Being a Stay-at-Home Mom Is Not A “Hobby”

The Internet says a lot of things about parents. This I know. 

I've been writing as a parenting blogger for a few years now, and I really thought I had heard it all. But I have to admit that one blogger did the impossible and genuinely shocked me when she claimed that she knew the truth about stay-at-home parents. 

And the verdict?

Staying at home with kids is just a “hobby.”

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“No, Stay-at-Home-Mothers, choosing to create your own little person upon whom you’ll spend all your time and energy, is a hobby. It is a time-consuming, sanity-deteriorating, life-altering hobby — a lot like a heroin addiction, but with more Thirty-One bags. Whether you call it a ‘blessing' or a ‘privilege,' the fact remains that having someone else foot the bill for a lifestyle that only benefits you and your close family is by no means a ‘job.' ” Liz Pardue-Schultz wrote for XO Jane.  

Yup. She went there. 

In a way, I get what she was trying to say. If you read the whole article, her basic point is that it's become the “norm” for stay-at-home moms to complain about every little thing because staying at home with kids is oh so hard, and maybe we should all appreciate it a little bit more. 

But, dang. If she didn't get the message across in the totally wrong way. 

I don't care what she says; staying at home with young children is a job, because someone has to watch them. You'd consider it a job for the daycare provider that would watch them if you sent them there, wouldn't you? The economy isn't a fixed equation — staying home means a lot of different things in a financial sense: breastfeeding may be more feasible, for example, which means fewer potential illnesses, which reduces healthcare costs. Or maybe staying home means less of a carbon footprint or lets you contribute to your child's school. It's just silly to belittle the fact that parents who stay home have very little economic value. 

However, I understand that she's trying to point out that many moms can throw themselves so fully into mothering and staying home that they lose themselves in an unhealthy way in the process. Been there, done that. And it sounds like this particular mother has adjusted perhaps a bit easier than some of us. That doesn't make her experience less valid, but it doesn't make it valid for her to preach that all stay-at-home moms are whiny, complaining, ungrateful hawkers of 31 bags, either. 

Is staying at home a privilege? Honestly, I'm not sure. For some mothers, it is. For some, staying home takes serious sacrifice. For others, it really feels blissful and, still, for some others, it's like gritting your teeth to get through the day. 

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So the bottom line is that it's counterproductive to ever call staying at home with kids a “hobby,” because it's damaging to our society as a whole. The author even mentions that she was able to stay home with the help of WIC — something that might not be possible if work-family policies didn't exist. 

Those kinds of family-supportive policies exist because, as a society, we recognize that raising healthy children is beneficial to society and that no one can do it all alone. We recognize that there is a value in raising children, and we have a long ways to go in creating more work-family policies, laws, and benefits.

And you know what? None of that will happen until we recognize that staying home and raising children is a job. 

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What do you think? 

What do you think?

Being a Stay-at-Home Mom Is Not A “Hobby”

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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3 comments

  1. Ayriana says:

    I’m nor sure that I would call it a job, but if it’s a hobby, possibly you sbould discontinue your cable and begin some real learning activities with your child(ren). As a mother of four who jrange in age from 3-17, it’s all I can do to keep caught up. And yes they do take part in domestic care, part of being an at-home-mom is making sure that everybody knows how to do, well, what needs to be done in order to survive. Oh, and by the way, if you’re gonna have a baby, possibly you should consider dropping out of the international economy. You don’t need to produce the child so the childcare profession can stay in business.
    Davida

  2. Yamilet says:

    Let me preface this comment by sating that I am a stay-at-home mom to a gorgeous little 9mo-old monster.

    Taking care of her is NOT a job. It is a responsibility- MY & her father’s responsibility. At most, it is WORK (at most!).

    Read that again: Being a stay-at-home mom is NOT a job.

    Being a SAHM is a conscious decision made by moms/partners to care for our children SOLELY for the benefit of our nuclear family (not society!).

    Is it a lot of work to devote my time/energy/resources/whatever to caring for my precious? Abso-fckng-lutely. Do I feel my sanity escape me little by little with each passing kid-absorbed day? You betcha! Do I daycream and wonder about the days of yonder when my different roles as a woman didn’t get swallowed up by the title “MOM”? Yes, yes I do. Do I adore every second of it and would I trade it? I wouldn’t think for a second of any other arrangement than the one where I’m a SAHM. Watching my baby grow is by far worth more to me than my last (very well paying if I may add) job.

    However, this is NOT a job. It is MY responsibility as the person WHO UNILATERALLY CHOSE TO BIRTH THIS CHILD.

    So PLEASE stop calling it a job

    PLEASE stop acting like we deserve a medal or a pat in the back FOR DOING WHAT WE ARE SUPPOSED TO DO

    PLEASE OH PLEASE stop victimizing our position as stay-at-home moms and fishing for sympathy simply because the work it takes to raise a kid is…….. unique

    Being a SAHM is complex to say the least. But it is by no means a job. It is a position we CHOSE (directly or indirectly) requiring many skills simultaneously.

    • User says:

      Seriously?! Not a job? I have a masters degree and my full time job is now taking care of my kids. Not by choice. I love them dearly but I desperately want to be back at work, for their sanity and mine, a great deal of the time. To put it quite simply, we cannot afford, with my income, to pay for daycare and for two children. That’s right, because watching children during the day is, heaven forbid, an actual service are in which people work… At their (wait for it…) job. So bullshit. So happy you can choose to stay home. Yes, we choose to have children that we can take care of, and do quite well. No, I cannot work outside the home as a result. Choice or not, this is still work. So please oh please stop judging other women for living their lives differently than you do and support their right to define their lives how they choose, not how you feel they ought to define them.

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