Today is going to be my controversial post of the….okay so my first controversial post ever. It starts with: This is how I feel about Obama….ahaha! Okay not really–hope I didn’t lose anyone there–I usually click offÂ a person’sÂ blog the minute I read POLITICS! You won’t ever find politics here!
Anywho…. I saw online yesterday that the Today Show did a segment on whether or not working moms take advantage of moms who stay at home with their kids or moms who work from home (for the purpose of this blogpost working moms are moms AND DADSÂ who work outside of the home–because dads have said some of this stuff too. The comments from men have sometimes been the harshest.)Â But what got me thinking was the comment section below the articleÂ (usually does) about how women were saying it doesn’t ever happen & that it is a personal problem. So I wanted to give my opinion on the matter….
Obviously, I am a stay-at-home mom (SAHM). And yes, I have had several of the followingÂ comments from people I know personally or just down right rude strangers:
Todd has been approached by people who have said to him, “I hear your wife doesn’t have a job. Could we make an arrangement where she takes care of my kid so that my wife/gf/brother’s sister’s cousin-in-law’s next door neighbor can actually go to work.”
My mom even talks about how every summer she had the same mom ask her if my mom would keep her kid while she went to work. And it usually went something along the lines of “Hey, you aren’t doing anything & I’m busy do you mind watching my kid for me all summer, for free?” People, my mom had 5 kids in 9 years! My mom was BUSY and some people still didn’t have a clue as to how hard she worked day in & day out.
In the short 15 months that I have been staying home with Lboy I have had 3 different people ask me to be their full time nanny. And my response is always, “I’m sorry, I have a job.” Depending on the delivery ofÂ how they askÂ I do want to lash out with an angry rant of how dare they?! It’s the people who don’t have a clue that really tick me off.
I don’t stay home so that I can be mom to every single one of the mothers out there who chooses to go to work. I didn’t give up two years of grad school, give up my car,Â or sacrifice a plethora ofÂ other things that I would love to be doing so that I could play mom from 8-5 to someone else’s kid. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but it is what it is.
I understand why women work outside of the home. I know that some women really want careers, I know some women financially can not stay home with their kids, I know that some women just don’t want to stay home, I know some women have husbands who want to stay home with the kids, and I know there are a million other reasons why women work. And I don’t judge them for that. They make their choices and I make mine. But I don’t run a nanny service & I definitely don’t run a nanny service for the people who accuse me of being lazy, watching too much TV, and doing nothing.
But, do I think it’s a personal problem? Definitely, if you let it be one. Do I think it’s rude when people tell me that I do nothing all day so why can’t I take care of their kid? Hell yeah I do. But it’s all in my reaction and my response. If I keep my mouth shut and don’t tell them what I’m thinking and I let someone roll over me (which I can be good at) then yes, it has become my problem and I have to figure out how to deal with it.
But if I would just say, “I’m sorry. That won’t work for my family or meÂ today/tomorrow/ever,” then it’s not a problem anymore. If it’s a friend who asks and they don’t want to be friends with me anymore because of my saying no to their request, then they weren’t that good of a friend anyways.
So…Do I think that all working moms are rude enough to accuse a SAHM of being lazy? Nope. Do I think that working moms & SAHMs alike don’t always understand each other? Yes. Do I think that working moms take advantage of SAHMs? Sometimes. Do I think every.single working mom takes advantage of every.single SAHM? No way. But do I think it happens? Absolutely.
Wow… if someone asked me to watch their kids for free like that I think I would just laugh in their face. With 2 young kiddos, I am lucky if I get to SIT DOWN much less watch grownup TV before 9:00 at night :-p
I stopped teaching full time 3 years ago right before my oldest was born. I'm now a WAHM(Work at Home Mom) I stay at home during the day and tutor math from 3:00ish-8:00ish during the school year. I choose to tutor because it helps me stay sharp (if you don't use math, you forget it!) and lets face it, sometimes it's nice to deal with someone who doesn't poop in their pants.
First of all, brilliant post, Kate! You roar, mama!
Secondly, I really thinks that it's the media that is playing both sides the SAHM and the working mom sides. They boasts so much and make such a big deal and cause ripples that turned into nasty back and forth fights between the two sides. Why can't they just leave it alone?! Grrr!
I totally can relate although no one had asked me to babysit their children here – because I don't have a nanny but I understand how the misconceptions are spread. Stay at home mom doesn't do squat, just watch the kids bla bla bla. Heck, being a SAHM means we are the manager – make that the general of the house. We manage a household, taking care of the children while the other spouse is at work. Not easy and we doesn't have annual leave hahaha.
Love this post, Kate!
Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds says
I would love for someone to pay me to watch their kid. Around here people seem to want dedicated nannies who don't choose to involve their own child in their life. The next door neighbor seems to have gone out of her way to find childcare when I'm right here and would have gladly taken her money to do the not-much that encompasses babysitting an 8 and 11 year old.
