Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stupid Things People Say to Stay-at-Home-Moms Cheat Sheet - Guest Post by I Pick Pretty

Show of hands - how many of you have been asked something remarkably insulting about your job? *frantically raises hand* Not only have you been asked, if you're like me, you think up the perfect, devastating response - ten minutes after the dumb question is thrown out there, that is.

Fear no more, Loyals - I'm Melissa from I Pick Pretty, and I'm here to help. I'm a wife, stay-at-home-mom to my darling 1.5 year old boy, retired lawyer, and non-retired smartass, which obviously makes me qualified to give you life advice. Obviously.

(Let's just pretend I'm not completely terrified to do this guest post for AP, one of my blogging sister wives and all-around star, and you eleventy billion fellow fangirls who also adore her. Breathing, breathing . . .)


Anywhooo, my Facebook feed has been buzzing lately with this gem for us stay-at-home-moms, based on this article - the sort that has you nodding your head furiously as you guzzle your pinot and contemplate why your FB page has changed appearances yet again:

And I'd thought the insults I got about being a lawyer were bad. This isn't to say SAHMs get the worst of it - I imagine all of us parents, whether we work outside of the house or not, get some howlers - but I can personally attest to being asked most of these, the "What do you DO all day, anyway?" and "Oh, so you don't work?" ones a regular, regularly irritating basis.

Here's where I got crafty, not in that awesome, Martha Stewart style sense that our AP impresses us with regularly, but in the revenge sense - I've devised a cheat sheet of responses for the "10 Things" list above. I've listed these in numerical order of response, though these can apply to a number of idiotic questions, number 9 being a standby here. All you need for my "craft" here is (1) pair of scissors and (1) tape, to cut the following out & affix to the inside of your diaper bag for heat-of-the-moment reference; (1) icy, withering glare is helpful when delivering these too:

Voila! Remember that, like most favorite dishes, these are best served warm with a side of sarcasm. 

What's the dumbest question you've been asked about your job? Any parenting whoppers you want to add here?

(Thank you, AP, for the chance to spotlight here while you're getting your Blissdom prep on - if I weren't such a prude, I'd offer you an open-mouthed smooch of gratitude. xoxo)

* * *

As a fellow oft quip-y and slightly snarky mom myself, this post is hands down one of my all-time favorites. I cannot thank THE smug-est of all smug mommies, Melissa, for continuing to snark and sass the heck out of this tiny slice of the internet. It's clearly evident why she is one of my forever favorite bloggers, no? Now, if she and the Wee CEO could just permanently relocate to, say, Maryland for the rest of their lives, my life would be complete. Ah, and I guess Anonymous Husband could come too? 


  1. I am Doubled over in stitches over this Melissa!! I've always loved your blog and this guest post just sums up why I love reading what you write!! I am totally using these lines on the next biatch in target that questions my "day off" !! Thank you for making my day!

  2. I quoted this same article awhile back.. http://southern-blonde.blogspot.com/2011/08/mommy-stuff.html

    There's also a flip side for working moms too.

    I don't get the people who judge! Boo on them! Love your quips ;)

  3. Hahaha love this! Even though I work full time I get the other end of these comments. I love your responses they are just perfect!

  4. This may very well be one of THE greatest posts written here of all times.. and it's not even mine ;) I love EVERYTHING about this- and to have ME laughing out loud? Takes work. Trust. You, friend, have nailed it. Love, love, love this!!

  5. this is AHHH MAZING.I can SO relate to every single question AND answer! Thank you!

  6. Great post :) It's amazing the things that some people will say.

  7. Ugh, my least favorite questions are "What do you do all day?" and "Aren't you bored yet?"

    Thanks for the responses for those lovely inquiries!

  8. But what about us full time working moms that are also sole or primary parent? Sure, I am jealous, and sometimes angry, that I work 50 hours a week AND do full SAHM duties. Then I have to listen to SAHM's complain. I work 50 or more hours a week and still make brownies for daycare, dinner every night, lunches, breakfast, laundry, dishes, crafts, fresh veggies, mend clothes, tubby time, etc. Give us working mom's some credit. It is harder.

  9. I love this!! Printing it out now :-)

  10. I read this while my 14 month old is choosing not to nap, just after getting a lovely email from a girlfriend from college asking me if I ever get bored and what I do during all those naps. I think Ill just forward this post. I LOVE it!!!! I am truly laughing out loud. Best guest post EVER!

