What do SAHMs do? - Mothering Forums
Stay at Home Parents > What do SAHMs do?
getovermylife's Avatar getovermylife 09:39 AM 04-28-2011

Since my DD started kindergarten, I feel like I do nothing all day. I clean but it's more here and there throughout the day instead of all at once. Even when DD was home I felt like I had more time on my hands compared to other SAHMs. Granted I can't run errands during the day like most people due to living in the middle of nowhere and not having my own vehicle. What am I supposed to do after I clean the house? I've tried gardening unsuccessfully. I crochet but I still feel like I'm just sitting around. My hubby wants me to sell things I crochet but I've found people don't want to pay a price that honors the time it takes to make any item. I read books but I go through the faster than I can get to the library. I just find that I'm bored, a lot. My husband joked that I must not clean the house enough. I know he was joking but that kinda hurt. My house certainly isn't a pristine showroom but it's certainly not dirty. The few SAHMs I know actually have money and aren't forced to be at home all day or have 2 or 3 smaller children not in school. Any suggestions?

getovermylife's Avatar getovermylife 09:47 AM 04-28-2011

I'm sure after reading the post you understand but just in case I noticed after I posted that the title may come off as condescending toward someone. I didn't mean it as in SAHMs don't do anything. I really want to know what SAHMs do when they don't have the kids all day.

Greenlea's Avatar Greenlea 09:48 AM 04-28-2011

Exercise.  I wish I had the free time to do this! LOL.

Scrapbook...make memories for you family.

Do online surveys for money/points.

Volunteer in your community - with kids, animals, or the elderly.

Start watching some other kids to make money & pass the time.

BetsyS's Avatar BetsyS 12:19 PM 04-28-2011

My mom is a homemaker with an empty nest (it's been empty for over 14 years), so I can tell you what she does.


She has a big garden and yard that she loves that takes a lot of time.

She doesn't cook very much.  :) 

She volunteers with her church a good bit.  Some of this (a lot of this) is done over the phone.  She sends cards, calls people, stuff like that.

She has 5 dogs that she trains (started with one dog, and she bred a couple of times; definitely her empty nest hobby).

Her house is way cleaner than it was when we were kids.

She blogs.

She runs errands for my self-employed step-father (I know this doesn't apply to you). I think he'd like it if she took over the book keeping for his business, but I don't see that happening. 

She's very involved in mine and my children's lives.  We live 1.5 hours away, and we see her once a week, for most of the day.

In the winter (so no garden), she sews.  A lot.



texmati's Avatar texmati 12:49 PM 04-28-2011

I don't know if htis is an option for you... but the sah's that dont have kids at home that I have seen are v. involved in their community. These are the people neighbors turn to for help etc. Can you be more involved in church/community activities? Or at yoru dd's school?

Jenni1894's Avatar Jenni1894 09:19 PM 04-28-2011

I'm home with my 3 all day.   Well, the big one goes to school, the middle one goes to school also.  Preschool 5x/week from 1230-300.   In that time I run errands with just 1 kid, play with her, clean, computer work.  

Can you volunteer at your DD's school?   I also volunteer in the class room 1x/week and am very active in the PTA.  

kr mom's Avatar kr mom 09:33 PM 04-29-2011

oh, how I long to be in your shoes lol =)  I always think about how I can some day have some of my life back when my kids go to school all day. Yes, I will read, watch tv, nap, workout, shop, have lunch with friends, clean and just all the stuff I can't really do so easily with a toddler now. But I plan on having several children so it may be a while. By then I will have earned it to do whatever I want all day while they are at school ;)    Being a sahm is hard work! much harder than I ever imagined. In fact, I really think it is why a lot of women choose to go back to work :) 

texmati's Avatar texmati 08:31 PM 04-30-2011

I've been thinking about this thread... I might be waaay of base here, but feeling this way could just be a symptom of not having time for yourself for a long, long, time. Those of us just getting into mothering may long for days when we could have some control of over our time, and use it to fulfill *our* wants, but those mama's who's kids are in grade school may have completely forgotten what it's like!


I'm sure you will find some more purpose-- and I betcha it's not doing *more* dishes because of a broken dishwasher!

Masel's Avatar Masel 10:20 PM 04-30-2011

My hobbies have hobbies. I just don't understand the question.  :)

youngspiritmom's Avatar youngspiritmom 02:31 PM 05-01-2011

Maybe start by asking yourself what it is that you love to do. What makes you feel happy? What makes you feel good? Try to do more of that.

