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Can SAHMs EVER Get a Break?!

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Angry Mom: Sometimes kids are ungrateful you-know-whats. I hate to say this of my own child, but she has just informed me -- ME, the woman who was in labor giving birth to her for 22 hours without an epidural; the woman who put her career on hold to be with her -- that I am just (just!) a mom who stays home and does nothing. As if I send her off to school and lay around in my bathrobe all day!

woman pulling hair
All of her friends' mothers work, and I guess she's embarrassed that I don't. Many of them are in "the business" here in Los Angeles, and she thinks it's "soooo cool." They're producers, editors, actors -- even her godmother is a semi-well-known actress, and compared to her job, mine is apparently pointless. I'm just the reader, the chef, the chauffeur, the picker-upper, the tucker-inner, the homework surpervisor, the tear-dryer and the one who buys all the stuff. You know -- the one who's here every day when she comes home from school, and who even has warm cookies and milk waiting for her (sometimes). But who am I

It hurts, to be honest, this lack of appreciation. I'm only providing for my child what I wished I'd had myself. My mother worked at a time when most mothers didn't, and while I was always proud to say she was a doctor, I also envied my friends whose moms were home when they got off the school bus. I thought it was nice that those moms had snacks waiting for them, and were simply around. It's not that I didn't feel loved by my mother; I was loved, unconditionally. But it would have been nice to have her there more often. 

There's an argument for both sides. Some mothers think it's important to work outside the home so they can be role models to their daughters; others -- like me -- believe there's nothing more important than being present for their children for as long as they can. I'm not cutting down moms who work -- it's their business what they do, and they know what's right for their families. It would just be nice -- in a society that tends to look down on SAHMs -- to at least be appreciated by your own child, whose well-being you're staying home for in the first place! 

I explained to my daughter my reasons for staying home, but how can she ever really know why I think it's important? Moms, what do you think?

next: What's Your Family's Style?
31 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous September 30, 2010, 3:34 AM

Kids sometimes say things without meaning it or get mad and mean. Can you go away for a few days or get busy with some kind of volunteer work and let her see what her life would be like if you weren’t there?
I think I would talk to her, too, about the idea that doing a glamorous job is not the only thing in life that matters.

Jennifer September 30, 2010, 5:25 AM

So totally understand. My mom had to work, I would never EVER let her know this, but I was jealous of other kids who had moms waiting for them when they got home. That is probably the biggest reason I’m a SAHM.

Annie September 30, 2010, 6:02 AM

Sorry, ZERO reason to stay home while you’re kids are in school full time - seriously that’s just lazy and a bad example. Your kid is right- exactly WHAT are you doing all day? Don’t say cleaning, cooking, laundry, since real working moms do all that AND hold a job.

My mom was a sahm and probably the laziest, whiniest person I ever met. We grew up in poverty because she chose not to work and I’ve always resented her for that. And she didn’t do anything but sit around all day.

NO kid was jealous of other kids who had lazy moms sitting home “waiting for them”. That’s just a lie SAHMs tell themselves.

Lisa R. September 30, 2010, 6:23 AM

OMG, Annie, you must be a kid yourself. You have to be young & childless. I’ve never heard anyone—not even a mother w/a job outside the home—say that there is NO reason for a woman to be a SAHM and that it’s just “lazy” and a “bad example.” I cannot believe you posted that. Shame on you! First of all, everyone makes their own decision based on their own circumstances. Second, and most importantly, we as women should support each other in this area above all others. Why can’t women understand that having the choice to be a “working” mom means HAVING THE CHOICE TO STAY HOME W/YOUR CHILDREN w/o being judged, especially by other mothers?!? This is a critical point. If you choose to work & I am supposed to respect that, you are required to respect my choice to stay home. What if I said mothers who work outside the home are selfish & greedy & care more about new clothes & cars & bigger houses than they do about their children? I’d be crucified.

It’s interesting how the way we are raised colors our perspective on this issue. One woman works because her mother didn’t; another stays home w/her children because her mother worked; I stay home to RAISE MY OWN CHILDREN because that’s what my mother did, and I think she’s the best mother I know. I want to be like her. You, Annie, hated & resented your mother, judging her harshly to this day. When you do have children, they are going to pay for the sins of your mother. That’s sad.

Phylllis P September 30, 2010, 6:49 AM

Lisa, AMEN and THANK YOU!! What a wonderful response to the negativity. Being a SAHM is VERY HARD work, as is being a Mom who works outside the house and has to maintain a house as well. The choices that women make are for themselves and no one has a right to judge their decision!

Sharon September 30, 2010, 6:50 AM

I have to work…economic reality. I chose to take a third shift job so I have been available for my children, including home schooling a child on the autism spectrum. I was a SAHM at one time, and wish it was still possible.

All mother’s make choices…in the end we need to provide for our children, not just material things but all the emotional support too. We make the choice to have them, we need to make the choices that are best for them. Sometimes we make the wrong choices no matter how hard we try.

I think the biggest mistake here is expecting emtional support from a teen or child. Validation can’t come from those trying to figure things out and often trying to pull away. It’s not your child’s
Job to validate you or your choices.

Laila September 30, 2010, 7:07 AM

AMEN ANNIE!! You are my girl for saying it like it is!!

Once your children are in school full time seriously, why stay home? It does set a really really bad example of a woman’s worth!

