The Luxurious Life of the Stay at Home Mom

By now everyone has heard about the comment made by Democratic Strategist Hilary Rosen about Ann Romney, in which she states that Mrs. Romney “has never worked a day in her life.”

Forget all of the rigamarole and argument about how Mrs. Romney had lots of money to help her while she stayed at home raising her sons, and therefore didn’t have to do the types of things that 99% of SAHMs (stay at home moms) spend much of their time doing. I am no fan of Mitt Romney, but I have to give him and his wife a lot of credit for raising five successful and hardworking sons. I don’t care how much money they have or how many housekeepers and nannies they’ve employed over the years – their sons are proof that as parents they did something right.

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It is unfortunate that there is still a question about whether SAHMs actually work. To even be having this debate again is proof that there are still antagonistic feelings on both sides – working moms and SAHMs. For the women who are working to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads, this is an irrelevant conversation. They have no choice in the matter, and whether or not they like their job is not a question they have the option to consider. But for many working women, their job is an important, rewarding and key part of their lives which not only gives them financial stability and, in many cases, financial freedom, but also an identity separate from their identity as a mother. This is important to many women, and they make the choice to continue to work at jobs in which they feel like they are contributing to the world and improving their lives financially. As many working women have said, this makes them better mothers.

But Ms. Rosen was wrong. SAHMs do work. During a typical week as a SAHM, I did the following: 8-10 loads of laundry, 2-4 grocery store shops, a zillion little errands, volunteered ( a lot) at the schools and in the community,  drove my kids around, maintained my house, paid bills, planned events for all four members of the family, went to watch sports practices, events and other performances, cleaned, straightened, organized, put away, refilled, threw out, cooked dinners, made lunches, fixed things, ordered things, returned things, found missing things. During my time as a SAHM I helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for our schools and local charities, as both event chair and committee member. I sat on the boards of two community organizations, held officer positions in PTSA, and worked part time from home for our business. I spent countless hours talking with teachers, tutors, instructors, doctors, coaches, trainers, and other parents to try to improve my skills as a mother, and to advocate for my kids. This was all because I CHOSE to stay at home, just as many working women CHOOSE to go to work – not all, I know. But some do.

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The idea that my life was luxurious is ridiculous. There were days when I had a lot of free time – but don’t most working women have days like that too? Days spent surfing the internet and chatting with co-workers? I went to lunch with my friends once or twice a week – but don’t working women do that also? Isn’t that a big part of connecting with the world – and don’t we all need connection?

Most important, and what was most difficult once my full-time job was over and my kids were in college, is that my identity, for better or worse, was always about being a mother. I earned no money and got no promotions for a job well done. But this was a CHOICE I made, and therein lies the luxury. Not the lunches, shopping trips, bi-annual massages or watching “Oprah” and eating bonbons. The luxury was the choice.

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14 Responses to The Luxurious Life of the Stay at Home Mom
  1. Jodi
    April 13, 2012 | 10:12 am

    SAHM were the best times of my life. Great Post Sharon!!
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  2. Beth
    April 13, 2012 | 10:39 am

    This was a gorgeous post. I nodded my head all through it and when I reached the end, I exhaled, sat for a moment, and smiled. Perfect.
    Beth recently posted..Label CrazyMy Profile

  3. Laurie
    April 13, 2012 | 11:14 am

    Well said Sharon!!! Thanks for saying what I am thinking but don’t have the words to say.

  4. Nancy Roddy
    April 13, 2012 | 11:43 am

    Touche Sharon. I loved being a SHAM but it was hard work!

    • Sharon Greenthal
      April 13, 2012 | 2:57 pm

      You were never a SHAM Nancy – you were a SAHM! Had you been a SHAM someone would have called you out :)

  5. Brenda
    April 13, 2012 | 2:28 pm

    yes…….lUXury TAX i know it well!! LOVE THIS POST!
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  6. sandra tyler
    April 13, 2012 | 2:47 pm

    Funny, I don’t think my husband even understands what I do. I feel like honestly, all I’m doing is cleaning, phone calls, etd. That’s partly complicated by also having to take care of my 93 yr old mom who lives an hour away. But I can tell you, some days, I feel BAKED. brained fried baked and not in a good way. I had children late in life, not by choice, but had my career first. This is a whole new “job.” :)) I love my children to death. But be nice to have someone understand exactly what I DO all day. Then again being a SAHM is not exactly a “team” job, right?
    sandra tyler recently posted..A-Z Challenge: When L is for LonelyMy Profile

    • Sharon Greenthal
      April 13, 2012 | 3:00 pm

      What you need are a few mommy friends. That’s what kept me sane when my kids were small – and many of them are still my closest friends today, years later.

  7. tracey
    April 13, 2012 | 6:27 pm

    I do feel it at times, but with the “homeschool mom” tag added onto my SAHM tag, I feel as though people can understand that THAT takes time, whereas they didn’t get the SAHM part. I think they think that I “do school” all day long like they do in public school… Whatever. As long as people aren’t giving me grief, I don’t care what they think. It’s unfortunate that others feel the need to knock women down for any reason at all.
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  8. Linda
    April 13, 2012 | 10:45 pm

    I love this post. I have six children. I punch in at 5:30 am. and punch out between 9 and 10 pm. Now, that’s what I call a double shift, 7 days a week. Yeah, we SAHM work hard alright!

    (and even with all the hours I put in, my work never seems to be done). ; )
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  9. Cheryl
    April 14, 2012 | 6:00 am

    Love the post! I also agree with others that it is too bad that women have to be critical of women rather than lifting them up and supporting them.
    Cheryl recently posted..Spring Cleaning Anyone…?My Profile

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