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Starting a campaign to remove a term from parenting nomenclature

(warning, photo ahead that includes some new baby goo)

There is a term that makes me cringe whenever I see or hear it.

“Fulltime Mommy”

:shudders:

I see and hear it often, and while I don’t fault people for saying it, because I don’t think they say it with malice, I don’t believe it adequately defines what they mean.  I think the term they’re looking for is “stay at home mom”.  Because let’s get one thing straight, in no way does working outside of the home downgrade me to “part-time mommy” status.

This post is not a working mom vs. stay at home mom post.  Society has created enough of their own biases and pressures on motherhood.  We don’t need to add flame to that fire.  If you work or stay at home, you do so because that is what you and your family needs; any other reason isn’t anyone’s damn business.

Many moms work because they want to.  They love their jobs.  They love the people they work with and what their work means to them, etc.  Some moms work because they have to.  Some moms work for a combination of the two (like me).  Regardless of what camp a working mom falls in, the term “fulltime mommy” can be like a slap in the face.

Me?  I work because I provide 75% of our family’s income and 100% of our health insurance.  No amount of side jobs and babysitting can replace comprehensive health coverage.  Am I currently in my dream job?  Nope.  Do I complain about it?  Often There is no point.  As of now, where we are in our lives, it is what it is.  I’ve always enjoyed working throughout my life, and I’m not certain that I’m cut out to be a stay at home mom.  But right now, I don’t have the option to find that out.  Maybe some day.

You can read about my average day as a mom working outside of the house here.  (go on.  I’ll wait).  With all the things I have going on, I still love, teach, and nurture my child each and every day.  Being away from the home during business hours, does not a bad mom make.

Is my child perfect?  Pardon me while I snort.  Is any child perfect?

Anyone?

Bueller?

As parents, we can be around our kids 24/7, or just a few waking hours a day.  The end result is that we’re going to fuck them up regardless of what we do.   We all fail our kids on a daily basis no matter our working situation.  And that is ok.  Our job and our right as parents is to make mistakes so that our children see us as imperfect human beings.  They need to witness our trials and tribulations so that they know what life has in store.  No parent can or should present a perfect plastic lying life to their kids.  That is a huge disservice to them, and frankly an insult to their intelligence.  We owe it to our kids to show them that life is a series of journeys – some are memorable because they’re wonderful.  Some are important because they taught us a hard lesson.  Regardless, they shape who are are and shouldn’t be glossed over.

Show me a mother, and I’ll show you a working mom.  It doesn’t matter if they’re employed for money outside of the home, all moms are working.  We’re all trying to do right by our kids and our families, and hells bells we need to support each other instead of judge one another because of the choice that works for OUR families.  And I’ll be the first one to raise my hand and say I’ve been guilty of judging another parent’s choices.  I’m sorry.  I was wrong.

Let’s just love our kids and keep our opinions to ourselves (and or blogs), give each other support to make mistakes and choices, and everything else will just fall in the place.

 

 

Just because.  Because I think this photo is adorable.  That’s why!

 

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42 comments on “Starting a campaign to remove a term from parenting nomenclature”

  1. One of my favorite quotes, I wish I knew who the author is: “If you want to be pro-woman, you have to be pro- ALL women, not just the ones whose lives have turned out like yours.”

  2. I am a SAHM as well, and while I do not use the term fulltime mom to describe myself, I think of it as a way to communicate that being a SAHM is a full time job. An attempt to change the perception that we have the spare time to “watch soap operas and eat bon bons.” If it weren’t for nursing I swear there are days I wouldn’t sit down! But I can see how it could be offensive. Parenting is tough work. Let’s support each other, moms and dads alike!

  3. HEAR HEAR! It always makes me mad when people say they are a full-time mommy. What am I then? A half-time mommy b/c I work AND go to school? I feel like I am a “full-time mommy” because I get them up and ready for school, take them to school, pick them up from the sitters, help with their homework, take them to their dads, plan fun activities on my weekends, plan fun things with the babysitter, buy their clothes, take them to the doctor, dentist, eye doctor, take care of them when they are sick, and make sure to keep all appointments for my daughters ENT doctor. I admire women who stay at home with their kids. That is a hard job. I did it while I was between jobs and was about to pull my hair out. I love my kids, but work is my “getaway”. LOL!

    • My hat is off to moms who stay home with their kids. I honestly don’t know/think I’m cut out of it, but it is a hard freaking job. That doesn’t make my role any less hard or important though.

      I’m laughing about your work being your getaway. My weekly grocery shopping trip is my “alone time”. As I’m leaving for the stores, Troy says “enjoy your quiet time by yourself as you do chores for us”. HA!

  4. I totally agree with you about moms not cutting each other down. It’s a hard job, and we all struggle, no matter which “side” of it we’re on.

    That said, I think the “full-time mommy” phrase comes from a misunderstanding of what a “stay-at-home mom” does. I am a SAHM, but…well, I’m not HOME a lot. And, a lot of people get all miffed when they call the HOME phone, and I’m not there, or they want to visit us at HOME, and I’m not there. I mean, where else would a stay at HOME mom be???

    I think us SAHMs are just looking for another description for what we do. One that doesn’t imply that we’re at home all the time (we’re NOT!) or that we’re sitting on the couch eating bon-bons (we’re NOT!) or even that we’re homemakers (because chances are our houses are just as messy as all the working mothers we know–it’s not about the house, it’s about the kids). I really don’t think malice is intended at all. I admire ALL the moms out there who are doing their best–working, and non-working–regardless of what labels we use.