I also second the advice to exercise. What a great opportunity!

Finally, give yourself a schedule. Like you do chores from 9-11, read the news at 11, make phone calls, then lunch. Run three days a week, do something special for yourself on fridays - you get the drift.


Also a book that will DEFINITELY help you and has tons of great ideas, questions, etc. is Mom'sTown Guide to Having it All - A Life Makeover for Stay at Home Moms


Good luck! <3

momma4fun's Avatar momma4fun 02:41 PM 05-01-2011

good lord woman! i did the out in the country thing once and i would be dying without a car too


can you drive your husband to work some days so you have a car? and just go to a river or a lake or on a hike or a walk through a more urban area for a change of scenery?


get a very part time job on a couple evenings or on a sat morning just to give you something to show up for? or work on saving for a little beater car?


i love sitting and getting lost on the internet and books all day, i could never get bored with that. i've made some genuine friendships with people i've never met in my life. there are all sorts of message boards/forums everywhere catering to all sorts of interests.


but i have to be able to get when i want to. some of the things you are saying sound slightly resentful that you are stuck in this way. i say talk about it with your husband more, in very straightforward honest terms, tell him what you NEED


good luck!

APToddlerMama's Avatar APToddlerMama 03:00 PM 05-01-2011

Maybe I missed this, but is there a reason you have to continue to be a SAHM?  Could you get a part time job and then maybe you could also afford a vehicle so you could stay a little more busy during the day? 

frugalmum's Avatar frugalmum 03:01 PM 05-01-2011



I have chronic fatigue-like problems so it is not uncommon for me to sleep 2 hours a day.  Other than that--


1 hour: exercise-- nothing intense, mostly walking

2-3 hours: cooking-- i cook for 7-8 people, several separate meals depending on who likes what

1 hour: cleaning and laundry (it should be more!)

1-2 hours wasted--. mostly online or video games

3 hours-- homeschool

when weather is nice-- 1 hour-- gardening

1 hour-- socializing with friend

1 hour-- reading

1-2 hours-- misc. kid stuff

HollyBearsMom's Avatar HollyBearsMom 05:07 PM 05-01-2011

My son is in school until 3:00.  I drop him off at 7:45 and pick him up at 3:00 so thats maybe an hour out of my day, usually less.  The rest of the day I don't have a minute of wasted time. I shower, make beds, clean, cook, do laundry, exercise, get errands done, pay bills, walk the dog.  I usually have tome to check emails, surf MDC and my other websites but that is maybe 20/30 minutes or so a day.

earthmama369's Avatar earthmama369 10:10 AM 05-02-2011

I've always been on the go. Involved in various organizations, homeschooling, running classes and activities, exercising, actively parenting, gardening and canning, cooking, volunteering, etc. Now, because I've become disabled, our two children are in school and I'm home alone for a 5-6 hour chunk every day. Doctors' appointments and such take up a lot of time some days, but the rest of the time I find myself having to actively teach myself how to slow down and enjoy the time. It's hard. But I'm finding a rhythm of reading, resting, and puttering that's oddly soothing. I'm not getting as much done as I used to but I often have time to do it better more thoroughly. I've become the tortoise instead of the hare (anyone remember that story?).

Sorilla's Avatar Sorilla 10:12 AM 05-02-2011

Work out, it takes time and brings good mood ;)

Get an e-reader so you can download free and quite cheap good books ;)


les_oiseau's Avatar les_oiseau 01:44 PM 05-02-2011

I agree with the PP that suggested maybe this is a symptom of not having time for yourself for so long? Anywhere close? and maybe feeling guilt a little? (I get that from the mentioning of making money a couple times)


If I had a good chunk of the day to myself...... :D .... I would spend more time working on my yard; planting flowers, painting or staining the deck... paint the walls in my house... spend more time knitting... take long bike rides and collect earthy treasures to make decorations for my home... join a couple book or Bible studies for women... learn to sew... bake things and bring them to my neighbors...

I could probably think of a million more things but my dd is forcing her way into my lap, clearly I am out of computer time!

good luck to you!

