I May Be A SAHM But Don’t You Dare Insinuate That I’m Rich

stay at home momI am sick and tired of people saying stay-at-home motherhood is a sign of class privilege.

When my husband and I got married, I was 23. I had just graduated college and started my freelance writing career. My husband was a full-time student and line cook. Together, we made less than $20,000 a year. We got pregnant shortly after getting married, and I had no intention of giving up my budding career. However, once we took a look at the cost of daycare, we realized we would have to find another solution.

Our low income determined many of our parenting choices. There was no way we could afford a decked-out nursery, so we decided to co-sleep. Diaper service? No way—we’d have to go with disposables. Furthermore, we’d discussed my husband being a stay-at-home dad. However, I wanted to breastfeed, and we couldn’t afford a fancy pump, so logic told us I’d be the one to stay home. Plus, I was already working from home. I thought while the baby napped I’d try to sell an article here or there, but I had no delusions: I would spend the next couple of years being, first and foremost, a stay-at-home mom.

We paid for a $3000 home birth out of pocket over the course of my pregnancy instead of opting for a free hospital birth through Medicaid (take that, you who think poor people are all freeloaders). When my daughter came into the world, I was honored and delighted to be a SAHM. At first.

My husband went back to work after his two weeks of unpaid paternity leave, and suddenly I was responsible for this constantly crying newborn. She was the kind of baby who needed to be held every second. Just showering or making lunch was tricky—so doing anything work-related was laughable. Things gradually got better. Now that she’s 10 months she can keep herself entertained long enough for me to put a bra on in the morning, but my work time is still limited to when my husband or a friend can watch her. My husband has had two promotions and raises since the baby was born, but my income has catapulted in the other direction. This isn’t ideal. What we’re really experiencing is a rut.

So when I hear claims that SAHM culture and natural parenting are becoming status symbols for the wealthy, I can’t help but roll my eyes. I wish I was staying home because of our abounding riches, but that’s simply not the case.

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  • Melissa

    Great piece. My husband stays home not because I make enough money to support all of us, but because if he went to work we would be paying more for daycare than he would be making. It’s just basic math, unfortunately there’s no such thing as a “choice” here.

    • k

      thank you!! in the exact same situation

  • Steph

    You have a great point, and it really is horrible how mothers have gone to shaming each other over what seems to e everything now. I just wish you wouldn’t call people who truly need Medicaid “freeloaders”.

    • Becky

      I came here to say the same thing.

    • Amanda Low

      I didn’t call those people freeloaders! I was making a stab at wealthy people who think all low-income people are freeloaders, and telling them I’m a prime example of someone who qualifies for government aid and only chooses to use it when absolutely necessary. Obama 2012! :-)

    • Becky

      I know you didn’t mean for it to come across this way but you said “take that, you who think poor people are all freeloaders” and it kind of sounded like you were saying that because you were able to afford the $3000 for a home birth that you weren’t one of the “freeloaders” who needed to have a free hospital birth. Clearly from your reply you didn’t not mean such a thing though. Great article!

  • BigBlue

    Is it possible that some working mothers fall into another category, other than out of necessity or because they “can’t fathom downgrading their comfortable lifestyles?” I work because I want to. My husband makes enough money so that we could have a comfortable lifestyle without my income, but I love my job and can’t fathom leaving it. My maternity leave convinced me that working was the right choice for me.

    • Amanda Low

      Absolutely! This is more the category I’m gravitating toward as my baby gets older…I love writing and we’re actually thinking of putting our baby in part-time day care so I can work more simply because I enjoy it.

    • LiteBrite

      I’m in the same category as you BigBlue: I work because I enjoy it, not because I have to or because I don’t want to “downgrade” my lifestyle. (We don’t lead that lavish of a life anyways.) I like the people I do my job with, and I’m fortunate enough to have quite a bit of flexibility with it, so it works out well. I’m happy, and so is my child.

