"SAHM" Gets Snarky

I absolutely despise the phrase "stay-at-home Mom" (or SAHM, as some people say). There are other things to call the job, I suppose - my BFF Betsy prefers the term "domestic engineer" - but you could call it anything you want and the ignorant would still hold the same stupid misconception: that if you stay at home with your kids, you're just lounging around being lazy. All. Day. Long.

That's what irritates me. When people hear the phrase "stay at home," they think of vacation days. Or skipping work. Or otherwise not meeting some important grown-up obligation because they'd rather chill in bed 'til noon. So naturally, what do they think of stay-at-home moms? That we're sitting here eating bonbons and catching up on soap operas. That we don't have a thing in the world to do besides read cheesy romance novels and yell at our unruly kids, who entertain themselves all day, between chapters.

But SAHM doesn't stand for Sitting on my Ass Having Margaritas (though that would be nice, for a damn change). Being a stay-at-home mom entails doing a million and one different jobs, and doing the parts of those jobs that nobody else would want to do. Ever. It's the kind of stuff you'd pawn off on someone else in a corporate workplace: if someone puked in your cubicle, you'd call the janitor. But if you're a SAHM, you are the janitor. If someone clogs the toilet at work, you'd call maintenance. If you're a SAHM? It's your job to fish out the offending turd/clump of excess toilet paper/Matchbox car. An office has a cleaning staff. SAHMs have no cleaning staff; instead, we are solely responsible for not only the basic tasks - dusting, vacuuming, window-washing - but also dishes. Laundry. Clutter control. Organization.

And oh yeah. We're also a daycare. And you know what that means? We're responsible for providing daily enrichment. Education. Entertainment. Discipline. Scheduling. And also, cleaning up after all that: washing bodies, wiping noses, wiping butts. Keeping toys from taking over the house and sweeping crumbs and mopping up puddles and sticky messes.

Wanna know what else? We cook. Yep, it's up to us to provide three more-or-less nutritionally balanced meals per day. Plus snacks. And to go the extra mile, we usually remember what each person likes ... and keep track of what we've had in the past few days or weeks so everyone gets some variety.

We also care for the sick: administering medications, following doctors' orders, fluffing pillows, and - you guessed it - cleaning up disgusting messes. That also includes sick pets and their disgusting messes.

Because we're at home all day, no one ever cuts us any slack, least of all ourselves. Since we've been here for 24 hours we've had ample time to clean this or organize those or cook that - right? Help? Why would we need help when we're have all day long to do this stuff? And since we're "not doing anything" that means we must have time to do this for that person, and that for this person - rightthisveryminute. Because we stay-at-home moms have absolutely nothing else to do but ... stay at home.

You don't even have to get dressed!, they say. Yeah, I may still be in my PJs at 3 pm. Why?? Because I can't leave my kids unattended while I take the time to shower - but when I try to take them all with me, it backfires. It's certainly not because I took my time to leisurely wake up and roll out of bed whenever I saw fit. No. Most days I'm up with the sun - usually after waking up every hour or two to meet some sort of middle-of-the-night demand - summoned from my comfortable bed to meet even more demands. Breakfast. Drinks. Diaper changes. All before I've even had the chance to clear the sleep from my own eyes and take a much-needed pee.

You can take a nap any time you want!, they say. Nap? What the hell is that? If I'm lucky enough to get all my kids napping at once, there's so much stuff I have to get done before they wake up (like attending to my own basic hygeine!) that I don't have time to catch any shut-eye myself.

To those who think "stay-at-home" is equal to "free ride" ... consider this. What would you do if your boss ever-so-graciously said, "Take an hour off to take a bath. Or go to the gym. Or go to lunch with your friends." And then followed it up with, "But after that, you've got to get right back to work. And, oh yes ... you'll be here all night. In fact, except for the occasional mini-break - I'm talking just a few times a month - you'll be here 24 hours a day, indefinitely. What's that ... ? Sick days? Vacation time? Sorry, but you're out of luck in that department. Oh, you're going to the restroom? I'll be coming with you, of course; privacy is against our company policy."

Motherhood is always hard ... even when you do your mothering from home.

There's so much more I could say, but I'd be up on this soapbox for days, and I've got shit to do.

I only wish it involved naps, books, or bonbons.


  1. I want a nap after reading all of that. I'm with you - I was a stay at home Mom for 3 1/2 years, now my hubby has the job.

  2. OH AMEN SISTA! I wish I had read this a few years ago when I was dealing with that as a Superhuman And Harried Mother 'cause I was feeling the sting of being treated as less that... human? Capable? Intelligent? Wise? Witty? You know, by people I worked side-by-side with for years who thought my brains fell out my ears the minute I came home to finish raising my son? This was GOOD and I'm passing the link on to many others!

