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mamabeverley's avatar

Do people think you have nothing to do because you are a stay at home parent?

Asked by mamabeverley (795points) April 20th, 2009

I had a mother at my sons school ask me to watch her kid over summer break. I told her I could not. She said “what else do you have to do all day? It’s not like you have a real job” I was wondering if this was a common relpy to moms and dads that stay at home.

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49 Answers

westy81585's avatar

As the child of a single mother (though she did re-marry), I know full-well that it can very easily be a job. Ok so you don’t need a college degree for it. But by no means is it easy.

skfinkel's avatar

You would think another mother would know better. Raising a child is a full time job. If a mother doesn’t do it, someone else has to.

MrItty's avatar

Do stay-at-home moms think that parents who work don’t raise their kids, cook, clean, do the laundry, pay their bills, do the taxes, and – in short – do every other damn thing “stay at home” parents do? Here’s what may be a shock to you – they do everything you do PLUS go to work and earn a paycheck.

As the child of two working parents, who by the way never once had a nanny or day care, nor was I a latch-key child, the stay-at-home-mom-arrogance really annoys the crap out of me.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

Well, once the kids are older, there is less to do. With me, the older my siblings and I got, the more my mom became involved with volunteer work. And she has plenty of activities that she does with her friends and such.

And what a bratty response you received, I would definitely have been offended.

YARNLADY's avatar

My son used to think that, because he kept to himself so much in the house. Now that he is married to a do-absolutely-nothing wife, he knows better. (she plays online games all day and night). He told me the other day he must have been blind.

mamabeverley's avatar

@MrItty I was in NO WAY being arrogant. I cannot watch her child for many reasons, first of all, my husband works a rotating schedule that changes every week. he starts at 5 am, then 8am then hes off for a week, then he goes in at 2pm and works the night shift. My mom worked, single uneducated and poor. I was a latch key child. I give TONS of credit to mom’s that have to do it all. I have most of the kids on my block popping in and out all summer long, but I cannot commit to watching another persons child on my hubby’s days off. That is OUR family time to go places and see things. I do without many things so I can stay at home, and make do with gently used things when I do buy them. Damn, my car is going on 15 years old. We could buy a new one, but then, we could not take a family vacation. We have so little time that our kids want to spend with us, I try to take advantage of every moment we have. I in NO WAY think I am better than moms who have to work.

MrItty's avatar

@mamabeverley I never said you were being arrogant for not watching your neighbor’s kid. I think your neighbor is a phenomenal moron for even suggesting such a thing.

My comment about arrogance was directed at stay-at-home mothers who live in the fantasy world in which their fulltime job of motherhood somehow makes them better than mothers with two full time jobs – motherhood and a paying job.

mamabeverley's avatar

@MrItty I would never think that, being a working person with a child or children is incredibly difficult. At one time, I did have a job. My hubby is incredibly spoiled and likes me at home. I think it is almost a “status” thing for him.(plus he likes the fact that I am home to cook a hot meal for him, he can’t even heat up soup!) We decided when we had kids if at all possible I would stay home. We have discussed the fact that if I could make the money he does, He would be staying at home!

MrItty's avatar

@mamabeverley I apologize for “lashing out”, as it were. This is oen of my pet peeve issues, and I typed before really reading deeply enough to discover you aren’t a member of my pet peeve group.

mamabeverley's avatar

@MrItty By the way, my hubby didn’t even know about the taxes! I had them picked up a week before he asked about them! We works at the job, I do everything else.

mamabeverley's avatar

@MrItty Apology accepted! I have many pet peeves of my own!

casheroo's avatar

@MrItty I don’t understand where that outburst on stay at home parents came from.

@mamabeverley Wow, what a rude “friend”. I would be so pissed. Being a stay at home parent is hard work, you are constantly busy. I can’t believe when people think SAHP’s do nothing. It infuriates me.