      I do understand what the author is saying though: If you really wanted to be an SAHM, it could happen. (I’m of course not including the women who really truly have to work, of which there are plenty in this economic recession.) I have a couple of friends who are SAHMs and no, they’re not married to wealthy men. They live in modest homes, drive older vehicles, and don’t jet off to vacays in the Bahamas. They’ve made financial sacrifices to stay home, but they’re happy and so are their children.

    • Megan

      I think she was only talking about the group of working moms that constantly say they wish they could stay at home but “they can’t”. Loving your job and not wanting to stay at home with kids takes you out of that group.

    • BBJ

      I wish I could stay home. I can’t. There won’t be a home to stay in if I don’t work. And frankly, I’m tired of being invisible while people who have more choices fight over what is better.

    • Justme

      I’m right there with you. I teach and coach middle school and I absolutely love my job. A few weeks ago I told my husband: “I don’t feel guilty about leaving my daughter with her sitter but I do feel CONFLICTED because I love both things so very much.” I think if I was heading off every morning to a job that I hated I think things would be much harder.

  • Rebecca

    We’ve got two preschoolers and one on the way and my going back to work was never an option. By the time we payed for daycare I’d end up making a few bucks an hour if i was lucky (I’m a certified dental assistant). My husband makes a good salary on his own so we’re lucky, but we’re still trying to figure out how to budget bunk beds for the kids since our apartment is a 3 bedroom and we need one of those rooms for an office, upgrading to a minivan since 3 carseats won’t fit in the back of a sedan, and paying out of pocket for my maternity care since our private insurance isn’t covering any of it. We live outside of NYC, so everything is more expensive. We’ve been married 5 years and never had the extra money for a real vacation. I have a cousin who complains about “needing to work” and how she misses her kids so much, but every weekend she’s posting photos of her vineyard trip or talking about their 3rd upcoming trip to Mexico. You can’t have it both ways:)

    • KCLea

      3 carseats will fit in the back of a sedan, it just gets really cramped and it sucks. But if you can’t afford another car, you just can’t. Our kids enjoyed being cramped, though.

  • http://twitter.com/BabyCountdown Baby Countdown

    Brava! You said everything I have been wanting to say for years in this blog! We sacrifice many of life’s extras to be with our children. We also take a big nose dive on what others call necessity, don’t we? Cost more to send them to Day Care then what I would have been making, so???
    So many do not even realize what we go through just to even buy groceries some days. My bills are much higher in the summer. We also sacrifice vacations and theme park visits, more then one gift per child on Christmas. All that matters not.

    But I can tell you this, because I know for a fact, my children are now 22, in college halfway to a medical examiners license (via scholarship for low income kids) and 18, He also has the same scholarship EMT, Paramedic, Firefighter. It is AMAZINGLY worth it!

    One last thing, I once had a conversation with my older kids that I felt bad they didn’t have the material things their friends did. My son looked at me and said, “Mom we never missed them, and you know what you taught us nothing in life is without working for, but you gave us the biggest gift EVER, you are and always have been my Anchor, and support”

    Don’t get that from akKid whose parent is never around do you?
    My life = Success and yea I have one more to go she is 11..the after 40 baby =)

    • quinn

      I was on board with you until this sentence:
      “Don’t get that from ‘akKid’ whose parent is never around do you?”
      I’m pretty sure that having a parent who works does not preclude a kid from looking up to them as an Anchor and a role model, nor does it mean they don’t feel supported. It’s statements like this that perpetuate the working vs. stay-at-home parents battles. With that being said, it sounds like you did an amazing job with your kids, you have a lot to be proud of!

    • Justme

      It’s not an either/or situation.

      “My mom stayed at home so she’s my “anchor and support.”


      “My mom worked and didn’t give a rat’s rear end about me.”

      To paint that picture is doing a disservice to mother’s everywhere because it reignites the flames of the “Mommy Wars.” A “bad” mother can be a SAHM or have a career outside the home – it isn’t about being present but instead about what you do with the time you have together.

