10 Responses to 10 Things Never to Say to a SAHM

Today I had the pleasure of reading a rude list of things people say to women who stay home with their children. I couldn’t help but write down my initial responses and I’d love to share them!

Here is the list from the San Fransisco Chronicle along with my thoughts (in bold):

1. “When the kids are older, do you think you’ll get a real job?”

No, when my kids are older I’ll finally be semi-retired. My job won’t end until the day I die.

2. “How June Cleaver of you!”

My name is January, please don’t compare me to others.

3. “Oh, so you don’t work?”

I work 24/7 with no pay or vacation. You wouldn’t last 3 days at my job.

4. “Since you have extra time on your hands, could you whip up a few dozen brownies for the bake sale tomorrow?”

Actually, I could use some brownies. Since you have enough time to ask me and assume you know so much, can you whip up some dinner for my family? That way I can nurse the baby in peace just once today? Thanks! So thoughtful of you.

5. “All day with your kids? I can’t even imagine.”

Really? Well it’s better than being around you all day…I like them…can’t say the same for you anymore. Ya, it’s hard, but they are awesome.

HEAD. TO. DESK. Let's continue...

6. “I’m jealous. I wish my husband were rich so I wouldn’t have to work either.”

What impression did I give you that we are rich. It was the beat up minivan, huh? You have no idea the sacrifices we make for me to be home. Think before speak.

7. “What do you do all day, anyway?”

Raise my children to not be idiots to offset all the ones there already are…hint hint.

8. “I’m sure you’re not the only one who’s ever wasted money on a college degree.”

Apparently education and common sense don’t come from a college degree. Thanks for proving that.

9.” That explains why your son is so clingy!”

That explains why my son freakin’ adores me so much!

10.” Weird. I assumed your house would be superclean.”

Weird, I thought you were just leaving.

Open mouth, insert foot. People really need to think before they speak, especially about experiences they know nothing about and have not been through themselves!

With all that said, I want you to know if there was a list of 10 things not to say to a working mom, I’d have the same response. Working moms work all day and yes they get that adult interaction and a ‘break’ from home. Some have to, some want to. Then they still come home, clean, cook, cuddle, kiss boo-boos, pay bills, support their spouses, do homework, baths, bedtime, get everything ready for the next day, etc. Being a mom is A LOT of work no matter how it’s divided up! So whether you are male or female, have children or do not have children, have respect for mothers and the hard work they do!


    • Rand

      In my experience, the super-clean homes were the homes of the more well-to-do where the children were not made to feel welcome. We were the less well off of all my daughter’s friends and we didn’t have a super-clean home, yet our house was the place where all the high-school kids chose to hang out and have parties. We made them welcome in the home, which is more than I could say for their parents.

    • Mollie

      we’re in the same boat. The most grief I’ve gotten about our home is from my mother. She’s even used June Cleaver as an example. 😛

  • Stephanie

    Ha, rich? I think you have to be rich to afford day care to be a working Mom… gotta make a lot at work to offset that cost.

    • Melissa

      I’ve been a mom working to afford day care. I missed out on countless concerts, special moments with my daughter and a lot of bonding time because of it. My life is richer by far now that I am a stay at home mom. Getting to know my now 12 year old all over again has been the best part of it. Who cares if the house is clean? So long as there’s no laundry overflowing the hamper when the in-laws visit I’m good 🙂

  • Nev

    Fantastic responses. Haven’t heard any of these so far but am sure I’ll get these once my daughter is older (almost 10months).


