Monday, March 12, 2012

Stay-At-Home Vs. Unemployed: Yes, There's A Difference

By Heather

Photo Via Mama's Turn Now
The last time I went to the doctor, I had to update all my personal information because it had been so long since I was there. I left the space next to “Work number” blank. I technically work four hours a week on Saturday mornings. For simplicity sake, I didn’t list a work phone number. Upon reviewing my information, the receptionist inquired, “Ms. C_____, you don’t work?”

Well, I don’t make money!

As stay-at-home moms we are often faced with the term “unemployed.” It seems really unfair. We are not in fact out of work. We work. A lot! We don’t get paid for our work and it’s not the kind of work you can put on your resume but you also won’t find us in the unemployment line. We can’t lose our job. We’re moms 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’re NOT unemployed.

The other common term I come across is “homemaker.” A representative actually said to me a few weeks ago, “Well, I can’t leave that field blank. I’ll just put ‘homemaker’ because it sounds classier than ‘unemployed.” I just smiled then, but when did stay-at-home-mom and homemaker become synonymous? Our “job” cannot be simplified so easily.

I am not Suzy Homemaker. Yes, I try to keep the house picked up and I do my fair share of the dishes but I don’t do any of the cooking. My idea of cooking dinner is throwing in a frozen pizza and even that is rare for me. I don’t bake. I don’t sew. I don’t have the Martha Stewart gene. I don’t make the home. I help keep it together, yes, but I’m definitely not the 50’s housewife version of homemaker.

Recently, I was balancing the checkbook during the 10 minutes that all 3 girls happened to actually be napping at the same time. I had the TV show “The Talk” playing in the background and heard that Real Simple Magazine recently published a study saying that women who claim to have no free time have no one to blame but themselves. The women on “The Talk” further discussed the guilt that women feel over everything. Aisha Tyler summed it up by saying that women can’t just put their feet up. Instead, their minds are on overdrive. “I need to bake the cupcakes and walk the puppies and…”
I have to say that society really is unfair to us stay-at-home-moms. Heck, society seems to really be unfair to women in general. We spend every second of our day trying to make someone happy whether it is our kids, our husbands, our mother-in-laws, or heck, even our bill collectors and the dang trash man. (How many times have you had to precisely place the dumpster on the curb in such a way to make sure it gets picked up correctly?) Everyone has to be happy or we are stressed. I know personally speaking, even when I put on my tough guy face and say that people just have to deal with disappointment that I internalize the guilt and end up caving at some point anyway.

As much as I’ve preached about the homemaker vs. the stay-at-home-mom, this concept is true for basically all women. Even when I was working full time pre-kids, or working part-time after my oldest was born, I still felt that undying need to have every second of my day being spent taking care of everyone around me. My only saving grace was taking a shower daily and even then, I cut them down to about 5 minutes just to keep the kids happy or my husband happy (who was watching the screaming children.)

So with everything we’re dealing with, can we really not get a better job title? I think terms like unemployed, working mom, stay-at-home-mom, and homemaker just don’t cut it. Come on moms, I’m not alone, right?

Heather C. is a co-blogger for She claims expertise in a variety of parenting topics including tips and tricks to make it easier. features advice, stories and reviews directed toward parents at every level because when it comes to children, none of us really know what we are doing anyway. The site has over 200 followers on Facebook and is visited by several thousand viewers a month. Heather also specializes in parenting multiples, all things girls, and she’s a freelance writer in all of her spare time.
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1 comment:

  1. Great article and very true. I hate the implication that choosing to stay home means not living up to your full potential. Thanks!


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