“You’re a stay-at-home mom? What do you DO all day?”

It’s happened twice in a week, and they were both women. Anyone ought to have more class than this, but women — especially women — should damn well know better.

Last week, I was at the pharmacy and a friendly lady approached me.

“Matt! How are those little ones doing?”

“Great! They’re doing very well, thanks for asking.”

“Good to hear. How ’bout your wife? Is she back at work yet?”

“Well she’s working hard at home, taking care of the kids. But she’s not going back into the workforce, if that’s what you mean.”

“Oh fun! That must be nice!”

“Fun? It’s a lot of hard work. Rewarding, yes. Fun? Not always.”

This one wasn’t in-your-face. It was only quietly presumptuous and subversively condescending.

The next incident occurred today at the coffee shop. It started in similar fashion; a friendly exchange about how things are coming along with the babies. The conversation quickly derailed when the woman hit me with this:

“So is your wife staying at home permanently?”

“Permanently? Well, for the foreseeable future she will be raising the kids full time, yes.”

“Yeah, mine is 14 now. But I’ve had a career the whole time as well. I can’t imagine being a stay at home mom. I would get so antsy. [Giggles] What does she DO all day?”

“Oh, just absolutely everything. What do you do all day?”

“…Me? Ha! I WORK!”

“My wife never stops working. Meanwhile, it’s the middle of the afternoon and we’re both at a coffee shop. I’m sure my wife would love to have time to sit down and drink a coffee. It’s nice to get a break, isn’t it?”

The conversation ended less amicably than it began.

Look, I don’t cast aspersions on women who work outside of the home. I understand that many of them are forced into it because they are single mothers, or because one income simply isn’t enough to meet the financial needs of their family. Or they just choose to work because that’s what they want to do. Fine. I also understand that most “professional” women aren’t rude, pompous and smug, like the two I met recently.

But I don’t want to sing Kumbaya right now. I want to kick our backwards, materialistic society in the shins and say, “GET YOUR FREAKING HEAD ON STRAIGHT, SOCIETY.”

This conversation shouldn’t be necessary. I shouldn’t need to explain why it’s insane for anyone — particularly other women — to have such contempt and hostility for “stay at home” mothers. Are we really so shallow? Are we really so confused? Are we really the first culture in the history of mankind to fail to grasp the glory and seriousness of motherhood? The pagans deified Maternity and turned it into a goddess. We’ve gone the other direction; we treat it like a disease or an obstacle.

The people who completely immerse themselves in the tiring, thankless, profoundly important job of raising children ought to be put on a pedestal. We ought to revere them and admire them like we admire rocket scientists and war heroes. These women are doing something beautiful and complicated and challenging and terrifying and painful and joyous and essential. Whatever they are doing, they ARE doing something, and our civilization DEPENDS on them doing it well. Who else can say such a thing? What other job carries with it such consequences?

It’s true — being a mom isn’t a “job.” A job is something you do for part of the day and then stop doing. You get a paycheck. You have unions and benefits and break rooms. I’ve had many jobs; it’s nothing spectacular or mystical. I don’t quite understand why we’ve elevated “the workforce” to this hallowed status. Where do we get our idea of it? The Communist Manifesto? Having a job is necessary for some — it is for me — but it isn’t liberating or empowering. Whatever your job is — you are expendable. You are a number. You are a calculation. You are a servant. You can be replaced, and you will be replaced eventually. Am I being harsh? No, I’m being someone who has a job. I’m being real.

If your mother quit her role as mother, entire lives would be turned upside down; society would suffer greatly. The ripples of that tragedy would be felt for generations. If she quit her job as a computer analyst, she’d be replaced in four days and nobody would care. Same goes for you and me. We have freedom and power in the home, not the office. But we are zombies, so we can not see that.

Yes, my wife is JUST a mother. JUST. She JUST brings forth life into the universe, and she JUST shapes and molds and raises those lives. She JUST manages, directs and maintains the workings of the household, while caring for children who JUST rely on her for everything. She JUST teaches our twins how to be human beings, and, as they grow, she will JUST train them in all things, from morals, to manners, to the ABC’s, to hygiene, etc. She is JUST my spiritual foundation and the rock on which our family is built. She is JUST everything to everyone. And society would JUST fall apart at the seams if she, and her fellow moms, failed in any of the tasks I outlined.

Yes, she is just a mother. Which is sort of like looking at the sky and saying, “hey, it’s just the sun.”

Of course not all women can be at home full time. It’s one thing to acknowledge that; it’s quite another to paint it as the ideal. To call it the ideal, is to claim that children IDEALLY would spend LESS time around their mothers. This is madness. Pure madness. It isn’t ideal, and it isn’t neutral. The more time a mother can spend raising her kids, the better. The better for them, the better for their souls, the better for the community, the better for humanity. Period.

Finally, it’s probably true that stay at home moms have some down time. People who work outside the home have down time, too. In fact, there are many, many jobs that consist primarily of down time, with little spurts of menial activity strewn throughout. In any case, I’m not looking to get into a fight about who is “busier.” We seem to value our time so little, that we find our worth based on how little of it we have. In other words, we’ve idolized “being busy,” and confused it with being “important.” You can be busy but unimportant, just as you can be important but not busy. I don’t know who is busiest, and I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. I think it’s safe to say that none of us are as busy as we think we are; and however busy we actually are, it’s more than we need to be.

