Once again, the question has been answered by yet another mom, so sure that she has the right answer to a question that has come up over and over again. Is being a stay-at-home mom a job?
According to this young woman, being a stay-at-home mom is not a job. It’s a PRIVILEGE, doncha know. All of us women who get to raise our children without working outside of the home – we are so lucky. And because we’re so lucky, we should never, ever complain about days that are crappy, boring, dirty, messy, boring, lonely, isolating, boring, infuriating, frustrating, scary, or boring. Because, you know, it’s not work to raise children – it’s a gift we give ourselves, or as the author says:
Being a stay-at-home mother to your own kids is not a “job,” no matter how difficult it is or how hard we work. Period. Getting to do nothing but raise a person you opted to bring into the world is a privilege, and calling it anything else is ignorant and condescending.
This young woman spent a total of 5 whole years at home with her daughter, during which time she had help from her mother, the government, and the father of her child, who supported them. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of that. She is a paragon of motherhood if she never complained about a minute of it during those 5 years – years during which there is a learning curve and poop and pee and strained peas, crawling and learning to walk and more “nos” than you ever thought imaginable. I’d like to see her navigate the middle school years. That would be interesting. She never spent hours volunteering in a kindergarten class, or chaperoning a field trip, or organizing fundraising events so every kid at school could play on a team, or carpooling for 2-3 hours a day, or simply being there, day after day, whenever needed, whatever was needed. There is a tremendous amount of self that is given a back seat to our children when we are raising them, and even more so when raising them is our primary job, day after day, year after year. It’s a lot of work. A lot.
She clearly has no patience or kind words for mothers who may have a bad day and vent about it:
…for every mother who is happy with her choice to be a stay-at-home mother, there are at least three who are using its tribulations as a means to smugly declare their superiority to anyone within earshot.
Really? I don’t remember that. Even though it was 25 years ago when I first joined the ranks of the stay-at-home moms, I do remember that one of the best things about being at home with my kids was finding friends- that I still have today – who not only listened to my complaints, my fears, my worries, my stories, but helped me to figure out the answers to many of my parenting questions.
Maybe that’s what this author missed out on, while she was passing judgment on the mothers who bitched about piles of laundry or diarrhea or dinners not eaten or husbands who are distracted. Maybe instead of belittling her contemporaries, she should have had some compassion. Yes, being a stay-at-home mom is a gift, as she says – but it’s a lot of hard work, too. And contrary to her statement that:
the fact remains that having someone else foot the bill for a lifestyle that only benefits you and your close family is by no means a “job.”
…raising children who are good people and contribute something of value to the world does not just benefit the mother and the close family. It benefits the community they live in, the schools they attend, the jobs they get when they are grown.
I was a stay-at-home mom for 20 years. The year my son left for college I felt as useless and aimless as anyone who has ever lost a job – no matter the pay. There are many women who choose to work, even if they don’t have to – they love their jobs, they get great satisfaction out them, and they can’t imagine not working. That’s how I felt about being a stay-at-home mom. Yes, I complained. Yes, there were days when it nearly broke me. But it was what I chose to do, and I wouldn’t have done it any differently.
And for 20 years it was my job – the perfect job for me.