  • Sonia Gauthier

    A man comes home from work and found his three children playing in the mud of the garden, still with the pajamas , with empty food boxes and wrappers of these scattered throughout the garden.
    The door of his wife’s car and door of the house was open; there was no sign of the dog.
    When he entered he found even more mess … footprints all over the carpet, a trail of something sticky which acceded to his shoe, dusty furniture, candy wrappers, dog hair everywhere, a lamp knocked over, the broken vase, a blanket covering some of the dining room chairs in the middle of the hall, a pair of shoes under the table…..
    In the room, the TV was blaring a cartoon channel, and the living room was covered with pieces of paper, crayons, gobs of dough, toys and clothing.
    On the dining table had dirty glasses, a trickle of juice, flour for bread and biscuits, a piece of cheese, a banana peel, a piece of gum stuck to the tablecloth … which by the way was almost more on the floor than covering the same table.
    In the kitchen, the sink was filled with junk, dirty dishes everywhere, the floor dotted with oil, stove was worst, the doors of the refrigerator and pantry was open wide, dog food lying around and the bowl upside down, beyond was a fork, a glass, several empty cans of soda, towel to dry hands so dirty! no longer knew what color was!! the garbage can was uncovered, battered and smelling bad, under the table a small pile of sand and a skate behind the door.
    He walked right up the stairs avoiding all toys and more piles of clothes; He was looking for his wife, worried about whether she was sick or something serious had happened to her.
    On his way to their bedroom, saw the water running underneath the bathroom door and when he entered he found the soaked towels, scummy soap and more toys on the floor, miles of toilet paper stacked and smeared toothpaste on the mirror walls.
    He looked at the laundry room and there was the pile of dirty clothes almost out of the room.
    Terrified, he ran into the bedroom and found his wife still curled up in bed in pajamas very comfortable reading a novel.
    She looked up, smiled and asked how he had been the day.
    He glared and asked, – What has happened here today?
    She smile again and said:
    – Remember that every time you got home from work, you ask me what the hell I do all day? …
    – “Yes”, he replied incredulously.

    To Honoring the moms and their extraordinary work

  • Hypnobirthing

    I think people feel like they have to justify their own place by putting other people down. No one wants to feel like what they are doing is bad, so they have to assume what you are doing isn’t better. Make sense? I am glad I get to stay home with my kids, but it does bother me when people act like it isn’t a sacrifice to do so. Like it is soooooo easy for us to live on a budget. That bothers me. It is also annoying when working moms figured you can be their summertime babysitter because you are just “home” anyway. Grrr…

  • amy

    haha yeah molly i can relate to the rich part we also live off of 1,200 dollars a month..and quite nicely i think for a family of 6. i love hearing (okay i hate it) the “i just dont know what you do all day, i would get so bored!” ..yeah, a lot of things happen during a day but boredom is NOT one of them! in fact, maybe i would welcome it!

  • SM

    I have a standard reply to “I could never stay home with my kids all day”…”I’ve met your kids, neither could I”

  • Soshanna

    No idea where this is from but enjoy 🙂

    A Mother’s Job Description
    A woman, renewing her driver’s license at the Motor Registration office, was asked by the counter clerk to state her occupation.
    She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.
    “What I mean is,” explained the counter clerk, “do you have a job or are you just a …?”
    “Of course I have a job,” snapped the woman. “I’m a Mum.”
    “We don’t list ‘Mum’ as an occupation, ‘housewife’ covers it,” said the clerk emphatically. I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Medicare office.
    The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like, “Official Interrogator” or “Town Registrar.”
    “What is your occupation?” she probed.
    What made me say it? I do not know. The words simply popped out. “I’m a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations.”
    The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in mid air and looked up as though she had not heard right. I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words.
    Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written, in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.
    “Might I ask,” said the clerk with new interest, “just what you do in your field?”
    Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply,
    “I have a continuing program of research, (what mother doesn’t) in the laboratory and in the field, (normally I would have said indoors and out). I’m working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family) and already have four credits (all daughters). Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities, (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it). But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money.”
    There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk’s voice as she completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.
    As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants — ages 13, 7, and 3. Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model, (a 6 month old baby) in the child development program, testing out a new vocal pattern. I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than “just another Mum.” Motherhood!
    What a glorious career! Especially when there’s a title on the door!
    Does this make grandmothers “Senior Research associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations” And great grandmothers “Executive Senior Research Associates?”
    I think so!!! I also think it makes Aunts “Associate Research Assistants.”

  • MummyinProvence

    This is ALL so true. It drives me mad! I’m a WAHM and people think that I sit home and drink coffee all day … makes me SO mad.
    I agree with Hypnobirthing – I’m sure people try to put SAHM/WAHMs down to make themselves feel better. I’ve had comments about my appearance which makes me want to scream “why don’t you work out more, do your hair and make up more often?” Ummm because I really don’t care and don’t have the time and it is NOT down to poor time management. Dammit. Thanks for this post! I needed to hear the rant!

  • Sara C.

