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You're a stay-at-home mom? What do you DO all day?

Posted by on Oct. 10, 2013 at 11:09 AM
  • 22 Replies
2 moms liked this

I know it  is a little long, but its really worth the read! 


“You’re a stay-at-home mom? What do you DO all day?”

It’s happened twice in a week, and they were both women. Anyone ought to have more class than this, but women — especially women — should damn well know better.

Last week, I was at the pharmacy and a friendly lady approached me.

“Matt! How are those little ones doing?”

“Great! They’re doing very well, thanks for asking.”

“Good to hear. How ’bout your wife? Is she back at work yet?”

“Well she’s working hard at home, taking care of the kids. But she’s not going back into the workforce, if that’s what you mean.”

“Oh fun! That must be nice!”

“Fun? It’s a lot of hard work. Rewarding, yes. Fun? Not always.”

This one wasn’t in-your-face. It was only quietly presumptuous and subversively condescending.

The next incident occurred today at the coffee shop. It started in similar fashion; a friendly exchange about how things are coming along with the babies. The conversation quickly derailed when the woman hit me with this:

“So is your wife staying at home permanently?”

“Permanently? Well, for the foreseeable future she will be raising the kids full time, yes.”

“Yeah, mine is 14 now. But I’ve had a career the whole time as well. I can’t imagine being a stay at home mom. I would get so antsy. [Giggles] What does she DO all day?”

“Oh, just absolutely everything. What do you do all day?”

“…Me? Ha! I WORK!”

“My wife never stops working. Meanwhile, it’s the middle of the afternoon and we’re both at a coffee shop. I’m sure my wife would love to have time to sit down and drink a coffee. It’s nice to get a break, isn’t it?”

The conversation ended less amicably than it began.

Look, I don’t cast aspersions on women who work outside of the home. I understand that many of them are forced into it because they are single mothers, or because one income simply isn’t enough to meet the financial needs of their family. Or they just choose to work because that’s what they want to do. Fine. I also understand that most “professional” women aren’t rude, pompous and smug, like the two I met recently.

But I don’t want to sing Kumbaya right now. I want to kick our backwards, materialistic society in the shins and say, “GET YOUR FREAKING HEAD ON STRAIGHT, SOCIETY.”

This conversation shouldn’t be necessary. I shouldn’t need to explain why it’s insane for anyone — particularly other women — to have such contempt and hostility for “stay at home” mothers. Are we really so shallow? Are we really so confused? Are we really the first culture in the history of mankind to fail to grasp the glory and seriousness of motherhood? The pagans deified Maternity and turned it into a goddess. We’ve gone the other direction; we treat it like a disease or an obstacle.

The people who completely immerse themselves in the tiring, thankless, profoundly important job of raising children ought to be put on a pedestal. We ought to revere them and admire them like we admire rocket scientists and war heroes. These women are doing something beautiful and complicated and challenging and terrifying and painful and joyous and essential. Whatever they are doing, they ARE doing something, and our civilization DEPENDS on them doing it well. Who else can say such a thing? What other job carries with it such consequences?

It’s true — being a mom isn’t a “job.” A job is something you do for part of the day and then stop doing. You get a paycheck. You have unions and benefits and break rooms. I’ve had many jobs; it’s nothing spectacular or mystical. I don’t quite understand why we’ve elevated “the workforce” to this hallowed status. Where do we get our idea of it? The Communist Manifesto? Having a job is necessary for some — it is for me — but it isn’t liberating or empowering. Whatever your job is — you are expendable. You are a number. You are a calculation. You are a servant. You can be replaced, and you will be replaced eventually. Am I being harsh? No, I’m being someone who has a job. I’m being real.

If your mother quit her role as mother, entire lives would be turned upside down; society would suffer greatly. The ripples of that tragedy would be felt for generations. If she quit her job as a computer analyst, she’d be replaced in four days and nobody would care. Same goes for you and me. We have freedom and power in the home, not the office. But we are zombies, so we can not see that.

Yes, my wife is JUST a mother. JUST. She JUST brings forth life into the universe, and she JUST shapes and molds and raises those lives. She JUST manages, directs and maintains the workings of the household, while caring for children who JUST rely on her for everything. She JUST teaches our twins how to be human beings, and, as they grow, she will JUST train them in all things, from morals, to manners, to the ABC’s, to hygiene, etc. She is JUST my spiritual foundation and the rock on which our family is built. She is JUST everything to everyone. And society would JUST fall apart at the seams if she, and her fellow moms, failed in any of the tasks I outlined.