We get a lot of things wrong in our culture. But, when all is said and done, and our civilization crumbles into ashes, we are going to most regret the way we treated mothers and children.

******
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12,264 Responses to “You’re a stay-at-home mom? What do you DO all day?”

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  2. Lois says:

    It’s interesting… I used to be one of those work-50-hours a week people. I used to think that I would go crazy being a stay-at-home mom. Now… I am disabled. No one ever says “what do you do all day?” Apparently the world is more likely to WANT to say “you’re so lucky…” to being disabled then they are to say “oh that would drive me crazy.” like they do to being a stay-at-home mom. A disability is more worthy of staying at home? One is a choice and one is a result, but both should be required. I think when people make unthinking responses, it is because At the very bottom of it all, they’re jealous. And they should be jealous of being a stay-at-home mom. It’s one of the most worthy full-time occupations anyone can have. And it will pay more than any job ever could.

    • Julie King says:

      I totally agree with you. I am now disabled. I was homeschooling my children before, and staying home with them. Having the experience of being a working mother, I often work more at home. It’s actually harder to keep the house clean when you’re home all day, because you’re in it. People just don’t understand…sometimes my husband doesn’t. I can’t even make necessary phone calls. I take the role of mother, and homeschooler VERY seriously. Step into my shoes, if you want to see what a busy life is.

  3. Amy Dornbusch says:

    Matt, very well said!! You took my thoughts and wrote them down perfectly. As an expecting mom of four I appreciate you seeing the true importance of staying at home. I cannot thank you enough for posting this!

  4. Mrs. McC says:

    Matt, thank you. I’ve been both a working mom and a full-time homemaker (my current occupation.) When I think back to all of the comments made to me and about others, I think you are right, it really is jealousy and guilt which explains the impulse to make dismissive comments and otherwise diminish the homemakers. I was pea-green with envy over those women who had husbands who wanted to care for, protect and support them and their children, and who enjoyed having their wives make a home for their family.

  5. Pingback: Balancing Life as Mama | tids & bits

  6. ladynana84 says:

    well, said, I`ve been all of the above, student mom, working mom while with my ex, single full time working mom (minimum wage, so beyond poor) to moving across the country and leaving all my support team (my son is ODD/ADHD) to find a better life, to finding the most wonderful man in the world, who makes it possible for me to work part time during school days (I am a sahm during the summer months), in the city I live in, women are commonly sahm`s as the men work in the oilpatch, and daycare centers avg $45 a day for toddlers, and up to $75 a day for infants which makes it pointless to work when daycare is more than your salary….we are planning to have more kids in the near future, and once that happens, I will most likely stay at home to raise the kids

  7. Ann says:

    Matt,
    Very well put. I have been in situations with people in the work force and as soon as they ask what I do, when I answer with stay at home mom, I get a variety of responses, none of which are comfortable for either of us. I do not understand when raising our children became the easy way out. I tell you what, there are plenty of days I wish I worked outside of the home, just to have some time away from the concerns of my household, but I do not want to leave my kids growth and development in the hands of another person. School comes soon enough, hopefully I have provided them with what they need to be well adjusted and happy kids who excell in their lives.

  8. Anastasia says:

    This was an awesome read- and you rock my socks off! I gave you a follow so I can snoop up on all your archives and current posts. We need more dudes like you to say stuff like this. Ill put it bluntly- everyone else turns their cheek and doesnt want to complain. But this didnt sound like that, and I love the fact that you stood up for your wife but did it in a very mature way instead of resorting to being rude back- which I dont think you were. I have done both jobs- SAHM and career woman…. Both were equally as hard, equally as stressful, and rewarding all at the same time. Some women dont realize how lucky they are to have good jobs that give them the opportunity to pay for good daycare, most SAHM’s dont work because they cant afford dependable/safe daycare in their area. Its just not feasible. I want to grab society by the shoulders and scream “WHY IS RAISING THE NEXT GENERATION WRONG? WHY AM I THE BAD GUY FOR GIVING YOU FUTURE SCIENTISTS AND ARTISTS AND HUMAN LIFE! DUH YOU NEED US MOMS!” Anyways, thanks again! Keep up the good work 🙂

  9. Great post. I’ve always been able to have the best of both worlds by running my own business and working in it part time, but I still almost feel guilty if I’m not working or with my children between the hours of 9 to 5 like I’m playing hookie!

  10. C says:

    Do you want to know why SAH moms get looked at negatively by working moms? Let me enlighten you, since you obviously have been poured some of the kool aid… Let’s look at your verbiage… “ok, I don’t cast aspersions on women who work outside of the home. I understand that many of them are forced into it…” Forced into it? I love my job, I save lives, and work because I want to, not because I’m forced to do so. SAH moms always have a way of talking down to you when you work, throwing it in your face that you are not in your kids face all day long.
    I don’t want my child to be a clone of me, I want him to have influences of others gifts and knowledge to mold him. I am not all knowing, and it taks a village to raise a child to be a global society member.
    Why working moms look down on SAH? Let’s see, I work 60-72 hrs per week depending on where I am working plus commute, and that’s IF I get off on time. Then I come home and have to do all the stuff a SAH does leasurely throughout the week. What about your husband? Well, I call it a win if all of the trash cans in the house actually make it to the curb by his power on trash day. But please let me listen to how bad of a mother I am for not smothering my child with me every minute, and please tell me how hard your day is when you get seven days to do what I get to do in two. Now do you get the resentment?