    On the same idea, working moms also get some pretty rude comments from SAHM.
    It really doesn’t matter if you are a SAHM or a working mom. It would pay to just be polite and not state rude, annoying, and snide comments to each other.

  • Vada

    Coming from a mother who has stayed at home, worked full time and worked full time while bringing my infant to work being a SAHM is def the easiest. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m just saying that it is easier than working full time and still doing all the mom stuff. (cooking, cleaning, etc) However I don’t like any rude comments (like the degree one). But will have to agree that your spouse needs to have a really good job to be able to make it so you can be a SAHM. We will NOT accept Wic, food stamps or any kind of welfare and still want to keep a certain standard of living for us and our children. If you can’t afford to do that then you need to get out there, get a job and provide for your family. Staying at home is not working a job, thats like saying being a wife is a job. It is something you have chosen to take on as a permanent part of life.

    • Lauren

      My husband makes $22k a year, and we do it. You have to make choices, but it is possible.

      There are also a lot of things that are hard to understand like if the only job you can get is a part-time or a low-paying job where you would pay more for your child(ren) to be in daycare then you make, then why go in to debt to work? The more obvious choice then getting a job there, would be find ways to cut back more.

      Also, maybe it’s just me, but a lot of what you said could be taken the wrong (rude) way.

    • Jay

      “Staying at home” is not a job. Caring for children is though. And it is not comparable to being a wife, unless your husband is unable to care for himself and requires your full time and attention. The fact is, if a parent is not available to care for their children, they must pay someone else to do it. Because children don’t take care of themselves. Caring for children will always be SOMEONE’S “working job”, whether a mother does it herself or pays someone else to d it for her while she gets paid to do a different job.

      My spouse has a decent job, but I would have to be able to make at least what he does in order to afford full-time child care….because again, the kids can’t care for themselves, and it would be someone else’s *JOB* if it wasn’t mine. Since I can’t make that much starting out anywhere, my husband would have to start making MORE money for us to be able to afford for me to get a job right now, otherwise a portion of child care costs would come out of our current budget until I earned a few raises. I’m kind of baffled that one would compare being a full-time caretaker to small children to being a MARRIED….to a grown adult who can presumably wipe their own butt, acquire their own meals, and generally ensure their own safety.

      Every mother’s experience is different, both working and being a “stay at home mom”. Some prefer the latter, and some prefer the former, and that’s fine. But the comparisons here are kind of ridiculous.

  • Morgan

    Love this! I’m a stay at home, and a full time student! I don’t get comments from other people really but from my own fiance, when he comes home and says “what did you do all day?” That is probably the most frustrating thing I could hear after a day full of a cranky, clingy baby and 10 loads of laundry and diapers. One day I had to finish a research paper, and told him he had to watch our 4 month old daughter. The only time I wanted him to bring her to me was to breast feed her. I got my paper done quicker than I ever could have by myself, but in the 4 hours it took to finish it he realized how hard it is taking care of a baby.

  • Rikki

    I thought my work at home job was our perfect solution. HA! it was hard enough working at home before our little one came along, now am deciding whether to quit or spend my income on a nanny. I have plenty of respect for SAHM’s

  • NewYorkDoll40

    Vada- my kids will NEVER look back & be embarrassed or resent our family receiving WIC or DSHS versus their mama being MIA all day. My pride does not run that deep that I consider us not “taking care of our family” by accepting state assistance. We are hard working, honest, people who pay taxes, tithe, serve and aid others when we can. I suspect that getting puffed up about this truly makes others feel judged by you. I’m a perfect stranger and I am slightly bummed out by the notion. Just food for thought.

  • Corra

    “Staying at home is not working a job, thats like saying being a wife is a job.”

    *Cough*…I’m sorry, did you really just say that? Really?
    Staying home with your children is, absolutely, a WORKING job. No, it doesn’t bring in money, but it’s providing for your FAMILY. (and for a heck of a lot of people, it SAVES money.)
    Why on earth should I PAY someone *else* to take care of *my* children, when i’m perfectly capable of doing it myself? And not only capable, but willing?

    And really, what business is it of yours how others handle their family finances? Who are you to say what standard of living others should abide by?

    Are you outright, crapping your self-righteous vomit on families who ARE on social assistance, or WIC, or whatever else *you* don’t feel that they deserve?