Yes, she is just a mother. Which is sort of like looking at the sky and saying, “hey, it’s justthe sun.”

Of course not all women can be at home full time. It’s one thing to acknowledge that; it’s quite another to paint it as the ideal. To call it the ideal, is to claim that children IDEALLY would spend LESS time around their mothers. This is madness. Pure madness. It isn’t ideal, and it isn’t neutral. The more time a mother can spend raising her kids, the better. The better for them, the better for their souls, the better for the community, the better for humanity. Period.

Finally, it’s probably true that stay at home moms have some down time. People who work outside the home have down time, too. In fact, there are many, many jobs that consist primarily of down time, with little spurts of menial activity strewn throughout. In any case, I’m not looking to get into a fight about who is “busier.” We seem to value our time so little, that we find our worth based on how little of it we have. In other words, we’ve idolized “being busy,” and confused it with being “important.” You can be busy but unimportant, just as you can be important but not busy. I don’t know who is busiest, and I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. I think it’s safe to say that none of us are as busy as we think we are; and however busy we actually are, it’s more than we need to be.

We get a lot of things wrong in our culture. But, when all is said and done, and our civilization crumbles into ashes, we are going to most regret the way we treated mothers and children.


What do you think about this post? Do you think a lot of people look down on SAHMs?

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickersLilypie Third Birthday tickers Lilypie Maternity tickers

by on Oct. 10, 2013 at 11:09 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Buffymom9
by on Oct. 10, 2013 at 1:22 PM

I think thik this post is the best thing I could read while sipping on my Cappuccino.  I am just a stay-at-home mom and I am having my down time.  Likely I will spend the next two hours, between 9-11am sitting around and talking, playing and feeding breakfast to my 4 and 2 year old who wake up about this time. Things will come up as they always do during my cappuccino time.  Sometimes it gets cold though I won't fret.  I will carve out more down time here and there throughout my day as I consider myself a "professional mother".  I haven't actually used that term to describe myself but I am ready next time I get challenged.  I have heard all these condescending lines before.  I have been "at home" for nearly 19 years as I gleefully quit the workforce just prior to giving birth to my first child, back in 1995.  

My day starts at 6am and has for a long time.  It is best if I get to sleep every night by 9pm but the realities of parenting often mean staying up beyond to finish business that needs to be dealt with, such as the stray dirty gym clothes that did not get emptied from a backpack but must be cleaned for school.  At 6 I make lunches for 7 kids, including my oldest who commutes daily to college. I am "busy" with this, breakfast and making sure 6 kids get to their bus stops and into dad's car in time.  This is the point I like to sit back with my morning drink.

My daily jobs are rather ordinary...laundry, making beds, cleaning stuff while always making sure my littlest kids at home are happy, secure and stimulated mentally.  We have a day long, ongoing conversation. Being with my kids throughout their day is the most important thing to me and why I stay at home.  My house is very, very small but I have been extremely creative in organizing it.  Many years ago I had a 6 kid bunk bed built on one wall.  My kids are close and have always loved sharing a room most people would dare accommodate only 2 children.  I make it work because this is my priority.  I have always rejected the notion that everyone needs a job.  My belief is that the smartest approach to life as a family is to have the least number of people in the workforce, here less is better. Financially speaking I am not "well off" but rather middle income so I do not have an inherent luxury.  I learn to do without things I do not need. That is how I make it work.

By 2 pm I have hopefully showered and my house is clean and organized and dinner somewhat planned.  I have by then fed the babes another meal, a snack and fed dogs, cats, birds, squirrels and crickets.  These are daily jobs that do not get put off, rain or shine.  I usually fly out the door by 3pm, having had some delay such as a dirty diaper or lost shoe.  This is my stress time for I walk a mile, pushing a stroller to the elementary where I will pick up some of my kids plus a neighbor child I walk home as a favor as the parents both work. It winds up being a two mile trek and we pass some time playing on the way home at the park.  My arrival time home is 4pm and this is a fragil time for me.  My next biggest duty is cooking a fresh meal for 11 people.  Here I never cut corners because I am determined to feed them whole, fresh food.  I take nutrition as one of my most important jobs I can provide my family.  I am usually physically tired by now so I try not to take too much down time when I get home as it will derail the getting dinner out at a decent time.  The hours between 4-7pm are really tough ones.  There is homework, baths and clean up that go along with dinner time and as always, conversing with my school children and hearing about their day..  Throughout the school year there will a sprinkling of extra curricular events that challenge this schedule...but that is life and we adapt.  The next challenge is getting kids to bed in a timely fashion so they are rested...and then their is the house maintenance so that we can all awake to a neat, organized house.  Therefore I am lucky to sit back down and relax by 9pm.

