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WFHM or SAHM: Why You Need to Pick a Side

Labels. Love them or hate them, people are going to give you labels. If you spend your days at home with your kids, whether you work or not, people will label you a Stay-At-Home-Mom. However, for those of us who work out of our homes, this is not the right title. Instead of being a Stay-At-Home-Mom, we are a Work-From-Home-Mom. While some moms are quick to accept both labels, in my opinion, they are mutually exclusive titles, and for those of us that run our own businesses, the success of our companies are dependent on the label we choose.

WFHM or SAHM – Why you need to decide

For those of you that use the Stay-At-Home-Mom title, you might be asking, “Why can’t I be both?” While at the end of the day no one is going to force you to give up your label, your business and personal self will thank you for deciding on the most fitting title. Here’s why:

Do you run a business or have a hobby?

The number one reason you need to figure out if you are a Stay-At-Home-Mom or a Work-From-Home-Mom is that you need to decide if you are running a business or if you have a hobby that sometimes earns you money.

A business is something that you fight to make work. You have goals, and you plan for a return on investment for each dollar that you spend. If you are running a business, you are a Work-From-Home-Mom.

A hobby is something you do for fun. As you find the time, you can complete projects. If you do not have the time, you do not stress over the lack of accomplishments. Additionally, a return on your investment is not a priority. Instead, you see each dollar spent like a dollar that goes toward your personal enjoyment. If you make money, it’s a bonus but not a necessity. A Stay-At-Home-Mom can have a hobby. While a hobby can eventually transform into a business, a hobby is not a business.

[bctt tweet=”WFHM or SAHM? Do you run a business or a hobby?” username=”JamieVanCuyk”]

For example, you enjoy crocheting. You make blankets and often make and give them as gifts. While you do not actively try to sell your blankets, people have admired your talent and have requested a custom-made blanket. You have charged for these requests but see the earned is a perk and might only cover the cost of materials. In this example, you have a hobby that involves crocheting blankets.

Crocheting blankets can also be a business. When it is a business, you expect to earn revenue from each blanket made. You have a plan to sell your products that might include having booths at craft events or an online shop such as an Etsy store. Your goal is to sell all completed inventory, make a profit, and to pay yourself.


Deciding between a Stay-At-Home-Mom and a Work-From-Home-Mom is also important because the decision impacts your mindset. Your mindset controls your thoughts and therefore controls your behavior.

To illustrate how mindset can impact us, think of your kid when they try something new. For example, riding a bike. When your child is trying something new, they tend to have one of two mindsets. The first mindset is “I can do this! I know I’m going to be awesome. Let’s do it!” The second mindset is “I think I’m going to be really bad. I’m not sure I can do it, so maybe I shouldn’t try.”

If your child has a little spill off their bike when they have the positive mindset, they get right back up and try again. However, when your child thinks they are going to fail and has that same little fall, they give up because they believe their feelings of failure have been confirmed. The same situation occurred, but the outcome was different because of their starting mindset.

If you have a Stay-At-Home-Mom mindset when running a business, you’re doing your business a disservice because subconsciously your business can be overshadowed by anything involving your children. While as a mother there is nothing wrong with this, this type of mindset is what makes day, weeks or even months pass by without you getting any closer to your business goals.

With a Work-From-Home-Mom mindset, your work and children share the space at the top of your mind. You are a mother and there for your kids, but you know that work must have its spot within your day. When things do not go as planned and your kids need more of your time, your Work-From-Home-Mom mindset allows you to adjust priorities without falling behind with your business goals.

Defining Priorities

The selecting of the tasks you see as priorities also tends to differ if you label yourself a Stay-At-Home-Mom or a Work-From-Home-Mom. If you list and rank all the tasks you should do on a typical Monday, your top ten would most likely be different from most other mom’s top ten. This is because everyone has different priorities.

A woman I know is a Stay-At-Home-Mom. Around the time I was launching my business, she was preparing to start a business of her own. She felt ready to start working again and was starting a business she could manage while still staying home with her daughter.

