“what would you say, you do here?”

What would you say, you do here?

(Halp – how to imbed the Office Space gif link above as an image??!)

I have a rather odd dislike for a variety of random things and take a strong, though usually futile, stance. Stubborn? Highly. Opinionated? Often. Here’s one of my pet peeves. AND I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE.

DISCLAIMER: if you are a mom who has a job outside the home or works from home, rock it, girlfriend! I am not judging you or conjuring up ill will for working moms* (more on this term later). If you are a proud SAHM and embrace the title, go you! Being a mom in any capacity is freaking hard, and the last thing we need is to tear each other down and get all judgey based on childcare preferences, work schedules, and whether baby is eating organic quinoa kale food purees, for the love. 

Ahem. Here goes. A term I can’t stand: Stay at Home Mom (or SAHM for short).

“What do you do?”
“I stay. At home.” Implying that I never go outside or meet friends for lunch or travel. Like some dog being told, “You. Stay. Stay Home.” My adventurous self shudders. It sounds so final. I have a strong urge to wriggle free from such seemingly final passivity and RUN (and I don’t even like to run).

If cliché had a font, I’d use it here: I was fiercely opposed to staying at home… till I had a kid. Always thought I’d stay working at an uber-important job, changing the world on a massive scale. The most recent Texas Legislative Session (there will be posts on this, eventually) was writing on the wall for me that it was time to take a step back and spend more time with A. It was an easy decision for us to make, thankfully – timing is everything. The “career vs. family” decision I’d been dreading for years wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be – it’s actually awesome to do-whatever-this-is-called-that-I-do: cook good food, clean our home, invest in relationships, buy stuff, TAKE NAPS SOMETIMES, manage activities and commitments, organize, prepare, defend, research, WORK OUT SOMETIMES, etc.

I lovingly raise my kid. And do a pretty dang good job of managing the affairs of the house and juggling all our activities. What’s that called?

  • Homemaker: “A homemaker is a parent who prioritizes the home rather than the house, and the family as a whole, rather than merely the children.” (Ester Bloom, in a Slate article advocating for the term. I like it. There’s something active and strong about this term compared to SAHM)
  • Lady of the House (I’m going to try to use this in a sentence and keep a straight face)
  • Keeper of the Castle and Protector of the Progeny (well ok then)
  • Chief Operating Officer (oh you funny)
  • Residential Coordinator (seems to be selling the job short)
  • Domestic Engineer (ok kind of)
  • Household Administrator (I think of evil Miss Minchin from the Shirley Temple movie “A Little Princess”)

Another Disclaimer: Please don’t be like me and waver between feeling all superior and feeling threatened. I too often fall into comparing myself, and I’m consciously being more disciplined with my thoughts (as of, like, this week) so I stop falling into this trap. Enough with the “I’m better than all you because I have a nice paycheck and my kid gets social time at day care….or….I am with my kid all day and can better manage his/her development.” You do you, sister. With kindness. I think women will be able to get ahead when we start supporting each other more and being kind more. Would have been helpful if the Feminist Movement had THAT as one of their pillars #missedopportunity.

Well the baby is awake, nothing has been solved in this already-too-long post, so there will be more on this fascinating topic in the future.

What about you? What do you think about the term SAHM? Do I need to dial it down and chill out, or does this debacle resonate with you, too??

Little A

5 thoughts on ““what would you say, you do here?”

Add yours

  1. You are so much more than ANY title! (& I’m not biased)! 🙂 Truly!

    Being a commited mother is HARD and HUMBLING no matter what the title!–Maybe that’s why there isnt a great name for the job—-whether you stay at home to raise your kids or if you choose to work outside your home to make ends meet & still come home exhausted to rsise your kids after work…..There isn’t a word in our vocabulary to adequately describe THE JOB!!!!

    You are so right not to compare—Nobody really knows until they’ve walked in another’s shoes! How true that is! God gives us all joys & struggles at different times to perfect us & humble us – all the while giving us so much GRACE. He wants us to extend this grace to others b/c we’ve received it with gratefulness and GET how freeing it is!!! There is only One judge in the end….

    The important thing is the Life behind whatever title and –deeper than that—the Heart in that LIFE!!! If we could just remember God KNOWS our heart!

    We all should focus on doing the best we can to be fully alive & do our job — and at the same time think LESS OFTEN of ourselves.

    -It’s a moment by moment mindset that needs renewal to be effective.

    Focusing on titles takes too much energy away from that & is futile in comparison with the impact our lives can actually make with those we love!

    Being your mother has been one of the biggest blessings of my life!

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  2. I HATE the term SAHM, too, and struggle with how to ask a new mom friend if she works outside the home or not. Still thinking on this one and how to ask these questions without offending others. Maybe just full time mom? Here is something you should for sure know – I know for certain that my “stay at home mom” friends do not just sit at home and raise their children cloistered away from society. Most fellow moms will have this view, so do not worry that someone is judging you just because they use the term.

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    1. Right?? SO many times before I quit I’ve awkwardly asked, “so… do you work?” 🙂 And thanks for the affirmation. Sometimes SAHM is just an easy way to encapsulate Protector of the Progeny and Keeper of the Castle (I’ve had 3 opportunities to say what I “do” since writing this post but each time have muddled through an answer that includes the words “stay” and “home”….

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