That is my day as a stay-at-home mom in a nutshell.  So if anybody were to say, "oh it must be nice to stay at home", I would say, "heck, yes!"  I love it.  If they wonder if I am busy they can keep wondering.  What most negative comments are really getting at is that one kind of busy is more important than another.  I do not care to push the economy along and have a career that fulfills me.  I am fulfilled making a warm, healthy home.  I am probably selfish wanting to invest all my time and energy right back into my family rather than back out into the economy.  But it is my opinion that we cannot have everything we want.  I have heard many times from career mothers that they are doing it all.  But truth be told that somebody out there is spending the daytime hours with these children.  These mothers are not doing it all.  They pass these valuable hours off to a caretaker.  Lets be honest.

By the way I do take good care of myself, both physically and mentally.  By biggest pleasure outside of my family is photography which works works great with this lifestyle. I just take my camera with me daily and look for photo opportunities that are literally everywhere.



luvmybug
by Amanda on Oct. 10, 2013 at 1:25 PM
I do. I think a lot of people are just ignorant. Being a SAHM IS a legitimate job.
splatz
by Sarah on Oct. 10, 2013 at 3:13 PM

you rock

I really loved reading it as well. I just couldn't resist sharing. I am amazed at how much you do with so many kiddos to take care of. I get exhausted just with my 2 and being 26 weeks along with our 3rd. So giant kudos to you mama!

I really think most people value money and things over family. That is just sad. I've had so many people ask me if I am ever going to "actually work again". Pshh.. I "actually work" 24/7! Just because I don't have a job title or get paid doesn't make what I do any less important.

I feel you on the end of the day crunch time. My oldest gets home from school a little before 4. SO leaves for work for the night just after 6. So we have 2 hours to do homework, make dinner, eat, clean up, & cram in a little family time before he leaves for the evening. Some days I just want to pull my hair out. It can be exhausting! 

Quoting Buffymom9:

I think thik this post is the best thing I could read while sipping on my Cappuccino.  I am just a stay-at-home mom and I am having my down time.  Likely I will spend the next two hours, between 9-11am sitting around and talking, playing and feeding breakfast to my 4 and 2 year old who wake up about this time. Things will come up as they always do during my cappuccino time.  Sometimes it gets cold though I won't fret.  I will carve out more down time here and there throughout my day as I consider myself a "professional mother".  I haven't actually used that term to describe myself but I am ready next time I get challenged.  I have heard all these condescending lines before.  I have been "at home" for nearly 19 years as I gleefully quit the workforce just prior to giving birth to my first child, back in 1995.  

My day starts at 6am and has for a long time.  It is best if I get to sleep every night by 9pm but the realities of parenting often mean staying up beyond to finish business that needs to be dealt with, such as the stray dirty gym clothes that did not get emptied from a backpack but must be cleaned for school.  At 6 I make lunches for 7 kids, including my oldest who commutes daily to college. I am "busy" with this, breakfast and making sure 6 kids get to their bus stops and into dad's car in time.  This is the point I like to sit back with my morning drink.

My daily jobs are rather ordinary...laundry, making beds, cleaning stuff while always making sure my littlest kids at home are happy, secure and stimulated mentally.  We have a day long, ongoing conversation. Being with my kids throughout their day is the most important thing to me and why I stay at home.  My house is very, very small but I have been extremely creative in organizing it.  Many years ago I had a 6 kid bunk bed built on one wall.  My kids are close and have always loved sharing a room most people would dare accommodate only 2 children.  I make it work because this is my priority.  I have always rejected the notion that everyone needs a job.  My belief is that the smartest approach to life as a family is to have the least number of people in the workforce, here less is better. Financially speaking I am not "well off" but rather middle income so I do not have an inherent luxury.  I learn to do without things I do not need. That is how I make it work.

