images (14)Moms with jobs and those that stay home – the disdain that dares not speak its name

One of the last permissible forms of prejudice (besides fat haters) in our society, is the chasm between Moms who give up working and stay home with the kids, and those who go to jobs every day.

It is a conversation prone to instant flairs of temper and is right up there with politics and religion… you just don’t air your view because you either stay home and raise kids, or you go to work. You part timers are just faking at both by the way, so we aren’t talking about you at all today.

When the two solitudes meet, it can be uncomfortable.  I have seen it happen, and have done it myself. You meet a cool new potential Mom friend and when the conversation turns to “what do you do?” the stay at home Mom steels her little self for all she’s worth and says something to the effect that she has chosen to stay home with her kids. When she is facing down the barrel of a turbo career mom, she knows what is coming. The momentary pause when career mom quickly slaps on her politeness filters, her eyes glaze over and she mutters something noncommittal and immediately starts scanning the room for her fast way out.

The decision to work through your mothering years, or to stay home is fraught with issues. It comes as a total surprise to people that neither choice is actually very fulfilling. Seriously, it bites to be home with your kids and be just smart enough to watch your brain turn into a freakin’ cupcake because you have made so many of them. It also rips your heart out to come barreling into the kids’ school on heels in a suit carrying their forgotten lunch, and you can’t remember which door is your kid’s class. It just gets worse when the principal makes you sign in because they don’t know who you are.

I am a career Mom. I have been the primary breadwinner in a high stress job all my life. I have a great marriage, and good family support and am pulling off this whole “having it all” shit. Oh, and I have shockingly low standards for almost everything to do with my home life, so that may be the magic formula.

To be very truthful,  I don’t buy into the bullshit that your kids have to suffer if you work, they don’t. Raising kids who know that you worship them is actually possible, and doesn’t require being there waiting for them to come home from school. Even if you are out earning dough and don’t attend every lame assed recital they have your kids can turn out normal.

As an aside, where it gets hardest is for single moms. That deal is the worst, but risk can be mitigated. If he walks out and you are left standing there holding your apron stained with cupcake guck wondering what that train was that just hit you, it is your own damned fault. If you had a job, you would weather that shit better.

Many of the women on my career track have stepped off to be with their kids, but here is the big reveal: Many of them just don’t feel like working anymore. It’s perfect because they have pushed out of their vaginas the perfect martyrdom excuse. “ Little Billy is now glucose intolerant so I had to retire.” I hope your husband buys it honey because he is now paying for your yoga classes on his own sweat.

Another reason I cringe a little at the thought of non-employed motherhood is there is the issue of the power balance of money. He earns it, and that ends up being all he really has to do. Shit, I would love to have a stay at home wife myself.  In many single earner homes, children learn that the Dad calls the shots because the power balance is geared to him who earns the money. It might be subtle and unspoken, but there is no real equality.

Here is another big reveal about the home based maternal unit. Unless they are raising 3 toddlers at the same time, they do actually have more time on their hands than you think. The secret trade union that stay at home moms belong to requires them to go on constantly about how much work they have to do and how busy they are. You may keep the faith sisters but I see you in coffee shops with your yoga pants and a stroller.. not so busy I see.

On the flip side, working and raising children has downsides too. There is not one single moment in your life where you feel like you are on top of things. Sit outside a grocery store and watch all the after work Moms running in to grab the last tray of cupcakes from the bakery aisle because they just found out the kid has to bring them to class tomorrow. All your life’s things are scheduling nightmares. Sadly even if you are the one earning most of the family income, it doesn’t get you out of the birthday parties, class presents, social arrangements, play dates and homework helping. Loaded up working moms live in a spiral of obligation and juggling multiple fireballs all the time. Once in a while it all totally falls apart – major meeting out of town and your kid falls off the playground swing. That is when the crashing unbalance pins you under a fist of guilt and pain and you would quit your job that moment if you could. Making cupcakes seems like the better deal on days like that.

What is funny to watch is two Moms, one on team “job” and the other on team “cupcake” carefully dancing around the conversation. Working Moms are kind of impatient and rush away quickly while the home Moms kindly put a band aid on a hurt child at school who’s Mom can’t leave work to come and help. They are generally nicer women.