Chicky2's Avatar Chicky2 03:56 PM 05-02-2011

Gosh, what *don't* I do would be the question.  There's always something that needs to be done.  I manage the finances, make sure the kids are on top of their daily lessons, read to the littlest one, play games w/her and the other kids, cook (there are 6 of us and 5 w/adult appetites, so that's alot of cooking!), garden, clean up after our livestock, make sure the kids do their chores-inside and outside, canning, dehydrating, processing the meats my dh and my kids butcher, preparing beehives for more bees, learning about cheese-making for our goat milk we'll have soon, learning more uses for our beeswax, dishes, laundry, mowing 3 acres of our land, sometimes dye yarn w/a friend, weekly standing playdate, counsel my oldest dd who always has something she desperately needs to talk about, etc...Really, I could go on and on.  You need about 12 hobbies!


philomom's Avatar philomom 09:57 AM 05-03-2011
Volunteer, take classes..... write a book and get some exercise. Do projects for your home that you might otherwise pay folks to do. I'm getting quite handy with a pressure washer and paintbrush.
JayGee's Avatar JayGee 01:06 PM 05-03-2011

Do you live so far out that you couldn't bike places?  We normally have 2 vehicles, but mine has been in the shop for lengthy repairs so I bike everywhere.  It's about 5 miles to get into town from where we live and I've found that I really enjoy biking places much more than driving. 

OkiMom's Avatar OkiMom 09:13 PM 05-03-2011

Umm.. a day to myself.. never happens. Ok, it did before the baby came when DH would take the two girls at times. When they were gone I: sewed, napped, cleaned, cooked, talked on the phone (something I rarely do), wrote letters, worked on church projects etc. Dh is deploying soon so while hes gone I make sure I get at least 1-2 hours (wake up early/go to bed late) to do things for me like work out, read, shower, take classes, help out at church, sew, knit etc.

creddy's Avatar creddy 08:29 PM 05-10-2011


My son's still at home, but I would if I could:



Vegetable Garden (to save on groceries and be able to give away extra to those in need) 

Sew quilts (to donate to kids in foster care centers)


Babysit (if we could use the extra money)


There's as many ideas of things to do as there are people's interests. But you have to find out what makes YOU tick!!  Maybe you could write to the Troops.  Could you teach crochet, or some other skill you have? 


If you want my honest thoughts, I agree with previous posts -- it sounds like you have to search deep and find out what *fulfills* you.  Meaning for example, I crochet and LOVE it SO much that, if I had time, I'd make things just to donate  (small "doll-type" toys to kids, blankets to newborns in need, or lap blankets for those in nursing homes, or hats for those with cancer!)  You know what I mean!?  You just have to find those one or two things you couldn't NOT do :-)   Best wishes!

MamaofLiam's Avatar MamaofLiam 10:24 PM 05-10-2011

This is a great thread! I've been wondering the same thing as the OP. You pp's are really motivating me!


I've realized I need more structure and routine in my life. As a result I've signed up for an online class and have started exercising 5 days a week. Just by doing that I've noticed a huge change in how I feel. We're moving soon, so once we get there I plan to join some clubs and / or mom groups. I used to sew a lot, maybe I'll start doing that again. 

JoyFilled's Avatar JoyFilled 04:24 PM 05-30-2011

Have you though about fostering?  They are often looking for people to take care of children who are under 3 as SAHMs are hard to come by.

BrascosPrincess's Avatar BrascosPrincess 10:33 PM 07-15-2011

the last time my husband and i had a day without our kids, i slept on the couch and he played playstation 3... while sitting on the floor so he didnt wake me up.. sorry im not much help that was the last and first time ive had a day without mine in 2 years.

jeteaa's Avatar jeteaa 08:52 AM 07-16-2011

I;m sort of in the same situation. Although, I have too many options for what to do with my time now that both kids will be FT school. for me its about figuring out which one is best. As for getting a job: I NEED to be available for my dc before and after school, as well as holidays and being available to volunteer in the classroom. Besides self employment I have not come across any jobs which would pay well enough to be worth it, which I would enjoy doing and has a schedule I can live with. Maybe you see it this way too? As for you not having a car (and if you don't have regular bus service) you need to get a car. My grandma donated her good condition car to a low income mom..... I'm sure you could even seek out a donation of sorts if you can not afford even a $800 car (or car payments). I do hope you not having a car is NOT some control issue of your husband. I personally think it is a safety risk to NOT have a car in your situation. UPS picks up anywhere, maybe you can start an esty store or e-bay?