“Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That” – A Stay-At-Home Mom Rant

On my morning drive to preschool drop off the other day, I was too sleepy for a podcast, too sensitive to listen to NPR, too indecisive to settle on an album, so I defaulted to the radio.

There is one morning show that I detest and avoid, even though I like the music on the station, because the banter is brash and mind-numbing, and the DJs think they’re brilliant because they’re loud and speak with confidence, even though they’re, generally, idiots.

But I found myself listening on this drizzly morning because they started talking about parenting. In particular, working parents versus (yes, versus) stay-at-home parents.

Whether or not you can/have to/get to work or stay home is an individual decision for every parent.  It’s a nuanced and complex topic, so naturally these two morning DJs approached it with the delicacy of drunken bros at a frat party.

The dude started by saying that despite the sacrifice and hefty dose of guilt for leaving for work every day, he said, “I’m doing it for my daughter, for my family, so I feel good about it.”

I was almost finding myself endearing to this guy. But then he kept talking,

“She’s not seeing me home all day eating bonbons and judging all the working moms who don’t go to PTA meetings.”

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He continued,

“She sees me working and setting that good example. I’ll never have to worry about her work ethic.”

So.

To summarize: stay-at-home parents, moms in particular, sit around all day, eat snacks and talk sh-t about working parents (because it’s always a competition, particularly among women, amiright!) and are unable to set good examples of work ethic for their children because only paid work is of any value or merit.

That’s so heartening to this stay-at-home mom who is trying to build a career as an author from the ground up with no paycheck in site. 

We are all doing our best as parents. We are all making sacrifices. Sacrifice is the first and foremost tenet of parenthood. Yet, when it’s about justifying a choice to parent one way, why does it have to be within the confines pitting it against the OTHER way of doing it? One doesn’t really have anything to do with the other! Especially when it’s not just a defense against, but a steady, subtle, and sexist undermining of the other way of doing it.

In that scenario he so dismissively painted, were you picturing a stay-at-home DAD eating bonbons and saying in a bitchy tone that Karen should have joined the PTA? Yeah, didn’t think so.

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These types of comments are subtle attacks on women, mothers who stay home with their children, disguised as the championing of a choice.

I usually don’t take these types of comments personally. People are dumb, misguided, uninformed. Whatever. I’ve heard it in many ways over the past three years, from a surprising amount of sources, peppered through my experience as a stay-at-home mom.

I would have almost forgotten about the radio show entirely if I hadn’t later logged on to Facebook (always a bad idea, just, in general) and found a post in a mom’s forum I follow that started like this:

“Hi All! I’m a FTM– a FIRST time mom, not a FULL time mom.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that!!!”

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

This mom is barely in the parenting game and already felt it important to qualify, to distance herself from the moms who stay home full-time because of internalized beliefs about stay-at-home motherhood perpetuated by idiotic morning show DJs.

Again, I could let this go as I have so many times before. Go on about my day knowing that these people’s opinions have nothing to do with me. That what I’m doing is right for my kid and my family and ignore anyone who doesn’t understand.

But, I’ve had it.

I’ve had it with the judgment, the misguided views of stay-at-home motherhood that we uphold as a society. There is merit and value to staying home and I’m tired of being told we are lazy and bitchy and boring because we do.

To be expressly clear: this is not a defense of stay-at-home parents against working parents. It is a defense of stay-at-home parents against the societal views of stay-at-home parents.

I could write a bulleted list of all I believe to be important about my staying home. But I will not justify why I am a stay-at-home mom. I don’t need to. None of us do. We are not here for anyone’s approval or judgment. It is a difficult job. A job I take pride in. A job I take seriously. A job I’m damn good at.

But I will write a bulleted list of what I DON’T do as a SAHM:

  • Eat f-cking bonbons.
  • Judge working parents.
  • Worry about the example I’m setting as being anything short of loving, attentive, hard-working and present.

As “just” parents, we get very little validation, or even much recognition.  We don’t know if what we are doing is right. No parent does. I can’t do much to change the narrative, but I can write this post and hope it finds you. I can tell you that what you’re doing matters. It counts. It is time well spent. It is work well done.

It’s not glamorous, it’s not understood by everyone, but it matters to you and it matters to your kids, and in the end, that’s more than enough.

There really is nothing wrong with that. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

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10 thoughts on ““Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That” – A Stay-At-Home Mom Rant

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  1. *thunderous applause* for this post. I’ve never understood people who automatically come to this conclusion. Not understanding that staying home is not the lazy route. I can’t even!

    Thanks you for all your encouragement and forthrightness, speaking for all of us mothers, working inside and outside our homes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Becki thank YOU so much!! It honestly astounds me too and it just drives me batty – esp for the mamas on the early side of the journey who need all the support and encouragement they can get! Thank you for your support!!!!

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      1. You’re absolutely right! We need to stand together and support each other. Helping to enrich the caretaker, who is working hard (inside and outside the home) to take care of little souls who will be our future generation!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said, I only hope that when I have kids, I’ll be able to stay home with them for all the reasons I believe being a “full-time mom” is important. The judgement that comes to stay-at-home-moms, I feel, comes from a lot of places for people — guilt that they can’t stay home with their kids, guilt that they don’t want to stay home with their kids, a low sense of self value and a general feeling that they are worthless unless they are working, plus tons of other internalized feelings that people project, or use as fuel to judge others as a means of making themselves feel better. Judgement comes from a lack of self-love/worth/value, and judging is the only thing some people can do to create a false sense of those things they lack.

    Keep doing what you do. You are amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So well said! And so true – parenting reveals all of us, our complexities, our insecurities, and mostly our vulnerabilities. So many parents are worried we’re doing it wrong, we’re often looking to others to validate our efforts and get panicked when they differ. Thank you for reading and your insightful comment!!

      Like

  3. I always find it funny how society thinks being a stay at home mom is so easy and the moms are lazy but paying someone to look after kids is a career and hard work. I wish someone could explain the difference to me because I just don’t see it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I didn’t realise there was the option to be a part-time mom! What a hilariously stupid comment. I wonder what that woman’s child would think if they knew their mother didn’t consider herself a full-time parent.

    Excellent post! My mom was a SAHM and she’s the person I admire most in this world. I think you should send this in to that radio station and give that idiot DJ a piece of your mind. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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