MrItty's avatar

@casheroo read all of my responses. I explained where it came from and apologized for it already.

mamabeverley's avatar

@casheroo Of course, another reason not to watch her kid is he his as rude and obnoxious as she is! Always in trouble and disrespectful. I tried to make friends with them and her son so maybe my son’s behavior would rub off on him. My son finally asked if he had to play with him anymore. I asked “why”. My son relayed a story from this kids b-day party where he told his mom to “get my cake now woman”! and she did!! My kid told him it was a good thing I was not there because I would have given him the business! and you don’t talk to girls that way, especially not your mom! Not the kind of influence my kid needs.. no thank you!

skfinkel's avatar

@MrItty: There is no question that working parents also work hard with their children. There is so much to do. But if they are at work 40 hours or more a week, they are not with their children during that time. And someone else is. While it might be necessary for some, or admirable, or incredibly fun to do both, what we need to do as a society is see what might be the best situation for young children (I am talking kids under five years old). Some mothers have to get back to work while their babies are just weeks old. While this is no doubt challenging and hard for the mother, the question really is, what is best for the mother and the baby?

casheroo's avatar

@MrItty You apologized for lashing out. I saw that. There was no need to last out. Your “pet peeve group” thing, is pathetic.
You cannot compare a working parent and a stay at home parent. They have completely different roles in life, for their children.

mamabeverley's avatar

@skfinkel A friend of my son’s thought we were rich because I stay home. (Both of his parents work and he spends a lot of time here.) I told him we were far from rich. He asked me why I don’t work like his mom. I was trying to politely explain that he had things we don’t have, like 2 new cars a bass boat and a house boat, while my car is 15 years old was challenging!

ubersiren's avatar

I think being a stay at home parent to preschoolers is difficult because you’re (at least I am) constantly trying to entertain your child, or keep an eye on him, or teach your child new things all while taking care of every day tasks. But, I don’t feel like I should be especially praised for doing that job. Just like I don’t think my husband should be especially praised for going to his 8hr job. Once your child is older, I think it’s easier to have that job in the workforce. Maybe it’s easier for some people to handle (like @MrItty‘s ‘rents) but I have a very hard time balancing that with a toddler. And I’ve tried. I had a part time job for a while, but I decided the money wasn’t worth the exhaustion.

Very soon, I plan on joining the workforce once again. I didn’t use motherhood as an excuse to stop working. Since I left work to have our child, I went to school and discovered a new career path. I didn’t just lay around watching soaps… I studied. I studied fucking hard, of which I am proud. All the while, I was a spectacular housekeeper, of which I am proud- call me what you will. I make homemade meals and we eat as a family, of which I am proud. Maybe some peoples’ parents are superheroes, but I couldn’t accomplish all that and have quality time for my family while holding a full-time job and maintain my sanity. Living more comfortably with another paycheck just isn’t that important to me right now. Being with my husband and child, going on picnics, visiting the in-laws, etc. is what’s important to me. I’ll be damned if I’ll be ashamed to say that sometimes it’s hard to keep it all up or that sometimes I get tired.

One last note: (and I’m not picking on you particularly, @MrItty) A lot of families hire people to do things for them. Ex: oil changes, home repairs, hair cuts, etc. Being a stay-at-home mother, I do all that myself. Since we don’t have a very comfortable income, we scrimp and save where we can. So, sometimes my day is filled with chores that working parents may not normally do. Today I patched some drywall that had been damaged by a leak. On tomorrow’s list is to move an outlet to accommodate our new kitchen cabinets (which I will assemble over the next few weeks). Do you think my husband wants to do all that himself when he gets home from work? He can’t do it all alone. Again, maybe someone’s mother did all that in their home, but I am not nearly organized, strong, or willing enough to do all that and work a full time job at this juncture in my life.

casheroo's avatar

@ubersiren lurve That’s so great that you found a career path you love. I’m in school as well, and I still consider myself a stay at home mom (I also work part time, but since my son is never in daycare or with a babysitter other than family, it’s really not being away too much) And dang, I don’t do home repairs. I would make whatever it is worse ;)

Likeradar's avatar

Being a stay-at-home mom must be one of the most demanding jobs there is. I play the role 50 hours a week, and I am exhausted. Bravo to moms who do it well! and fuck the people who don’t get it.

MrItty's avatar

@skfinkel and @casheroo Please, do tell me more about this fantasy world you live in, in which the only jobs that exist are between 8am and 5pm, in which if you work, it means you don’t see your kids, that the kids must be in daycare and have a nanny. I’m very interested what color the sky is in your worlds.

