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YOU'RE JUST a stay at home mom! WHAT do you do all day?

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Love this guy. ;)

“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.

by on Oct. 10, 2013 at 8:17 AM
Replies (261-264):
by Platinum Member on Oct. 13, 2013 at 6:59 AM

 That's a very romanticized view of history. It's also not correct.


Marrying for love is a new concept. It wasn't until the 1970's to 1980's that people even considered love when it came to getting married. Until then, you got married because you had to or to better your family. In the 1950's and 1960's when women started really entering college, The main point in going to college was to find a husband. You were supposed to find a husband that would take care of you.


And if by chance you were allowed to get a divorce, which was rare that it would be granted, until the late 19th century, women weren't allowed to gain custody of their children. They were deemed incapable of caring for them. In the 1880's, the Tender Years Doctrine was introduced. That allowed women to keep custody of children in the event of a (rare) divorce until the age of 5. After the child reached age 5 they went to dad because mom was not considered capable of caring for children. Women being the primary caretaker for their children didn't become the "norm" until the 1970's.


And feminism isn't about being equal to men. It's about being able to make our own choices and forge our own futures without interference. If you have talents other than making and raising children, no one should be able to stop you from using them. No one should be able to say to you "you can't do that because you're a woman." THAT'S what feminism is. We should not be forced to live up to someoen else's ideals of what a woman's job should be.


Quoting buttersworth:


I'm in blue

Quoting Aestas:

Often throughout history, children either accompanied their mothers (and worked as well--the advent of "childhood" as we know it is also relatively new), or else they were left to their own devices or watched by older siblings.

Yes i would agree that that's most likely the case given what i've read throughout the years. And that's my point. Leaving children with a caregiver on  regular,  frequent basis and most often gets paid to care for the child, but who is not a relative, is a fairly new concept, historically speaking.

And I was referring to the women's rights movement of the sixties, galvanized by the book The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. (Surely you can't be unaware of it?)  yep i know about it. Your mother and aunt may have been perfectly content doing what they were doing (though you might be surprised what they come up with if you ever were to ask them if they ever had any other dreams--every stay-at-home mom of that era I've ever asked this question to, even those who were happy with their lives, has had a surprisingly well-thought-out answer to this question), but it doesn't negate the fact that many, many middle class women were, in fact, very unhappy and felt trapped (hence the rise of an entire social movement around these issues). 

My mother and aunt were happy. In fact my mother read that book. i can't ask her any more about it now, she passed away 5 years ago. She had her first child in 1952, her last in 1970. six children spanning 3 decades.

But, if it were true that so many women were unhappy (that is, to assume statistical accuracy that many were), is there any proof to attribute that unhappiness to specifically being home with their children versus the workforce?

Also, I just wanted to note, that the 'middle class' was a bigger umbrella back then. It encompassed a low, middle and upper class. Today the criteria for middle class has shrunk a bit, I believe. Someone like Betty Friedan was possibly upper middle, where she might've enjoyed more privellege than the others.

And I wasn't glorifying the life of working moms, either. What a strange interpretation. Most working moms of that era never had a choice (just as much as many stay-at-home moms never felt they had a choice)--they worked because they had to.

I think most -not all-  working moms today do so out of necessity as well.

I mention them because many people imagine the mid-twentieth century as a time when all women were at home, and it's simply not true.

i know that isn't true and i'm not trying to convey the scenario as if it were. My grandmother worked full time in the 1930s, so i know personally. However, it was more the norm for women to be home, and working outside it was an anamoly mostly. My grandmother was fired once her boss found out she had children.

While mostly white, middle class women were fighting for the right to pursue careers and be equal to white, middle class men, these poorer working women were often marginalized and ignored, a problem which gave rise to the more intersectional feminism we see in many places today.

if that were true, (not saying it is or isn't) then i would think the poorer women worked out of necessity. So it is hard to say, unless you go back in time and take a poll, what these poorer women would've chosen (to stay home or not) if given the choice.

I agree that both working moms and stay-at-home moms have difficult jobs. Parenting is a huge responsibility, and so is caring for a household. But it's quite a leap to attribute anyone's behavior problems to day care,

I have relatives who went to daycare who are now adults. They are adjusted well enough but they had problems in the past. i think the problems were tempered by having parents to work on those when these were presented. I also have had friends whose children had problems and eventually ironed far we know. I don't know the long term effects, but there definitely seems to be problems observable in regard to consistency of discipline and disciplinarian(s) when it comes to very small children. I don't think my observation has any less merit than Betty Friedan saying there is an epidemic of unhappy women in her time. After all, she was going on her observation as well.

and even more so to think that having a working mom creates "apathy" between parents and children. We do have a major problem with acces to high-quality, affordable childcare in this country, and that needs to be addressed,

But what if we turn that equation upside down, and say that access to good, affordable childcare is not the problem...but for those married women who would rather not work but do so because their household can't survive on one income...maybe that is the problem.

Maybe the problem is that many women STILL don't have a choice.

