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Are Working Moms Taking Advantage of Stay-at-Home Moms?

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These days, 35 million moms work from home ... and some of them are fed up. No, they're not disgruntled because they don't get to delight in scintillating water-cooler conversations; they're miffed because they feel like personal assistants to friends and neighbors who work outside the home. The most popular request? "Hey, can you pick up my kids from school?" 

SAHMs who work: Have you ever felt used by moms who work outside the home? And working moms: Have you ever relied on a SAHM for favors? 

One woman found a way to trade favors with tasks:

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23 comments so far | Post a comment now
katie August 5, 2010, 11:40 AM

i own a work-out studio so i can make my schedule more conducive to my childrens’ needs. what i’ve found is that there are busier moms who will trade me the favor at a later time, and others who never think twice about helping. it’s best to just use trial and error, you’ll be surprised the “mom friends” you can find in the process

Sarah August 5, 2010, 11:54 AM

UM in what world is this happening? ALL the SAHMs I know are too busy whinig about all their playdates to every even consider helping out all us working moms!! But SAHMs are the FIRST ones volunteering us to sell their kids’ school fundraisers at our offices, asking us to drop off and pick up their kids at school, asking us to babysit for free because they “need a break” and don’t make any money.

SAHMs - please realize the luxury you have of staying home and stop trying to act like it’s so hard or you’re so abused.

Anna August 5, 2010, 12:33 PM

Amen Sarah!! I can’t tell you how many SAHMs from my girls’ school call me at work asking ME to pick up their kids on the way home!! Or how many SAHMs in my neighborhood ask me to stop by the market on my way home from work for milk or some such nonsense for them since I’m already out and they don’t want to pack up the kids!! And not a weekend goes by when my SAHM acquaintances don’t call requesting free childcare because they need a break and an adult night out with their husband! So not only are they not working, they’re expecting help with their non-job! But let a working-mom ask for one favor and all you get is the sermon about how hard it is to stay at home and maybe if working moms changed their priorities they’d understand.

Jennifer August 5, 2010, 12:39 PM

I don’t think either side realizes what they do. I am a working mom and I have asked some of my sahm for favors. I get mad sometimes because I feel like (at least for some of the moms) that I do many favors for them (such as taking their kids to school every day) and when I ask for a babysitting day so I can work, these moms are too busy. But god forbid I do not take their kids to school because - hey you have to go there anyways.

I do see the flip side though and see advantage being pulled by working moms. I try to have several friends so I do not ask one sahm too many times in a row.

Lisa R. August 5, 2010, 12:46 PM

Geez, Sarah & Anna, bitter & jealous much? Those are two of the nastiest posts I’ve ever seen. You are WOMEN! You are MOTHERS! And you are attacking other moms because they stay home and RAISE THEIR OWN CHILDREN instead of paying someone else to do it, and you think that’s EASY (begging the question, if it’s so easy why don’t you do it), so you think because they took the “easy way out” that they never need help, have a bad day, can ask for a favor, or deserve a night out. And Anna, what the hell kind of friends do you have? My guess is the picture you painted isn’t even close to accurate. I can’t imagine calling one of my “working” girlfriends and asking her to pick up milk for me on her way home because she’s “already out.” That’s horsesh*t. You’re just making stuff up. Take a yoga class, you two. You need to relax & get rid of some of your anger. Maybe one of your SAHM friends (if you have any) will watch your kids for you. Sheesh! Nasty!

Mariah August 5, 2010, 1:05 PM

@ Lisa. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. LOL. Enough said.

Tracy August 5, 2010, 1:14 PM

Ahhh, the classic “we’re jealous” rant. Yes, I pay someone to watch my kid becuase I don’t feel like doing it myself (eye roll). How can you call someone out for lying about their experiences…you have no idea what one woman’s friends have asked her to do. What is more nasty, expressing an opinion or calling someone’s opinion horses**t? WAH vs SAH is a constant arguement….but it shouldn’t be. We all try to make choices that are the best for our families, and need to stop judging others choices.

laura August 5, 2010, 1:30 PM

No, lisa I believe sarah +anna. I had a paid arrangement with a neighbor to place my child on the bus in the morning and to get the child off the bus in the afternoon. She also did the same for several other families.It’s a very long story but basically this neighbor would rant about workers expecting her to do favors that she would request of me. She seemed to think that my weekends were for her child to arrive at my home and I was asked many times to pick her child up or get her to an activity. It was very one sided. I never ever asked those things of her, it wasn’t our arrangement. It seemed that our paid arrangement made her feel that somehow we were friends when she needed a favor, we weren’t friends at all.She expected me to support all her childrens fund raisers because afterall I had an income and she did not. When she had trouble reaching me for what she wanted, her daughter reported to my daughter that I was called names.On to of all of this she frequently threw out comments of how working mothers neglected their children. I quit answering the phone for a long time period. Then down the road a few years after t his experience, a new stay at home moved into the neighborhood and tried to begin that aska favor process again revolving around my younger child.Thank god for caller id. Now I have piece of mind and I don’t feel like ripping my phone from the wall and I don’t have to have that awful talk that often begins “this is how it is”.So Lisa, it seems that as many working moms have had sahms hit on us for favors as working mothers hit on sahms.