I’m going to say this again, because apparently you both missed it the first time. BOTH of my parents worked. I and my three siblings were NEVER left home alone until we were of an appropriate age, we NEVER had nannies, we NEVER had day care.

Throughout all of the time my parents were raising us, they sacrificed to make our lives better by earning two paychecks – they sacrificed time with each other. One worked days, the other worked nights, and if they were lucky, they might have one day off per week in common.

Yes, someone “else” was home with us while my parent was working – my OTHER PARENT. Why is this such a difficult concept to grasp? Why do people assume that if you work, you must have left your kids to be raised by a non-parent? Why do people think that the only two choices are A) one parent stay home all day while the other parent works 8–5 or B) both parents work 8–5 while a nanny or daycare raises their kids? It’s like the concept of working a job 2nd or 3rd shift never occurs to you. It’s as though the idea of sacrificing time with your spouse to provide for and be with your children is such a foreign concept that it’s a paradigm shift. I will never understand.

YARNLADY's avatar

@MrItty Your point is that your family had a parent home at all times (so to speak), but surely you realize that your family arrangement is not the norm. By far, the vast majority of families where both parents work pay someone else to take care of the kids, unless grandma or other family member is available.

MrItty's avatar

@YARNLADY I realize it and I don’t understand it. I don’t understand what the logic or the reasoning is. I don’t understand why people think the only two options I listed above are the only two options that exist. And it pisses me off that when someone says “working parent”, they automatically assume it’s option B, and thus look down their noses.

ubersiren's avatar

@MrItty : To be fair, just as there are those stay-at-home parents who look down their noses at parents who choose to work, there are working parents who look down on stay-at-home parents. It’s ridiculous for either group to do so. Very few parents are completely happy being at home all day, just like very few parents are entirely happy to be at work and away from their families all day. It’s all work, and everyone should recognize that.

MrItty's avatar

@ubersiren You’re right of course, and I will freely admit that I put myself in the category of those who look down their noses at stay-at-home parents. WITH QUALIFICATIONS.

The parents I’m talking about are the ones who:
A) think they do more work than a working parent, who does both a “real” job and raises their kids
B) Bemoan how they “can’t” have everything they want – the good house, the good cars, the good vacations – because they “have” to stay home and raise their kids.

This logical fallacy astonishes me. If you’re at home at all times, and your spouse is also home at times when he’s not out earning a paycheck, YOU TOO can go out and earn another paycheck and contribute to your family’s income, and thus better provide for your kids. To say that you can’t work because you have kids is absurd – you can work when your spouse is home. To say that you can’t work because you have housework to do is equally absurd – practice better time management, and/or come to an agreement with your spouse about sharing the chores.

If, on the other hand, your family is pretty well set, has everything they need, and one parent’s paycheck can pay for the lifestyle you want, more power to you, and I congratulate you and your spouse for acheiving that goal.

jca's avatar

I am a working mom (my daughter’s father is deceased) and i was in my early 40’s when i had the baby. on one hand i think it would be great to be able to afford not to have to work, on the other hand, with a toddler (daughter is almost 2) it is so exhausting chasing her, picking up after her, etc. I recently hired someone to clean my house, because i can’t, on my two days off, devote a whole day to cleaning. the house cleaning lady was more for my mental health, because my house was getting so messy i couldn’t take it.

if i were you and someone asked me “what else do you have to do all day” i would tell them to f*** off. if i tell you i can’t do something, it’s not up to you to second guess me, or try to make me justify myself. you don’t owe her an explanation, your reasons are your reasons. even if you don’t have any reasons, it’s your choice. not wanting the responsibility, even if you lay on the couch all day (i know that’s not what you do but i’m saying even if it was) you don’t have to explain to her or to us. if she doesn’t like it, too bad.

casheroo's avatar

@MrItty Not necessarily. When I had my son, we looked into daycare. I don’t have any education that would afford me a job that could even pay half of what daycare costs. I’d have to serve tables seven days a week, and work a day job..if I even wanted to break even on what daycare would cost. Me not working was the logical thing to do, you know? I worked out my work schedule now, so that we don’t ever have to pay anyone. It takes lots of sacrifice on me part (aka sleep) but, it’s what we have to do. I don’t judge working parents at all. I think i people want to stay at home, it’s a shame that people can’t that want to. I wish the US was more like Canada, where they do a year of maternity leave. I know of plenty of women though that wanted to go back to work at 4 weeks post partum! I don’t judge them, but I admit I don’t understand it..

