’t like spending money at all) I replied “No, I just like achieving something and doing something we have wanted to for ages.” It got me thinking about that feeling of achievement and the difference between when you are working to when you are a SAHM.

When you are working, obviously depending on what job you do, there are real targets and you are always working towards something and I guess that sense of achievement is either there, or it is what you are striving for. Be it sales targets, personal development goals or just working hard so you know you can afford to do a specific thing, there is a definite sense of achievement for a job well done.

Reward charts for SAHM's? Hmm maybe not!!

Reward charts for SAHM’s? Hmm maybe not!!

As a SAHM, or SAHD for that matter, it is a lot harder to define. I may feel a sense of achievement when I clean something but it never lasts long as I turn around and it looks as though I may as well have not bothered! Then there are the times where I am focussing on the kids. What have I achieved other than building the perfect den or managing to keep the house relatively paint free while the kids are going loopy with finger paints? I guess that is why people often ask “what do you do all day?” It isn’t necessarily quantifiable or describable. It doesn’t sound like it amounts to much and I often feel as if I haven’t achieved anything, like I should have been doing something more worthwhile than playing.

Now I know what I am doing is worthwhile. What I am achieving, or hoping to achieve is well rounded, happy kids. But that isn’t easy to see on a daily, weekly, monthly even yearly basis. The fruits of my labours and sense of achievement will hopefully come as I watch them grow into adults and can think “I did that.”

But I think that can be one of the more challenging aspects of being a stay at home parent. Which I guess is why I love ticking things off our list of jobs. I crave a more definable achievement. I guess that is why many of us blog, it gives us a place to record our achievements, a community to share with. We encourage each other and remind each other why we do it. That’s not the only reason for blogging obviously as otherwise only stay at home parents would blog and that is of course not the case. I also think it is why many of us are constantly trying to come up with bigger and better playtime ideas for our kids, so we can feel like we have accomplished something or done something worthy.

It may also be why many of us struggle and aim to be the “perfect” parent. Perhaps because we need a goal to aim for? I am obviously writing this from the perspective of a SAHM but with working parents who get that sense of achievement from work… how does it work for you guys? Is it easier? As you get a sense of achievement at work do you put less pressure on yourself at home? Or is it worse because you are used to a sense of achievement at work and you put even more pressure on yourself at home?

I also worry about what will happen when I do eventually return to the world of work. I know that I won’t be content at home full time when the kids are at school. I will be bored with cooking and cleaning (domestic goddess I am not) and I know I will need something else. But I also know I will want to be around before and after school and in the holidays, at the very least while they are at primary school, so what will I do then? And how will I react going back to the world of work? I hope I embrace the challenge but I do feel nervous about going back to work after what will be a very long break. Am I up to it? Or will I feel like a failure, so out of the loop after focussing on my children for so long.

I have a few ideas for what I will want to do, and one in particular. It is just an idea and I am not ready to talk about it publicly yet. It is something I am very interested in but have no experience so would take a lot of study and potentially volunteering and I guess that may gradually ease me in to the world of work. But the thought of working full time again in the future does make me nervous. I can’t really put my finger on why other than the vague feeling that I somehow won’t be good enough. How will I adapt back to a focussed achievement driven world of work after living as a stay at home parent for so long? Only time will tell I suppose and hopefully my experiences at home with the children will help me to be successful in the future.

This post has ambled a little and moved away from what I originally thought I was writing but that is just the way my brain went. Are you a stay at home parent? Will you return to work one day? What are your feelings about it? Do you feel a sense of achievement as a stay at home parent?

And then the fun began...MummascribblesMaternityMondays

11 thoughts on “Feeling a Sense of Achievement as a SAHM

  1. Great post hun and something I think I have thought about. I think SAH parents achieve loads (!) but you are right in terms of work targets etc how do you maybe quantify it? You have to be rest assured looking at your 2 you are achieving as they look so happy! I’m intrigued to what you fancy doing next hun – all very exciting and a new chapter xx #twinklytuesday

  2. You know what’s funny, when I was a stay at home mom I would often complain about needing something to focus on and would drive myself batty trying to find a sense of achievement, which blogging did help with to a degree. And then, when I went back to work, I found myself feeling as though I was shortchanging my family by not devoting all of my time to my loved ones and my home…and still don’t feel that sense of achievement I thought it would bring. When it comes down to it, I think you have to set and define your own goals to work for and find that sense of purpose for yourself, regardless of how big or small those goals may be.