    • Teresa says:

      i am sorry that the sahp you know have treated you in such a way that has led you to resent all sahp. you are doing what you believe is best for your family, and that makes you a great mom! in my situation, up until a month ago, the nature of the job my husband had made it appear more as though i was a single mom. i did not have help at home. this is not all cases. yes, sahp may have all day to clean, however, bear in mind that just because an area gets cleaned doesn’t mean it stays that way, especially with younger kids. many sahp clean, then clean again, and again. each situation is different, but if a sahp is being responsible for their family, their hours put in resembles closely to that of one who works outside the home. as it had been said time and again, every parent, paying job or stay at home works just as hard as the other. the type of work during those hours varies, but does not make one better than the other.

    • Amy Dornbusch says:

      Wow!! You seem very bitter. It’s almost like you want what you can’t have so your going to be mad at the SAHM’s that have it. I’m not going to bash you for working all the time allowing others to raise your children. You very bluntly made it clear it is your choice to do so. I am going to educate you on SAHM. Nothing is leisurely about our day. We have got to stop comparing and start realizing people are different. God gave me a calling to be a mom with her kids all the time. You feel it’s your place to work. One’s not right and the other wrong just different. Try not to insult someone because they are different than you. Also, I stay at home with all four, soon to be five kids, and they are not smothered by me and have outside influences and communication on a daily basis. They get it from church, neighborhood, sports activities, museums, all the fun places I take them while you are working. Be proud you work if it makes you happy. I’m proud I stay home I’m happy. Jealousy and bitterness gets you nowhere in life. You said you save lives for a living. I hope you have a change of heart on how terrible SAHM are so if we cross paths and I happen to need you I hope you would save my life. Count your blessings even if your not there 24/7 they are still blessings!

    • ashlinn says:

      It’s funny how you work long hours and barely have time for your kids, yet you have time to read blogs and post on them. I think it’s clear what your priorities are.

    • Kiki says:

      No, I’m sorry but you don’t do all the things that a SAHP does. Here’s an example. I took my 3 kids to the park the other day at a community center. It was a weekday but not a school day and, consequently, there was a camp group at the park as well. The group consisted of about 10 4-5 year olds and one young adult. Here are the things that I did at that park that no parent of those other children did (because they weren’t there)…

      1) made sure my kids were minding their manners and taking turns on the equipment (not just with eachother but with all of the children there).
      2) encouraged my kids to try some of the things they weren’t too sure about like the rock wall and the really tall slide.
      3) refereed a couple of squabbles that caused hurt feelings
      4) made sure my kids stopped every once in a while to rehydrate…we live in Florida and it was a hot day!

      This is what the adult in charge of the other children did…..played on her cell phone.
      While she was doing this I witnessed
      –one little boy who tried to play with the other kids but for some reason or other just kept ending up upset and crying. He tried to get some comfort from his teacher but she didn’t even lift her head up from her phone…just told him to go play.
      –a little girl who really wanted a turn on the swings…but no one would give her one and she wasn’t assertive enough to stand up for herself
      –another little girl who took my two year old under her wing and was so sweet and caring. All of this went unnoticed by her teacher but I took the time to thank her and praise her.

      We may share duties such as laundry, housework, bill paying and even some parenting. But you do not do all that a SAHP does (and as you put it…in much less time) because the fact is, you do not care for your children all day every day. You can not possibly encounter all of the teachable moments that a SAHP does in the amount of time you directly influence your child. There is no judgement here for your choice…but there is judgement against your attitude.

      • Alicia says:

        You seem very judgmental to me! And what about the single mother who has no choice? A widow perhaps? Instead of having a ” I am the best since I have money and can stay at home” attitude have some compassion for others. Instead of taking your kids to the park why not bring them to volunteer in a soup kitchen? Help that struggling single mother?

        • Kiki says:

          Alicia, I’m not interested in an online argument…I can be judgemental but I don’t think in this case I am guilty of that…nor of the other things you suppose.I was simply defending myself against someone who clearly thinks she is a better person by being a working mom. She raised my hackles by insinuating that SAHP’s live a life of leisure (which the Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines as… time when you are not working : time when you can do whatever you want to do.) Any parent knows that spending time with children is very rarely leisure time. Especially small children who can sometimes demand more than we think is possible to give!

        • Heather says:

          Who says it has anything to do with “having money”? It’s a matter of setting priorities. I am a SAHP, and homeschooling mom, with 3 kids. You make one income do. No fancy vacations, no fancy house, no cable, no overpriced mall clothes, no new cars, etc. There are lots of families with moms staying home to raise the kids who do it without any huge income.

        • premhead says:

          Hi Heather, I totally respect what you are doing, and why you are doing it. I want to offer you a Christian based opportunity, with a health and wellness company, that has all types of moms and dads, from all walks of life, getting out of debt, and having choices. that’s all I would like to share with you. https://lisahead.myitworks.com let’s chat, if you are interested.