    • BBJ

      My mother worked from the time I was five, and is still working. Her income made it possible for us to get by. We didn’t have a lot of money. We didn’t go to theme parks. Sometimes it was a struggle to pay the bills. I went to a community center daycare we could afford until I was old enough to stay home alone.

      I went to college, got a teaching credential, and started a family of my own. My parents, who worked the entire time I was in school, are my anchors, and my support, and my inspiration. My mother was not ‘never around’, she was at work from eight to five every day, and then she came home and made dinner, and checked my homework. She talked to me, encouraged me, and made me feel as though I could do anything.

      Sounds like you raised a good family. Isn’t that worth a lot without trashing my mother, and all the other women out there who work outside the home to take care of their children?

  • quinn

    This is a wonderful piece about a huge chunk of the way Americans live their lives. I just hope you are able to put something like this out there without people jumping all over it and bashing how you are forgetting about so and so, or how you aren’t representing another section of the population. This is your personal view, and it does speak for the way many of us, although not all of us, feel. And that’s ok. Great job!

  • C.J.

    I’m a stay at home mom too but for differen reasons. I had a stroke caused from a birth defect I didn’t know about. We are lucky because I upgraded my long term disability benifits when I was working and paid the difference out of pocket “just in case”, never thinking we would ever actually need it, so we still technically have two paycheques. I love being here for my kids. Getting to go on their field trips and see them get their awards at school and I’m thankful that I can walk (most of the time anyway). I also understand you missing aspects of working. I too miss what I had to leave behind. I get bored of staring at the same walls and miss talking to big people. My kids are older so I am able to volunteer for their activities because I can do that at my own pace. It gives me something to do so I don’t go stir crazy! I did it backwards. When my kids were small and there was more to do to take care of them and the house I worked and they went to daycare. When they were both old enough to go to school and were more independant I became a SAHM.

  • Melody

    I have three kids and I’ve stayed home since the first one because daycare is too expensive. Also I don’t really have any marketable job skills that would get me anything more than minimum wage (I paint, which isn’t exactly a steady income). So I stay home out of necessity while my husband works and makes enough to support us and put a little aside so that we can buy a house one day and move out of our cramped apartment. Now I find myself a SAHM of three who paints and tries to write romance novels in her free time (were you specifically calling me out, or was that a coincidence?). My family across country still complains that we don’t come out to visit even though the cost of 5 round trip plane tickets makes me weak in the knees. You do what you have to do to make it work and let other people deal.

  • Mary

    I’m a SAHM and have been since my first was born. People automatically assume that we are rich. I hear comments like “you have money…you should go to Europe” and “you can afford it!” and so on. We aren’t scraping by paycheck to paycheck but we don’t have money to blow when we want. We are very comfortable.
    That being said, I have a friend (our husbands work together) and she has made many comments about wishing she could be a SAHM but can’t afford it. Um, our husbands work together, they make the same amount of income, we do it and are very comfortable. So I agree, there are working moms that work because they WANT to but could afford it if they cut back.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=592188905 Bran Chesterton

      This kind of thinking is just as dangerous as the kind the author is bashing, and I think she fell prey to it a bit at the end, too. There’s no way to know what someone else’s financial situation is. They could have a lot of student loans, or maybe her husband *doesn’t* make a lot, or they have other debt to worry about. Not everyone is in the same place even if their income is similar on paper.

    • BBJ

      This. I don’t assume that I know what other people make, or can afford. This thread is so chockful of people making assumptions about how much money you need to live on, and what other people make, and what they waste money on…what’s the point of being this judgmental? It’s like that Monty Python sketch where the four old men are one-upping each other about how poor they were as children.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=592188905 Bran Chesterton

    When I was very small, my father worked during the day and my mother went to work when he got home. They could not afford day care, but they also couldn’t afford not having two incomes. I do think you are speaking about a specific mom-vs.-mom mentality that I don’t really understand, and it’s a shame that anyone judges anyone’s reasons for making lifestyle choices like working or not. But I can’t really get behind either side’s kvetching.

