There is no job that gets less respect than that of a stay at home mom (SAHM). And yes, I would like to point out that being a SAHM is a job, although many people don’t even consider it that. Sometime in the 50’s a stereotype of the SAHM emerged, labelling us as perfect little housewives who sit at home watching soaps and eating bonbon’s all day. I have been a SAHM for 3 years now and not only do I not watch T.V of any kind during the day (except maybe Sesame Street), I can guarantee you that I hardly ever sit.
In reality, SAHM’s actually work 24/7, 365 days a year, around the clock with no vacations. We have to not only teach kids their ABC’s and manners, but nurse them back to health when they get sick, wipe their behinds, and convince them to eat something that isn’t crap. We spend our days desperately trying to get rid of the dirty dishes that keep magically appearing, although we swear we just finished cleaning them. We have to play peek-a-boo for 45 minutes straight and act like we actually enjoy it. And we often have to put aside our own dreams – and paycheques – to do it.
Now it seems to me a tad bit ridiculous that society is willing to pay daycare workers to look after other people’s kids but is unwilling to pay mothers to stay home and look after their own kids. Do they think it is so much more pleasurable to take care of children when they’re your own that people should do it for free? Is my time worth nothing? I am putting in more hours than Mark Zuckerburg and Bill Gates combined, yet I have nothing to show for it other than puke stained clothes and a garage full of dirty diapers. And while being a SAHM does offer the perk of getting to spend more time with your child, it can be very frustrating in that you don’t get to interact with other adults – spending all your time conversing with a three year old would make anyone a little loopy. You also can’t easily see the result of all the hard work you do – it often feels like you are starring in your own Mommyland version of Groundhog Day, doing the same thing every day, over and over again, to no avail.
Every other job offers compensation of some sort for a job well done. Even Nuns have their food, shelter and clothes provided for them. Yet SAHM’s are just supposed to be satisfied with seeing their kids grow up well – that, apparently should be enough. This is bullshit. I would like to see the day when doctors are willing to work just for the sheer joy of seeing their patients be healthy. It seems obvious to me that SAHM’s provide better care for their children than a daycare provider. They are better able to discipline their kids (in most cases) and being home with them creates a stronger bond between parent and child that can last throughout life. So why not encourage mothers to stay home and raise their own children by offering a cash incentive instead of penalizing those who choose to do so?
I’ll tell you why – because we have allowed it to be this way. Yes, women’s rights have come a long way, but one thing that has been overlooked is compensation for raising productive, intelligent members of society. Farmers get paid for growing and producing good food, we should be paid for growing and producing good people. But the only way we are ever going to be heard is if we speak up.
Here in Canada we are in the middle of an election, and I am constantly seeing ads and hearing candidates state the importance of the Canadian family. Well, if this truly is the case, I would love to see someone come up with a strategy to support those of us who work every day in the Canadian family. That would get my vote.
But since I really don’t see that happening anytime soon, for now I would be satisfied if, when I tell people that I am a SAHM, they would refrain from snickering and saying things like “Yeah, but what did you used to do for an actual job?” Why does that matter? I am a SAHM now, and proud of it, and if you have a problem with that you can kiss my tired, peek-a-boo playing arse.
Thank you. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. Schewp-THUD! Damnit, who left the dinky cars on the floor right by my soapbox?? PRINCE!!!!-Wendy