Jeremy Ohara

Jeremy Ohara

SAHM Meaning: What Does SAHM Mean?

  Mar 22, 2024
Reviewed by Ravinder Kaur

With the increase in the number of SAHP (Stay-At-Home-Parent), especially after COVID-19, there are many who prefer things to stay the way they are. 

Well, not the situation with COVID-19, but the comfort and flexibility people have as they work from home. How nearly everything switched online, and many worked from home or remotely surely made life easier for many parents. And so, with that, the percentage of SAHM has increased too. Now if you are wondering what does SAHM mean? Let us define SAHM for you in the tell-it-all article. 

What does SAHM mean? 

There are many slang words and short terms used for various long words to make it easier to use them. One of those terms is SAHM. So before you think, ‘what does SAHM stand for?, it is basically a short form, and SAHM stands for Stay At Home Mom. It is a title for a stay-at-home mom and is used as an acronym, or you can say slang. The mothers stay at home to do the housework or look after the children while their partners work to support the family financially. 

SAHM is used on various websites about motherhood or parenthood and in communities and groups for moms as well. As per TIME, the term SAHM really took off in the 1990s after many women started working paid jobs outside the house. While some think SAHMs have it easy, it sure comes with a lot of expectations, roles, and responsibilities. 

There is another name for a stay-at-home mom, too, like a homemaker or housewife. So what is a SAHM, and where, or how, did it all start? Let’s find out.

History of SAHM

As most of you may already know, there were many women in the old times who were stay-at-home moms. But as time went by and more mothers started going outside the house to do paid jobs and earn, the percentage of SAHMs lessened. 

As we have talked about SAHM so far, the term is often used online, from websites about parenting to mom groups or communities. It is also used in everyday life to describe what it is like to have the role of a mother who works at home rather than going out and earning. However, sadly, it is not always used in the most respectful or dignified manner as it should be. 

So what exactly is the role of SAHM? Are there any responsibilities that they are expected to look after? We will now discuss the role of SAHM in the upcoming section.

The Role of SAHM 

There is not just one role that SAHMs have to play, meaning there isn’t just one task that they do that describes their role perfectly. Since they have so many things to look after, be it cooking, cleaning, taking care of the children, going grocery shopping, running errands, or simply doing many other house chores, they have a lot to do. 

And all this leaves little to no time to have for themselves. They also have to be the family housekeeper, social planner, organizer, etc. Even though not everyone understands or values the role of a SAHM, there are many who understand the importance and responsibilities that come along with it. 

Being a SAHM is surely not an easy role to take on, as it has its own share of contribution to society. The things SAHMs mostly have to look after are:

  • Doing house chores: What many SAHMs spend their time doing is housework, and that includes various tasks like cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, going out to run errands like grocery shopping, house maintenance, etc. 
  • Taking care of kids and family: The child care or family care involves tasks like picking and dropping off kids to school, taking them out on weekends or after-school activities. Apart from that, there are different appointments and school meetings as well that SAHMs have to schedule and coordinate. 
  • Looking after finances: Even if the SAHMs don’t do paid jobs, they can still manage the finances of the family, from monthly expenses to other bills, and create budgets. For instance, checking if the school fees have been paid or calculating the costs of food and other items. 
  • Working from home: These days, many couples prefer to do paid jobs to have more stability in their income, and hence many SAHPs or SAHMs work from home while also looking after the children. 

There are many who question and doubt the role of being a SAHM and create a bad dynamic. Such thoughts lead to mom-shaming, mommy wars, and judgments about how a mother (as per the set societal norms) should act. SAHMs face many challenges, too, let’s talk about some of them.

Challenges that SAHMs Face

While it should be totally up to the mothers whether they want to be SAHMs or financially support the family by doing paid jobs, society never really stops setting up its own norms. 

Sadly, as per the culture, SAHMs have it easier as compared to those who work outside the house. And they think that the mothers aren’t good SAHMs because they don’t contribute enough to society. They have some unrealistic or quite unattainable expectations of them. 

Let’s have a look at some of them and see what is expected if one has to be a ‘good SAHM’ as per society. 

  • Kids are a priority: The SAHMs are expected to only keep their sole focus on their kids. As per the judgmental section, things that everyone does for self-care like exercising, doing yoga or meditation, hanging out with friends, or simply taking out time for themselves are seen as being selfish. 
  • A lot of free time to do house chores: Many people have the idea that SAHMs are usually free and have enough time to do all the housework. They judge quickly and don’t realize that there could be other things like finances or working from home to look after too.
  • Perfection has to be there: In today’s time, where it has been said over and over that perfection doesn’t exist, the SAHMs are expected to be good mothers only when they do every task perfectly. 