I don't get much negative feedback on staying at home because I really don't interact with anyone who doesn't do it!
MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) says
Wow…I cannot imagine being asked to watch someone else's children since I obviously don't do anything else all day! That's crazy!
I do laugh at the Facebook comments I see from some of my working mom friends. It was rainy here yesterday, and there were two or three people that said, "Oh, I would just like to curl up with my kiddos at home all day."
Bwahahaha!!! Do these people think that stay-at-home kiddos are sedated or something? At least with my 19-months old (and every age before this), there's no such thing as curling up…try running around at break-neck speed, right?
If I were to curl up to enjoy a rainy day, I'd have to get a sitter myself! HA!!!
(FUn post…I look forward to reading the other comments!)
macgyver mom says
I agree with what Maureen said, the media likes to play moms off of one another (working vs. SAH, breast feeding vs bottle feeding, etc.).
I barely have enough time and energy to enjoy my girls on an individual basis and I am home with them all day. I can't imagine throwing another person's child into the mix, particularly since I would have to spend innumerable hours teaching that kid to behave the way I expect him/her to in my home.
Good for you to say No, say it loud and clear!
Kate – I admire you for sacrificing so much to stay home with Lboy! I know you well enough to know that during the day you probably never sit, much less lounge and watch tv! I can't speak for everyone out there (especially any mothers, as I just have one heck of a spoiled dog!) but even though I work more that 60 hours a week in a fast paced environment dealing with 8,000 plus students – I think YOU have the harder job by far! I can always shut the office door, call in-sick, take a vacation, ignore the phone call or email or send the student out of my office… you don't have those luxuries!
Your a great mommy doing a fabulous JOB!
I work full time, but I have been a SAHM mom and I too had many people asking me to babysit for FREE. I agreed to babysit but I was paid for it and I never did it full time because I felt it took away from my time with my family. I think it's really RUDE to assume that a SAHM has time to babysit your child (and for free!). Being a SAHM doesn't mean you are sitting on your couch watching Days of our Lives and eating Bon Bons – it actually IS a job and it's a much harder job than the one I have now!
I am a SAHM, I have 5 children, my oldest is 12, then I have a 7 year old, my little ones are 3 year old triplets. People constantly ask me what I do all day! Really?!? Friends constantly ask me to watch their children for them, for free, and are rarely available when I need someone to watch my kids for me. My sister, who is a working mom, is also guilty of taking advantage of me because I stay home and have nothing better to do.
I cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for my family every day. I make most everything from scratch, from salad dressing to bread to baby food when the little ones were younger.
Here's a conversation I had with my sister one day, I was making homemade salsa to go with dinner later in the day.
Sister: Why are you making everything from scratch? Why can't you just buy salsa at the store?
Me: I like homemade salsa and I know what is going in it. I can control the salt that my family is eating and there are no preservatives.
Sister: (said snottily) I wish I didn't have anything better to do, then I could screw around all day and waste time making stuff.
Me: You chose to work outside the home. This IS my job. My job is mom, part of my job as mom is to cook for my family, part of cooking for my family is keeping them as healthy as possible, part of keeping them healthy is to make as much as I can from scratch, without preservatives, HFCS and added salt.
Sister: Well, since your not doing anything, could you keep Bel so I can run to the store?
Really?!? Yeah, I was doing nothing! BTW, when I go to the store, I take all 5 of my children with me. She can't take her ONE child with her? I have now stopped babysitting for friends and family and I've made it very clear to them that being a MOM is my full time job. I made the decision to stay home with my kids, you made the decision to go to work, that's your problem, not mine! I didn't stay home to raise my kids so I could take time away from them to deal with your kid too!
OK, rant over. Sorry, I just wrote a book here! LOL!
*FYI…No, I don't think all working moms are like this, this has just been my experience.
Once…while pregnant with Sean…my student loan company called to update my information. The woman on the phone asked if I worked. I said no. She said – kid you not – "So you're on welfare."
"No, I'm not on welfare."
"But you said you don't have a job."
"That's right, I stay at home with my son, my husband works."
"But if you don't have a job and you're not on welfare, where do you get money?"
Really? I nearly said "Oh, me and the toddler take my bad pregnant self out to the nearest streetcorner." Instead I said "My husband supports us."
She then said "So you live off your husband."
You're getting a HUGE high five from me for this post.
I'm not a mom, so maybe I should be careful here haha
I think it's completely rude of people to ask you to watch their children for free- However, I think the paid nanny request is perfectly acceptable!
I have a friend my age with a toddler, and another mom pays her to watch her child in the mornings as well. The kids play together, my friend earns extra money, the other mom saves on daycare… I think it's a win-win-win situation.