  11. Hi Kate, I'm not sure if you'll get the email-reply that I sent so I thought I'll also leave it for you here..

    I obviously cannot speak for Melissa but as SAHM who is often asked these questions, I didn't think that her intent was to "complain" or attack the working Mom. In fact, I think she was just stressing her defense that "staying at home" IS A JOB!

    I also didn't think that she set out to create an argument as to "who's job is harder."

    Too often, it's "assumed" that all we SAHMs do is sit on our butt all day and watch TV which we know to be furthest from the truth!

    Personally, I don't know how working Moms do it all! I know I certainly can't and I freelance write and aid in the social media growth optimization of my Husband's family business! And some nights? I don't even get dinner on the table for my husband and I- so I more than take my mom-hat off to the women that manage to "do it all" like you say.

    As a working mom, I have no doubts that you are often faced with equally ridiculous questions of your own. This was just simply Melissa saying all those things that many of SAHMs are thinking when people assume we "wasted a degree" or "will eventually get a paying job."

    I apologize if you were offended by this post- I can guarantee Melissa meant no harm.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

    - AP

  12. LOVED this! Especially the June Cleaver cut a bitch response. HA LMAO.

  13. I love this and totally want to carry this around with me!

  14. @ Kate...

    I agree with several of the issues you mentioned and normally I wouldn't get on my soapbox, but I feel like you brought up some very valid points and I'd like to take the time to agree with you. :)

    I hate this debate because truly, it shouldn't even be a debate as MANY working moms are not in the situation by choice. Most mothers work because they have bills to pay, retirement to plan, and lifestyles to maintain. I feel that sometimes working moms get a bad rap because the perception is that we work so we can take a trip to St. Barths or drive a new BMW, not because we legitimately HAVE to work. Let me assure you, I do not drive a BMW and I don't have an exotic vacation planned anytime soon.

    I am single working mother that pays for 100% of my daughter's expenses and have since day one. I pay for her private school (while simultaneously paying for my own graduate school classes), clothing, food and everything else under the sun on my own dime. As mothers, we are all very aware of the never-ending financial obligation that comes along with having children and we can appreciate that each family has their own way of "making it work."

    As stated above, I don't like to complain about this issue because quite frankly, I enjoy it. Do I have a choice? No. I have to work, but my "work" gives me the ability to provide for my daughter financially, but more importantly it has paved the way for her own personal growth and success.

    Unfortunately, our children will eventually see a time where the option of a stay-at-home parent simply fades away due to many factors but the most obvious being the increasing financial obligation we've placed on them as a country. Additionally, the societal expectation of women continues to increase. Tragically, I feel as if we've began to look down upon stay-at-home moms, almost as if they are cheating themselves out of the mentally stimulating and emotionally satisfying opportunity of a successful career and financial independence. Those are not my words, but I feel as if that's the way society sells the whole career gig to young women. By no means do I agree with those sentiments, but if the forward progression of the next fifty years mirrors the previous fifty years, I fear that's the direction we're headed.

    To Kate's point, yeah, it would be nice to see the SAHMs take on the vast majority of the tasks assigned to the parents at preschool. Have a healthy dinner on the table for your husband and kids. Take pride in cleaning your home. Those things are easily accomplished during a 40 hour work week. It's part of your job. If I go to my CEO and ask him to "make dinner just one time" or "cut me some slack on this vacuuming" I'd be at risk of losing my position. It's your job, treat it that way. I was raised by a stay-at-home mom who put forty hours (at a minimum) a week into cooking, cleaning, and childcare. She worked her ass off, but I swear to god she could've served the queen a meal off her toilet seats. She made "mothering/home keeping" her job and taught me that regardless of where you work, that's what it is, WORK. Productivity is rewarded and laziness is unacceptable. I think sometimes us working moms do wonder... well, if your house is a mess, the kids eat mac and cheese every night, and I just made the damn cookies for preschool, what DO you DO all day? I'll stick my nose out there and say it is harder on this side, but very rewarding and satisfying as well.

    As a side note, I love Melissa from I Pick Pretty and read her blog as often as I can, so please don't take any of this the wrong way! None of these comments were meant to hurt feelings, rather just to give the other side's point-of-view.

  15. Haha....loved this!!
    Will def. take not of this.

  16. Ooo! A new one to add to the list of stupid things people say, "it is harder on this side"

  17. If this wasn't one of the best things I've ever read, I'm not sure what is! SAHM's I think have one of the hardest jobs EVER! It's time consuming to take care of a toddler All day Every day! I'm NOT a SAHM, but I do have all the duties of one once I get home from picking Chloe up from Day Care. I mean, I make dinner, I do laundry, I clean (sometimes) and all that good stuff. I make sure Chloe gets fed, and gets her milk, and gets her nap...I mean...I could go on and on. AND I work 40 hours a week...Whew (whipes forehead). So anybody that says that SAHM's are lazy, or don't do anything...they are sadly mistaken! I give you guys mad props for doing what you do everyday! And I'd RATHER do that then leave my kid with others raising her half the day...ah. Maybe someday when I find that rich husband. BAHAHA!!! (totes joking about the husband!)