      • EBONY says:

        Niiicccceeee! 🙂

      • Tracy says:

        It’s true. Parenting is a big part of being a stay at home mom. I’ve done both full time work and three years of full time parent at home. But I would point out that there are some breaks, it was not ‘the hardest job in the world’ for me, I enjoyed it much of the time and yes, sometimes it was fun!

    • Wes says:

      Calm down. He did say MANY are force into it but not ALL. If you could go back and read THE VERY NEXT SENTENCE you would see that you, you who do this because you want to, are also mentioned. He is say women who choose to stay at home shouldn’t be looked down upon (maybe you should check your verbiage “Then I come home and have to do all the stuff a SAH does leasurely throughout the week.” You have some delusions about how a SAH mom spends her day. You may love your work, but you can’t deny that there are some awesome things you could do for your kids if you stayed at home. You seem to make it work, which is great of you, but you might try and think of the kind of relationship you can forge if they knew you were always there for them. Plus, you seem to think that if they are around you all day they will be clones of you… maybe if you punished them for not being like you in every way. You can teach children how to think for themselves (I’m sure you do, but please realize that SAH moms are not trying to make clones, nor are they inadvertently making clones).

      Also, maybe talk to your husband about contributing a little more around the house if that’s all he does. And if you are working as much as you claim you are, I would be surprised if you get to see your children awake. Would it be possible to at least cut back your hours?!?! Do you love it that much to not be around your kids even a little bit more? Will a few more hours a week with your kids turn them into clones or will it be too smothering? Maybe you are working so hard and trying to defend your choices that you can’t see any other perspective. You complain about all the things you do, and yet you say that you are doing them because you want to.

    • April says:

      SO, in 1 sentence you are saying you choose to work, you love your job and then you turn around and say “poor me” look at all I have to do for my job and then do everything else too. So, do you actually love your job? You are resenting SAHM’s. hmmmm, seems to me like if you loved what you do, you wouldn’t have much complaining to do. You sound miserable.

      • moi says:

        I don’t think anyone resents another woman’s decision to either work or stay home with kids. The resentment comes from being told the stay at home works soooo much harder. And vice versa. I think we all set up our lives just the way we like them. I am happy I could keep my house for my kids after my divorce because I damn well can afford to. That made me proud of myself and that makes me a better person … for me and my children. I am happy I had the choice to leave a miserable marriage. I think kids have a way better chance at dealing with life knowing everything isn’t always about them. Thats my choice.

        I still maintain that the SAHMs on my facebook are kicking my ass on angry birds and bubble witch…not to mention I left work early today and saw a bunch of mums with kids pleasantly perusing the racks at Winners.Yep they deserve a vacay. Seriously though… that is where the resentment comes in. Stop shoving in our face how hard it is. My job is a joy and my kids are a joy. If you can’t say you enjoy your life then god damn right you should change it!!

        I’ve done both and I enjoyed being home but only for the babies. My house was clean by ten am max and I played with my baby all day…folded laundry..watched soaps… went to the gym… made supper and had friends round a few nights a week. Now I only miss out on tv (me and my two sons don’t watch tv) and I take the hour or two of housework at 330 when I get home. Truth be told my life is easy then and easy now. Whatever works… but I think if you are really depressed or finding being home hard or difficult then maybe you should find something else to do. You’re not doing your kids any favours and Me time is perfectly acceptable. In fact it will teach those kids empathy instead of growing up thinking the world revolves around them. Be happy..whatever you choose.

    • Very well said, C! This line says it best – “I work 60-72 hrs per week, then I come home and have to do all the stuff a SAHM does leisurely throughout the week.” Exactly. No SAHM will ever be able to convince me that they have a tougher “job” than working moms. I hate the “woe is me” mentality that I see from many SAHMs. Having to deal with kids all day at the park or community center cannot be that hard. And if it is, then go back to work! I feel like they are often trying to overcompensate for the fact that they do not work. The bottom line is that women need to make the choice that’s best for their family. Not everyone can afford to be a SAHM. Not everyone wants to sacrifice their career to be a SAHM. Just call it what it is. Some are fortunate enough to stay at home with their children. You are not better, or more devoted, mothers than working moms. It’s not a guarantee that your kids will turn out any better. Why the competition? And (pet peeve here) please stop filling in “CEO of my household” or “domestic engineer” on your Facebook profile. A stay at home mom is very far from a CEO or engineer. It’s an insult to the working mothers who actually are those things. Thanks.

      • Sophia says:

        Adrienne, good post! “Why the competition?” is a million dollar question here! If people went about their business, there would be no debate. I agree, people do that is best for them and their family. I stayed at home and currently work full time. I heard it from both sides. Don’t care what other people do until they take upon themselves to push their agenda, assume I work because I have to, and preach how their way is the only way to raise children.

  11. Rachel says:

    That was exactly how I thought about society. One woman i knew even told me how her husband said ‘oh another one that doesnt work’ about me. Admittedly she was jelous sick! Its the women that do the most damage to be honest. Feminists and the government have managed to destroy motherhood and turn it into something a woman should never want. We are forced into work and practically brain washed into thinking this is whats best, whilst our small children are shoved in nurseries and looked after by people who will have completely forgotten them in a few years and making money out of the next group of kids. Its sad it has come to this, but its going to get worse. Society is getting worse, I feel sorry for the generations to come.

