General Question

jca's avatar

What's the difference between a "stay-at-home-mom" and a "welfare mom?"?

Asked by jca (36010points) April 20th, 2009

today on the radio they had an author who was promoting being a “stay-at-home-mom.” i was wondering why we use this term for some women but not for women who are poor and on welfare. it seems the term is used exclusively for middle or upper class women.

It seems that in our society, we perceive mothers who receive public assistance and moms who have husbands who make enough to enable them to not have to work as something different. At least the perception of the wording “stay at home mom” and “welfare mom” impllies something different.

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26 Answers

casheroo's avatar

I’ve always been called “stay at home mom” when I guess you could have call me a “welfare mom” although welfare is not the term used anymore, that i know of
I just love how people automatically judge any mother who receives any state assistance. Most of those people have no clue what goes into getting assistance, and how long you can be on that assistance. Most of it is all geared to help the children, and to make the mother and/or father, get an education or help them get on their feet. It’s not a forever thing.
My view on those who judge mothers who are “welfare moms” are just jealous, which I know sounds ridiculous, but they are seriously jealous that they cannot stay home with their child or that they feel they are paying for that mother to stay at home. I’ve been attacked from both kinds of women, and they are quite vicious. They tend to never know the facts on assistance though, and they lump all people who receive any form of assistance together.

elijah's avatar

A welfare mother is someone who’s career is welfare. This is a woman who is not staying home for the benefit of raising her child, she is staying home because it is a free paycheck.
A mother who collects welfare is someone who gets welfare to help her get through a rough time.
A stay at home mom is someone who decides caring for their child is more important than an extra paycheck. Some mothers are not financially able to do this, so they must work.

Dog's avatar

“Stay at home mom” is one who is raising children and not employed outside the home regardless of source of income.

If the income is public assistance it does not make them less of a “stay at home mom.”

Please clarify your question.

skfinkel's avatar

Interesting question. A “stay-at-home” mom is a mother who has decided to leave a job by choice, and either has enough money to support herself or is supported by her partner. A “welfare mom” stays home and is supported by the state. Both types of women are doing incredibly hard and challenging work in raising their young children. If it were up to me, I would make sure that any woman who wanted to stay home for the first few years of her child’s life would be supported to do that by our government. And those early years would be accompanied by parent education, so the parents provide as good care as possible. Putting some money into the earliest years of our children’s lives will have many positive outcomes down the road.

And, there is no more welfare. Whatever money given to women by the state now is accompanied by requirements for work or education. I would prefer women have the time to raise their children without work requirements when the children are babies, and then get help to work later.

jca's avatar

Dog: I am not saying that’s my opinion. i’m saying that seems to be the general perception, the two different terms imply a difference. i am asking why, not stating it’s my opinion.

Jeruba's avatar

I have to disagree with skfinkel in this regard: that a “stay-at-home” mother must have left a job. She may never have had a job. A couple of generations ago, that was the norm: women were expected to stay at home and keep house and raise children. That was their job and occupation, and those who wanted to work or had to work were held in somewhat lower esteem. They were not defined in relation to a prior job.

A “stay-at-home” mom is a full-time homemaker and caregiver of children. If her means of support is (was) welfare rather than a husband or partner or other independent means, then she is (was) known as a “welfare mom.” When means of support is the subject of discussion, it is pertinent to distinguish those who are taxpayer-supported from those who are not. In terms of what they do in relation to their families, it is presumably the same.

mamabeverley's avatar

I am a “stay-at-home” mom. We have a “welfare” mom whose children go to our school. I consider her a “welfare” mom because 1)she has not married the father of her children, 2) She kept having children to keep her benefits(5of them) 3) Her family is the same way.
When I was young, we were VERY poor (picking up bottles on the side of the road to eat poor), my mom tried to get food stamps and the woman at public assistance told her, “honey go home and have another baby so you can qualify”. Back then the system did nothing to help people get ahead. I hope that has changed. I want to help people that help themselves. I understand better than most needing help to impove, but don’t put your hand out for help if you are not going to work in return. That is what I consider a “welfare” mom. We all need help sometime! Give a “hand up” not a “hand out”.

skfinkel's avatar

@Jeruba: I don’t disagree with your description of the old days. It’s just that now most women do work before they have children. Many women develop their careers and then have a child. When I think of “stay-at-home” moms, it is the ones that didn’t go back to work, even if they thought they might when they first got pregnant, after they have a child.