    I’ve been on all sides of this.. a working at work mother, a stay at home mother, a “bring my kid to work” mother, and a work from home mother. None of these are easy tasks. They can all be easier in one shape or form, but bottom line, mothers do what they feel is best for their families.

    Trust me, there are days when I feel like sending my kids off for someone else to watch so that I can go sit at a desk for a day, uninterrupted and think straight for more than 5 minutes at a time. Oh, and while i’m there, no one is at home messing up the house, since they’re all at daycare!

    But I don’t-because I don’t feel that would be best for my family. You continue to do what you feel is best for YOURS.
    Get off your horsie woman.
    Shame on you.

  • mykidsarethegreatest

    Did I seriously just read that? That it’s OK to be on welfare ect just because you feel that staying home with your kids is more important than providing for them? You have GOT to be joking. No it is NOT ok for you to expect me to pay for you to stay home with your kids. If you can’t make it work without welfare/stamps/whatever, then you need to work. Get a job in the evening, after your husband gets home, if you really can’t deal with daycare, trade days with another mom, figure it out, but unless you have a legitimate reason to not work – WORK. And for the record….not wanting to is not a ligitimate reason.

    • Amy

      you said that -unless you have a legitimate reason not to (then you should go work at paid work)- Believing the most important thing for your children is to be with their mother IS a legitimate reason! Living the out the belief that faith, family, and raising a family in faith from home each and every day by the hand of the children’s own mother is more important than anything else… That IS a legitimate reason. A full time mother does as much if not more in her day than any ‘paid job’ there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with deciding to make family time a priority even if it does mean you need government assistance. The taxes my family pay go toward HEAPS of things that MY family are NOT ok with, and yet there is nothing i can do about that. YOU are not paying me to raise my family – the government is giving me some assistance to do this without having to starve. If it makes you feel better, pick something taxes pay for that you DO agree with and call your taxes going towards that, and don’t go accusing SAHM’s of doing something that is not ok. We have committed no sin in staying home with our families, have hurt no man woman or child, and are doing everything in our power to raise responsible loving contributing members of society. If you still have a problem with that then that is fine – we all have our own opinions on things. But me and mine feel no guilt or shame in accepting the assistance the govt offers us for doing things the way we believe is the only way for our family.

    • Missy

      Actually, studies have PROVEN that children benefit from having a fulltime caregiver. They turn out more independant and secure as adults. I recieve food stamps every month. I also paid THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS of dollars into the system before I became a SAH… a system that unfortunately takes more than 50% of your taxes and puts it into killing children in foreign countries. So, I’ll take my tax money back, thank you, and I feel GREAT about doing it…

  • RealMommy

    Here’s the deal. It is no longer possible, in my area, to get a job that pays enough to make it worth working outside the home. Our situation is not what it was when we started our family, and we do need help to provide for our children right now. It was not an easy realization to make, and I have enough guilt of my own without other people judging our current position. I do what I can to volunteer my time to LLL, local food bank, and other programs, as this is how I am able to give back to my community for what I do receive in aid. We are working as a family to support my husband’s advancement in his job, so that we have a plan to get off of assistance. I resent anyone judging me for “not having a legitimate reason not to work.”

    • Amy

      RealMommy – exactly. How dare someone suggest you or anyone else have no right to the benefits they are recieving. A SAHM DOES contribute to the community – in many many ways, just because they don’t work at a paid job doesn’t make them useless nor does it make them unworthy of help. I am more than happy as is my husband for the taxes we pay to be used to support families of SAHM’s (our own included!) ultimately we don’t get to decide where the money taken in tax is spent – that is the govt’s job. If people have such a grave problem with something the govt is spending money on then they should vote accordingly, and petition pollies in power – that is about as much as they can do.

  • Ashley

    Sorry but making better life choices from day one, planning and saving for a “rainy day”, eating rice and beans, beans and rice, not buying that new car or a house with a mortgage more than 1/3 of your income, foregoing happy meals, manis and pedis, cigarettes, alcohol, fancy shampoo blah blah blah…that is the answer to staying home on a minimal income and not receiving welfare of any kind. It’s there for those *truly* falling on hard times e.g. daddy dies, mommy dies, house burns down, or things of that nature. My husband and my daddy busts their butts at work to provide for our families…not everyone else’s including those that just wanna stay home with their babies!!!!