  5. On this point, I have to disagree. I understand your point, but I use the term “fulltime mommy” to describe what I am about to be doing because I DO feel like I have only been able to be a part-time mommy to my kids in the years that I have been working full time outside of the home. Although I think about them all the time, I know that they have been getting the scraps of my time and energy, and I say that I will now be “fulltime” to celebrate the fact that I will be able to focus completely on my family instead of having a mind and life divided. It’s not a fair way to describe ALL stay at home moms, but there are cases (like mine) where I feel the wording is more descriptive of the situation than just stay-at-home mom. The staying at home isn’t the focus or reason that I’m making the sacrifices necessary to quit my job…it’s the additional TIME that I’ll be giving to my family. (Disclaimer: this is in NO WAY a criticism of either working or stay-at-home moms. Every situation is different, and all of us need to affirm each other in our decisions. We are all trying to do what is best for our families at this particular season of life.)

    • I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this topic. I fully respect your opinion and understand where you’re coming from with your situation.

      For me, being a mom whether I’m working or not means being there for my child. Because I work outside of the home, I’m not there for every single event, but I’m almost always there for the important ones. Since I can’t be everything to everyone, I have be able to live with this and do the best that I can when I’m there.

      I tried to come up with an analogy to explain where my heart is. I came up with this one after being awake for 20 hours, so forgive me in advance if it doesn’t seem to make sense. For example, from the time Jack was 4-12 months, I spent 2.5 hours a day hooked up to my Medala Pump in Style breast pump. I pumped during work breaks, lunches, in closets, bathrooms, etc. to make sure that Jack always had my milk on hand. Just because I wasn’t there to actually feed him that milk doesn’t remove my “full-time” mommy status. In a way, I spent all of my spare time doing something to provide for him; an act in this situation that I felt very strongly about and worked so so hard to provide. So, if say a non-working mom gave her child a bottle of formula or pumped milk, is she therefore a “full-time” mommy because she was there to physically feed it to her child?

      Again, I came up with that around midnight and I was so tired that I contemplated picking up a hitchhiker to keep me awake.

  6. on the side, I work from home and make kick ass $$ doing so ( live in canada so no worries on the health care side, plus my husband has insurance to pay for dental and meds) and I could drop kick each person that says they wish they could be a stay at home mother, or some smart ass comment of the sorts… like i sit on the couch, with a bag of bon bon’s while watching re runs of soap operas while my kid runs a muck in the yard ….

    • Oh Canada…how I love your medical and maternity leave policies. Le sigh.

      Don’t forget you also sit around in your jammies while watching those soaps and eating those bon bons! ;-D

      I think being an at home mom is one of the most challenging jobs out there, and my hat is off to anyone who does it, and does it well.

    • Exactly! “I could never stay at home, I’ve always worked”…bah…I feel like saying “oh not me, I was spoiled all my life, so I just stay home now and do nothing.” Gawd! (I’m also in Canada! Healthcare FTW!)

  7. I think this is all situational. I was a latch-key kid growing up and while I love my mother, she definitely was a “part-time” mom. What I get from “Full-time mother”, aside from a little jealousy, is probably completely different than what you get from that term.

    • I’m not sure how long you’ve been a reader (Blogger doesn’t let me track those things), but I’ve mentioned on multiple occasions that I don’t think I’m cut out to be a SAHM. So if you’re detecting jealousy (which nothing I wrote was written from that mindset AT ALL), it wouldn’t be on the actual terms.

      It would be on the fact that some people in this life have had the opportunity to make the choice as to what they want to do with their children and employment. Sure, I guess I have that choice: work and have health insurance and a place to live and food to eat, or stay at home and pray we never ever need a doctor.

    • Ah….I re-read what I wrote since I was a bit puzzled….no, the jealousy would be on my end of things, not yours.

      How much you work, the types of work you do, and where you do the work is ultimately your decision. I would say there isn’t as direct of a correlation between a mother working and how good of a mother she is as the old verbiage (Part-Time Mother) would seem to indicate.

  8. I’ve never been a mother, nor wanted to be, but “somebody’s got to do it”!
    I don’t envy any mother (or father) evaluating their circumstances and deciding on the least objectionable option.

    I say to fully engaged parents: YOU ROCK!!!!

  9. I am one of only a few working (outside the home) moms in my community. I am in the military (a minority already) and I live in a military community. Most of my co-workers are men and the few women I know, with exception of ONE, are not parents. The wives of my co-workers are stay at home moms. Some sew or crochet or paint or do photography for money, but they do it because they love it, not for the paycheck.

    I am a full-time Mommy to 3 children. My oldest is 16…okay, sure, he’s outgrown the Mommy stage, but when he needs money or the keys to the car, you better bet he asks me. My middle child is 17months and splits her needs equally between Mommy and Daddy. My baby just turned two months. She definitely needs Mommy all the time, but does fairly well with Daddy too.

    When I’m at the office, I think about my kids. I bet they think about me too. THAT makes me a full-time Mommy. I will also run out this door and face the consequences later if one of my kids NEEDS me. That makes me a full-time Mommy.

    I will, one day, get out of the military and become a civilian again. Until then, no matter where I am in the world, I am a full-time Mommy.

    • “Until then, no matter where I am in the world, I am a full-time Mommy”. Rock on Tammy! I agree with all your comments and wish you the best of luck with that sounds like an insane juggling schedule!

  10. I’m so thankful for this post. I posted something similar a while back and I find it refreshing to hear other people feel the same way.