  12. Pingback: Stay-at-home moms: you don’t owe the world an explanation | The Matt Walsh Blog

  13. giddyromilly says:

    Thank you for posting this, Matt. As a teenage girl about to enter college and the workforce, I’d forgotten how important it was to be open to the most critical career path of all – that of a mother. I was raised by a stay-at-home mom, who also gave me eight siblings and homeschooled each and every one of us. She didn’t go to college, she never had a full-time job, she never took the ACT or even finish highschool…but that’s not what’s important in the long run. She taught me how to live and learn and read and write and love myself. She taught me the importance of womanhood. She taught me that I am beautiful and a daughter of God, and nothing can take that away from me. Because of my stay-at-home mom, I can shoot for the stars. She is my rock and my hero, and I will be lucky if I succeed in life to the extent that she has. God bless you stay-at-home moms of the world – you are more important than you know.

  14. Mary Asher says:

    I’m not as nice as some of you, but I’m 62 and turning crusty. If someone asked me “What do you DO all day, I’d go into snarky mode and reply, “apparently everything you neglect in connection with your family.” Or I’d bite my tongue and keep that thought to myself.

  15. I looked forward to being a full time mother. Unfortunately after several years of being able to do do, I was forced to go back to the workplace. The circumstances are not important however I was proud to do the non-stop laboring it took to take care of and nurture my children and do what I could to make my husband happy. I mentioned one night on a game site that I was making a banana pudding for my husband and was asked, “What are you, a Stepford Wife?” Needless to say it irritated me. Now, at the age of 63, I am a widow and pretty much a full time grandmother. I truly wish my husband was still here so I could make him his favorite banana pudding. ANYONE who uses the word “Just” to describe a stay at home mom should be thrashed.I worked with women years ago who only worked so they could have that newer car or the swimming pool. Their children were latchkey kids and I am sure there were many times those children would have loved to hear their mother’s voice when they walked through the front door instead of riding in that shiney new car.

  16. dlindsay says:

    Let me preface this by saying I give SAHMs huuuuuge props. I don’t think I could do it. I have never been a SAHM except for maternity leaves and being home for an extended period with a child who has cancer, but after several weeks during each instance, I found myself more than ready to return to my job outside of the house.
    That said…. “She JUST brings forth life into the universe, and she JUST shapes and molds and raises those lives. She JUST manages, directs and maintains the workings of the household, while caring for children who JUST rely on her for everything. She JUST teaches our twins how to be human beings, and, as they grow, she will JUST train them in all things, from morals, to manners, to the ABC’s, to hygiene, etc.” What about moms who do all of this AND work full time on top of it??? Yes, i have a husband who helps out when he can, but I work full time, and I am the one who makes sure the bills get paid, cooks dinner, bathes kids, does laundry, runs to the store for more toilet paper, etc, etc. I think working moms deserve just as much credit as SAHMs. This idea that SAHMs are amazing and should be bowed down to is kind of ridiculous when moms who work outside of the home do all the things SAHMs do, we just get it all done after working outside of the home all day.

    • Alsatian says:

      What you’re missing is, you can’t possibly do everything a SAHM does and have the paycheck job you have. I would guess you do what you can, but ultimately you are dividing yourself and can’t give the same to your children and husband that a traditional Mother/Wife can.

  17. I am a stay-at-home homeschooling mother of two young women who are presently attending college far from home. My husband and I were blessed to be able to have me at home for the past twenty-two years. It wasn’t easy in many ways, but it was one of our deepest desires to do so.

    Since my girls are in college, I have started to watch a toddler in my home to help bring in some income. I will be watching her baby sister or brother this summer. Recently I have had one friend grumble about the cost of child care. I can’t tell you how offensive that is to me. She knows what I make and she actually thinks I’m overpaid? I work fifty hours a week and don’t make minimum wage. There are no benefits. No vacation time.

    A couple of weeks ago, another friend who works and leaves her children with a mutual friend, stopped by and saw me sitting on the hardwood floor with the toddler I watch. She actually smiled sweetly and said how nice it was that I got to sit around and play all day! That she wished she could do that. She could and I know it. She chooses not to.

    I want to know if people really think that, after raising two lovely Christian women into adulthood, it has all been blowing bubbles and clinking plastic tea cups. That I choose to stay at home with the children of another woman because it is the easiest thing. The most fun thing. That it is play.

    My body isn’t the same as it was twenty-two years ago. It takes me a lot more effort to get up and down off that hardwood floor than it once did. By I am down there. And it isn’t play. It’s work. It’s work worth doing. And there are bubbles and clinking plastic tea cups on occasion.

    The thing is, I say what I want to say to these women without offending them. I just wish that people would think. And I’m glad that I am appreciated by my family and the family of the toddler I’m watching. Thanks for hearing me out. Now, I must go and spread some grace.

    • Ugh. I meant to say, “I CAN’T say what I want to say to these without offending them.”

    • premhead says:

      Hi Gail! you sound alot like me, I hope to have you join my team, in an opportunity with a health & wellness company, that allows you to stay home, or even work part time. I’ve been in 19 months, just love it, work part time at a church, and really like your attitude and spunk. please email me, at premhead@aol.com and I can give you the website to take a look at. thanks for your time.

    • premhead says:

      Hi Gail, you have the attitude and spunk similar to the way that I think. I would love to show you my home-based business, that I have been doing for 19 months, since the kids are gone.. please email me, premhead@aol.com and I can give you the website to take a look at. I think you might be fantastic at this business!!