    I can’t afford to have a child right now. I could not afford EITHER choice – stay at home mom or working mom, unless I did what my parents did. With two heaps of student loan debt, and health care only for one person, it’s not an option. So, I guess I’m just flummoxed hearing SAHM and working moms fight about this issue, when both options seem like a luxury to me – especially when I can’t have a child with my wife without paying for the privilege of getting pregnant, let alone paying for everything AFTER conception.

    • mslove17

      wow great response!

    • crankylex

      I hear you. Even with two adults working full time, we’re living right at the edge. There is no way we could afford adding a kid into that. We’re in our late thirties and more and more it looks like we won’t be having kids at all because we just can’t afford it.

    • Mandy

      Thank you for being responsible and considering your finances before jumping into parenthood. I know it must be a tough decision for you and I hope that you can find a way to work it out so you can have children but again thank you for actually making your financial situation a consideration before starting a family

    • tamplittelnut

      Thank you! I was going to say, the very fact that the author chose to have a child, let along choose to stay home with it, is a mark of privilege. There are many women who realize that they cannot afford it and simply do not follow through with a pregnancy. You chose to have to scramble to cover your bills, no one made you have a baby when you weren’t ready!

      It’s also ridiculous to suggest that people should have to dig through penny jars to gas up their cars if they want to stay home. Someone who has a more comfortable income than the author may be technically able to quit their job, live in a tiny, cheap apartment, and just barely scrape by from month-to-month, but why should they have to? They could also technically cut off a leg too if they really really wanted to, but why should they have to?

      It’s not selfish or haughty to realize that you do not want to put your kids in a stressful, insecure, and troubled environment and that you don’t want to have to live in a hovel or eat rice and beans every night. Deciding to have a kid and live in poverty is not a more “motherly” or holy decision than realizing that you can’t have a kid and give them a stable life and not having it.

    • Sally

      So, how much does a prospective mother and father need to make in order to raise a child?? Studies show it costs $250,000 from birth to 18 year. Does this mean that prospective mothers and fathers should have $250K in the bank account in order to have a child? And that’s just for one!!! It’s $500k for two and $750K for three. Do you have a mortgage? Do you have a car loan? Credit card debt? Do you buy things with credit so that you could have them now and not later? It’s the exact same philosphy. If your saying that people should not have kids until they can afford them, then we shouldn’t be hypocritical and you cannot have a house until you are able to pay for the home in full, which most Americans cannot do!

  • Lastango

    “Where I live, many working women who live in two-income households don’t work out of necessity. They work because they can’t fathom downgrading their comfortable lifestyles.”
    That’s a good point. Much of the strain we put ourselves under is by choice. Some work themselves to the bone because they feel inferior without two new cares in the driveway or if they can’t match vacation stories with their coworkers.
    Others choose to carry enormous debtloads piled up in pursuit of a “comfortable lifestyle” that is anything but. I remember reading an account of a schoolgirl who came home to her mother and said that a friend’s mom was upset and envious. Why? Because the girl’s mother and her husband seemed to have a peacefulness which suggested financial security, while the hostile woman and her own husband were sweating in a financial pressure-cooker.

  • CW

    The women who are complaining about having to work out of financial necessity are those who live in places with an outrageously high cost-of-living. They aren’t living a wasteful lifestyle and it would take more than just giving up lattes, organic food, and trips to Europe to afford to be a SAHM. I used to be one when my oldest was a toddler. We did live in a modest 2BR apartment, share one economy car, get our clothes secondhand at consignment shops, never ate out, vacationed only at relatives’ homes, etc., etc. We didn’t have any luxuries in our budget to forgo and it STILL wasn’t enough for me to quit my job until my DH started making a much higher salary. So yeah, it is a privilege these days to be a single-income family.

    • MommyK

      THANK YOU! I make half of our household income, so even with the cost of daycare, it is completely worth it for us both to work. And not only is it completely worth it, it is essential that we both work. There would be no cutbacks we could make that would allow one of us not to work, except maybe food and electricity. (And no, we can’t afford to sell our small townhouse because of the housing market).