My kids attend work related events and sometimes travel with me. They love the fact that if there is a stage or a podium it is usually their Mother holidng the talking stick. It has to count for something that they can be proud of two parents with interesting jobs and proud careers. The kids know deeply and fully that they matter and are loved, and that they are even the highest priority – it is about how communication and time is handled. The kids that are messed up are the ones that have a working mom who parents from a place of guilt or the home Moms who resent their kids and the drudgery and parent accordingly. Both ends of that dog bite.

If you are a Mom still trying to make this choice, or are just trying to find something that justifies the choice you already made, this next bit will be hard to swallow. Children will grow up and completely take you for granted no matter what you do. If you gave up your astronaut career to stay home with them, or flipped burgers on a night shift for 20 years, they still grow up, leave and think you are a lame ass for whatever you did.


Advice with a twist:


Our Editor-in-Chief Magnolia Ripkin is sort of like your mouthy Aunt who drinks too much and tells you how to run your life, except funny... well mostly funny... like a cold glass of water in the face. She writes a flagrantly offensive blog at Magnolia Ripkin Advice Blog answering pressing questions about business, personal development, parenting, heck even the bedroom isn't safe. She is the Editor in Chief at BluntMoms. Other places to find her: Huffington Post, The Mighty and Modern Loss. You can also check her out in two amazing compendiums of bloggers who are published in “I Just Want To Be Alone.” And most recently, Martinis and Motherhood, Tales of Wonder, Woe and WTF


  1. Anonymous in Alberta Reply

    Wow. This is pretty judgemental and frought with so many stereotypes I find it insulting to both working women and stay at home women. I’ve been both. I agree with your last 2 paragraphs – very true.

  2. I think this is pretty damn funny and hits the nail on the head in many respects. My BFF and I talk like this all the time. She works full time, I work part time and have stayed home. I never fit in with the fancy stoller-yoga pant wearing-Starbucks sipping Moms and felt like I was just putting in time until I could get back to being me – the working me. It’s a hard choice for every woman and the grass often looks greener on the other side.

  3. I am a working Mom and I get somewhat frustrated with some SAHM…I can’t keep up with you! I don’t have time to bake cake pops for every little event in my children’s life, I can’t drag them to preschool and play school for 2 hours a day because I have a career. I personally think pre school is overkill for a 3 year old….can’t they just be kids. Oh and please don’t judge me because they are not in pre school….isn’t that what kindergarten is for???? I also can’t take them to swimming lessons, skating lessons and soccer and Tiny tots and all the other programs you have your kids in because all these programs are scheduled around mothers who stay at home….all lessons are in the mornings or early afternoons….doesn’t work for working Moms. If you can stay at home great, you do what works for you and your family but just remember some of us work and we can’t keep up with all the extras that have become the “norm” now. Don’t even get me started with birthday parties, inviting everyone in your class and the providing goody bags for everyone….oh and the fancy dancy cakes that take hous to make and seconds to devour! I will take some heat for my comments but just had to be honest…..

    • Oh my dear I feel your pain. I was on my way to a meeting, had to run to the classroom and drop off the fruit platter I bought that morning for the Halloween party… and what did I see??? Ya, juice boxes covered in white tape with googly eyes – 30 fricken’ juice boxes decorated at Mummies. I thought I was going to lose my mind.

      Pour yourself a wine and read this:

  4. Um, I appreciate the humor and bluntness of this article I just find it annoyingly judgemental. I am a stay at home mom and don’t fit those stereotypes and don’t like being made out to be a yoga pant wearing Starbucks drinking ( I can’t afford Starbucks because I stay at home after all….. Haha) whining about being too busy loser you make us out to be. I don’t deny for a second that I love staying home with the kids and not having to be at a job in the morning is awsome. But like everyone else in the world I am allowed to be stressed out or feel overwhelmed at times, even if it is from gluing googly eyes to juice boxes or whatever. This is what I want to do and am lucky to have a husband who earns the money, and I even feel sometimes jealous that I don’t have the desire to have a career right now. Yes the super moms who have the kids in every extra hours activity can be lame but usually I find that those are the rich folks. Sometimes the person taking them to those activities isn’t even the mom. Anyways I have started ranting when all I want to really say is let’s stop judging each other based on whether we stay home or not. A mom can be an annoying super mom whether she stays home or not and can also still be a yoga pant wearing Starbucks drinking full time career mom.

  5. “You part timers are just faking at both by the way, so we aren’t talking about you at all today”.


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