Stay-at-home moms deserve more respect

Is there an available job that has no pay, no health benefits, no lunch break and definitely no pension plan? In fact, what if this job was 24/7, and you could never have a vacation? There would be a lot of openings, but no one would take the position. In fact, if this was the only job a company offered, it looks like they would be out of business faster then the time it takes to say “stay-at-home mom.” Oh wait, of course! There is a job out there that fills these qualifications exactly: the stay-at-home mom (or dad) who takes care of the children.

Well, a job like this, with no time off and no pay, sounds like charity work. In fact, people respect this job for all the hard work and effort it requires, right? Wrong.

In fact, being a stay-at-home mom is one of the least respected jobs in the workforce today. Why? Since more and more women are entering the corporate world, there are fewer stay-at-home moms than ever before. Because things are so expensive, it is seen as better to have two paychecks coming in the household than just one.

But what about the children? A lot of children with two working parents are passed off to grandparents, friends or daycare. Stay-at-home moms who choose not to enter the workforce or take time off to be with their children are often questioned in a sarcastic tone, “What do you do all day?”

Let me reverse the question. What if I took aside a high-ranking White House official and sarcastically asked, “Well, what do you do all day?” I would probably get a rude glance. Since it sounds preposterous to ask an official a question like that, why is it more acceptable to ask a stay-at-home mom that?

What do stay-at-home moms do all day? They must be proficient in several professions, such as being a chef, doctor, mediator, teacher, playmate, garbage man, entertainer, laundress, maid and many other things. The funny thing is that you can’t take a class on how to be good at your profession; it’s all about teaching yourself.

I asked some stay-at-home moms to comment on their job, and one woman remarked, “(People) don’t view me as being the same in the executive world, and I can never ‘go home’ after work.” Another said, “We get stereotyped as being barefoot and pregnant when that is the complete opposite of what we really are. My rewards are not on a dollar aspect. I have been in the career world, and also am now a stay-at-home mom. Between the two, staying home is the hardest.”

Undeniably, being a stay-at-home mom is a tough job. Instead of stereotyping these women as doing nothing, watching TV all day and not having a “real job,” we should be giving kudos to these women, who choose not to have a paycheck and not to go on vacation, but who choose the hardest job of all: raising a family.

Information from – Time Magazine, “The Case for Staying Home,” March 22, 2004, by Claudia Wallis;, “Dream Job: Stay at Home Mom,” by Regina O’Brien