momof3 August 5, 2010, 2:26 PM

If a sahm or a wohm feels put upon by their ‘friends’ (who don’t even sound like any kind of friends I’d want to have) then they can just say no. Set a boundry ~ draw a line. True friends will just do things for each other, sahm or otherwise, just because they are friends and want to help each other out. But if people aren’t reciprocating ‘favors’ or taking advantage of the other, then just put a stop to it. Plain and simple.

Alison August 5, 2010, 2:38 PM

Our community is fairly evenly split between sahm and working moms but I have never seen the “taking advantage” that most seem to have experienced. I have been a SAHM and have very rarely been asked to do any favors. Occasionally a close friend asks for help on snow days but her kids are part of our family so I don’t mind. I have also been a working mom and only once called a neighbor for help because I was stuck in traffic from a wreck and would not be home to meet the bus. I have done the same for others several times, but I think that is being considerate and neighborly. As for the needing a break argument, ALL moms need a break sometimes. Working outside the home is not a break and being a sahm is not a continuous playdate. They are both difficult in their own ways.

Why are women so quick to judge and criticize other women? We should be supporting each other. No matter what our “job” is we are all trying to find balance with between our kids, personal interests, other relationships, and keeping up our homes.

not tonight August 5, 2010, 2:52 PM

I’m so sick of stay at home moms bitching about how awful their situation is. If you don’t like being a SAHM, then get a job. If you feel “abused” or used by working moms, then tell them “no” when they ask for a favor. There, problem solved.

brittany August 6, 2010, 7:07 AM

amen lisa, i stay at home with my children and it is a harder job than any job you working moms do. i wouldnt trade it for the world. to be raising my own children is the biggest reward ive ever recieved. i think its ridiculous to bash a mother when you havent walked a day in her shoes, i think both positions are hard because i was a working mother at one point. i think mentally you stress a million times more being at home with your kids but i couldnt imagine someone else spending more time with my children and raising them more than i do which must be hard on you working moms, basically were all trying the very best we can to be the best mothers for our children that we can and i think talking bad about any mom for doing that is just nasty. if you feel so strongly about sahm’s then maybe you should let them know to there face instead of whining about it on here.

Rita August 6, 2010, 1:20 PM

Wow. I’ve never experienced this and I’m a SAHM. I would never call a working friend and ask her to pick something up for me on the way home. I will, however, call my husband and ask him to pick up something on the way home. Why can’t I do it myself? Because at this time, we have only one car between us and he uses it for his job, and it’s not something where I can drop him off and pick him up. He’s a contract mail carrier, we live in the country and here the mail carriers use their own vehicle to deliver mail. Some are lucky enough to secure a right-hand drive vehicle to deliver the mail, but most of them drive their own cars. Thank God for mileage reimbursment!!!

I don’t understand why SAHM’s and WM’s constantly attack each other. Like I said in a previous comment in the SAHM vs WM story, I’ve been on both sides of the fence and I understand that most moms can’t be a SAHM because they have to work. Most WM’s I know know how hard being a mom is. It doesn’t make it any easier when we constantly have other mommies questioning our every decision and the way we raise our children. I really don’t care how someone else is raising their child, unless they are abusing and/or neglecting them, I’m not going to say anything because it’s not my place, especially if I don’t even know the mom or something.

I feel lucky and blessed to be a SAHM because I know alot of moms don’t have this option. Next year when my 3 year old starts pre-K, I will be getting a FT job. But for now I’m happy and this setup works for us.

If you’re uncomfortable with being asked to do something, just say No. It’s that easy.

BTW, most SAHM’s work hard, too. We don’t constantly shop and have playdates and mommmydates and all that good stuff. Sure, some of them do, but I do have a life outside of my children and family. GASP!

Anonymous August 9, 2010, 12:47 PM

Lisa R PUHLEASE - you are ridiculous!! You SAHMs sit around all day and ask your working friends for help? Get over yourself!!

A+ teacher August 9, 2010, 12:48 PM

Lisa R - only you SAHMs have time for yoga classes and playdates and all those other little luxuries. Us working moms are too busy taking care of OUR kids and YOURS!!