Samantha September 30, 2010, 7:07 AM

I have three children and my husband is in the military. We made the decision that I would be a SAHM due to his having to be gone a lot. We felt that with the emotional turmoil of his deployments, having me be available for them was very important. We chose this for the welfare of our children, not because I am selfish and lazy. My kids may not have every cool new gadget, or the coolest clothes, but they all know why we made this decision and they feel secure in their parents love, rather then resenting us. Perhaps if the author sat down with her daughter and explained her reasons for wanting to be home, and maybe outlined what she does do all day, her daughter would change her tune! LOL

Anonymous September 30, 2010, 7:09 AM

As a former SAHM can I please say - SAHMs PLEASE QUIT WHINING!! And I have to agree w/Annie, I went back to work when my kids went to school full time. She’s right, what on earth would someone do all day - just clean the house? It does seem very lazy or at least, like someone without worth/drive.

I mean does the writer not volunteer, work part time, nothing? SAHMs are for taking care of kids - when the kids go to school no need to sit around the house.

Shannon September 30, 2010, 7:46 AM

AMEN LISA!!! I agree completely with everything you said & I am a proud stay at home mommy too : )

Sara September 30, 2010, 8:45 AM

Your daughter will have to make her own choice some day. She may never understand or appreciate your choice. That is just something you’ll have to learn to live with. Our children, more than likely, will not understand or ever appreciate some of us to the full extent which some of us feel we should be appreciated. It doesn’t matter whether you are a SAHM or working, don’t go looking for accolades from your kids. Work and raise your children in a way that satisfies your goals and monetary needs.

Holly A. September 30, 2010, 9:14 AM

We all have to make our choices for our family based on what we feel is best for them and our situation. My mother had to work because most of the time, she made more money than my dad! But she was still a fantastic mother! I have chosen to stay home because an opportunity presented itself while I was pregnant that allowed me to, as my MIL had always done. For my own sanity and self-worth, I plan to go back to work, at least part-time, once my youngest is in school.
I respect any mother who has made her choice based on what is best for her family! There are those on both sides who do not respect moms who did not make the same choice they did. That just makes me sad! Until we have walked in each other’s shoes, we really shouldn’t judge!

KS September 30, 2010, 9:50 AM

I think I would give her a good taste of what she is wishing for. I would talk with my husband about taking a little week long vacation by myself. While I was gone little miss sassy pants would be required to do her own chores. You know all the ones my lazy rear had been taking care of for her. Then when I returned we would see how much her gratitude had improved.

I simply would not tolerate any of my children speaking to me in such a demeaning manner. Instead of dwelling on the hurt feelings I would teach my child a lesson on respect and appreciation.

KMayer September 30, 2010, 10:43 AM

I’m a walking contradiction. You had ‘em, you raise ‘em if financially feasible. However, you need a life as well, and there’s lots of opportunity during school hours. You’ll be a better mom for it. And you’ll have a plan when that gorgeous kid goes off to college.

Anonymous September 30, 2010, 12:25 PM

Why do people complain so much about having to work outside the home and do all the housework and then get mad at someone who doesn’t have to make herself crazy?
Some moms end up staying home when their kids are in school because they can’t find a job that lets them work just during school hours. Most kids like having mom at home after school and I think there are some benefits from it.
We don’t know what this mom does, anyhow. Maybe she spends some of her time writing. Maybe she does a lot of volunteering.

Just another SAHM September 30, 2010, 3:36 PM

There is no doubt about it. We live in a society that values material items - name brand clothing, expensive i-phones and other electronic goodies more than it values people. And our kids are being raised in the midst of it.

Just know that what you are doing is the right decision for your family. That’s why you made it.

Sure, your career is on hold, your nails probably aren’t perfectly manicured, and you can’t even remember the last time you bought yourself a designer anything. But I’m willing to bet, faced with the same choice, you’d make it all over again.

And, similar to so many other things, kids aren’t going to understand that…yet. But she will someday, and you’ll both be happy you did it this way. Maybe she’ll even tell you she’s glad you did.

Anon September 30, 2010, 4:57 PM

How is being a SAHM “hard work”? Yes when the kids are little, but once they start elementary school, what’s so hard? Getting all the cleaning, errands run, etc. done when you have up to 7 hours by yourself five days a week? WOHMs have to jam it all in nights and weekends.

I’m all for making your own choices, stay at home, work outside the home, whatever. But let’s be honest…

Rita September 30, 2010, 7:55 PM

I just love how everyone is so vicious with each other. Everyone thinks their way is the right way and anyone else is parenting wrong.

Hello! Every family, every individual is different and everyone is doing what works for their family.

It’s so annoying to see mommies thinking or even saying “I’m better then you” because they choose to be SAHM, WAHM, or WOHM.

Does it really matter to you what someone you don’t even know does when they’re children are in school? Are they personally offending you even though you don’t know them?

Maybe some of you need to work through your own issues.

Concentrate on your own families and quit judging women you don’t even know.

Why concentrate on the splinter of wood in your neighbors eye and choose to ignore the plank of wood in your own?

Rita September 30, 2010, 8:01 PM

Besides, she never explained her reasons for staying home even though her child is at school, and she shouldn’t have to.

For all we know, she’s taking care of her ill mother or family member, or she’s disabled and can’t work, maybe she’s on maternity leave or fixing to have a baby, or even taking care of a younger child she didn’t mention because she shouldn’t have to explain every facet of her life to people she doesn’t know.

Or maybe she’s just plain lucky and fortunate to be able to stay home and you know what? That’s great for her! More power to her and her family! I highly doubt she sits at home all day and does nothing.

Can’t we all just accept we’re all doing the best we can? We really don’t need to have other mothers judge us for making decisions that are the best thing for our family right now. We need other mothers support.

Jennifer October 1, 2010, 10:08 AM

No one should have to explain their reason for staying home. It’s a personal choice, no one asks WOHMs why they need to work- you don’t hear “well are you working to make your house payment or because you like having the latest gadgets and a new car every 3 years?”

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