When I was 10, my friend's mom wanted to leave her daughter at my house every day after school. To me, that sounded like an alright idea. I mean, I'd get to play with my friend every day. But the whole thing upset my mom. She felt like this mother thought since she didn't work at a classic 9-5 job, she could easily take on the responsibility of taking care of someone else's kid. It was the first time I realized that people didn't understand the life of full-time moms.
I don't think people mean to be inconsiderate when they say certain things to moms who work at home. They just misunderstand what life is like for these women. So here are eight things you should avoid saying to stay-at-home moms.
Why did you get a college degree if you knew you wanted to be a stay-at-home mom?
The education and experience that accompany a college degree help mothers be the best mom they can be. Furthermore, her college education has helped her to be a well-rounded and educated human being, fulfilling the desire most people have to improve themselves.
There is also no way to predict the future. Due to job loss, injury, or even death, she may have to become a provider for the family. She also may later decide to pursue her career after her children have left home.
If your kids are in school, why don't you get a real job?
First of all, what's not real about the job of being a mom? It's work.
Second, school runs from about eight to three, and most jobs are from nine to five. This means there's a gap of time after school to account for, as well as the task of getting the kids to school and all the chores that she completes while they're in school. In many ways, even though her kids are in school, it may still be impractical for her to work at a 'real job.'
Do you feel like you're in the 1950s?
Being a stay-at-home mom is not some kind of pre-feminist movement phenomenon. In fact, many stay-at-home moms are very feminist. One of the great things about the feminist movement is that it allows women to make lifestyle choices for themselves. Many women use that choice to choose to be a stay-at-home mom.
What do you do with all that free time?
What free time? Being a stay-at-home mother happens to be a 24-hour, 7 days a week gig. She's teaching and caring for her kids, helping out in the community, doing household chores, and maybe even working on her professional career. She's lucky if she gets a 2 minute bathroom break without someone knocking on the door or pulling all the pots and pans out of the drawer.
It must be awesome just stay at home and do nothing all day!
See: "What do you do with all that free time?"
Since you don't work, would you mind running the bookfair from 8-6?
See: "It must be awesome to just stay at home and do nothing all day!"
Your husband must do really well if you can afford to do that
It's more like they can't afford not to. The cost of daycare is astronomical, but more importantly, most stay-at-home moms believe that they can't afford to miss the opportunity of raising their kids themselves.
So, you're just a mom?
Yep. She's just a mom. And a doctor, a therapist, a lifeguard, a baker, a teacher, a chauffer, an entertainer, a handy-woman, a life coach, an accountant, a nutristionist...
So be careful about what you say to stay-at-home mothers. Their hard work often goes unappreciated, so your questions and comments may unintentionally make them feel degraded. Next time you feel inclined to say one of these things, try saying, "It's excellent that you can make that work, I hope your kids know they're lucky to have you."