  18. diana says:

    Whenever the subject comes up, I tell my two teenage daughters this: Whether you decide to follow a career path, or stay home and raise a family, or do something in between, do it because you have CHOSEN to do it, and be the best you can be at it.

  19. Deborahanne says:

    I appreciate the acknowledgement of stay-at-home moms here and in the follow-up post. However, what I think is notably missing is an acknowledgement of the fact that an increasing number of fathers stay home with their children. It’s really important for kids to have love, attention, and consistency from their parents – but that’s something dads can do too, even though families so often don’t consider that. Full-time parenting is an enormous sacrifice, as you point out, so I believe husbands and wives should sit down together when making the decision about whether mother, father, or neither should stay home full-time, and that this decision should be made based on the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals in the couple, their level of financial independence, and many, many other factors. I do not think that a mother staying home with kids is always the ideal – sometimes it might be the father staying home, or both staying home if the couple has substantial resources. I appreciate the insights in your posts, but parts of them do suggest that women are somehow naturally suited to staying at home all day with kids and laundry and diapers, which simply isn’t true. Some women really want a career – and some dads want to stay at home with their kids.

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  21. Tanya Scherer says:

    Wow! That says it all. Thank you!!
    Sincerely,
    Stay-at-home mom of four/full time student graduating in May with a teaching degree

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  24. James says:

    Odd. Nary a word about the role of fathers in raising children.

  25. working momma says:

    Really? Please spare me the drama of how hard it is to stay at home and raise a child. If you need to defend your wife, and in the process put down those who choose to work outside the home, then it leads me to believe that the person you are really trying to convince is yourself. Let’s face it. It IS “nice”, and it IS “a luxury” to stay at home. A working mother must do all the things a stay at home mother does IN LESS TIME. I work part time and am home with my son part time. I consider myself blessed to have that time with him. I love my job. I love to get out of the house and be an adult. I love to help contribute to my household’s income. I love putting my hard earned money in my son’s college savings plan. I have a master’s degree. I studied too long, worked too hard, love my job too much to not work. But I also love my son. I love reading to him, teaching him, watching him grow. Your wife has you fooled. When I am home, I do all the laundry, cooking, cleaning, organizing, supplying, finances…you get the picture. All those things that stay at home moms say is so difficult to do that they could not possibly have a job outside of the home. I do all those things, and I do them well. And then three days a week I work 8-10 hour days with an hour commute each way. When I come home, I still get to do the laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. I don’t get a coffee break at work. I work through my lunch. I don’t get a nap mid day simply because my son is napping and I’m tired. At home, I don’t have to get dressed if I don’t feel like it. I can lie and watch my son play whenever the feeling strikes. I can nap or have hot coffee or watch my favorite shows because I did my workout and all the chores in the morning and have nothing left to do once my son is napping. Stop putting down working mothers. Stop trying to justify how hard it is to be a stay at home mom. Both are hard. But working AND raising a child does not give you a free pass to not have to do all those things a stay at home mom has to do. You simply have to do them once you get home.

    • Teresa says:

      You mentioned a son. I take it you only have one child? So, because you have one child, you can be authoritative on every one else’s families, including those with more children than yours, because even though you don’t have the experience, because you work part-time you can tell some one else how easy they have it, I have four kids, but I would never presume to tell a mother of twins, infants in fact, that she has it easy because she only has two. Spare me your “I’m better than you” and “poor me” schtick. I’ve only ever had pregnancies resulting in singles, never multiples, but as difficult as the first few years raising a child is, I can only imagine it’s twice as difficult dealing with twins. I give any parent who has given birth to multiples major props, not only for surviving, but for coming out with as much sanity as they do. Judge your own choices, your own family, and leave everyone else out of it. You are not in their shoes, and I am not in yours. If a parent is actually fulfilling their role as parent,I will not presume to tell them that they aren’t working hard, or that they have it easy. SAHP do not often get a “break” from their kids. ALL parents work HARD, but in different ways. You may miss your child while you are away at work, but SAHPs often miss having intelligent conversations while other adults (not all are blessed enough to be able to go to playdates all the time). SAHPs often go through dry spouts where they wondering if it’s even worth it to keep being a sahp, why they are even bothering trying to raise certain children, because it can be quite tedious working with a child to change certain behaviors. Where working parents receive a paycheck at each pay period, sometimes sahps have to wait longer to receive their equivalent of a paycheck (milestones, seeing a behavior you’ve worked so long and hard to correct actually change, etc). I’m not better than you, you’re not better than any other parent who is actually being a parent. And I find it incredibly hard to take seriously criticisms towards parents (working or sah) who have multiple children from those who only have one…

  26. SakuraMari says:

    Reblogged this on Love You Big As Sky and commented:
    I admire this guy for being able to say the things that most of us cannot or will not due to criticism. I’m a SAHM, and I’m working on my own education while my little ones are little. Why am I doing this? For the simple reason of when they get older, I don’t want to sit at home and crochet and watch soap operas. We make it fine on one income, but when I’m able to get a job, I want to get a good one, not just a receptionist or data entry clerk. Those are my current qualifications.
    I have faced the questions and criticism many times in my SAHM years. To be honest, it has to be the most irritating question ever. Someone asking me what I DO all day is basically telling me that they think I’m less than they are. I don’t care WHAT tone of voice they use, how happy they make it sound, it’s condescending. It’s implying that taking care of kids is less important than working at a job. OH, but don’t include professional babysitters in that stay at home category… because they might be taking care of kids at their home (same as me), doing the lunch menus (same as me), taking kids to the park (same as me), bandaging boo-boo’s (same as me), and – well you get the point – but because the parents PAY this babysitter, it qualifies as a job, therefore eliminating the stay at home mom stigmata.
    While you’re at it, read Matt’s follow up post: http://themattwalshblog.com/2014/01/26/stay-at-home-moms-you-dont-owe-the-world-an-explanation/

    Stay Awesome.

