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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
Rita October 1, 2010, 10:38 AM

The sad truth is, I’ve seen those mothers. They live in huge houses, drive the latest cars, work 12 hour days just so they can make their mortgage payment on a house they don’t even get to enjoy. Really, where is the joy and fun in that? They all look 10 years older then they are, and don’t seem very happy.

To each his own, I guess. I’d rather live in a modest, comfortable house and actually have time to enjoy it and my family without worrying if I’m going to be able to make my 2K-3K mortgage payment this month.

Susan October 1, 2010, 8:18 PM

I truly think it’s a personal decision and anyone who mocks either choice should have the steps in their home BUTTERED… I had a SAHM… I am a SAHM… I feel like a loon sometimes with the choice I’ve made but 90% of the time I’m content and fulfilled…. (maybe 90 is pushing it)… If you are a stay at home mom and your child is a bit ‘off’ when he/she views what you ‘do all day’ I found that one conversation with my husband nipped that in the bud… I was horrified when my daughter said the same sort of things, that I don’t do anything… But, my husband was able to kind of help her ‘see the light’ and since then he’s been extremely helpful in keeping her ‘in the know’ about what ‘Mom’ does and sometimes even about what ‘Mom gives up’… Same goes for if you chose to work… a Spouse can help a child see the light about life choices quite well…..

Jennifer October 1, 2010, 9:48 PM

Well put Susan. And you know…the easiest way to show people all the work you do, is to STOP doing it. I’ve done that with my husband. He had no idea how much I did in an average day. He does now.

Mom, Interrupted October 3, 2010, 9:24 AM

Oh, please.

First off: no kid should ever feel they have to be grateful for the length of the labor we endured. No child asks to be born; in fact, we CHOSE to do it. It’s the height of co-dependency to then demand gratitude for that.

And unless your child asked you to stay home with her, you can’t run around demanding gratitude for that, either. That was your choice, to satisfy what you thought was important.

Second: Jennifer says that no one ever makes a WOHM justify her decision. Did you read the comments in this post alone? There have been at least two observing what material objects a family has and then making snide inferences about the values and priorities of the mom who is working.

OP: if your daughter is disrespectful to you, that’s one problem and you need to deal with that. But if she’s not displaying what you think is the appropriate amount of gratitude for all these sacrifices she didn’t ask you to make, then that’s YOUR problem.

abby October 4, 2010, 9:56 AM

my mom has worked as long as i can kindergarten 1st and 2nd grade i would stay with my grandma after school but starting in 3rd grade i stayed home by myself for and hour every day until she got home with my brothers whom she picked up from daycare….i loved being home alone being able to come home get myself a snack (yes I can do it myself I dont need my mother to hand me a freaking granola bar or bake me cookies) and I would do my homework by myself and then watch tv until she got home…most days my friend who was a year younger than me would stay with me as well cuz her mom worked too…I did this all the way up until 7th grade when my mom was laid off cuz her company moved to china and then she was home every day after school…it annoyed me to have someone there…it was supposed to be my quiet time, my alone time, cuz I didn’t get that any other time…She was always there waiting for me sometimes she baked something or had a snack ready and ya its nice but it was stupid and pointless, I know how to bake so i couldve done it myself…I used to love the days she would be at the store when I got home…she went to school for 2 years so I was still stuck with her and then she got a job and I was happy because I finally got my alone time back…its only 1/2 hour now cuz my brothers get home shortly after me but its still quiet now…I prefer a working mother cuz I feel stay at home moms are lazy nothings and they say their job is soo hard but seriously? when your kids are all at school what do you do? nothing that cant be done when you get home…My mom wakes up 4am every morning gets laundry started vaccuums cleans and other stuff and when she comes home at 5 she makes dinner cleans up some more and then has like 3 hours to relax so seriously how much work can you possibly have? my mom has had 5 children and she always has the house cleaned and organized, if you raise your children right theyll help without being asked…I come home and do the dishes and straighten up but my mom has never asked me to she just raised me to help out when I can…get a job and stop being lazy