Good SAHMs are supposed to only feed their kids fresh and homemade food, keep the house perfectly clean at all times, and be available for the kids 24 × 7. While some of these are attainable, mothers have their own life too where they can take out time for themselves and take a break from the ‘mom life’.

  • It is not an actual job with real work: It is quite debatable to make the comparison between a paid and unpaid job and find out which is contributing more to society. But it is important to note that judging in terms of whether money is involved or not is not fair. 

While the mothers are expected to stop doing their jobs when the kids are in the picture and only look after them, at the same time they are discredited and made to feel undervalued for all the hard work they put in by doing house chores. 

There are a lot of expectations from SAHMs as they face challenges every day. But they need to remember that they are doing the best that they can and not let judgmental people and society tell them how they are or should be doing things.

Life of SAHMs in the Present Day 

These days, SAHMs still face their own share of challenges. In today’s economy, where most mothers prefer to work outside and do jobs for earning and financially supporting their families, there are still some who are SAHMs and prefer to do things that way. While being a SAHM has its own pluses, SAHM life is not for everyone. 

Some mothers say that getting to be with their kids during their upbringing is one of the best advantages that SAHMs get to have, but it works both ways. The mothers might need to take some time out for themselves, which mothers who work outside already get.

On the other hand, the SAHM can be entrusted with the education, values, beliefs, and how the kids are raised. But if you are someone who is planning to be a SAHM, make sure that before that you do your research and then go with the decision, keeping many essential factors into consideration. 

Tips for SAHMs

Since everyone has their own way of doing things, and being a SAHM, here are some tips that might help them in one or another for the better. If you are a new SAHM or someone who is planning to become one, these tips may be of help to you.

There is no right or wrong way to go for being a SAHM, as it works differently for everyone, however, going through these tips might make the job a different perspective.

  • Make sure you give yourself breaks during any task, as you would do while doing work outside the house too.
  • You can start distributing responsibility little by little, so your kids don’t become fully dependent on you.
  • It is okay to share how you feel. At times, when you think everything is getting overwhelming, let your partner know.
  • Don’t ever make comparisons with other SAHMs and how their life is, especially on social media. 
  • Ask for help when you think you are in need. Be it from your partner, in-laws, neighbors, day-care, etc. 
  • Remember that being a SAHM is also a job, even if it is not as much appreciated (though it should be) and unpaid.
  • Set goals for yourself and your family.
  • Make sure that you do self-care as it is very essential. Many SAHMs tend to get so invested in the house chores that they forget to take care of themselves. 
  • While it might not always feel like it, kids do grow up fast. So remember to cherish every moment and mark your highest points.
  • You don’t have to do it all yourself and be perfect. Just because you are a SAHM, doesn’t mean you have to look after everything. 
  • It is alright to say ‘no’ when you have to. It is not only your time and attention that can be used for every work. So your time is also important, hence, you are not obligated to do all the things.
  • Be a part of different parent and SAHM communities, as this will help you to relate with others and socialize too. 

We hope that these tips will help you in understanding the different points of being a SAHM and ease out a bit. Now let’s have a look at other mom lifestyles apart from SAHM. 

Other ‘Mom Lifestyles’

Apart from being a SAHM, there are other lifestyles as well that many mothers have adopted, let’s have a look at them. 

  • WAHM (Work-At-Home-Mom): The mothers who do jobs that are paid and work at home or remotely for them while taking care of their kids at the same time are referred to as Work-at-home-mom and its short form or acronym is WAHM. 
  • WOHM (Work-Outside-the Home-Mom): Those mothers who have partners who can take care of children while they are away for work are called Work Outside the Home Mom or WOHM. 

Mothers choose to live the mom life their way and can go ahead with suitable choices to bring out the best of the motherhood experience. Despite being a controversial topic, mothers have been living different lifestyles as per their needs for a long time now. 

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Final Thoughts 

As discussed in the article, mom life is a different experience for everyone. And it is totally up to them what way or how they choose to live it. 

In today’s time, if someone is going to live a SAHM life, they must ensure that they can fully rely on their partner for financial stability. And, they support them by working at home and looking after other important things.