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What Does SAHM Mean?

By Emma Davies


Updated on

SAHM is an acronym that stands for ‘stay-at-home mom’. The term is typically used to describe a woman who doesn’t work a traditional job outside of the home and stays home to care for the children and manage the household.  

What Does SAHM Mean?

While the popular parenting acronym can also stand for ‘stay-at-home mommy’, the term should not be taken literally. A SAHM does not stay home all of the time.

Moms who identify with this acronym have hobbies and will still go out to see friends and family, take their children to recreational activities and school, and do plenty of other things outside of the home. Simply put, a SAHM is a mom who doesn’t have a paying job.

SAHMs are women who do the majority of the parenting in the home while their partner works to earn money for the family. This was traditionally seen as the norm, but today many women wish to work while also having a family.

History of the SAHM

In the past, a SAHM who stayed home to care for her children instead of going out to work would have been known as a ‘housewife’ or ‘homemaker’. However, you do not need to be married to be a stay-at-home mom, and ‘housewife’ is considered to be an outdated term in the 21st century.

The term housewife was first used as far back as the 13th century. By the 1900s, other terms were regularly used to describe the role of mothers who did not work. Early alternatives to stay-at-home moms include homemaker, housewife, or housekeeper.

Stay-at-home mom became a popular phrase in the 1980s and 1990s. At this time, more women than ever before were returning to work after having a baby. With ‘housewife’ now feeling outdated, it was replaced with the SAHM acronym.

Today, the term is most often found in online parenting forums. This acronym gives moms a quick and easy way of identifying their family and employment status.

For moms with gaps in their resume, the professional term for stay-at-home mom that is often used is either homemaker or caregiver. Other terms stay-at-home moms who are returning to work use to define their career break include ‘pregnancy pause’ and ‘family leave’.


The role of a stay-at-home mom can differ between families. For some, being a SAHM may mean taking on the traditional role of taking care of the children and home all day every day.

  • Meet all of their children’s needs
  • Clean the house
  • Cook the meals
  • Shop for groceries

Looking after a baby or child is a full-time job in itself. A woman is no less of a stay-at-home mom if she spends her day caring for her child and doesn’t get any of the housework done.


  • Bonding with their children
  • Ability to actively participate in their children’s development
  • Satisfaction of creating a comfortable and loving home environment

Being a SAHM allows moms to spend all of their time with their children. Many women enjoy having this uninterrupted time with their babies, but others feel like they need to be more than ‘just a mommy’.

Is Being a SAHM For Everyone?

Whether the mother will work outside of the home or stay home and care for the children is something all couples should discuss before becoming parents. If a woman wants to be a SAHM, several factors should be considered.

  • Personal Values
  • Parenting Philosophies
  • Economic Statues

Economic Considerations

There still needs to be a reliable source of income to support the family and a SAHM lifestyle. Often, stay-at-home moms will have a partner who is working and earning a big enough salary to cover all of the household costs.

Personal Factors

As well as being financially stable, new moms will need to decide if giving up work and becoming a SAHM is the right choice for them personally. Some women thrive in the stay-at-home-mom lifestyle, while others can find it challenging.

Potential Challenges

  • Daily routines are too demanding
  • Negative societal perceptions
  • Feelings of isolation

Women today often want to have families and a career. Whatever you decide, it is important to weigh the pros and cons for your family first.

If you have chosen to stay home with your children, don’t let anyone tell you that parenting isn’t just as challenging as a day at the office.

The next time you are reading through an online parenting forum, you will know what SAHM means. Now, good luck decoding other popular parenting acronyms such as BFP, DS, LO, and STTN.