If you don't need to work, and you choose to,  chances are you're more likely to be able to afford high-quality childcare. I know my sister who is a medical professional, back in the 1990s, she paid $350 per week for her daughter's daycare. That was expensive, but my neice fared better than some children.

but that is a social welfare issue, not a working mother issue.

well, it is a working mother issue. if your husband, for instance, makes enough money for your family to survive on his income alone, then working or not is a choice. if that mother chooses to work, that is income in addition to just what is needed to survive. that mother will be able to afford better child care. ...But most families need two incomes these most kids aren't getting the better childcare. That is, dependent upon what we are calling 'better'.

I believe that opportunity and support needs to be more available to all moms, working or not. I don't advocate pushing anyone toward one choice or the other; each family needs to decide what's right for them,

I agree. Logistically, pragmatically, realistically, I agree that everyone has to do what's right for them or what they need to do.

However - I do think that overall, despite how much one pays for daycare or how well it's rated by any standard, I do think that children who are raised from birth up to at least some middle school age with a parent at home, are at a greater advantage mentally, emotionally, spiritually and scholastically.

whether that's two working parents or one stay-at-home parent (more and more dads are staying at home now, too).

you know, someone had said i didn't include dads or respect my own husband as one, yadda yadda. that was really splitting hairs. it's called 'the mommy wars?" isn't it? lol. Yes, I still think it's better when the kids are with dad and not daycare....but i won't lie and say that i feel there's an impenetrable, special bond between mother and child that is different than that with a father. sorry! I don't think that's sexist. i think men are loving and nurturing too but they aren't women. otherwise God would've given them a set of ovaries, a vagina, and a uterus to start that bond out in the womb.

i also don't think that true feminism should be rooted around women wanting to be like men, or non-sexism meaning that men should be like women. i think we should appreciate  what women are from how we're created, and likewise, appreciate men's male attributes. Men and women are : Equally beautiful, equally important, but compatibly different. What's wrong with that?

On a personal note, I can't imagine my mom staying at home during my childhood. She would have been miserable, I think, not because she didn't love me and want to spend time with me, but because she was a truly brilliant woman whose work was very important and fulfilling to her.

My mother was brilliant also. She was very creative, resourceful, and had a very important and fulfilling job raising 6 children. Though we all went to public school, she taught all of us to read and write beforehand, and to continue to teach us when and where the teachers failed. She was our advocate, our nurturer, our confidante. She taught Sunday school and 4-H. She sewed all our Halloween costumes, good ones, too. She baked bread from scratch, 4 loaves a week. She, along with my father, tended vegetable gardens and canned produce for us to eat in the winter. She never made a single cake from a box. The only junk food we had in our house was popcorn, graham crackers and homemade oatmeal cookies on occasion. unless it was a birthday and she made the cake. If we were getting sick, we ate homemade chicken soup from the stock of a chicken carcass, and drank herbal tea. We didn't rely much on medicines. Never was i sent to school if i was sick, she was adamant that resting was the best medicine.

She was a writer, and a poet, and dabbled in cartoons; an avid reader would be an understatement. She took everything she knew, and taught it to us. We all learned in our own ways, all had our different strengths, and she could, with her creativity, encourage and enrich any of us. she knew a little how to play guitar though didn't do it much, and accordion...but she taught herself, by book alone, to play piano. She taught herself to read the notes, though she only had a high school education, and in that, had never learned to read music.

She took all of that, and gave it to us. If not directly, then by osmosis. People you work with all day, whether you like them or not, whether you're close to them or not, have an impact on your life simply by their presence. I know, i worked from the age of 14 on a tree farm all summer, various jobs my whole life, to age 30 in the print industry when i went on maternity leave (and never came back!) When my mother was with me all the time, i not only got a sense of security from that, and from her, but inherently picked up on her values, and found learning to do things like bake bread from scratch, a little easier because I'd been around it, when i actually attempted it. But it wasn't just one thing; it was a whole day's worth of things, before i started kindergarten.

The world would lose an enormous amount of talent and ingenuity if women like her were pressured into staying at home instead of contributing to society in additional ways besides mothering.

I think you are so wrong! Our most enduring legacies are our children! What you do in this world, will one day perish. What you teach your children, that they may teach their children...and your grandchildren...that goes on forever.

That is not only a contribution to one compartmentalized society, but a contribution to human kind.

Besides, if she'd been at home all the time, I'd have lost a lot of time with my father, who was an absolutely wonderful dad when I was small, who was able to do many things with me that he couldn't have done if he'd had less flexibility as the sole breadwinner.

My father was the sole breadwinner. He raised all us kids on 40 hrs per week as an architectural engineer at an aerospace manufacturing plant. So we weren't rich.  He was home every night before dinner, even though on salary and some rare O/T, and every weekend home. I spent two hours alone with him every Sunday at church when the other kids grew up and my mother couldnt' go. I had plenty of time with him besides that!  But this is what i was talking about....back just 30, 40 years ago...a man could raise a family on a single income, and didn't have to work all crazy O/T hours or weekends to do it!