  • Amy

    My mother said to me once: I guess you can have a clean house or happy children. Ummm…. Her house was always spotless. Thanks, mom.

  • tlcmama

    For all you ot there that have an issue with SAHMs receiving public assistance, let me ask you: are your children in public schools? Because that is a form of welfare. Compare that funding (paid by taxpayers) to what a family might use for WIC or food stamps. I’m pretty sure my taxes pay more for your kid’s education than for a family’s necessities. Stop being so judgy!

  • momsaid

    It is so easy to get pulled into the sniping game, returning rudeness for rudeness. Miss Manners had some interesting comebacks to use (in excellent taste, of course) such as: “How kind of you to notice”…in response to, ‘well, you sure have your hands full’; “Of course I do. Would you like me to make some schematic drawings for you?”…for, ‘don’t you know what causes that (having children)?’; “Number of children born to one’s body and mental acuity are not inversely proportional”…for, ‘how can you talk about intellectual things if you have FIVE kids?’; “The good Lord sent me these children so that I could learn to be a good Mom. Not the daycare, not the street, not even the school. I have this job…and I love it”…for, ‘(insert favorite rude question here)’. Keep your composure, keep your dignity, and the scoffers will look on you and your beautiful children with envy one day…when they are older and have gained knowledge and insight.

  • Gjnba_5kids

    For those who have said that SAHM is not a job, you are sadly mistaken. Either you do not have children of your own, or your mother worked outside the home and you did not see what she did to male sure that you were provided for; one way or the other. I have worked two jobs at time; one to pay for day care and the other to pay the bills, and I still had to come home to cook, clean, and look after my family. So you can say that I had three jobs. There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting some government help to feed my family. God blessed me with five children and I charish every moment I have with them. I do not work now and I have to rely on the government. I am disabled and can not work; trying to survive off 1025 dollars a month. I am supporting a hosehold by myself, so the Food stamps I receive is a considreable help. Do not put SAHM downs because their work is so much harder than those that get paid to work. It is a 24 hour job not a 9-5 job. God bless the Stay At Home Moms!

  • evelyn

    sadly, my HUSBAND asks many of these questions on a daily or weekly basis. i know some of it comes from the stress of being the sole provider in a dead-end job (i hate this crappy economy), and part of it is b/c we’ve got 2 boys (2 1/2 and 4 1/2 years old) and i’m pregnant w/ #3, so i spend most of the day breaking up fights, making meals or snacks, and feeling the pregnancy fatigue. i admit, i almost never get around to cleaning unless it’s an immediate need (like a mess at dinnertime or a kid pukes on the furniture) b/c i just don’t have the energy, even when i’ve got the time. funny thing is that dh was unemployed for a while and he SAW what i did every day, yet he still asks these things. probably b/c during that time, we agreed that finding a job was his job, so even though he was HERE, he didn’t help out during the day unless i was like, in the hospital (happened once, actually). even when i had a stomach virus and a neighbor offered to watch the baby while i recovered from a night in the bathroom, dh called and told them to bring him back, then went and slept off HIS illness while i had to watch a 10 month old and an almost 3 year old. ugh. i was NOT amused. so yeah, unfortunately, this is a routine conversation in our home. 🙁

  • patty

    LOL!!!! how true! there is no greater gift a woman could make than to be a sahm. we brought our kids into this world and i don,t believe nor trust any daycare to give my child what i can give him. and being a sahm is a full time job. my son loves coming off the school bus and i am there waiting for him.

  • Angela

    I honestly found many of those responses to be incredibly offensive. Intentionally offensive. Especially the response to number 3. I’m a working mother who would LOVE to be a SAHM, how would anyone know what I would be capable of handling? As a working mother, SAHMs should also consider the guilt we working mothers carry around because we AREN’T able to stay at home with our children in addition to all the work we do when we get home. I don’t think being a b**ch is the answer to a rude question or two. Many working mothers just don’t understand what it’s like to be on the other side and it would make much more sense to answer honestly than rudely.

    • Mrs. BWF

      Angela there was a blog post for 10 responses to 10 things never to say to a WAHM too. They were meant to be flippant b/c the whole WAHM vs SAHM is a ridiculous argument. 😉

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