Sunday, 5 August 2012

A Stay At Home Mum Speaks Out!

There always seems to be a lot of criticism levelled at SAHM's (Stay At Home Mums). Some of this can be personal criticism from friends and family and some is more public such as Cherie Blair's speech earlier this summer about why women should not aspire to be SAHMs. I'm really fed up of this. To be honest I really don't see why other people's life choices are anyone elses business. What I do doesn't really affect anyone else adversely but it seems that when you become a mother people just want to judge. It makes me really angry when my decision to be a SAHM is questioned or attacked. In real life I'm usually too polite to say anything but on my blog I'm going to answer back!

SAHMs don't work.
I have heard this comment so many times "oh but you don't work". To be fair sometimes its just a throwaway comment not meant to offend but what I want to say is that whilst I don't have a paid job I do a hell of a lot of work! No one would accuse a childminder, chef, taxi driver, teacher, nurse, PA or personal shopper of not working and as a SAHM I do all of these. I'm also on call 24/7 and work nights pretty much all the time.

You depend on your husband
Yes I do depend on my husband...but he depends on me too. That's what a partnership is all about surely? We both made the decision to have children and we both made the decision that I would stay at home to look after them. Therefore the money he brings in is our joint money. If he left I would be stuck for money, its true. However how do people think he manages to work? He has a job that requires long hours and stays away from home. If I wasn't here then he only way he would be able to get child care that fitted these criteria would be a live in nanny and if he had to pay for that it wouldn't be worth his time working! so really we are pretty much interdependent.

You are a lady who lunches
Yes - I do usually lunch, on a cold slice of toast and marmite covered with a soupcon of toddler dribble whilst a small child clings to my legs. Sometimes I am even lucky enough to make myself a ham sarnie if the children sit in front of cbeebies. If I'm even luckier I might even get to eat it all in one go before a tantrum or poo emergency occurs.

You don't pay tax so you don't contribute to society.
I was pretty shocked when this accusation was flung at me by a friends husband. Aside from the fact that I did pay quite a lot of tax for all the years that I had paid work I think ALL mothers (whether they are in employment or stay at home) contribute to society when they raise their children to be caring, responsible people - what job could be more important? In addition to that most SAHMs I know do important voluntary work. They help run playgroups, volunteer as breastfeeding councillors, help at schools and pre-schools, fundraise or volunteer for charities such as Homestart. If you ask me this is doing something pretty valuable and is a great contribution to society.

Working mothers have it harder than SAHMs
Why is that in motherhood everything seems to come down to a competition? Amazingly this accusation was levelled at me by my own mother! She actually said that it was really hard working all day and then coming home and having to do housework and look after the kids when you are tired from a days work. But as a SAHM I am also tired from looking after the kids all day. Its pretty hard to get much housework or paperwork done with young children around so at 7pm when they go to bed I have to do the same amount of cleaning , houshold organisation and cooking as someone who has been out at work all day! Personally I think that WOHMs and SAHMs work really hard and are both exhausted at the end of the day - its not a case of one being more tired than the other.

So that's it really. Why oh why can't women support each others choices. I am happy with my choices as I feel they are right for me and my family and I really don't want to have to justify them to others all the time.


  1. Oh I so totally agree with all that you have just said! I am a SAHM too and am forever made to feel guilty about the decision! I would never dream of critizising any decission a mum has made about work! But at the end of the day it was our decision and even though I am exhausted nearly all of the time but it is totally worth it. It may be unpaid but its the best job in the world (in my opinion).

  2. Traditionally most women stayed at home to raise their children. I think if you want to set good moral values that you want to instill in your children then it's up to you. I do believe a mother's job is to look after the children and raise them responsibly whilst the man does the providing (mostly!!). That is why we are made differently - nuture/nature. Everyone is entitled to have their own opinion but from something that was once the 'norm' SAHM's are considered odd. I think it is completely normal and for one am very proud to say I've given up one (paid) job to take on the greatest job - motherhood. To give it 100% I need to be at home - I have no qualms what anyone thinks and had no intention of going back to full time work whilst my children are at home. Both my husband and I will make sacrifices so that I can stay at home and will do for any other children we have. I've had my fun now it's time to get on with what I believe is my 'real' job.

  3. Amen to that. Thank you for this. I'm fed up with having 'apologise' for my lifestyle choice too.

  4. 100% with you here. How did such an important job become so undervalued? My biggest beef with the whole thing is that anyone should have to defend their choices in how to live their life or raise their kids. Society is made of lots of different models of families. There is no right or wrong. I think your point about stay at home mothers who support endless schools, charities, play groups etc, etc is especially valid.

  5. I too am a SAHM and I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to spend so much time with my children - I would have hated to see a stranger spend more time with them than me. We've had to make some sacrifices, but it was the right choice for me (husband is still not sure ;) ). I too, have been made to feel guilty about it, which is so not fair. Hey ho, thick skin has been developed now :)

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.