Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Do You Want More from Life?

Posted by on Nov. 1, 2016 at 10:53 AM
  • 8 Replies

'Stay at Home Mom' Isn't My 'Most Important Job' -- Stop Saying It Is

Sasha Brown-Worsham

stay at home mom

I have been in and out of being a stay-at-home mom for almost the entire 10 years since my first child was born. For the few years that I did have a full-time job, it was from home and flexible. Then this past year, I ended up losing my part-time, from-home editing position and am now pretty much a yoga teacher and SAHM to my three children who are 9, 8, and 2.

And sometimes that really bums me out.

The truth is, I love my kids. I like being home when they get back from school and taking them to their activities and supervising their playdates and watching them ride their bikes. But I am not creatively fulfilled by being with them. I need to write and teach yoga for that. It has taken me a long time to accept that truth, but there it is. I need something more to be a happy person. But others tell me I need to embrace it.

"You are doing the most important job in the world by being home with your kids," a friend told me last week, trying to cheer me up about this momentary career crisis. I appreciated the effort.

But I also know he is wrong.

Because being a stay-at-home mom is a lot of things -- loving, boring, frustrating, heartwarming, fun -- but it is not a "job." We don't get paid for it. And, even if it were a job, would it really be the "most important one"?

Look, I get it. We mothers want to justify all the things we give up by telling ourselves these lies and platitudes. But can we honestly say that staying home with the people we made is more important that working for the UN? Or being a firefighter? Or teaching kindergarten? Can we honestly say that making lunches for our own children day after day and playing with Play-Doh and taking our kids to a museum matters more than a cardiologist's job? She saves lives. We are just raising children.

It's not that it doesn't matter.

Caregiving is far undervalued and what we do matters immensely within our family and to our children. Maybe by raising good children we are also doing something good for the world by putting out solid, loving future taxpayers. But let's not pretend we couldn't do that while also earning a paycheck. Let's not pretend that being a mom and doing something meaningful in the world for pay are mutually exclusive.

The truth is, we do moms a disservice by continuing to say this job is "more important" than any other. It is a platitude. And like most platitudes, it is designed only to condescend and appease. Being a stay-at-home mom matters, but it's like when your husband tells you you are the most beautiful woman in the world. Are you really? Are you more beautiful than Gisele? Maybe other women can let that go. But I can't. I don't want to be lied to. I am obviously not the "most beautiful woman in the world." Even if to him it is true. So let's not tell each other lies to make each other feel better.

For some women, being a stay-at-home mom is creatively fulfilling. For some, it isn't. For others, it isn't a choice at all. To keep telling women that staying home is "most important," we conspire to make that choice for them. There is nothing in this world wrong with being home if it feels fulfilling and matters to you and your family. But there is also nothing wrong with working if that is what you need. And quite frankly, a working mom is able to be just as good a mom as one who stays at home. It's the cold, hard truth I accept even as a mom who has made different choices.

For my family right now, it works for me to be home. We have three kids and I can write essays from home when they are at school, and teach yoga on the side. But it is hard. There are many times I am envious of the women who get to have full careers even though I know being a full-time, in-office working mom is hard, too.

The truth is, there are many important jobs out there. Some are well paid, others are not. Being a stay-at-home mom is a wonderful privilege and something I am deeply grateful to be able to do. But I also don't kid myself that what I do matters more than so many other very important jobs.

We'd all get along a lot better if we stopped feeding each other platitudes -- and started supporting each other's choices.

Do you want more?

by on Nov. 1, 2016 at 10:53 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-8):
by Claire on Nov. 1, 2016 at 11:00 AM
2 moms liked this

Why?? Why bring such an asinine, SAHM vs WM pile of drivel into this group? 

What I do matters. I homeschool my children. That means I'm in charage of everything in the house as well as their educations. I'm perfectly content with my life. 


" I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 

by Gold Member on Nov. 1, 2016 at 11:05 AM

I think being a mom is incredibly important. I see nothing wrong with saying it's the MOST important thing in your life. It should take priority over all things. 

With the exception of abuse and neglect, I don't think there is a right or wrong way to parent your child. Everyone does what works for them and their household.

by Emerald Member on Nov. 1, 2016 at 12:03 PM

I was a SAHM for 12 years and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I slowly eased my way back into the work world with varous part time jobs before beginning to work full time.

It honestly doesn't matter to me what others choose to do.  Everyone does what works for them and there is no right or wrong in this situation.

by Bronze Member on Nov. 1, 2016 at 1:26 PM

I am a SAHM and caregiver to my father. There is nothing I would rather do. There is nothing else I could see myself doing, even on my bad days. I do have time for me though. I have a craft/scrapbook area I can go to, even if only for 5 or 10 minutes at a time. 

I would like more in life though. I would like a better marriage. <sigh>

by Bronze Member on Nov. 1, 2016 at 1:30 PM
I am a teacher. Work full time. But my most important role (in my life) is being a mother.
by Member on Nov. 1, 2016 at 1:54 PM
At this point, my family needs me more than the workforce does. I have no regrets staying home while my kids are little, but I understand not everyone finds it fulfilling. To each their own.
by Platinum Member on Nov. 1, 2016 at 7:27 PM

I knew early on that I could never be a SAHM. It's not fulfilling enough for me. I wouldn't be a good mother IF I stayed home full time. You just have to know yourself and do what's best for you. 

by Gwen on Nov. 2, 2016 at 4:19 PM

There is no other more important job than raising your children - no matter what else you do in your life. Period. It may not be a job in the 'bring home a paycheck' sense, but it is far more important than any other job you might do - even if you're the best neurosurgeon or making the next greatest discovery in any field.

No, I don't need more than to fulfill the vocation God has given me.

The truth is, we do ourselves and all other parents a disservice by downplaying the importance of raising our children and constantly talking about how we "need more" than being home with our children. If you can work and honestly meet the needs of your children, that's great. But all these articles about how the author "needs to be fulfilled" by working but "oh, if  you don't need to, that's fine" as if the SAHMs need to be validated for their choice really get old. Most SAHMs are at home by choice - they don't need validation.

IMO, the cold, hard truth is that we should stop the comparison game, stop the Mommy Wars, stop worrying about who works for a paycheck and who doesn't, stop seeking validation for our choices. Instead, let's really support each other & the choices we are making & helping each other when we need help.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)