  18. @christine.e.melang-

    I don't think this post was intended to be a stay-at-home mom vs working mom debate, and it kind of sucks that it's turned into a "who works harder" situation.

    Here's another way to think of it maybe--would you be okay with a daycare provider whose main focus was on cleaning her home and preparing meals for her family later that night? I think most parents have the expectation that a daycare provider will do crafts, work on developmental skills, phonics, etc. That is a full-time job in and of itself. As a stay at home mom, I do all those things too...and personally, I try to focus on them during the same hours that I would otherwise be out of the home working. Do I occasionally get to throw in a load of laundry while we're in between crafts? Sure. But I don't know that I actually have all that much more time to devote to other sorts of household tasks than you do.

    Bottom line? We all work hard.

  19. oh my gosh i am dying laughing over here! I love it!

  20. I don't know if any of you have read the blog post "Friendly Fire" from the blog Momastery. It has recently gotten a lot of attention through facebook and the Huffington Post. The writer addresses this debate that is never ending between stay at home moms and working moms and it's incredibly well written. Worth checking out.


    If that link doesn't work, you can go to www.momastery.com and search "friendly fire" and it will come up.

  21. There is no perfect answer! Please see my post from September. Either way, we can't win. I think it's time to cross the "Which is better?" off of our lists :)


  22. @ Audrey -- I'm sorry you feel that way. You don't have to agree with everything I think or say and I certainly don't have to agree with everything you say... However, calling one's opinion "stupid" is so beneath us as human beings. Please don't stoop to that level.

    @ Meredith -- the expectation of my childcare facility is that it is cleaned and maintained the entire time my child is there (just as it would be if she were in my home). My daughter is fed two meals and one snack at school which are served and cleared by the teachers in the room. So yes, their role is tri-fold; they clean and maintain the facility, prepare and serve meals, and provide interactive childcare throughout the day. The only difference being most of these teachers are responsible for four (sometimes six) children per person. I would assume that generally speaking, most stay at home parents don't have four infants under their care at one time.

    With that being said, and truly, I ask this respectfully on behalf of all working moms, how is it not harder to have the same responsibilities that you have AND a 40-50 hour/week commitment to a career? I have to cook meals, grocery shop, do laundry, scrub floors, pay bills, workout, and provide an engaging environment for my child on top of a very time-consuming job. I just don't understand why some SAHMs cling to the mantra "I work hard! Just as hard as you do, if not harder!" Well, no you don't, but if that makes you feel better about your situation, keep telling yourself that. I stayed at home with my daughter for the three months after she was born and for six months during a career change. I can say with certainty, that it wasn't difficult at all, dare I say this, it was actually quite nice and very relaxing. I could wear my PJs all day if I felt like it. I could watch a TV show while she napped. I was in the best shape of my life with all the time I was able to log at the gym. I kept up with laundry and housework with fairly minimal effort. A leisurely trip to Target or the mall was at least a weekly occurrence, if not more often. And mind you, I have always been a single mother, so I never got the "break" that most of you have with a husband to help with some of these tasks or to watch the children for a few minutes here and there if you want/need a break. I just don't understand how you don’t expect us working mothers to feel very insulted when we’re told that you “work just as hard” as we do.

    I don't mean these comments to be hurtful; I’m asking only out of curiosity because hearing those comments does offend me. Rather than harboring anger or feeling hurt, I’d rather understand your side of the story and gain a better understanding of why you feel the way you do. I’ve worn both hats and I feel as though I’m just stating the obvious here. The bottom line here is that there is nothing wrong with being a SAHM, in fact, I think it's the best option out there if it’s feasible for your family. And kudos to the moms out there making the financial sacrifice to stay home, but why the not just be thankful that you don't have to work the long hours and deal with the stress from the job AND the kids rather than the constant competition? It’s ok if I work harder than you. Why would you WANT to be working your ass off and constantly stressed? Trust me, it’s no picnic. Call your job what it is, a great gig. And most working moms out there would love to spend just one day in your shoes.