      So, we embrace it. Both of us working allows us to save for a modest trip here and there, to have insurance so that we can pay for expensive medications, and will allow us to put our kids in swimming lessons, hockey, or piano lessons, which we both got to have when we were growing up. We do appreciate the privileges that come with both of us working decent jobs. However, it is hard not to get jealous sometimes of stay-at-home-parents, because it would be impossible for us to make that work (short of my husband working 24/7 in 3 jobs).

    • LiteBrite

      I think the point about the cost of living is an excellent one, and one I didn’t think about. I mentioned below about friends of mine who are SAHMs and how they have made financial sacrifices; however, we don’t live in a high cost area. If they lived in NY or California, staying at home might not be a choice for them.

    • mslove17

      you are very judgmental, and frankly, incorrect. Some of us work to feed and cloth our kids, not to take vacations…

  • Dawn

    Thank you for writing this piece. Childcare is financially out of reach for lots of families, mine included. It’s even more ironic when the person telling you how lucky you are to be “able” to stay at home is relying on a family member to watch their children for next to nothing. Yes, I’m bitter, too. But I’ve had it thrown in my face so many times how lucky I am while in my head I’m busy trying to decide between eating or paying rent.

  • Katia

    It’s so weird how some moms are cool with complaining or bragging about their finances and talking/asking/making assumptions about yours. Really puts me off. Or complaining about being poor (I mean, unless they seriously needed assistance.) of course its natural to be curious but it’s way classier to feel things out. Or say no thanks not this time, instead of “can’t afford , budget , etc” or if you want to know how much someone makes check the Internet
    I guess times have changed and I have to accept it?!

  • mslove17

    I work because I have to. DH makes 20,000 a year. We live in upstate NY where housing prices are actually pretty low (our how was 120000) but taxes are very high. Taxes on our house alone are 5,000 (25% of his income). That’s not even our mortgage. Or food. Or clothes. Or utilities, etc. I am a RN. Why would I not work to add to our family’s income? I actually only work part time though, which is one of many reasons I became a nurse. Working part time I make more than my DH does working full time. I take offense when people suggest that I work to support some fabulous lifestyle, in an attempt to shame me for spending time away from my kids. I haven’t been on a vacation since 2004. I work to support my FAMILY and pay for the necessities of life.

    When it comes to SAHM’s I usually think one of two things: a) that yes they are upper middle class because they can afford to live off just their DH’s income, and many in this category seem to live a much more fabulous lifestyle on only 1 income than I can even dream of on two, or 2) that they are lower middle class or “poor” because they can’t afford daycare, gas, etc, and/or they have less of an education which equates to lower paying wages …so they skrimp and save on the one 1 income and yes, maybe do get some public assistance.

    I know that is a generalization and isn’t an overall rule. But I do notice that there are less “middle middle class” SAHM’s than at the two other ends of the middle class spectrum.

    • k

      Its kind of funny you mention your thoughts on category 2, since I have the same feeling about people with low incomes who DO both work and pay for daycare. If you both make so little, but need it all to pay bills etc., how are you paying for daycare? (by you, i mean that theoretically, not YOU) I see alot of these families as people that are getting government help to pay for the cost of daycare. My husband stays home, and we are not rich or poor. we scrape by on my salary, while i make too much to get any kind of public assistance, but we do not have anything extra for vacations etc. And we are both college educated. Im really trying not to be offended by your comment.

  • zombidanse

    I’m a SAHM. We mak SIGNIFICANTLY less than 30000/year, but we make it work because this is how we want to raise our child. I agree with everything in this article, except that we cloth diaper WITHOUT a service (I wash them myself) because it’s cheaper than disposables. If you REALLY want to stay at home, it’s possible.

    • LoMay

      Your last sentence – so true!