@mamabeverley: Your description of the “welfare” mom—“She kept having children to keep her benefits”—is that really true? It turns out that average number of children people have who are on state support is just the same as those who aren’t. The image of women having babies to stay on welfare may not be an accurate one.

mamabeverley's avatar

@skfinkel Yes, she has 5 kids, about 20 mos. apart, until the state paid to have her tubes tied! What is really sad is I don’t even think she likes kids! One day, her oldest child at the time did me a huge favor by helping a kindergarten kid to the nurse during field day. I made a point to find the mom later and compliment her on her child. Her reply was that it suprised her that her daughter helped out because she is normally such a bitch! Now, realize, I had met this woman 1 previous time for about 10 minutes, and she was speaking about her 11 year old daughter. I was floored and wanted to clock her. That poor girl, all I wanted to do was find her and give her a hug! She is forever yelling at those kids, no car seats, hanging out the windows of moving cars, etc. I don’t know about other places, but we definetly have “welfare” families here. Generation after generation of families collecting assistance. It is assistance, not a paycheck.

casheroo's avatar

@mamabeverley What do you consider “welfare”? Did you know a person can only get cash assistance for no more than 5 years in their lifetime? Did you know you have to work a minimum of 15 hours a week, or be going to school, to even qualify for cash assistance?

mamabeverley's avatar

I am not talking about cash assistance, but I do know she would sell her extra WIC food to people. That, as far as I know here in my state, as long as you are within a certain income, you qualify for. She was always first one in line for her school sponsored Thanksgiving Basket that we put together to help needy families. Of Course, she could not put it in her car, because she might damage her acrylic nails!

I am not painting everyone with “her” brush though. As I said previously, sometimes EVERYONE needs help of some sort. I just hate when people take advantage. If she had money to get her nails done, and to smoke like a chimney I feel she could have been doing more with whatever money she was getting, wherever she was getting it. I just know that before I was getting my nails done or smoking, I would be trying to do something else with that money. Here where we live, it is like $25.00 to get a fill done on your nails. That is $50.00 a month plus tips. Even before the price on smokes went up, they were expensive. I know a 100.00 does not go far, but it can go for a better life for your kids if you want it to. I have NO PROBLEM with people that really need help, and I know that I am a very lucky person to have what I have. But, when people take what they don’t really need, it makes me angry. There are so many people that really need essentials, that when those who don’t take advantage, it means less for those who really need it.

casheroo's avatar

I don’t judge people just because they are irresponsible with their money. If someone chooses to spend their money on useless crap, then that’s their business. You can’t use that assistance money on just anything, so she was using her other money. Unless she was lying to the government, then I don’t care what someone does. (actually, i fully approve of lying to the government) I also know of people who sell coupons for formula, or formula samples on Ebay, people need to make money and they do whatever they can. If she made money by selling her extra WIC food (they do give a ton of cereal and beans..and insane amount!) then who cares.

mamabeverley's avatar

I fully aprove of lying to the Gov’t too! I understand where you are coming from and I try REALLY hard not to judge. But, in a way it is my money she is spending irresponsibly. My tax dollars are paying for that extra WIC stuff! I know if you don’t use it you lose it. But damn, she is a hard mean person. I have lived a shitty life but I still try everyday to be thankful for what I have, and not to be hard. Every year my PTA team works their butts off to make sure they have food. We don’t get a thank you or even a kiss my ass. They just want their box and their free turkey! I Know somepeople truly need thier box and maybe we could give those a little bit more if she bought her own turkey! That’s all. We have a lot of families that really need the help.

