January 29, 2019


Can we discuss a basic label? I think the term Stay At Home Mom/Dad or SAHM/D can sound so degrading or of little importance. The term and acronym should be changed to Raising Kids Full Time or RKFT. I once read an article that said if someone asks, "What do you do?" or, "Do you stay at home with him/her/them full time?" you can simply say, "Yes, I work full time." instead of, "Oh, I just stay at home or am a stay at home mom/dad." Full time parents ARE working FULL TIME and I can say as a parent in a city like New York, you can bet I'm not staying at home all day. We are constantly out and about! And even on days that we are in fact at home, there are a multitude of things being tended to, nurtured, cooked, fed, cleaned, scrubbed, brushed, clothed, bathed, laundered, wiped, dressed, undressed, re-dressed, packed, unpacked, entertained, encouraged, guided, corrected, repeated, played, sung, read, imagined, etc. etc. etc. 

On the flip side, I know plenty of people who are proud to be called a stay at home parent. They may have felt a calling long ago to "just have babies" and raise them and be able to be a constant and consistent nurturer throughout their children's entire childhood. They have no qualms in comparison to other professions like being a doctor or lawyer. 

I once read a Reddit thread that argued and mocked the SAHM/D role, not considering it to be classified as a "job" at all. Many people chimed in and said, that's just being a parent. So, if you work an office job 9-5, and then come home and take care of your children in the evening, cook dinner, help with homework, put them to bed, etc. that's considered the same whether or not you're doing it all day or just in the mornings or evenings, it is only "being a parent". Let's say you "stayed at home" the first 4-5 years of your child's life and then wanted to get back into the "real workforce" ie. making an income, since we all know raising our own children does not have any financial gain. The Reddit comments argued that in this instance, if you tried to put down SAHM/D as an occupation for the last 4-5 years that it would be a joke, not worthy and not considered an "occupation", just an obligation as any other parent has the responsibility of. Fair enough? Now, if you're a Nanny doing all this and getting paid, that's 100% considered a job, an occupation. So if we also got paid raising our own children, would it then be considered so? Pretty interesting.

I'm not offended when people ask or say, "Oh, you're a stay at home mom." but I do think it's fascinating how we label this extremely important and undervalued role in society. I mean, we are raising future citizens that will hopefully contribute positively to our world and society! So I'm curious? What's your take? If you are or aren't a parent and whether you are the sole caretaker of your child/children, how do you feel about your role and how it's viewed? 




Stacy said...

Being a parent is just hard, period. If you work outside of the home full-time and come home to parent in the evenings/mornings/weekends, you're coming home already tired from a full day of work. If you stay home to work without pay all day, you're just as tired in the evenings/mornings/weekends as those who don't. The problem is everyone feels defensive about their choice and, as a result, we tend to talk up whichever choice that is while simultaneously belittling the alternative.

mom_sequitur said...

Being a RKFT is WAY harder than any job I’ve ever had. Preach it girl! ❤️

Unknown said...

I feel child rearing in general is not a respected profession, even when it is technically. Nannies are usually college students or poorly paid immigrants and preschool and daycare workers often make minimum wage, especially at the more affordable centers. Babies and kids are not really respected in our society and seen as whole people.

I was a sahp for 5 years with my first and am now a wahm the last 3 years with my second (which is more isolating than than staying at home btw)

The label has evolved over the years from when it was expected (housewife) to quaint (homemaker) to a middle/upperclass choice (stay at home m/d/p) because as a family we see the value in having a parent available and and figured out how to make it on one income.

RKFT is cool, but I still feel like I RKFT even though I have another job. Does that make sense? Like even though I'm not at it all day anymore it is not less stressful or difficult and comes with its own set of issues.

I find it far less enjoyable than before than being "at home." I'd rather be with my youngest and volunteer in my oldests classroom, but that isnt an option right now financially.

But back to my original point,as a society we could use improvement in how we view the importance of kids and caring for them. It does take a special skill set to be with your children 24/7 and should be valued and be respected no matter what it is called.

Jaime Bassett said...

I view my own role as BOTH a full time working mom AND a raising kids full time parent. A lot of times, it feels like society tries to put me in a box of either "working" or "at home" parent. Again, I am both. Here's why: While I am at work, I am still worrying, wondering, regretting, problem solving, scheduling, planning, persisting, and greatly missing my own child. The mental load and physical demand is still present, even as I trudge through my work day. When I get home, I get a small window to squeeze in all the cooking, scrubbing, changing, teaching, wiping, etc. During the time that I am performing the duties of a RKFT parent, I also have the heavy burden of my job stress playing as background noise in my head. Everyday it is a breathless dash, and an unnerving feeling of never being present. I view this role as necessary and what is demanded of me for financial purposes. Society views this role as an obstacle I can work around if I just reconfigure, or sacrifice. I view this role as my only option. Society views this role as my choice.