By 2 pm I have hopefully showered and my house is clean and organized and dinner somewhat planned.  I have by then fed the babes another meal, a snack and fed dogs, cats, birds, squirrels and crickets.  These are daily jobs that do not get put off, rain or shine.  I usually fly out the door by 3pm, having had some delay such as a dirty diaper or lost shoe.  This is my stress time for I walk a mile, pushing a stroller to the elementary where I will pick up some of my kids plus a neighbor child I walk home as a favor as the parents both work. It winds up being a two mile trek and we pass some time playing on the way home at the park.  My arrival time home is 4pm and this is a fragil time for me.  My next biggest duty is cooking a fresh meal for 11 people.  Here I never cut corners because I am determined to feed them whole, fresh food.  I take nutrition as one of my most important jobs I can provide my family.  I am usually physically tired by now so I try not to take too much down time when I get home as it will derail the getting dinner out at a decent time.  The hours between 4-7pm are really tough ones.  There is homework, baths and clean up that go along with dinner time and as always, conversing with my school children and hearing about their day..  Throughout the school year there will a sprinkling of extra curricular events that challenge this schedule...but that is life and we adapt.  The next challenge is getting kids to bed in a timely fashion so they are rested...and then their is the house maintenance so that we can all awake to a neat, organized house.  Therefore I am lucky to sit back down and relax by 9pm.

That is my day as a stay-at-home mom in a nutshell.  So if anybody were to say, "oh it must be nice to stay at home", I would say, "heck, yes!"  I love it.  If they wonder if I am busy they can keep wondering.  What most negative comments are really getting at is that one kind of busy is more important than another.  I do not care to push the economy along and have a career that fulfills me.  I am fulfilled making a warm, healthy home.  I am probably selfish wanting to invest all my time and energy right back into my family rather than back out into the economy.  But it is my opinion that we cannot have everything we want.  I have heard many times from career mothers that they are doing it all.  But truth be told that somebody out there is spending the daytime hours with these children.  These mothers are not doing it all.  They pass these valuable hours off to a caretaker.  Lets be honest.

By the way I do take good care of myself, both physically and mentally.  By biggest pleasure outside of my family is photography which works works great with this lifestyle. I just take my camera with me daily and look for photo opportunities that are literally everywhere.




splatz
by Sarah on Oct. 10, 2013 at 3:14 PM

I really think so too! How many other jobs are people forced to work 24/7 with no breaks? How about no pay? Just because we don't get those things doesn't make it any less of a job. It actually makes it MORE of a job!

Quoting luvmybug:

I do. I think a lot of people are just ignorant. Being a SAHM IS a legitimate job.


Jinxed8
by Silver Member on Oct. 10, 2013 at 4:33 PM
1 mom liked this

it all depends how you view it and how you live it.  I know I had a neighbour who was a SAHM and she didn't do 1/3 of what I did in one day + I was working full time.  She always looked down on me because I only had 1 child versus her 3 (but her oldest was in grade school, her middle in kindergarten and her youngest in Daycare).  I guarantee you she could not have handled walking a 1/2 day in my shoes.  In my eyes I'm woman enough to admit that I totally didn't get what she did all day long + she constantly complained ... even though she had a cleaning lady, her 3 kids were all in school or day care all day and her husband did the groceries.  Baffled the hell out of me.  It's all a question of time management.

When I was a stay at home mom, my house was spotless, I cooked 3 meals a day from scratch and my dog was getting at least 2 walks a day, I scrap booked, watched Oprah Daily and went to baby classes or coffee out with friends once a week, I was a member of another mommy website and my husband didn't have to lift a finger around the house.   And I did not own a play pen so I was not the type of mom to leave the baby to it's own demise while I surfed the net or anything.  Some moms claim it's the hardest job in the world, I had a blast doing it ! What I found hard is going back to work and having to keep the same beat -8 hours a day.

This being said I also did the SAHM thing the first year of my daughter's life and I loved it.  Today I would do ANYTHING to be a SAHM again if I could afford it but I'm the main bread winner of the household.

MichelleMc
by on Oct. 10, 2013 at 5:11 PM

I think this is the ever going back & forth of who has it harder, which I never understood. I have done SAHM, Working Mom ( out of the home ) and WAHM. They are all hard, but honestly, working mom was the hardest, though WAHM is close ( I just work less hours ). I would have loved to be a SAHM again, and would love to be a homemaker now. 

There is never enough time in the day. I still had to do all the things I had to do as a SAHM as a working mom, just didn't watch my son all day or the other kids from friends. I still have to get him off to school or home from school or home work or volunteering at the school or all his activities, all I was either a leader, team mom or coach. Clean the house, wash the clothes, do the dishes, budget, & cook the meals. 

Now my son is grown but having an illness that makes it hard to get everything done, and all the things I do have to do. I just never have enough time in a day, week or month. 

I have had SAHM's that never had to work look down on moms that have had to. There is just as much of that, as there is of the other. 