  • Amanda

    So you don’t want people to make assumptions about you because you’re a SAHM, but in the same article you make assumptions about moms that work. That hypocrisy really gets under my skin. Most moms I know work because they have to. It’s not a question of sacrificing nannies, fancy vacations and a cushy lifestyle. It’s more like they work to pay the mortgage, provide healthcare for their families and all those other basic neccesities. I don’t have kids yet, and we can’t afford any, but if I were to get pregnant there is no way I would be able to quit my job. I’d be in that limbo land where I make more than daycare costs, but my husband’s income alone is not sufficient enough to support a family.
    I think the larger issue that gets buried underneath this SAHM/working mom rubbish is an overal lack of affordable, convienent childcare in this country. This goes hand in hand with affordable comphrehensive healthcare as well. I’m not trying to be political, I just feel that our culture can force families to make all or nothing decisions, rather than stress some sort of life/work/parenting balance. I think it’s horrible to judge others when everyone is trying to do what’s best for themselves and their families with the resources they have.

    • Ashley

      I completely agree. I have a chronic autoimmune disease that requires a lot of doctor visits and prescription medication. There is no way I could stay at home because I have to have health insurance and the money to pay for my medical care. You can’t assume that no one needs health insurance and people can “give up lattes” and just find the money to stay home.

    • Sally

      Actually as a stay at home mom myself, I agree that our country needs better work/family balance policies. We don’t even give paid maternity leave. I think what the SAHM author means is that she sacrifieces a lot in order to stay home, as do I. Living on one income is extremely difficult, but on the other hand any job I would work wouldn’t cover daycare costs for 2 young children. Daycare in my community for 2 kids runs about $1700 a month. My healthcare comes from my husband’s employer and I too also suffer from Inflammatory bowel disease so we get the expenses of being ill and having health insurance. And my husband’s employer’s health ins. isn’t great! We have a $2500 deductible which we cannot afford to pay when I need to have a medical procedure. I do work though, and my work is unpaid. Just like childcare workers, stay at home mom’s work too, they just don’t get paid for it. Also, we don’t get holidays, vacations or sick days off, we work for no pay on those days too! It’s really fun to work and do childcare when you are sick, but you do what you have to do. We also work 24/7 with on call during child’s sleeping hours. In our family we drive old vehicles, rarely eat out and we never go out alone because babysitters are expensive and we don’t have family that volunteers to babysit, thus we have no social life. Regarding our expenses we buy things we can afford, use coupons for groceries, our car is dying and needs new tires, but guess what we cannot afford it. So, if I go out and get a job to pay for my families necessities I highly doubt it would do any good because I would be in the negative after childcare expenses. In summary, as a stay at home mom I have a fabulous life!!

  • Jenna

    You took the words right out of my mouth.

  • Andrea

    I choose to work. We could probably make it on my husband’s income if necessary, but I don’t really want to find out. The reasons I work are a little more complex than “I just want a bigger house and European vacations.” Growing up, we were poor. I don’t just mean we didn’t have the latest Nintendo or Air Jordan shoes. I mean we ate the “government” cheese and my parents often had to decide which bills they could afford to pay that month. My memories of my childhood are filled with my parents arguing about bills and being made fun of at school. Additionally, my mom repeatedly said that she wanted to leave my dad but couldn’t afford to. It was a stressful and humiliating way to grow up. So as a child I made myself two promises. 1 – that if I ever had kids of my own I would never willingly put them in the same situation. 2 – I would always be capable of supporting myself, and wouldn’t depend on my husband to do it. So I worked and put myself through school and got a Bachelor’s and then a Master’s degree in my field. I’ve gotten myself established in my career, and at 31 just had my first baby earlier this year. All of this is to say that I agree with what some previous posters have said. You can never truly know why people make the decisions they make, so it’s probably best not to judge.

  • http://twitter.com/dadcamp DadCAMP

    Staying home is either a huge sacrifice or an incredible luxury. It very rarely falls in the middle. The point about your husband getting promoted while your salary dropped was something my family experienced as well.

    Women complain about a ‘glass ceiling’ stopping them from getting promoted when it’s in fact a stuttering career that prevents them from getting ahead. Not saying it’s wrong or right, just that’s how it is.