Carol October 13, 2010, 11:42 PM

I think it’s so funny how people can say their opinions when they haven’t walked in someone else’s shoes. No household runs the same and no 2 children are alike. I’ve been a WOHM and now am a SAHM. I have 4 kids and stay busy all the time. I volunteer when I want. I used to give more than I could, but found myself back into the working schedule. I do plenty at home and make sure it’s all about me. I LOVE picking my kids up from school, sending them off to school, meeting their friends, talking with them. I LOVE being home and being available if they get sick, or if my husband wants to have lunch. I choose to stay home because it makes me happy to watch my kids grow each day. My answer to “what do you do all day?”: Whatever I want. I watch tv if I want, wash clothes if I want, whatever. My kids aren’t deprived of anything. We are close. I get the whole “alone” time. Well, they can go outside or go to their room. I do agree that kids should do things without being asked, but I’ll be there to make sure it happens. Kids shouldn’t question their parents and my response to that is, “Oh well if you feel that way. Is there really an answer I can give you that will satisfy you? Probably not. If you don’t appreciate what I do that’s ashame, but I’ll continue to teach and discipline. One day you’ll understand. If not, then too bad. I know I did everything out of love and I’ll sleep ok at night knowing that. Love you! Now go to bed because I said so!”

Becky November 25, 2010, 12:28 PM

There are pros and cons for SAHM and WOHM, who’s to judge anyone else for their decision. I think the OP is just looking for some moral support from moms in general! All good moms both SAH or WOH feel some resentment or frustration at times when raising children that are ungrateful or disrespectful or even spouses who do not recognize their worth. I’m sure the WOHM’s can say that their own sacrifice of long workdays are not always appreciated enough.

This is not about where you work it’s how your raising and teaching your children to be responsible and respectful of themselves and others. I’m having my own what I would call issures/failures with my children and I’m a SAHM (again by choice).

No one is better than anyone else. Parenting is a lot of work regardless if you SAH or WOH!!!

Becky November 25, 2010, 12:31 PM

We need to teach our children to work beginning at home! To be responsible for their actions and messes no matter how big! Our kids have become too dependent on us doing everything for them and giving them things we never had…

emily December 22, 2010, 3:30 PM

Liked this article. As a single mom who does work 40, often plus a week, I find myself getting so heated and (yes, jealous) of SAHMs, especially when it seems like every article, or my own personal friends try to earn sympathy. This article touched my heart, bc you are right, everyone has their reasons for working or staying at home, for some, like myself,it’s a matter of need. For some like you, it was a personal choice where you did what was best for your family. Maybe letting your daughter know how her comment hurt you, and giving her some understanding as to why you wanted to be there for her based on your own growing up, she will view things differently. Maybe not too, kids are kids and they just don’t “get it” sometimes. :)

WOW January 6, 2011, 1:08 PM

First I want to say that there are certainly some SAHM that are lazy, but that doesn’t mean they all are!!!!
As far as when the kids are in school full time, well let’s see, there is Christmas Break, Spring Break, Three MONTHS in the summer, not to mention all the little “holidays” and in service times, OH, and sick days.
So what are you to do then? I suppose if you have a job that is good enough to pay you vacation or sick days you could take off or if you make enough hire someone, but not everyone is that lucky.
Mom’s used to stay home, and the world or at least the US was much better for it.
For those that choose to work, that is fine to, or maybe they have to, but for those that choose to work, to assume those that don’t are lazy, shame shame!!!
The ones that stay home could assume the ones at work just don’t care, that probably isn’t true either.
Let us not judge one another, or we will be judged ourselves.

Ten Tees January 8, 2011, 3:42 PM

Great post! Good and fun reading. I have a single opinion to offer about funny t-shirts.

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