Now you can't. My father, who fought in WWII and also has passed, hated the ERA. Most of my young life I disagreed with him, because i simply saw it as women vs men, or women being validated and i thought he was old fashioned. Until 15 years ago, or so, I was proud to be a feminist and think the way you do! now that I'm older i see that it was a deception of special interest groups, and what my father said was right: the ERA did not give freedom and equality to women; it forced the norm to be for most families, that two incomes were needed to survive. Along with it, the divorce rate skyrocketed too, and of course the cause of that can be debated as the year is long, but divorce went up when more women entered the workforce.

However, undeniably, the IRS must of hit the jackpot when women started working, with a surge in income tax revenue.

honey, the joke's on us! believe what you want...

but my point here is that women have been nudged to WANT to be in the workforce, thinking that that is one major way to be equal to men.

All it's done is been disastrous for families. You can't barely live on one income anymore.

I am very proud of my mother and of all her accomplishments, and I never felt in any way like she was less of a mother to me for working. She was my rock (and still would be, but she died when I was 25 from cancer).  Sorry. I couldn't and wouldn't be who I am today without her.

I'm not saying that moms who work are bad people or bad moms. I'm telling you, women have been deceived. The ERA benefitted the IRS, big government, politics and corporations. It did absolutely nothing positive for women, families, or children. It did the opposite.

So a woman who got married in the 60s, who stayed home with her children, married to a man she you think that woman was less happy than the one who got divorced and was left alone with two kids to put through college on her own?

by on Oct. 13, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Yes, the more people who love the child the better. But what he's saying is, the more time children spend with their mother, the better. As they get older children's circle of support can widen. But in the beginning of life, say the first three  years or even longer, children need to form a strong trust-bond with the mother (or primary caretaker, in the case that the mother is unable to care for her child), thereby fulfilling the most important goal of early childhood. A child who trusts is able to then see the world as a safe place. 

What the writer didn't go into are the biological reasons for this necessity. Without the safety and security of a single, nurturing caregiver who meets his physical, emotional, and other developmental needs, the child's body will have a stress response that impacts, well, just about everything. 

Of course if the primary caregiver is unprepared to nurture a child, that child will need others to fill that role. But for babies and small children - who I believe Matt Walsh was referring to - being with mom is the best way for babies to grow.

(You might enjoy reading an article titled, "The Science of Attachment: The Biological Roots of Love," by Lauren Lindsey Porter. Just do a quick Google search and you'll find it.)


Quoting smalltowngal:

Quoting MentorMom1:

"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."

Just because people don't like hearing it doesn't make it any less true.  

I am a SAHM and I still have to disagree with that. I think my children greatly benefit from time with their father, grandparents and teachers. I think the more people who care about kids, the better. hey don't need a mother 24/7, they just need to know that they're loved. The more people who make them feel loved, the better IMHO. 

by Gold Member on Oct. 13, 2013 at 11:07 AM
How is it a bad thing to teach our daughters to be financially independent and be able to care for themselves?

Quoting Countess79:

Don't tell your daughters that..!

Goodness! Don't spread around your bitterness at your own situation.

Maybe their choices of a spouse will be better than the one you made.. I don't know your situation.. But as A child I watched my mom's men parade an chose not to do that.. So I made a better choice than she did.. However I am now single too.. Why cause I didn't spend time taking care of and showing my husband I valued him as my partner.. 

Just saying.. Think about what your doing.

Quoting idunno1234:

Too bad not everyone feels the way he does, including many of the sahms who denigrate their own roles and say that their husbands work hard but they don't.  When kids are preschool and younger, being a sahm is a 24/7 constant.  There is no other job that compares.

Once the kids reach school age, then I personally think, for the mom's sake as much as anything, that its time to get back into the job market.

I was privileged to stay home.  My plan had always been to go back to work when my youngest was in school full time.  Problem is that my kids are spread out over almost 10 years so by the time my youngest went to school full time, I was out of the job market for way to long and my marriage was crumbling....not an easy time to be thrust into this awful job market.

Now, I'm in a really, really bad situation with no end in sight regarding being able to support myself and my kids.  I have had to tell my daughters (really didn't need to because they have seen what has happened) that they should never, EVER be financially dependent on anyone and if that means that they are unable to stay home with their children, so be it.

I have to say....the US is awful when it comes to maternity leave, day care costs, just motherhood in general.  

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by Gold Member on Oct. 13, 2013 at 11:11 AM

This again? :)

I have to say the "work at home" isn't that unless it really is a paid job at home. Other than that, taking care of children, cleaning cokking, etc is "parenting". When I stayed at home, I'd have been offended at the term "work at home" when I was being a parent and homemaker. I hope, that any parent, takes that as a "parenting" responsibility...

As for lazy kids, well, maybe the parents are lazy. I know many working moms who are more "present" than stay at home moms.

My kids are now in high school and I own a company. I am busy at work when they are at school, I am at every school function, organize their team as the team mom, volunteer at every chior event, etc. What really irritates me? The "Stay at home moms" are too busy for that. I find that laughable... they want a break, ok, really? Form parenting???

Sorry, been there, done both, finger pointing doesn't get anyone anywhere or create validity for any argument...

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