What Does a Stay-at-Home Mom Do All Day?

Updated on December 14, 2018
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Vivian is a parent who shares advice stemming from experience and wisdom that can help you with issues every family faces.

It’s time to debunk the myth that stay-at-home moms are couch potatoes who have trouble putting in their day. They aren’t glued to Facebook, hanging with their besties, or chain-watching Hallmark movies. Their daily itinerary is surprisingly crammed, and if the time they spend “on the clock” were pitted against a full-time wage-earner, the stay-at-home mom would rake in oodles of overtime.

Most positions come with a job description and designated hours—typically eight hours of work plus one hour for lunch. Not so for the stay-at-home mom. She is always on the clock, yet she is a very versatile, well-rounded worker with an impressive resume.

Head Cook

She has a brood to feed, so the stay-at-home mom spends a large chunk of her day in the kitchen. Preparing breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks is no easy task for the variety of palates she tries to please, but she does her best to make the cuisine healthy and tasty. She plans meals ahead and keeps the pantry stocked. On the side, she is also the bus boy and dish washer. Working moms do their best to serve well-balanced meals too, but oftentimes schedules force them to whip meals from a box, can, freezer, or fast food restaurant.


Many stay-at-home moms home school their children. Even with all the home school tools and online classes available to her, the stay-at-home mom still has to provide individualized attention to each child from each grade—think Laura Ingalls Wilder in the one-room schoolhouse. Participating in home school recreational activities, field trips, and co-ops consumes even more of her time. If her children attend public school, she tutors them, helps with homework and special projects, and provides them with educational challenges during school breaks.

Laundry Attendant

The stream of laundry and ironing is unending, and the stay-at-home mom processes several loads every day.


The stay-at-home mom shuttles her kids to and from the school or bus stop, to doctor and dentist appointments, to sports activities, to mid-week church groups, to friends’ houses, to birthday parties, and to the mall for clothes shopping. Like many moms, her mini-van is the ideal mode of transport to lug kids and sports equipment around town. Keeping her van clean and devoid of crud and kid clutter also falls under her job umbrella.


The stay-at-home mom goes from room to room tidying up after her family has carelessly left trails of their stuff all over the house. She cleans, neatens, straightens, sweeps, decorates, and keeps the nest warm, inviting, and cozy.


Everyone turns to the stay-at-home mom for advice, encouragement, and wisdom for dealing with the ups and downs of life. She is a great listener her spouse and children can count on to be in their corner to boost their spirits when life hands them lemons and share in their successes when the blessings flow.


When a child is sick, the stay-at-home mom tends to them around the clock until they are better. She props them up on the couch, administers medication, adjusts bandages, distracts them with games and entertainment, checks their temperature, and gives them large doses of love and care. Working moms don’t always have the luxury of taking an unplanned day off for a sick kid, but when a child is unwell, grandparents, aunts, and babysitters just aren’t the same.


The bulk of yard work lands on the stay-at-home mom. She enjoys being outdoors to mow or shovel snow while her kids play in the yard, and she tends to her flowers and garden with complete devotion. She plants, she weeds, and she mulches until the outside of her home is as cheerful as the inside.


Working moms rely on in-home babysitters, daycare providers, family members, or schools to look after their children during the day. Some moms feel guilty for leaving their kids behind while they pursue a career or try to make ends meet, but others are relieved to get a break. Stay-at-home moms rarely get a breather, unless their kids are in school, but research shows children benefit from having mom at home with increased school performance and less stress and behavioral problems. Stay-at-home moms provide stability and structure that help their kids thrive—they’d much rather run off the bus and tell mom about their day than anyone else.

Friends and neighbors sometimes attempt to dump their kids on the stay-at-home mom, thinking they love children and have nothing else to do, but this is never appreciated. Stay-at-home moms make sacrifices for their own family—not someone else’s.

Errand Person

Stay-at-home moms do the grocery shopping, run to the bank, clothes shop for the kids, pick up prescriptions, take pets to the vet, and stop at the post office. She may even look after elderly neighbors or check in on her parents.


If the children of a stay-at-home mom aren’t old enough to fix their own hair in a way that is publicly presentable, she must also be their daily stylist. She knows how to get rid of rats without the tears, and a spray bottle of water is her favorite weapon against frizz and cockadoodles. She watches YouTube videos to learn the tricks of the trade on braiding, flat ironing, and spiral curling. Her children leave home confident in their appearance.

Worker from Home

Some stay-at-home moms find ways to make money without leaving the house. Freelance writing, transcription, in-home childcare, and tutoring are viable sources of income, and she tries to squeeze this into her schedule to help her family’s finances and keep her brain alive.

Stay-at-Home Moms Never Stop

Reading a book, enjoying time alone in the bathroom, painting her nails, watching a girly movie, and drinking an entire cup of coffee before it gets cold are on the wish list of every stay-at-home mom. Finding time to pursue her own interests evades her. Her family remains her number one priority, and that means her “job” has no start or end time because she is always on the clock. Stay-at-home moms appreciate people who ask, Do you work outside of the home? Such people demonstrate their understanding of how hectic and tiring working at home actually is when it’s done right. If, however, you meet a stay-at-home mom and are tempted to ask her what she does all day or whether she ever gets bored, don’t.


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