  3. Girl, I know what you mean. With that said, you are so lucky. I would give anything to be a SAHM so I could teach my kids the values I want to instill in them. I know how hard it is, I was one for a while. Went without showers sometimes because I was just too busy. I was at home with my oldest and pregnant with my youngest and had pre-eclampsia. I was supposed to be on bedrest but there was just too much to do. The ever growing pile of laundry and dishes, the messes, errands for everyone and their brother, etc. Now that I work, I still have to do all that plus work. Can I get help now? No. I have to take vacation days from work just to clean my house. You should tell your husband that you deserve vacation days too! :)

  4. amen sista!! i am not a “domestic engineer” but i do realize how much work goes into your profession. i am so exhausted on the weekends my hubby is gone, i just don’t know how i’d do having to do it 24/7. i think you have a very tough job. those people who say these awful things probably don’t have children themselves…or those people have nannies and are able to lounge around all day long. let them go all day without showering (because it really is IMPOSSIBLE) and see what two cents they have then.

  5. Exactly my thoughts. I never pictured myself being a stay-at-home mom, and didn't like the negativities that was aimed at SAHM's...but now that I am 5 years into it, I could really care less about someone's negative view on it. I agree with all of this except for the nap part, we will all take naps here or all heck is gonna break loose, if I ain't happy due to no naps, no one is gonna be happy..we take naps round here! And...I'm proud of it!

  6. Yes, I know exactly what you mean.

    My husband likes to tell me that my job is easy and I want to bite his head off.

  7. I just have to stand up and say, A effing Men! You tell it sister.

  8. What I love is when people tell me they wish they had the "luxury" to stay home. Believe me, this ain't no luxury! I know there are families where both parents really must work outside of the home; but when someone with a quarter-million dollar house, two cars, cable, DVD players/Wiis/Gameboys/iPods/etc., and takes multiple vacations and dresses like a million bucks tells me that I get frustrated. Look, I don't care what choices other people make--we live in a country that gives us the opportunity of free choice--but don't tell me you have to work outside the home...you are choosing to have those things or wish to give your children those things and would rather be at the office rather than be home. Fine, great, good for you! But as one who bought a fixer-upper house, had one car for fourteen of seventeen years of marriage, one bathroom, no cable, etc., all to afford this luxury of doing everything you mentioned in your post, I'm tired of hearing that I have it easy and I'm lucky to be able to afford this. (Can you tell your post hit a nerve? :-) )

    Hurray for Fighting Frumpy!!! Keep givin' it to the world! :-)

  9. You ROCK! This was the hubby and I's last fight, um, disagreement. He thinks he can do it better than me. AHEM, more ORGANIZED than me. I would like to see how long he will last trying to organize a three year old and a one year old!!! Oh, and he works all day and wants to rest when he gets home. HELLO< WHERE'S MY REST!!!! Oh, man now I'm catching the snarky...

  10. As a stay-at-home-mom, I worked harder than I ever have worked at any other job in my life! I guess it's because we know we're investing ourselves in molding our children's future, and that's more important than those "luxuries" we're doing without. Looking back on those years now that all my kids are grown, I'm SO glad I did it......and pretty sure I couldn't do it again! ;o) Keep up the good work!

  11. Honey I'm exhausted. I'm with you though. I work at home. On my home. And my family. Oh, and I try and get a shower daily.

  12. Even though I know it would be HARDER work, I wish I could be a SAHM. Someday perhaps...

    You go SAHM-Girl!

  13. Speak it, sister! *shakes head* I really wish people understood how incredibly difficult this lifestyle is. . .and I don't even get PAID! I sacrifice a LOT for this 'job!' (its worth it, tho. It really is.)

  14. Dr. Phil tomorrow is doing a show with SAHM and Career moms. You know, in case you magically find some free time and care to watch. :)

  15. Rita - I was a SAHM mom (BLECH) for 4 months last summer. And I was sure that one of us (my child or I) was not going to make it to her birthday. There was stuff to do. And then re-do. And do again. And oh, there was always a do-over at the end of the day. I don't know how her babysitters do it. I don't know how any other stay at home moms do it. I applaud you.

  16. Kudos to you. You have the hardest job in the world, 24/7/365. And you excel at it! Keep up the good work.
    I loved your last major paragraph with the comparison to the 40 hours a week world.


Post a Comment

Commenting makes you big and strong! Okay, maybe just strong. Okay, so it's only your fingers. But still ...

Popular Posts