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What do you think about the idea that we need a new word for "stay-at-home moms"?

Posted by on Apr. 2, 2013 at 2:58 PM
  • 28 Replies

Do We Really Need a New Word for 'Stay-at-Home Mom'?

by Linda Sharps

The other day a Stir reader left me the following comment: "Linda, you are not truly a SAHM." Her point, I guess, was that because I have outside employment, I don't know what it's like to be an at-home mom. Even though I am, in fact, a mom who doesn't have an office job. I also don't have a nanny, I have one child who's not yet in school, and I take care of all the household tasks, from cleaning to laundry to meals to grocery shopping to doctors' appointments.

I'm not sure why the fact that I also work my ass off to earn a paycheck keeps me from being a "true SAHM," but I've felt this disconnect before. I work, but I'm not the sort of working mom I was when I went to an office full-time. I'm at home, but I don't quite feel like that description fits me perfectly either -- and clearly, there are others who don't believe I deserve the title.

The lack of good terms for our increasingly complicated world of balancing work and parenting is why this author proposes we need an entirely new word for "stay-at-home mom." She points out that while it's true that only women have the burden of being defined in such ways ("working dad"?), what we call each other has meaning. It reflects how we perceive what someone does, and maybe more importantly, it has the capability of altering that perception.

She lists some inherent problems with describing mothers and their relationship with the paid workforce:

Stay-at-home mother? “Makes me sound like a shut-in!”

Working mother? “Don’t ALL mothers work!”

Non-working mother? “Really? You think I’m eating bonbons?”

Full-time mother? “What, you think because I have a job I am only a mother part of the time?!”

The fact is, few of us fit neatly into the predefined categories. We may be working part-time, running a business from home, volunteering at our children's schools, and on and on it goes.

I don't love the term SAHM because to me it implies that I don't have non-mom responsibilities -- or that we're always home. But neither do I enjoy being told I don't know what it's like to be a SAHM, because dude, who do you think is doing all the at-home-momming around here? *looks around wildly for invisible team of housecleaners, nannies, chauffeurs, and personal assistants*

I suppose it would be nice if we had descriptive terms that reflected the value of ALL of our complicated, ever-changing roles. But if you ask me, it would be even better if we didn't need to rely on these sorts of divisive acronyms in the first place. If we have kids ... we're moms. Full stop. Leave the made-up title at the door, thank you very much, my house is messy enough.

What do you think about the idea that we need a new word for "stay-at-home moms"?

by on Apr. 2, 2013 at 2:58 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Anonymous
by Anonymous on Apr. 2, 2013 at 5:11 PM
No. Sahm is harder than working outside the home anyway. I don't see it as a put down.
GertieK
by Silver Member on Apr. 3, 2013 at 9:15 AM

I think people are too worried about what other people think.  Moms know how hard being a mom is. 

nurse1997
by Silver Member on Apr. 3, 2013 at 1:54 PM
1 mom liked this

Im down for that but good luck thinking of the new name  ;] Moms get the S@@@ end of the stick all the time we should have come with batteries because our to do list is never ending !!!!!!

Safira
by Member on Apr. 4, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Generation Builders - whether mothers or fathers they do build the attributes and characteristics of the next generation.

Mrsmumofboys
by on Apr. 4, 2013 at 1:22 PM
1 mom liked this

Mary poppins would be a great name for us mums who stay at home :)

juggling

Anonymous
by Anonymous on Apr. 4, 2013 at 3:00 PM

There are good sides to each. 

A working mom gets to leave the kids and have adult interaction on a daily basis but she misses her kids. 

A sahm is always with her kids and doesn't usually get breaks. 

I've been both. I was a single working mom with my oldest. It was easier because I got time away and felt good making my own money but it was hard because I didn't get to spend as much time with him as I'd have liked. 

With my other two, I'm a sahm. It's hard because I'm with them constantly. I also miss making my own money. I know I contribute in different ways but it still bothers me. I miss being able to get away and work BUT I enjoy that I'm always here for them. 


I say, it's hard being a mom. Whether you work or stay at home. 

nodramamama311
by on Apr. 4, 2013 at 4:36 PM

 i dont see whats wrong with sahm. people need to relax.

kellynh
by on Apr. 4, 2013 at 8:18 PM

No.. Kinda stupid actually!! 

Sama2Mamma
by on Apr. 4, 2013 at 8:19 PM
yep.

Quoting nodramamama311:

 i dont see whats wrong with sahm. people need to relax.

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slw123
by Member on Apr. 4, 2013 at 8:58 PM

I don't really consider myself a 'working' mom, but I'm definitely not a SAHM either. I have a very part time job.  I work for a flooring store 4 hours a day, 3 days a week, only while the kids are in school.  Then I teach fitness classes at the YMCA, but the kids come with me.  So basically when they aren't in school, they are still with me.

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