    More here: http://www.dad-camp.com/2011/10/the-glass-ceiling-is-self-inflicted/

  • http://twitter.com/that_darn_kat Kat

    I was put on bed rest by my doctor when I was 4 months pregnant. At that time, I was working at a gas station, so I lost my job. I had a daughter as well, so daycare was going to be over $1000 a month. Going without work for 7/8 months made it difficult to find a high paying job, so we decided I’d stay at home until my son was a bit older, so daycare wasn’t so expensive. The longer I go without a job, the harder it is to find one. When my son was 2 1/2 years old, he was diagnosed as being special needs and daycare is no longer an option (my son can’t function/behave in groups of more than 7 kids). Having a 4 person family on one income is incredible difficult. I love staying home with my kids, but I’d love to have a job again, give us a little bit of breathing room on our bills. I’m hoping I can find an evening job, but I’ve now been without a job for about 4 1/2 years, which makes it extremely difficult.

  • notorious

    So, you don’t want people to judge how you live your life and why, but you’re perfectly fine with judging why working moms do what they do. How sweet. Staying at home is a privilege. I know when you’re in the thick of it, it might not feel like one, but it is. There are so many families out there struggling to get by on a day to day basis – and you’re saying that if they wanted to have a SAH parent they could. That is very sanctimonious of you, and Im glad you admitted it. How about you live your life your way, and don’t worry about what other women are doing?

  • BBJ

    I’m going to be a working mom in about five months. Please do not give me crap about organic toilet paper and lattes and nannies and if I really wanted to. If I don’t work, we won’t be able to pay our bills. These are not fancy bills for ski lifts or maid services, either. If I don’t work, we won’t be able to pay the electric bill and the rent for our two-bedroom apartment with the deck overlooking the train tracks.

    Do I get annoyed when people talk about their wonderful nannies, and act as though everyone has a nanny? Sure. I can’t afford one. But I also get upset when women who do have the ability to stay home with their children make assumptions about what working moms are like–selfish, you know, and spoiled, and sucking down organic skinny lattes in between business meetings they wear fancy pants to.

    Not all SAHMs are privileged and rich. Not all working moms are privileged and rich. This is not rocket science.

    • MommyK


  • Workingmom

    But you ARE wealthy. You do have the luxury of choice. If your husband’s income was insufficient for getting both rent and groceries in a given month, you’d have no other option but to get out of the house and take on extra jobs untill ends meet.
    So please get off your privileged high horse and show some respect towards mums who do what they have to do to give their kids what they need.

  • LoMay

    Great article! I wish I wouldn’t have read the comments, though. Lots of guilt and insecurities coming out. You wrote about my life. My least favorite comment from people I know – “you’re so lucky you get to stay home.” It’s not luck; it’s hard work and sacrifice. I don’t have new furniture, new cars, nice things, Disney vacations, but I get to watch my kids grow up! Totally worth it!

  • jill_sandwich

    It is beyond irritating to me that you’re making the assumption that all working moms use daycare. Most low-income families I know either make it work by working opposite shifts (ie mom goes to work when dad gets home) or relying on the generosity of grandparents, close friends, or other family members to watch their children when necessary. The fact that you don’t have to do this – get up early to watch your child, wait until your partner gets home, then trade off nearly immediately to go to work all night – smacks of class privilege. Your rant also doesn’t pay any consideration to single mothers who are not receiving child support from absentee dads and have to work because that is the only source of income. If these women were SAHMs they would be labeled with ugly terms like “welfare queen.” Your college degree, the fact that you are married and not going it alone, the fact that you went to a school good enough so that you could learn to write well enough to publish this article – all of these things are markers of class privilege, regardless of your income. You do realize that income and class are related, but not synonymous, right?