    • Blanca Richardson says:

      There are too many variables as every situation is unique. There is no way to judge whether or not being a sahp (male or female) is easy or harder, or better or worse than a working parent. It is simply ones opinion based on their own experiences. Besides the grass is always greener…and we as humans always seem to want what we don’t have.

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  28. Lenchik says:

    I don’t completely agree with that article. Having been a stay at home mum, a full time working mum and now staying at home again with new bubba. Stay at home mums always have that saying ” We work all day and you get to come home and finish your working day” when in fact it’s much harder having a real job and being a mum. When you come home from work you do all the work a SAHM mum would have had all day to do. You go to bed later and work twice as hard.
    And not everyone can go and have coffee during their work day, my job was so busy that sometimes you would have lunch just before going home.

    Don’t get me wrong I love being at home with my babies and think it’s so much nicer for them to have mum home. But please don’t male it out like being a working mum is easier !!

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  31. SRS says:

    I agree with a lot you’ve said. BUT can you make some progress on a different front, and lose the phrase “get your head on straight”? How about “get your head on right”? It’s amazing how insidious old habits are, and how blind we can all be to the subtle messages we’re sending. While you’re posting about attitudes towards SAHP (and I believe nearly all of what you said applies equally to SAH dads), pls be careful not to add to continuing negative attitudes about other groups of people.

    • Heather says:

      The word “straight” has uses that have NOTHING to do with anyone’s sexual orientation. This one of them: “straight” as in “not curved or crooked”, NOT “straight” as in “not homosexual”!!

  32. working momma says:

    Wow! Why can’t we just support one another and all agree that parenting is tough. Period. Whether you have one child or ten, it’s the hardest yet most rewarding job in the world. Just because a mother chooses to stay home, that does NOT mean that she loves her children more or that she is a better mother. This article acknowledges the sacrifices a stay at home mom makes…but let’s give props to those women who set amazing examples by being a working professional outside of the home. I am proud I went to college and earned my master’s. I am proud to be a professional and am fortunate to be able to work part time. I provide health benefits and extra income for my family. I do not ask for handouts, healthcare, or any government subsidazation simply because I popped a few kids out and feel entitled to stay home. Guess what. Working moms JUST created life and foster their child’s growth too. We happen to do EVERYTHING a stay at home mom does…just in less time. So if working women seem judgemental…we just might be. We do it all too but also pull our own weight by contributing to society AND raising our children to have a strong work ethic. I think this article says it all…

    http://m.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/stay-at-home-moms-stop-pretending-youre-better-signed-working-moms/article15582779/?service=mobile

    By the way, I never judge a stay at home mom until it is thrown in my face how hard it is..how staying home is harder than working. Guess what? Despite your uneducated generalizations, not all jobs have “downtime”. Have you tried following around someone in the healthcare field??? Spare. Me. The. Drama. I get it. I know it’s hard. Oh, and I work too.

    Nothing will teach my son the value of a college education, that women are equally as capable as men and can do anything a man can do, and the value of contributing to society as watching his Momma go to work. If a women finds motherhood too overwhelming to work outside the home, that’s fine. But stop attacking working moms and PLEASE STOP TELLING US HOW HARD YOU HAVE IT. Staying home does not make you a better mom (especially if finances are tight), and it certainly does not make you the authority on motherhood.

    • moi says:

      I agree with your last statement. Every crackhead on welfare is a stay at home mom after all. I’m a fantastic Mum I know it.. and I work. 7-3 every day of the week. 37.5 hours a week out of 168. My kids (17 and 8 ) are fantastic.

    • Sophia says:

      Working momma, thank you for another great post!

  33. Brennaanne says:

    I am in a lucky position to get the best (or worst) of both worlds. I work in a job with 24 hour shifts, and I work 6-7 shifts/month. So, while I miss about 80-85 days of my children’s life every year, I am with them, full time the other 280 days. And a lot of the missed time is sleeping!

    I have to say that both sides are hard. It is hard to be the one and only person at home that your child has to provide everything they need. It is hard to leave your amazing, cuddly, perfect children at home to go take care of other people. (Not to mention the pumping, oh goodness, the pumping.)

    Both sides also have great rewards. I get to be the one person that knows my kids best, backwards and forwards, inside and out. I get to go have time away from the tantrums and irrational toddler behavior, and still feel like I am my own person outside of motherhood.