  3. Can absolutely relate to this … from the SAHD perspective. I’ve got a four-month old here at the house with me and sometimes it’s just a struggle to make sure I take a shower. But then there are the days when it’s all worth it, like when my daughter is being just stupid cute. I work from home as a freelancer, so it’s always tough to juggle work and daddy life (I will say that the early morning hours are the most important for productivity for me). Thanks for linking up on #twinklytuesday … I shared my SAHD experiences here: http://daddymindtricks.com/the-diary-of-a-stay-at-home-dad/

  4. It is hard to try and quantify all the things that we achieve when we stay at home with our children and I find a sense of satisfaction too in ticking things off lists as it is something definable. Blogging definitely helps remind us of all the little things we do as parents that help encourage our children to reach their potential and to make their childhoods fun. I too want to be able to be around outside school hours for the children and the thought of returning to work full-time whilst they are still children isn’t one that appeals. I’m very lucky though in that I do work part-time (for hubby’s company) in a role that I can do completely from home and still be able to be a full-time SAHM too. It’s not always easy to juggle the two but it works well for us as a family. Good luck with your idea about what you might like to do in the future x

  5. I really enjoyed this post. I feel exactly the same. You can’t quantify what you are doing and it can sometimes feels like very little. I suppose we will only see the end result when they are grown up! #twinklytuesday

  6. I work part time, two days a week, and feel it is the perfect balance for me. Those two days at the office, with adult conversation and many quantifiable achievements, satisfy my craving for work and refresh me for my days at home, allowing me to be a better mummy when I’m not working.

    I’m basically in awe of full time SAHMs like yourself. I just know I could never do it without losing my mind. You’re all amazing to me.

    In terms of feeling a sense of achievement in my role as mum I totally see where you’re coming from, it’s very tough. I try to focus on really small moments. I.e. If my son says a new phrase or learns something new I mentally give myself a gold star – ah, he learnt that, that means I did that.

    I also take compliments from others quite seriously. This weekend my parents looked after my son overnight and I got an adorable text from my dad yesterday saying what a great time they had and what a fab job my husband and I are doing with him. That was amazing! Similarly, my son goes to nursery on my work days and they have regular parents evenings. I joke around that hearing how he is getting on, in terms of his development milestones etc, is like a Mummy Appraisal lol!

    Could you perhaps consider part time working when your children go to primary school? I don’t think I’ll be going full time until my son is in senior school, for the practical timing reasons you mentioned.


  7. Because of the job I do it’s difficult to really feel a sense of achievement – it’s kind of a preventative thing so there is no quantifiable way of measuring the outcome. For that reason I can’t say that as a working mum I feel more sense of achievement through work than I do at home. In fact I think I probably get more of a sense of achievement through blogging than anything else. I think you’re right though that the sense of achievement in parenting will really happen later on down the line when they are becoming adults – what they do and what they achieve will be a delayed reward for the seemingly thankless effort at this end of the process! As such I think it really is one of the most important jobs we can do – raising good people, responsible, proactive, balanced, intelligent and emotionally intelligent – it’s good for society as a whole and that should be celebrated more I think. Also intrigued about your plans for the future! Thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout hon Xx

  8. I can relate to you so much, I have been a SAHM for 2 1/2yrs now and to be honest it has taken me a good 2 years to feel like I’m achieving things and actually be content on a daily basis. It took me a long time to realise that I’m working towards a bigger thing, like you say, a happy and healthy child and now although I have days when I’m exasperated with ‘being a mum’ most of the time I feel good. My partner is really good and reassures me all the time when I panic about not bringing money in or not working. A really important and interesting post! 🙂


  9. I’m a stay-at-home mom and just the other day Phillip and I were talking about this! I wanted to give him a haircut (which is long overdue) before bed but it was kind of late so I got really put out about it. He asked why and I said, “Because it’s on my list!” I usually have a list of at least a few things I’d like to accomplish that day and I feel good if I can cross them off. Is that healthy? I’m not sure, but it works for me.

  10. I work from home but I also feel this way even when I am achieving things in my work and job I still want to feel that when I am playing with the kids or doing specific things with them. I am the same when I am ticking things off a list that needs done. It’s fulfillment feelings of it isn’t it? Lovely post. Thank you ever so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

Thanks for taking the time to write something. I love comments and read every one xx

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