I know which parents you’re talking about, and I hate being lumped in with them. But you’re bordering on the parents I don’t like..the ones that automatically judge ALL stay at home parents. It’s like a war going on between them, that I want nothing to do with. But when people start attacking what I do, then of course I’m going to get upset.

MrItty's avatar

@casheroo Can we agree, then, that there are “wrong” people on both side of this debate?

ubersiren's avatar

@MrItty : So, I’m sure when someone says she is a stay-at-home mother, you always find out her circumstances before determining whether she is one of your pet peeve moms? You do no prejudging? You don’t cringe merely upon hearing the term?

MrItty's avatar

@ubersiren I cringe when someone says with ”that” attitude. The tone of voice that says “Being a mother IS a full time job”, as though working parents do not do the same thing they do, and clearly showing she’s never considered the possibility of earning a paycheck while her husband is home.

If someone simply says “I’m a stay at home mom”, no, I don’t judge. Mostly because I don’t care. It’s only the ones who say it with the implied arrogance that get me going.

mamabeverley's avatar

Wow, I can’t believe we are still talking about this! I picked a good question for a change!! I in no way bitch about having new things. Maybe back in my other life I would have. I feel very fortunate to be able to stay at home. My hubby an I are talking about me getting a job next Fall after school starts up and I can admit I am terrified! I have not worked for more years than I can count. I am nearly 40 and freaking out. I am going to try to work at the school district where my son goes so we can have the same schedule and I can have the summer off with him. With the recession, I am not sure what is going to happen. I have a girlfriend the just got a new job. 1 job, 150 applicants. That is to work 3 days a week at nearly minimum wage! Things in our town are bad with unemployment. We are at almost 10 1/2% here. It is so crazy.

mamabeverley's avatar

@casheroo I know what you mean about daycare. When gas hit $4.00 here, most of my friends were losing money to go to work. Most of the well paying jobs are in the next town over, about 30 miles from here, so people quit working instead of digging themselves a deeper hole.

jca's avatar

one advantage of working full time (and always having had worked) is that when i retire, i’ll make more from social security and plus have a pension. i would not envy someone who has not worked, and is considering getting a job after 20 years and is a nervous wreck about it.

mamabeverley's avatar

@jca I worked a long time ago in an office for an insurance company. I had to quit college to work full time so I could survive. There is nothing here like that. I thought the school district would be good, because I love kids, and my schedule would make me available to be at home during the holidays, ect. With my hubby’s rotation schedule, there is no way I could work a night job. Some nights he does not get home til 2 or 3 am or if it is his on call week, he can get called anytime to go to work. He also gets stuck working a lot of holidays. I cannot tell you how many of them I have transported a fully cooked holiday dinner to his job.

jca's avatar

maybe you misunderstood me, i was not saying in your situation i think you should work. only you know what’s best for you. i have nothing against stay at home mothers or whatever. i was just saying i wouldn’t envy someone who is returning to the work force after many years. it seems women in that situation are a nervous wreck about it.

Likeradar's avatar

@MrItty I don’t think tone matters… being a mother is a full time job. Try it sometime.

mamabeverley's avatar

@jca I was not offended. I am still trying to wrap my head around it. It is like being put in this little box, and then trying to get in a new different box. Just scary. I am not big on change, I am not very adventurous with some things. I thank you for thinking of me.

MrItty's avatar

@Likeradar You have 100% missed everything I’ve said here.

Yes, being a mother is a full time job. I have never denied that. My point is that many working mothers are doing BOTH that full time job and a SECOND full time job that provides a paycheck. And that the women who stick their noses in the air about being a stay-at-home mom are those who think that working mothers do less than them, when it is in fact the exact opposite.

Tone always matters.

mamabeverley's avatar

@MrItty I feel bad for you now. I guess people did not see you apology for your tone. I feel like they are picking on you. I am sorry.

