Being a mom is the coolest, most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done and also the most stressful. While devoting every waking hour of your life to your kids as a stay-at-home mom is an amazing thing, it’s not a job and I wish people would stop calling it one.
It’s literally not a job. By definition, a job is “a paid position of regular employment.”
Last time I checked, SAHMs don’t get paid for what they do. They also don’t get sick days, paid time off, or a 401k. If you define this as your job, you need to have a serious conversation with your employer because you’re not being fairly compensated.
Working moms do the same things… on top of an actual job. Think about the million things SAHMs have to do each day. Working moms have to do them too—in addition to a 40-hour work week. I still get my daughter ready for school, clean the house, and I pick up the same 500 toys that get left everywhere. I help her with her homework, take her to dance class and soccer practice, clean the bathrooms and cook dinner—and I have eight hours less than SAHMs to do it in.
Looking after the house just makes you an adult, not a professional. Whether you have kids or not, basically every adult has to do at least half the things SAHMs do every day. Sure, they may not have to watch Thomas the Tank Engine on repeat for hours each day and they probably haven’t wiped anyone’s butt recently, but they still have to do the same tasks as being a functional, responsible adult.
SAHMs don’t have to deal with office politics. When was the last time a SAHM stayed late at “work” because they thought if they did, their “boss” would notice and it might get them that promotion they’ve been hoping for? In our jobs, we’re constantly seeking ways to climb the ladder, make more money, and get more respect. SAHMs never have to worry about that because there’s no real competition.
It doesn’t require a degree. Most jobs these days require some form of secondary education, trade school, or bachelor’s degree; motherhood doesn’t. I’m not saying it isn’t hard because it absolutely is, but you don’t have to understand the quantum theory, know how to set a broken arm, or be proficient in Excel in order to raise a child.
SAHMs don’t have to answer to anyone. OK, I might be a little off on this one because the demands of young children are just as stressful as the demand of a nagging boss. However, when your child acts up, you can send them to their room or take away their iPhone. It wouldn’t go over so well if I told my boss to pick up his socks off the floor and that if he didn’t stop being so whiny, I’d put him in time out.
SAHMs are in charge of their days. There are things parents have to do every day, like get the kids’ lunches packed and get them off to school, but SAHMs literally have 8-10 hours a day where they have total control over what they want to do. I love when they claim that they “don’t get to sit on the couch and eat bonbons all day.” Dude, yes they can! When the kid goes down for a nap or the older ones are at school, they can totally sit on the couch watching soap operas, go to sleep, or even have a glass of wine. Anyone with an actual job would be fired on the spot for any of those things.
They focus on quantity, not quality. Studies have shown that the quantity of time you spend with your child doesn’t have a direct positive outcome on their overall well-being. When I’m away from my daughter, I miss her and I think about what she’s doing. Because we’re not together 24/7, I’m that much more excited to hear about her day when I get home from work. I know that I only have so many hours with her before bedtime, so I make the most of them.
SAHMs are giving a gift, not a work product. They’ve willfully volunteered to give their children an incredible gift, not provide their services in exchange for a bi-weekly paycheck.
Being a SAHM is ultimately a lifestyle choice. Most people work because they have to; others stay at home with their kids because they want to. SAHMs chose to bring a tiny human into this world, just as they chose to spend all their time energy and attention on this one little person. I respect that totally, but I can’t ignore the fact that SAHMs are also choosing to let someone else pay the bills to support them and their offspring. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s a distinction that has to be made.