Kristen @ ladybug-blessings.com says
awesome post! I can't believe people actually ask you to watch their kids because you have nothing to do! I think what works is what works best for the family at that time and financial situation. I mean, if you wanted to watch another kid, great, but if not great too! The nerve of some people! Also, I know some people who want to work, not because they have to but because they want to and that is totally fine too. I think it is up to everyone but no one should make comments about other's situations.
Fantastic post! Isn't it interesting how people actually think you can actually relax and watch the tele all day when you have babies at home!? In their sick fantasy world that happens and you also have time to watch their kids. You also did a great job of addressing the fact that everyone has a different family and financial situation. I am a SAHM and full time student in my last semester, which I get to do at home! My hubby wants me to get a job when I graduate but I want think I want to go to graduate school! It is stressful because I have no family here to help me watch my little man and I am not comfortable with daycare. He is my child and I don't want someone else taking care of him! So, the dilemma begins…
i can't believe people assume you want to care for their kids simply because you are at home with your own child! i'm at home, too, but i've never gotten that question from anyone.
So funny, because most of the working (outside the home) moms I know? Admit that they couldn't stay home, they don't know how I do it, because it's TOO DAMN HARD. Amen to that!
oooh girl. great post! i used to get the negative comments from former friends about me staying home. thank god i dropped them off at the landfill. what a load of trash! i cannot believe that i was friends with any of them. thankfully, motherhood has helped me realize who my true friends are. now, i dont listen to anything that anyone says about me staying home. it isnt worth our time, girl. not one second.
I saw that today show segment. And as a working mom, can't believe that crap actually happens! the job of "Mom" is the hardest, most underpaid job out there. You wake up, you're at work. You go to bed, still at work!
Phoebeholmes- so you live off your husband? Did ya not wanna reach through the phone nda choke her. OMG!!!!
I am a mom of five boys ranging from 11 yrs-1 yr.
I worked until my oldest son was six. I felt guilt every day.
I have been home for almost five years. I work harder now than I did when I worked 40 hrs a wk in corporate American.
My body aches, my feet are killing me, and I've never eaten a bon-bon.
With all of that said, it was not until I stayed home with my children that I had a true value for all of my mothers sacrifices!
Great post Kate!
Cyrene @ MumInFlipFlops says
No one has asked me to babysit for them yet, but I always get the "lucky-you-you-get-to-sit-and-do-nothing-all-day" too. Right.
I left an award for you on my blog today! 🙂
Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds says
I was thinking about this again last night. We had a strange interaction with the one neighborhood girl. Julia wanted to watch a movie because she was tired from a day of swimming. The girl (age 10) had no interest in watching Beauty and The Beast. She would normally have gone home, but she stayed. Then I find out her mom was grocery shopping.
So it happened, on the same day I wrote that it NEVER happens.
this recipe won’t work wihuott a mixer, but all the reports I’ve gotten from folks with hand mixers have been positive! I wonder if the motor on yours was too weak working with cold butter definitely does take some heft. At the very least, after working with it for half an hour the butter wouldn’t have been cold anymore!
Oh boy! When I was a SAHM all the kids would come hang out at my house during the summer. I had 2 little girls that would literally show up at my door at 7:30am for breakfast and leave after dinner. I wanted to send her parents a bill for food and babysitting.
Shelby Bukhenik says
It is amazing how some people think SAHM do nothing! I reall would love them to spend a day with my babes and I so they can get a taste of what its like to "do nothing."
Great post and I completely agree with you!
I work mon-fri and my wife works the weekends while I have our two young boys, I hardly get a minute to go to the bathroom, never mind sit and watch TV all day. People that have these opinions are ignorant and probably couldn't do your job. Don't take any notice of then, you are doing a fantastic job.
I'm amazed that people would ask you to take care of their children because you are at home with your child. It never occurred to me to ask other moms to take care of my children for me. It is either me or professionals.
I live in Canada which means a full year of maternity leave. I was able to take advantage of that with my first son and am currently on my second year-long mat leave. Being at home with a toddler and a baby has been one of the hardest, most stressful things I have ever done, also one of the most rewarding.
I think that the most important thing that we can do is to not judge other women for their choices and just accept that not everyone parents their children the same way, but that doesn't mean that they are wrong. We should all support SAHMs and we should all support working moms.
Kate@Mommy Monologues says
I absolutely 100% agree with your last statement. Because I know that a working mom could write a post about being judged for leaving her kid at a daycare and all the nasty comments people have said to her.
And I am always so jealous of the maternity leave in Canada, it doesn't seem fair that mothers here have to go back to work 6-8 weeks after the babies are born. :/
I hope you are enjoying the mat leave!
Oh my goodness! This post just makes me happy. I’ve had people ask me this kind of stuff too. It’s amazing how bold people can be.
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