Buffymom9
by on Oct. 10, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Thank you for the kind words Sarah (splatz). :-). And congratulations on your pregnancy and upcoming bundle of joy!  I too am pregnant though just 9 weeks along.  I have learned a great trick this pregnancy that I wish I had realized my past 9 pregnancies.  I am not sure if you juice but between the last pregnancy and this one I took up regular juicing of fresh, organic vegetables and fruits. It is making a world of difference.  That deep fatigue we feel when we are pregnant, especially that first trimester is nearly non-existent. I have only had one tired day and it turned out I was fighting a head cold.  Next day I was full of energy.  So I am excited to share this.  Keep in mind I am an old mom...I will be 46 next spring/summer.  I believe my daily juice is making me feel better than I did when I was pregnant in my 20's.

Best of luck with your job as CEO of the household as it surely is one high powered, high staked, executive job with the best of benefits.  The type that can never be taken back. :-)

By the way, on a lighter note, I haven't announced this pregnancy to friends and most extended family members.  Feeling  extremely fortunate to have this pregnancy and not ever being too good at announcements of this type, I was thinking of putting out my Facebook status something like this: "I have successfully pulled off a Halle Berry move"...not sure. :-)

splatz
by Sarah on Oct. 10, 2013 at 8:38 PM

Oh I am totally not discrediting moms who work. Trust me I did that too & it is hard! I think a lot of looking down on happens on both sides of the SAHM/working mom debate. I think both jobs are hard in their own ways! :)

Quoting Jinxed8:

it all depends how you view it and how you live it.  I know I had a neighbour who was a SAHM and she didn't do 1/3 of what I did in one day + I was working full time.  She always looked down on me because I only had 1 child versus her 3 (but her oldest was in grade school, her middle in kindergarten and her youngest in Daycare).  I guarantee you she could not have handled walking a 1/2 day in my shoes.  In my eyes I'm woman enough to admit that I totally didn't get what she did all day long + she constantly complained ... even though she had a cleaning lady, her 3 kids were all in school or day care all day and her husband did the groceries.  Baffled the hell out of me.  It's all a question of time management.

When I was a stay at home mom, my house was spotless, I cooked 3 meals a day from scratch and my dog was getting at least 2 walks a day, I scrap booked, watched Oprah Daily and went to baby classes or coffee out with friends once a week, I was a member of another mommy website and my husband didn't have to lift a finger around the house.   And I did not own a play pen so I was not the type of mom to leave the baby to it's own demise while I surfed the net or anything.  Some moms claim it's the hardest job in the world, I had a blast doing it ! What I found hard is going back to work and having to keep the same beat -8 hours a day.

This being said I also did the SAHM thing the first year of my daughter's life and I loved it.  Today I would do ANYTHING to be a SAHM again if I could afford it but I'm the main bread winner of the household.


splatz
by Sarah on Oct. 10, 2013 at 8:44 PM

Aww congrats to you!! I think I need to look into juicing. I have been so tired lately! Early in the pregnancy I was drinking a lot of smoothies & I would throw all sorts of fruits & veggies in there. I didn't even think of juicing though!

Good luck coming up with a way to announce. Its hard to come up with something fun & different that people actually GET! 

My kids are obsessed with Batman so here is our announcement. Of course the sun & the sidewalk chalk weren't exactly cooperating for the picture so it was hard to see & I was afraid people wouldn't understand it haha.  But I captioned it as "Expecting a new sidekick January 2014"

Quoting Buffymom9:

Thank you for the kind words Sarah (splatz). :-). And congratulations on your pregnancy and upcoming bundle of joy!  I too am pregnant though just 9 weeks along.  I have learned a great trick this pregnancy that I wish I had realized my past 9 pregnancies.  I am not sure if you juice but between the last pregnancy and this one I took up regular juicing of fresh, organic vegetables and fruits. It is making a world of difference.  That deep fatigue we feel when we are pregnant, especially that first trimester is nearly non-existent. I have only had one tired day and it turned out I was fighting a head cold.  Next day I was full of energy.  So I am excited to share this.  Keep in mind I am an old mom...I will be 46 next spring/summer.  I believe my daily juice is making me feel better than I did when I was pregnant in my 20's.

Best of luck with your job as CEO of the household as it surely is one high powered, high staked, executive job with the best of benefits.  The type that can never be taken back. :-)

By the way, on a lighter note, I haven't announced this pregnancy to friends and most extended family members.  Feeling  extremely fortunate to have this pregnancy and not ever being too good at announcements of this type, I was thinking of putting out my Facebook status something like this: "I have successfully pulled off a Halle Berry move"...not sure. :-)


celestegood
by Gold Member on Oct. 10, 2013 at 10:46 PM
Yep:)

Quoting luvmybug:

I do. I think a lot of people are just ignorant. Being a SAHM IS a legitimate job.
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