casheroo's avatar

Pennies of your tax dollars are going to her, just so you know. Pennies.

mamabeverley's avatar

@casheroo Sweetie… I meant no personal offence to you or anyone. Maybe this is so touchy to ME because I have seen so many people “work” the system. Some of them from my own former family. My former Step-sister used to sell her extra WIC stuff to by drugs. So it was my money buying her food and her drugs. While she was not REALLY in need. That is all. There is an OLD lady (97) who lives near me and when ever I see her I give her what I have in my pocket. She really needs. (She has outlived all but 1 of her 6 kids).

Please remember, I have no problem giving. But how many of out collective pennies are being wasted on those not in need? Pennies add up fast. I don’t mind giving them just don’t waste them.

elijah's avatar

@mamabeverley I completely understand where you’re coming from, and I agree with you. There are people who abuse the system, and it is our buisness. Those pennies add up, and I want the money to go to people who deserve it.

mamabeverley's avatar

@elijahsuicide Thank you for understanding. I grew up watching every penny, so too see them wasted is difficult for me.

casheroo's avatar

@mamabeverley You said you have no problem with people lying to the government, then you freak out about “your” money. Classic.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m really having trouble understanding this question. Obviously, a welfare mom is on welfare, and at SAH mom won’t require public assistance.

But there seems to be an implication that both are carrying less than their fair share of the burden, somehow. I don’t see how this can be. The SAH mom is doing her work because she and her husband (or wife) have agreed that this is the best way to divide up the work involved in raising children. The welfare mom is trying to get out of the home so she can work and be a better provider for her children.

I don’t see how we can say either one is more lazy than the other. I don’t think we could call them lazy at all. Their lives aren’t really any more comparable than any two people’s lives. Neither is more nor less virtuous than the other. Their circumstances are quite different, and perhaps that’s the biggest difference.

Aethelwine's avatar

What do you call a mom that stays home with the kids, receives foods stamps for the family, yet the husband works at least 40 hours a week?

Just curious.

elijah's avatar

@jonsblond I would call that a family that needs a little help. A lot of families go through rough times, especially now.
That’s why I get so upset about people who abuse it. When I had my daughter my husband and I got WIC because I wanted to stay home with the baby. He worked 40+ hours to support us. I wasn’t out getting my nails and hair done, I wasn’t out shopping, my kids didn’t run around raising hell while I sat on the couch watching Jerry Springer. My family had clean clothes, a clean home, and home cooked meals on the table. I know what it is to struggle. Some people don’t even try, and they think they are entitled to free money with no responsibility.

skfinkel's avatar

@mamabeverley: What you are describing to me is a mother in desperate need of help in raising her children. She may be treating them just as she was treated. I believe that parents want to be good parents, but many just don’t know how. That scene you described about her 11 year old was really sad. The money issue, for me, drops into the background in comparison to what you described.

Judi's avatar

I would be more worried about the DOLLARS that add up when we give no bid contracts to Halliburton than a few pennies to an irresponsible welfare mom.

mamabeverley's avatar

@Judi I think that will stop now that our V.P. is not getting a pension from Halliburton. If Halliburton went under, Cheney would have lost some big $$$.

mamabeverley's avatar

@skfinkel I agree. That is why I said this is a cycle. They don’t know any better and from this example, she does not really care.

Dorkgirl's avatar

I’m joining this a little late, but I think a stay-at-home mom is someone who’s choosing to be at home with her kids. This may be someone who has left the “working world” and is now parenting full-time. This may be someone who has not worked and full-time parenting is the way to go for this person and her partner.
Stay-at-home mom also is used to replaced “housewife” to identify women who are not working outside the home by choice or design.
Staying at home with your kids can sometimes be a luxury. People who can afford to have one parent at home can exercise this option. Many families cannot afford to choose to live on a single income.

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