Working moms, stay-at-home moms, work-at-home moms – what “category” do you label yourself? Whether we like it or not, there are labels we give ourselves when we become moms, and there are certain stereotypes associated with each.
For stay-at-home moms or SAHMs, there is a misconception that they have an “easy life” because they don’t have a “regular job”, and that they have time to get manicures and meet friends for coffee every day, and binge-watch TV shows on Netflix. Of course, this is not the case!
In my own experience, I’ve learned that being a SAHM is probably more demanding and often more stressful than when I did work outside the home.
For some reason, when a mom chooses to stay home to raise her kids, people think they can ask inappropriate, personal questions about their choices. There are some things stay-at-home moms hate being told and asked. So here are 10 things you should never say to a stay-at-home mom
10 Things You Should Never Say to a Stay-at-Home Mom
1. What do you do all day?
This is probably the worst question to be asked as a stay-at-home mom. While you’d like to hit back with a snarky response like “watch talk shows and go to the gym”, you can say that you keep busy doing a number of things.
You can choose to go into great details about changing your children’s diapers, doing laundry, making school lunches, running errands, taking little ones out for a stroller walk, trying to get baby to nap, and on top of that, actually spend quality time with the kids!
2. “You’re so LUCKY to be able to stay at home”
No, I’m not necessarily lucky – don’t assume that a mom who stays home is financially well-off! Moms choose to stay at home for many different reasons. For many women, the high cost of child care cancels out the paycheque. Others might not have reliable daycare options, while other moms may not be able to go back to a job with inflexible, long hours, or with a long commute.
Other moms might decide to tighten their financial belts at home because they think it’s the best option. Other moms might not love their jobs and are leaving it behind gladly. Whether a mom chooses to stay home or work, don’t make them feel guilty for their decision.
3. You must have such a relaxing life!
Waking up at 5:30 a.m. because your toddler is ready to start his day while you’ve only had three solid hours of sleep? Sure, relaxing indeed! Don’t forget the times when kids are crying, teething and throwing temper tantrums… or grappling with an octopus-child, to strap into the car seat or snow suit just to run into to the grocery store to buy a loaf of bread that you forgot to buy during your big shop yesterday.
While SAHMs have flexibility and run by their own schedule, there are bad days when the kids are screaming and crying, won’t go down for a nap, or fighting constantly.
4. What do you mean your house is a mess?
You didn’t get the laundry done, dinner ready, and the house cleaned? Yes, because staying at home all day means SAHMs have unlimited amount of time to get anything and everything done. Have you tried cooking dinner with a baby attached to your hip? How about doing laundry with a toddler running around? You might as well put “throw the clothes around the room” and “dump out all the toys on the floor” on your to-do list because that’s what happens seconds after you finish putting the clothes away and cleaning up the toys.
5. You must be bored.
For some women, caring for her family is the most rewarding thing they could ever do. While others might be bored of the prospect of the domestic life, others find it fulfilling. Some find it liberating not to have to clock into a job every day, and enjoy not having a strict schedule. Every day is an opportunity for something new; some days, mom will feel super productive running errands while other days will be spent rolling around on the far playing with the kids. Staying home to raise kids is far from boring.
6. I couldn’t stay home, it would drive me crazy!
Yes, it’s not for everyone. While it might not be an ideal situation for certain personalities, it’s great for others. The fact that someone is suggesting staying home would drive them crazy is belittling to those who choose that lifestyle. Saying it’s crazy implies that staying home with the kids is annoying, terrible and challenging. Sure there are days when you feel like you’ve spent most of the day cleaning up spit-up and vomit, wiping bums and explosive diapers. But being able to raise your children is so rewarding.
7. You must have so much time on your hands!
Nope! That’s a huge misconception. You’d be surprised by how busy you can be when you’re staying at home with the kids. Think of the time it takes to prepare meals, feed your kids, clean-up, put kids to nap, running errands, and on top of that actually interacting with your kids! The hours in the day quickly pass by.
8. What are you going to do when all your kids are in school?
Just because my kids are at school all day won’t mean that I’ll be at the spa getting pampered all day long. Who knows? Maybe I’ll go back to work, maybe I’ll pilot a rocket to the moon. My opportunities are endless, but you don’t see me asking you what your 5-year plan is for your life, and this is just as rude as asking someone why they haven’t had kids yet.
9. “Could you do me a favour?”
Since you don’t work, do you think you could do me a favour and pick me up some eggs/coffee/my kid from school? Here’s one – since you’re home, do you think you could watch my kids too? Sure! I’ll just start a home daycare business while I’m here raising my kids at home, why not? It’s not like I’m totally not qualified, or have the spare time, room or energy and patience to deal with your kids let alone my own! Just drop them off at 7:00am and come whenever to pick them up!
10. When are you going back to work?
For stay-at-home moms, taking care of their kids IS their “job”. They are on-call, 24 hours a day, and never really clock out. Can we recognize the hard work that stay-at-home parents do? Just because there is no pay cheque, let’s acknowledge that the work involved with caring for children is legitimate.