Melinda August 19, 2010, 11:44 AM

I am astonished by all of the animosity being displayed over this topic. The truth is we all work extremely hard and I am positive that we all value our families and prioritize them to the best of our abilities. I have been on both sides of the fence and both positions require sacrifices. It all depends on the individual family’s needs; at this point it would cost me more to work full time than it does to stay at home. By staying at home I am still working, my husband no longer helps with the household duties and I have also taken on his bookkeeping for our business. It is so easy to judge one another, but we do not have looking glasses into each others lives. My friends and neighbors lean on each other as we should, if we can help each other we do, if we can’t we can’t. At times it might seem out of balance, but most of the time it is very rewarding, to be a blessing to one another. We all need to focus on the positives and be thankful for the lives that we have been blessed with and the gifts that we have in each other. I am amazed by some of my working friends; they are so talented, structured and organized. Looking at them accomplish all that they do, especially those single, working moms, inspires me to be better in my position as a Home-Manager. That is the title we all have been given whether, working outside the home or not. I am grateful for this opportunity, but yes, at times I get over-whelmed and share with my friends who are working and they seem to understand and not resent my complaints. Isn’t that what friends are for? We are supposed to be a source of love and a safe-haven for one another and it takes honesty, communication and efforts.

Carol August 24, 2010, 3:09 PM

Wow, there is sure a lot of anger in this post. I am guessing those moms who do have the option to stay home are angry at the moms who are able to stay home with their kids. The moms that have the option to stay home but choose to work outside the home anyway would not get so wound up over this post.

Anyway, I am a SAHM and agree that there are some advantages to being a SAHM, but anyone who thinks we sit on our rear ends all day has obviously never stayed home with a child. Raising kids is HARD work. I have worked outside the home in an office for many many years and I can honestly say being a SAHM requires more work and energy. I am not complaining. I chose to stay home with my child as I thought it was important… at least at a young age. But, again, anyone who thinks it’s not work has never done it. And how in the world would we attend a “yoga” class with children hanging on us and needing our constant attention.

With that being said, I have asked my friends a total of one time to watch my child. It was in an unexpected emergency situation and I absolutely could not bring my child with me. I, however, am asked on a weekly, and sometimes daily basis to watch my friend’s kids. One friend in particular has 2 boys and she has recently returned to work. It seems to me that she thinks it’s my duty to watch her boys, for FREE, since I stay at home. I don’t mind on occasion, but once I said yes on one occasion, now it is assumed I will watch them all the time. Some of you may say that that’s what friends are for but her kids are NOT GOOD kids. They are disrespectful to me and my husband, abusive to my son, and trash my house. They are dropped off just before dinner time and don’t pack any food for them assuming I will feed them and when they pick them up, they don’t have their kids clean up the mess that they made. They have NEVER offered to compensate us for watching their kids (numerous times) or even given us a gift certificate or anything. Some of the parents of the other kids I watch have at least paid us or given us a gift certificate for our time… and there kids are good kids. Am I bitter??? You bet I am. Just because I chose to stay home with my son does not mean I am “free” babysitting for the rest of the world.

As far as asking my working friends to do my grocery shopping or run my errands, that is absurd. A true friend would never ask such a thing of you and if your friends are truly asking you for those things, you should reconsider being friends with them. Friends are their the help in tight situations but not to take advantage of each other.

Anonymous October 13, 2010, 1:46 PM

Ok. I really dont think the heat of this post has anything to do with stay at home vs working moms. If you are a working mom being taken advantage of by a Sahm or a Sahm being taken advantage of by a working mom, you just need new friends. Anyone who EXPECTs anything from you is clearly not worth it. I am a SAHM and I dont mind doing favors (i.e. shopping, babysitting, etc.) for any of my friends (working or sah) but its my choice, if they take it for granted then we will be having a talk (lol) Im lucky enough to have a husband and family to help me out when I need it, so I dont have to ask my friends for help much, but not everyone has that luxury so I dont mind helping them when I can.

winker October 22, 2010, 11:58 PM

I have a friend who is a flight attendant and both she and her husband make good money. She offered to pay a friend to watch her son when she was gone at times over the summer but not me because our girls are friends. I need the money and she knows it. She has asked me to run her child to a sporting event locally during the dinner hour many times and has even had her child many times call and ask me if she can come and play because her parents either are working or gong somewhere. That’s the last straw having the child do the dirty work. Not fair to her or me. I won’t here from her for a week until the next time she wants something. Emergency is one thing but I am not interested in being her personal secretary or nanny.

cynthia December 15, 2010, 9:59 PM

Many women these days fallen into a worldly deception allow worldly values and place importance on riches, careers and status ignoring God’s standards of living. Proverbs 31 describes a virtuous woman who would do variety of things. All of those things are home-centered jobs and to support for her family. .I am not condemning all mothers of little children who work outside their homes because some of them have no choice. But those who have a choice have to think what is important for them either noble duties of motherhood or their successful career.

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