I don't keep up with politics very much (ok really at all) but I was talking to my dental hygienist the other day (when you're a stay-at-home-mom even a trip to the dentist is a break) and she said that President Trump proposed to implement a tax cut to moms who stayed at home with children who were under three. Basically, he was saying that SAHM's should be considered as having a full-time job and our tax cuts should reflect our work.
At first I was excited, finally, SAHM's would be rewarded for what we do all day! But then I thought to myself, why do I need the government to validate my role as a SAHM?
Unfortunately somewhere along the way, our culture seems to have raised the value of having a career over staying at home and raising children. This can be disheartening and downright depressing to SAHM's who work tirelessly all day and then hear comments like they have the easiest job or that they do nothing all day.
While I've only been a stay-at-home-mom for 15 months, I've definitely heard my fair share of what some people think we do all day. So I decided to write this post about 5 things that SAHM's do NOT do.
1. We Sit Around All Day
One of the most commons misconceptions I've heard about SAHM's is that all we do is sit around and watch babies and tv all day. While yes, it is true that we have to constantly keep our eyes out for our children, we rarely have time to watch tv.
To give some perspective, an article was published in 2011 in Forbes magazine that said SAHM's actually have the equivalent to 10 jobs. These jobs are, "Day Care Center Teacher, CEO, Psychologist, Cook, Housekeeper, Laundry Machine Operator, Computer Operator, Facilities Manager, Janitor, and Van Driver."
It also said that our salary would be the equivalent to $115,000. I also want to note here that working moms have a lot of the same responsibilities on top of working full time! The article notes that working moms could add $63,472 on top of their regular jobs.
I tried to write out what a typical day looks like for me but honestly, there are so many different variables in a day, there really isn't a "typical" day. Also, every SAHM's day looks different.
But no, we don't sit around all day.
2. Being a SAHM is Easy
Most of my babysitters absolutely adore Ellie (my daughter) and often ask to come over and see her just because they miss her. (that's how much they love her). They have also said to me that they don't know how stay at home moms do it.
I really love my babysitters. They understand me.
I know that a lot of jobs can be extremely challenging, but one of the most challenging things about being a stay at home mom is that besides the occasional hour break here and there, our job never ends.
We don't get to clock out of work at 5 every day. Our job is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even if staying at home is your absolute dream job, just the fact that it's 24/7 would be exhausting for anyone.
Not to mention there are days when you have a screaming baby because of colic, teething, or sickness, and one day can feel like the longest day of your life.
No sir, this is not an easy job.
3. We Gave Up Our Careers for Something Less Significant
For a lot of us, we did give up careers. Often times the tone in which people ask us "did you give up your career to stay at home?" implies that we regret giving up our careers, or that staying at home isn't as valuable as working outside the home. Yes, a lot of women did give up established careers and that can be extremely difficult. But I don't think any of them would say that staying at home is less significant work.
I believe that Motherhood is a calling and our children are gifts from God that he has entrusted to us to raise to know the love of the Lord. This is a high calling and something that has been diminished in our culture.
Somehow working outside of the home has been elevated to staying at home. I don't in any way think that working outside the home is less significant than staying at home. I might even go back to work one day. Just like I don't think there's anything wrong with staying at home.
Every woman has different capacities, different callings, and different personalities. It is our job to be faithful with the gifts that God has given us. This will look different for every woman and every mother. This sounds like a simple concept but unfortunately, there is still continual judgment and misunderstandings on what mothers should and shouldn't do.
4. All We Do is Drink Coffee and have Playdates With Friends
Read No. 1.
Yes, we do drink a lot of coffee. But contrary to the common belief that stay at home moms have a bazillion friends that we hang out with all day while sipping coffee, being a SAHM can actually be lonely and isolating.
I am blessed to have an amazing community of working and SAHM mom friends from my church and city. But it can be surprisingly challenging to find a time to meet up between nap schedules, sickness with kids, and work.
And when we do meet up we're so consumed with trying to make sure our children don't kill themselves that it can sometimes be hard to have a meaningful conversation.
Being at home with nobody to talk to besides your children can feel very lonely. A lot of moms have no community and very few mom friends. This can feel isolating and be extremely difficult emotionally.
I wish I could spend all day every day with my friends! Unfortunately, that's just usually not the case.
5. We are only Stay At Home Mom's
The majority, if not all of the SAHM's that I know either volunteer somewhere in their city, or have a side business that they do from home. We do everything from serving in churches, running a side business, writing, blogging, serving at nonprofits, etc.
Most moms I know wish to be known as more than just a mom. When we become wives our title doesn't change to "wife," we are still "Leah," or "Sally." When we become mothers, our main title changes to "mom." While this is an amazing role, we are more than just moms and we desire to be known as more than that.
The next time you talk to a SAHM try to ask her questions that don't relate to her children, for example, what does she like to do in her spare time, what are her hobbies etc. We want to be fully known and appreciated as a human.