Who has it harder or worse? Stay-at-home moms (SAHMs) or working moms?
The mommy wars rage on between SAHMs and working moms. There’s too much girl-on-girl crime.
In my personal experience, I’ve seen a barrage of insults, a blitzkrieg of belligerence. And not just from these two embattled groups. Some women, who aren’t parents, judge either SAHMs, working moms, or both.
I’m leaving men out of the conversation for now because I think the mommy wars is primarily a civil war waged between women – grandmothers, granddaughters, mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, cousins, friends, acquaintances, colleagues. But more on men later. Another day, another post.
Here’s a sampling of the nasties I’ve heard women say about SAHMs:
- They’re lazy.
- They could care less about contributing to their household.
- They can’t find a good job.
- They’re anti-feminist.
SAHMs are reportedly more angry, anxious, and depressed than their working mom counterparts, according to Gallup poll. So give the SAHMs a little love. They need it, trust me.
Why Being a Stay-at-Home Mom Is Difficult (the not-so-obvious reasons)
- You believe you aren’t entitled to personal spending.
- You feel you can’t ask your partner (if you have one) for a break at night or on weekends because he or she has been working hard all day too. The guilt can be devastating.
- You don’t have as many occasions to play dress up (no work presentations, for instance, or happy hours with coworkers). Nor do you get the satisfaction that comes with dressing up. (The nature of our work requires a certain “uniform”, e.g. stretchy pants, lounge-y top, everything machine washable and tumble dry low.)
- You don’t get any “work breaks” from your “job” unless you’re lucky enough to have help from family or friends. There’s no going home and relaxing after your work day – or at least getting a change of scenery. The sh*t (Oh, there’s a lot of it!), I mean shift continues. The best time to take a break or “get stuff done” is during nap or bedtimes, but as many SAHMs know, our kids’ nap schedules aren’t always in sync, which means no naps for us. And we are often too tired to do anything after the kids go to bed! Well, at least we can look forward to stress-free bathroom breaks, yeah right!
- You can’t be your “authentic” self or don’t have as many opportunities. Mine swigs bourbon and swears. There’s always a child within an arms length taking in what you say or do.
- You don’t (or rarely) get performance ratings or reviews. There aren’t any promotions. In short, very rarely does anyone tell you, you’re doing a great job.
- You take on the children’s failures as your own. (After all, this is your full time “job”; there isn’t a nanny, daycare center, or other caregiver to share in the blame.)
- You feel like it all falls on you: parenting, cooking, cleaning, yard care, paying bills, managing schedules and appointments, running errands, etc. If you ask your partner for aid or hire outside help, you feel really lazy and/or guilty.
- You’re incredibly lonely, despite being with a child or children all day. Sometimes the loneliness on you feels like a disease. You miss the interaction with your coworkers and/or other adults who aren’t caregivers.
- Your social network gets smaller and is reduced to stay-at-home moms, which isn’t a negative in and of itself. But it can be when conversation inevitably trends towards family life rather than life, life. So you don’t get that escape you need.
- You don’t have time to properly eat three sit down meals a day because anyone who’s fed babies and/or toddlers knows sit down meals with young kids is difficult.
- It’s challenging (and guilt-inducing) making time for self-care. For instance, you have to make arrangements for a haircut or an exercise class because you can’t take a long lunch or go before or after work. Also problematic – you don’t think you deserve the hair cut and color because you aren’t working.
- You still have “work stress”. No it may not be as much or the same as your working mom counterparts, but it’s no doubt a big part of your day. Whining, fighting, and misbehaving children are draining. Working moms may have to deal with similar behaviors from their adult colleagues. However, your little tyrants won’t listen to reason.
- You live by a routine, which makes you feel like you’re in a rut.
- Your day revolves around other human beings, leaving little to no time for you.
The above applies to stay-at-home dads.
Having the chance to be at home with your kids is truly a gift, but it’s also a challenge at times.
A Final Thought – From the Pillow
Stay-at-home moms and dads are hard-working, strong, and love their children deeply.
So if you’re guilty of a girl-on-girl crime – that is judging a SAHM, stop the hate. Start over, this time with love.
Have you ever judged a mother for her decision to stay home? If so, why?