Working Moms Are Everything That's Wrong With America (Apparently)

Being a Mom 141

I followed a link over to a post in the CafeMom forums a couple weeks ago, and I confess that I did so entirely because of the title. I kind of hate when I click things that I KNOW are going to make me crazy, but it's like when someone says, "Oh my god, this smells awful," and I'm all, OH LET ME SMELL IT TOO. Why, self?

Anyway, the post is titled "I think the death of the SAHM ruined this country" and the author posted the opinion that if "more women would/were able to stay home and raise their children this world would be a better place."

That's not actually the part that made me crazy, though. It was the follow-up comments, which featured the argument that anyone can be a SAHM—if they know how to manage a budget.

Okay, so I realize this mommy war bullshit has been around for a long time and the whole bizarre "You'd stay home with your kid if you really cared" guilt trip women throw at each other isn't exactly breaking news. I'm sorry to even bring it up, since it's so ridiculous and unworthy of our attention.

The thing is, though, it absolutely blows my mind that anyone still believes this stuff. Today. IN THIS ECONOMY, if you'll pardon an increasingly tired phrase.

One person wrote,

(…) you learn to live within your means. Most people are infatuated with the latest and greatest material crap the world has to offer. Your kids would rather have you than a SUV and a big house.

Hey, can I get a show of hands from everyone who has an expensive new car and lives in a Hummer house? Okay, now can I get a show of hands from everyone whose top financial priorities are health insurance, medical bills, utilities, student loans, etc?

The "just cut back on luxuries" argument isn't just faulty, it's become downright idiotic.


From another commenter:

I wholeheartly believe any one can live on one income. IT CAN BE DONE! I have seen it done on very small incomes. I think it is down right selfish to have children and then pay someone else to raise them. Your child will spend more time at daycare than with you. who do you think is then teaching your child to walk, and talk, and you miss it all because you are at some job making that almighty dollar!

No, it can't always be done. This is no longer a country where most families can get by on one income. Some can, and that's great for anyone who can make it work without living in abject poverty, but it's simply not possible for most people.

That "almighty dollar"—that filthy, filthy lucre that selfish mothers are out earning—is the currency that buys food for our children, provides healthcare, gives them a comfortable and safe place to live, and maybe even helps ensure they don't have to face getting blown up by an IED to pay for their college education when they're older. We're working "some job" because we have careers and responsibilities and we're providing for our families …
just like men do. I know, right?! We can vote and everything!

One more:

For us money isn't everything granted we are pushing pennies to be able to get by. (…) We are constantly saving every dime we can and we never go out if we go out on a date it's a homemade picnic at the beach. My life has never been so happy and stress free.

Now, I have total admiration for any mom who works her ass off to live the kind of life she wants, whatever life that may be. Maybe that means being a SAHM, maybe that means working part-time, maybe that means being CEO of a major corporation. If scrimping and scrounging gives someone the happy peaceful existence they always wanted, awesome. But please don't tell me that's the right life for my family. Please don't try and tell me that agonizing over every penny will give me a "stress free" life, because believe me, I've been there, and holy shit, no. Not stress free.

To me it seems like
it's the choice of staying home or working that's become a luxury these days. I understand it may not feel luxurious for stay-at-home moms who are running an extremely tight ship to get by, but it's still a choice most of us don't get to make.

As for the original poster, all I can say is gosh, it sure must be convenient to blame our country's economic problems, educational system issues, access to healthcare, cost of living, unemployment rates, out of control deficit, and political clusterfuckery on one specific group:
the working mothers of America.

Image via Linda Sharps

work, back-to-work, working moms

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tinyp... tinypossum

AWESOME post. Thank you!

elibee elibee

RIGHT ON SISTER you said it!

zpere... zperez0809

this was an awesome post ! im a sahm and some days i get envious of working mothers and im sure vice versa but i NEVER EVER judge .. i know a lot of working mothers and i respect them whole heartedly because they are doing so because they want to provide their children with the best they can because a one income household simply cannot work for them.. and this is NOT AWFUL ...some mothers on here are so sanctimonious and its very my way or cps needs to come get ur child ... thank you for posting something like this ..pray these mommy wars stop bc they drive me bat shit crazy

AMaynard AMaynard

I wholeheartedly agree. As a single parent, I have no other option but to support my son and myself. We all know who will be chiming in soon to disagree with this article. I would love to be a stay at home mom, but that is absolutely not an option for me. Those stay at home moms who argue against working moms need to stop being so close minded and judgmental. Our economy would really be in bad shape if half the eligible work force just stayed home. Live and let live, ladies.

kjbug... kjbugsmom1517

Very awesome! Love it! As a sahm who has worked full and part time as well this debate irritates me. Stress free? Since when is streching your every dollar as far as it can possibly go stress free? Granit we live comfortable on one income but we have no savings, no extra for activities, no family trips to disney world, or even to a in city amusment park. We do nothing outside of our house. We might get to eat a good family meal out once a month. Its far from stress free to explain to your 6 year old that her request to do dance is simply to expensive and we can't afford it. I can't be at dance and a job like I want to so we don't do it. I soooo badly want to find a part time job, then comes the cost of daycare for my 3 year old and not having a part time option for her. So we wait. Scrape by till she goes to school and not be stress free. I can't even go to school and take online classes due to how tight we are. Very frustrating but what can ya do?

nonmember avatar RMM

I have a different take on this, as well - I work outside the home. We could live on one income and be just fine, but I work for my own sanity. I absolutely love to work. I love my career and I love my family. As a mother to a toddler, I make sure I work from home a bit so that I'm never at the office late and I never have to get up and rush out of the house really early. That is certainly a luxury that many working moms don't have, and I am thankful for a career that allows me that freedom.

I feel that working outside of the home gives me perspective; when I come home, I am thrilled to see my daughter, excited to take her places and weekend days are an absolute treat. Not to say that SAHMs don't have the same sentiment, but I know that, for me, a little time apart truly makes the heart fonder. It also serves as an example for my daughter that you can have it all, if that's what you want - a career, a family and a happy life. If you want to stay home, do that, but if you want to work, work! To each her own!

Maevelyn Maevelyn

What really ticks me off is people who don't work but get assistance. One of my friends has NEVER HAD A JOB. Not one. And when things got too tight at her house she overlooked the support system that would have allowed her to keep her kids with a family member and got food stamps and cash assistance. I'd love to be a stay at home mom too but some how making my co-workers pay for it doesn't feel right.

Kritika Kritika

LOVE this article, every bit of it.

Wheep... Wheepingchree

Awesome. Thank you for this.

Shell... Shell__Beach

Like another poster said- as a SINGLE parent, it's not an option.

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