What do stay-at-home moms do all day?

Filed under: Just For Moms, Work Life

Today my favorite advice columnist, Carolyn Hax, responds to a reader's question about just what exactly a stay-at-home mom does all day. The reader, a childless woman, wrote Carolyn a letter in which she complains that her stay-at-home mom friend is too busy for her. She suspects her friend, and other stay-at-home moms, exaggerate how busy they are in order to relax rather than socialize with friends like her. She also posits the theory that these moms are trying to present the image of 'my life is busier than yours' as if it were a competition.

I understand the reader's confusion. From a distance, staying home with the kids looks easy. Just the fact that these moms are home gives the impression that every day is a day off. I know that when I was dragging myself off to work each morning when Christy was young, I envied those women who I imagined were still in their pajamas at 10am, watching Oprah and drinking coffee.

The reality is that if a mom is watching Oprah, she's probably doing it with one eye on the television and the other on a child climbing up the bookcase. This constant attention to another's needs and safety is exhausting. Plus, as Carolyn points out, with children in tow, it can take 45 minutes to do what would normally take fifteen.

Carolyn goes on to list at least 15 activities that a stay-at-home mom might be engaged in at any point during her day. But the letter made me wonder how stay-at-home moms themselves deal with this questioning of their workload. Nobody asks a mom who works outside the home what she does all day. Do you find yourself having to justify how you spend your day to those who work outside the home? Does it make you feel at all defensive?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.