A few months later, I asked her how everything was going with her company, and she said it was mostly on hold. Her reason was a powerful statement about deciding your priorities. She said that the business was eating into the quality time she was spending with her daughter. With her daughter being the only child she was going to have, she was determined to give it her all. She did not want work priorities to compete with her mother priorities, so she was putting her business idea on hold until her child entered school.

Other mothers have different priorities. Family dynamics are different, child behavior is different, and our capabilities and wants are different. We have different views of what is best for ourselves, our children, and our families. While our priority lists will always look different, you need to make sure you have work as a priority if you work from home. Our labels help us define our priorities and keep what is important at the top of our minds.

[bctt tweet=”WFHM or SAHM? Labels help us define our priorities and keep what’s important top of mind” username=”JamieVanCuyk”]

Why you better not call me a Stay-At-Home-Mom

In addition to knowing and using the right labels for ourselves, I think it’s also important that we try our best to use the proper label for other moms. The label I use is Work-From-Home-Mom, and I will correct anyone that calls me a Stay-At-Home-Mom. The reason I do this is out of respect. I’m not saying that it’s disrespectful to me, but rather it’s disrespectful to actual Stay-At-Home-Moms to give me their title.

Unlike Stay-At-Home-Moms, I did not decide to leave my corporate job to be a full-time mom.  I left my full-time corporate job to start my own business. Working a schedule that allows me to keep my children home is only a perk.

Unlike Stay-At-Home-Moms, when I make my schedule, the first thing I add is the time I will use to work. I do spend a lot of time with my children, but it’s between the times I block for work instead of working between the times I set aside for my kids.

Unlike Stay-At-Home-Moms, I often say no when invited to weekday, day-time kid activities. While we have our share of adventures, some weeks work deadlines are more important than playdates.

Unlike Stay-At-Home-Moms, I would not think twice about putting my kids in full-time care if my business makes it too difficult to keep them at home.

My kids are obviously a top priority in my life, but for a few hours every day, my job overshadows them. Yes, this is my choice, but that’s exactly my point. Stay-At-Home-Moms work hard for their title and to just give it to someone like me is degrading the label Stay-At-Home-Moms have worked so hard to earn.

Why some moms will not give up the Stay-At-Home-Mom title

There are a lot of moms out there who work out of the house but continue to use the Stay-At-Home-Mom label. There are even moms who are earning well over six figures from the work they do at home that will not drop the Stay-At-Home-Mom title. Why is this?

In my opinion, it’s because of public opinion. From the moment a mother decides that they are staying at home with their children they have to defend their decision. People judge them for giving up their career, for not wanting something more, for not being able to afford childcare, and for every other negative thing people think about Stay-At-Home-Moms.

However, Stay-At-Home-Moms are proud of their title. They worked hard to earn it and to show people that there is nothing wrong with being a Stay-At-Home-Mom. It’s hard to give up something you work so hard to do, that you love, and defend with every bone in your body when you face a critic. Pride prevents some moms from being willing to give up their previously earned title and switch to the one that fits them today.

Also, I believe that fear plays a part. There is the fear that people might think that you are saying that there is something wrong with being a Stay-At-Home-Mom because you are choosing to no longer be one. After all, we only quit jobs we hate or cause us undue stress, right?

No, that is not true. Switching titles does not mean you are not proud of the title you no longer use. You are not saying that there is anything wrong with being a Stay-At-Home-Mom just because you decide to become a Work-From-Home-Mom.

You are an amazing mom

Labels matter. Be proud and use the one that fits you because the title you select will impact your mindset and how you rank your priorities. Teach your children that there is nothing wrong being who you are and that it’s ok to change who you are and your priorities as time goes by.

Stay-At-Home-Mom, Work-From-Home-Mom, and even those moms who read this post and are Work-Out-Of-The-Home-Moms, you are all doing something amazing. You are living the life that at this moment in time is best for you and your family. Be proud of this and wear the label that is going to help you achieve your current goals.