    I also have to say that I feel for the women whose initial reaction to another mother’s life (whether SAHM or working mom) might initially sound rude. Because, really, WHAT is the appropriate response? To a SAHM: “oh, you’re so lucky!” or “I’m jealous!” But what if the SAHM is desperate to have some connection outside the home? To a working mom “Oh, that must be great!” or “I bet it is nice to have an outlet outside the home” But what if they are missing their kids so badly it hurts? I don’t think there is an _easy_ response. Maybe the best thing to do is to ask the other person how they feel about their position. “Do you like being home with your kids?”, “Do you find your job rewarding?” It offers a chance for true connection, and maybe prevents some resentment and broken relationships. Just my two cents.

  34. concerned says:

    Dear Matt,
    If your wife is having such a hard time in the role of mother, maybe you should stop writing whiny blogs and give the woman a hand.
    Signed,
    Concerned Reader

  35. britt says:

    I would just like to say thank you……thank you for that post it is so nice to see that not everyone is against stay at home mothers. I myself am a stay at home mother of two boys, and I would not have it any other way. I want to be the one who teaches them to respect, love and just be all around good people with manners and dignity.

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  38. Georgia Stevens says:

    Matt,
    If your wife would love to have a cup of coffee, maybe you should go home and take care of the twins for awhile so she can grab a cup of coffee with her friends. Sounds like you’re not much help except to blog about your wife’s drama (which all mothers experience at various times). I’m the mother of three successful adult children who was a SAHM and a working mom …I’ve lived both worlds. Let’s quite judging and criticizing. I think the women you spoke of were just making small talk asking what your wife did all day. You need to get a life! Start helping your wife more would be a a good place to start. Give the poor woman a break! It would be interesting to hear her point of view.

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  42. EBONY says:

    I could not have said it better my self THANK YOU!

  43. Maria Conrad says:

    Well said Matt and it’s especially nice to hear it from a man’s point of view. I chose to stay home with my kids until they were both in school and now I work part-time. I gave up a lot to stay home with them and couldn’t give them some things, because I wasn’t working and making the money that would pay for music/dance/sports, etc. I do feel like I REALLY know my kids though. I get them in ways that I would never be able to if I hadn’t put in that time with them. I believe that this connection and level of deep understanding will help us through the growing up and going away stage that is coming soon. Our children are young for such a short time, that I considered it a true blessing to spend those youngest years fully engaged with them and creating life-long memories. To be so fully engaged with another is not for everyone. No one holds a mirror up to and reflects your self back as well as your own child. It isn’t easy, but it is a brilliant learning experience and an amazing opportunity to get to know yourself deeply as a parent, full-time caregiver and nurturer. I’ve held a lot of jobs in my life and I can honestly say none are as exhausting or fulfilling as raising kids full time.

  44. Mama602 says:

    Sigh…this whole argument has been going on for years , the truth is whatever works best for your family is what is right for you and frankly no one else’s business, when my kids were 6 and 3 we made the decision that my husband would be the stay at home dad because 1. He was the oldest of 6 and admittedly better at it than I and 2. I made more money and had the better job. When we told out families , our respective fathers looked at us like we were nuts , especially my Italian old school dad! How was I going to be the primary breadwinner? Ha! Well my husband put his career on the back burner for 8 years and took on the job and was great at it! Me? I didn’t have to worry about my kids and who was watching them , I could focus on my career and well it worked for us. My kids are now 24 and almost 21 they are educated successful and remember their childhood fondly. My daughter knows that she can choose whatever works for her when she has a family and as long as mom and dad are a team it works out and my son says he wouldn’t be where he is without the influences of mom and dad:) you aren’t entitled to an opinion about another until you walk in their shoes which are all different colors and sizes!

  45. Melissa says:

    There are stay at home Dads, too. Being the primary parent isn’t a woman’s position, either parent is just as capable & as responsible for rearing children. Just FYI

    I think most women CHOOSE to have a career while also being a parent. Almost all men do it, why can’t we? I’m glad you’re honoring the work your wife does for your family, but it was a little gender biased, don’t you think?

  46. rgouette says:

    bleeping awesome bit of writing there laddie

  47. Carol S says:

    I certainly agree with EVERY single word on this text. Being a mom that does not get to spend as much time home with my kid as I would like, I can only agree that stay home to raise children is very hard work and a huge responsibility. With that said, on the other site though, sometimes I wish, just for a change, that I didn’t have to hear crap like ‘I can’t believe you do what you do ..’ from some of those same ‘stay home moms’ when referring to me and the fact that I have a career that requires travel and long hours. Just to set the record straight – no one is perfect, there is NO perfect life, there are only choices. Life is about trade-offs and no one has the rights to judge the choices we make OR the lives we live. Quite honestly for those out there judging our choices or lives: cut the crap and go back to work, wherever and whatever work is.

  48. Emili says:

    Awesome. I agree whole heartedly!

  49. Kaye says:

    This blog made me cry buckets of tears. I am a stay-at-home mom and I badly need words of encouragement because I feel so down right now. Thank you so much! You and your wife are truly blessed to have each other. God bless!

    • premhead says:

      Hi Kaye! I want you to be encouraged and prayed for, as I was also a sahm, and sometimes felt the way that you feel. I now want to offer you a home-based business that could change your life, and lots of sahm are doing it, and having great success. you are able to surround yourself with liked-minded people, that are always positive. This is a big plus for me!! I hope you too! check out my website, and let’s chat!
      https://lisahead.myitworks.com
      hope it’s a good day Kaye!!

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