  • mom2013

    So basically you chose to get pregnant on a low income and with no health ins. You’re bitter bc you’ve made bad choices in life. The sahm vs wohm mom debate is completely irrelevant. What I think is absurd is those who don’t think things through and want to complain about their life choices! You call it a “cushy” lifestyle? Many of us call it necessary. I’m now a sahm but I would never have quit my job if my husband couldn’t pay our mortgage or provide health ins. What if you become ill? You have a child to be healthy for. Don’t you want a stable home to raise your daughter in? If our home or health ins were in jeopardy I’d gladly return to my career. What is wrong with people who take vacations? Don’t you want your child to have good memories.

  • Sarah

    There is a lot of passion and energy being put into this discussion that could be used for more positive and productive outcomes. Money will not matter in the years to come. It only matters to some now because of the value they place on it. For me, raising a child is more about the love and sense of community that you maintain and support in the household. I would love to see more family putting more focus and energy into healing themselves and leading as an example of love. Namaste.

  • trisha

    My name is Mrs Leisha from U.S.A am 25 years old i got married at the age of 23 i have only one child and i was living happily .After one year of my marriage my husband behavior became so strange and i don’t really understand what was going on, he packed out of the house to another woman i love him so much that i never dream’s of loosening him, i try my possible best to make sure that my husband get back to me but all to no avail i cry and i cry seeking for help i discussed it with my best friend and she promise to help me he told me of a man called lord kalifat he is a very great man and a real man that can be trusted and there is nothing concerning love issues he cannot do that is why they call him lord kalifat. I contacted his email address at (lordkalifat@gmail.com) And i told him everything that happen all he told me is that i should not worry that all my problems will be solved immediately. He told me what to do to get my husband back and i did, he said after 2days my husband will come back to me and start begging, it really happen i was very surprise and very, very happy our relationship was now very tight and we both live happily again. So my advice for you now is to contact this same email address (lordkalifat@gmail.com) if you are in any kind of situation concerning love issues and any other things that give you problems.

  • Maggie Kalm

    This article is what I needed this morning…sitting at my desk during my morning “rack your brain for that obvious SAHM opportunity you’re looking right past” break…and when I say “break” I mean I’m just not working because I can’t have any thought other than, “Why can’t I stay home with my baby?!” and “I think I’m having another panic attack”. I feel that I am mostly working out of the necessity for insurance right now. My husband and I purchased a home that is far less per month than any rent in our area, we drive safe vehicles but nothing impressive by any stretch of the imagination. We have cut all of the costs we can imagine. We have enough to pay for day care until March and after that we will be SOL unless we find those winning lottery numbers. We are working on a side business to generate extra income but even if I’m able to stay at home and operate this extra business after bed time, first thing in the morning, during nap time, etc it won’t provide insurance and my husband’s new job (yes, new, he was let go from his job a month before we had our little girl…talk about stress!) doesn’t offer health insurance until he’s been employed there for 12 months. So, with a husband with chronic asthma, a daughter needing vaccinations and a mommy needing annual pap smears, what does one do for medical costs? You seem to be very down to earth and the same kind of SAHM I will hopefully one day be. So maybe you can answer this question,,. How do you poor Missouri SAHMs afford to get sick??? ;)

  • Cidalia Martins

    People will make assumptions. They will assume a stay at home mom has a good household income to afford to stay home or that a working mom is working to “buy stuff” they don’t really need. Sometimes, we have no choices. I’m stuck as a working mom. I don’t pay for child care because I’m lucky enough to have grandparents to help in that department, and my two older children are old enough now to not need babysitting. Our car (one) is used (and every day I pray it holds up just a bit longer), I bus it to work, our clothes are almost all second hand, furniture is ALL second hand, no cable, groceries are tough…always buying just the bare essentials and some weeks I can’t get all the essentials I need, no vacations, no new home, no money for renos on our old home, no nothing. We have no savings. I have no option to be a stay at home mom, poor or otherwise. There is no where else I can cut corners. I blame my situation on the crappy laws that ding second families. My hubby pays child support (which doesn’t even go to the kids because his ex-inlaws, who have the kids, are on welfare, so it gets clawed back by the government), and I get dinged on my taxes and any government assistance of any kind because our household income is “too high” but we can’t declare the child support payments as a household expense.

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