MrItty's avatar

@mamabeverley I appreciate the sentiment, but it’s not necessary. I’m fully aware that I come off as a rather large asshole online a good percentage of the time, and have built a rather tough skin to the responses I get from that. :-)

jca's avatar

i work full time, and it’s hard – especially in the morning, it’s “get up and go.” sometimes i don’t let my daughter get off the bed until she’s fully clothed (in the go-out clothes) because it will become a chase and wrestling match, which i don’t have time for in the morning. it’s hard in evening, because it’s come home, dinner, bath and hope she’s tired (she’s almost 2 now). i hired a housekeeper to assist with cleaning because there was no time for that.

That said, I do totally appreciate the hard work it must take to do the parenting thing full time. On the weekends, I’m frazzled with the toddler’s habits of grabbing, wrecklessness, standing on things, and getting into all kinds of mischief. doing that full time, all day long must be tough. going to work is, in a sense, a break, that has real breaks, lunch, time in the car, time to talk on the phone, lunch may be a reading time, computer time, etc. so i don’t think i could stand being home all day. i appreciate both working moms and stay at home moms, seeing both sides of the story.

mamabeverley's avatar

@jca It will get better especially after she starts school full time. We have a schedule and stick to it like glue. Especially in the evening. Come home, have a snack and do homework right away. That way, there is no complaining after dinner and we can all relax as a family before bed.

I am glad you hired someone to help. I told my hubby that I would GLADLY go to work to pay for a house keeper! Of course, he said no way. No one folding his undies but me (oh joy). If he thinks I am going to do all that and work too, he has another thing coming, and that is what I told him. I have ZERO expectations from him when it comes to doing things around the house, but if I am going to work, that is going to change. Good luck to you, kids are fun but it can be stressful!

Nimis's avatar

Regardless of whether they choose to work
or stay at home, all parents have a full time job.
Not just 24/7, but for 18 years straight!

Either you’re on-call 24 hours a day at home or you go to work
for eights hours and come home to it for the remaining sixteen.

I think it just comes down to weighing the pros and cons
and trying to figure out how your time/experience is best utilized.

This varies for each individual and for each family.
What works for one family may not work for another.

Is it really necessary to devalue another person’s work/decision
to find some value/validity for your own?

Dutchess12's avatar

@MrItty Who took care of you after school when you were little? Also…I think the “arrogant” part is mostly the other way around. In my experience, working mothers were more arrogant toward stay-at-home Moms.

Dutchess12's avatar

Oh, yes. Many people think that stay-at-home parents are of sub average intelligence or that they’re just lazy or whatever. I mean, if a house is clean in the morning when a person leaves, and 8 hours later, when they come home and it’s still clean, they assume you didn’t do anything all day, even though their eyes tell you there are 5 children in the house. I think it’s the most important job in the world.

MrItty's avatar

@Dutchess12 Please read the posts I made in this thread. Your question was answered, several times, and very clearly.

I have two parents. They both worked. They worked opposite shifts.

Thank you, btw, for proving my point – the idea of working hours other than 8–5 doesn’t even enter into many people’s minds.

Dutchess12's avatar

O, I see MrIttly. Thanks

thelmalou's avatar

Mritty is a major as! He clearly has resentment issues. What he doesn’t realize is that is “logic” is flawed…seriously flawed. Does he really think a working parent can give the same as the stay at home parent to the child? The main requirements can be fulfilled by the parent, but the extra time the parent who stays at home has can be given to the child and not the job outside the home. Clearly the child is the winner when a parent can focus on the home and the child/family vs. child/family and work also. It is a decision made by some who want to spend more time raising their child. More quality time to spend with them. Of course, there are some who don’t stay home for this reason, but many do. And those who do, many times do not get appreciated by many like yourself who have issues . Many times it is a job that others take advantage of because of the attitude you share that since you stay at home, then you must have nothing to do so why shouldn’t you take care of someone else’s child. Making a decision to stay at home and spend time with your child is all the reward that you need, but it would be nice for people to know it is far from easy and many sacrifices have to be made sometimes in order to do it. That usually means the 15 year old car, older clothes, etc. Everything is not easy as pie just because you stay at home. It is a choice and a sacrifice of yourself and your resources. It is also I believe the ultimate gift to your child.

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