  23. Holy debate team! Man oh man. I don't envy any of you ladies. I think all of you bust your asses no matter what, and I give ALL of you credit! I hope one day, whether I decide to work inside of the home or outside of the home, that I can do it as well as all of you can.

    Thumbs up to ALL from me! :)

  24. @Christine and Kate, i find what you're saying to be quite personally offensive and for the life of me, I cannot figure out how this post quickly turned into the age old Mommy War. Considering that Melissa declared outright,

    "This isn't to say SAHMs get the worst of it - I imagine all of us parents, whether we work outside of the house or not, get some howlers - but I can personally attest to being asked most of these, the "What do you DO all day, anyway?" and "Oh, so you don't work?" ones a regular, regularly irritating basis."

    Not a single one of us set out to exploit whose job had it harder until both you and Kate declared it so. You say you want to be "cut a break?" We SAHM's aren't declaring we have it any harder than anyone else, you're continuing to degrade the work of SAHM's by your comments.

    That is exactly what motivates us to write posts like these.

    I do consider raising my son to be a compassionate, caring, loving, well-mannered and well-adjusted boy my full-time JOB. Cleaning the house? And doing the laundry? Those activities are "chores." They are not my job. I did not choose to stay at home so that I could focus my time and energy on those things.

    So when you are out of the house working? During those same hours? I'm teaching my son. Playing with him. Working on phonics, reading, doing arts and crafts. Cooking him healthy meals. Singing songs. Whatever the days activities bring. Some days we take field trips. We do precisely what I believe people pay daycare providers to do.

    During nap time? Sure, I may throw a load of laundry in. I may take my "lunch break" which isn't a daily guarantee. Heck, I may even try to sit and spend some time writing- which, let it be known, is actually a paying job that I hold. So on top of all that, I also have deadlines to meet and a boss (other than my toddler) to report to.

    I don't have an "end" to my work day. I do not "clock out." And I don't worry about the majority of the laundry and other household chores until my child is in bed.


  25. (cont)

    I would imagine, that last bit sounds a lot like when you get your "household" work done as well. So, our lives really aren't all that different, are they?

    Who are you to say, "well no you don't (work harder) but if it makes you feel better about your situation.."

    Isn't it all relative? You work hard, I work hard. We all work hard. Why does it need to be a contest or a competition?

    In regards to being a single mother, that is hard. A hard that I know nothing about and certainly won't claim to. However, don't be so quick to think that all of us with husbands "get a break." During the "working week" My husband works outside of the house before my son wakes up in the morning and often doesn't get home until after he has gone to bed. So for all intensive purposes? I don't "get a break" during Monday through Friday.

    As for leisurely trips to Target- I don't think the word "leisurely" is in the vocabulary of a 19 month old. I miss the days of when my child was a newborn, strapped in that infant car seat and I could tote him wherever I wish. For me? Those days are long gone- as are my leisurely trips anywhere. But? Don't mistake this for complaining. I'm just simply saying that my trips are no longer leisurely, they are filled with an energetic, inquisitive toddler who wants to explore.

    As for what you said in regards to feeling insulted when we SAHMs say we "work just as hard as you do," again, who are you to judge that we aren't working hard? No one has said your job ISN'T HARD.

    In fact, no one here has said that at all. No one has even said their job as SAHM is hard(er) than yours. But you went ahead and declared that your job is, in fact, harder.

    I just don't understand how you can judge someone else's situation without having a clear cut idea as to what they do all day.

    I have no idea what you do all day, so who am I to sit here and judge that your job is harder? Or my job is harder?

    Can't we just let it rest that Moms have it hard enough as it is, without the working mom versus stay at home mom battle?

  26. I'm so fired up.. "for all intents and purposes..." HA! Clearly that's what I meant to say.

  27. Yes, we do all work hard.

    I'm a 28 year old mother living with a terminal illness. I view staying at home with my daughter as a privledge I have never been busier. On top of my momma duties, I have to make sure I take medication every 6 hours that has side effects that echo those of chemotherapy. I have to do eye drops every hour I'm awake so that I won't go blind. Raising a child is A LOT of work, it is the biggest blessing in my life too. I wish people could just put away their judging eyes and realize there can be do much more to someone's story than you will ever know.

  28. WHEW! Now this really got some stuff stirred up now didn't it!?!?!?! But...after reading through these comments...I think its safe to say ALL MOMS WORK. AND WE ALL WORK HARD. NO MATTER WHAT WE DO OR WHERE WE ARE- HOME OR AWAY- IT"S HARD BEING A MOTHER! BUT----also life's greatest joy! SO...cheer up, love your kids and HAVE FUN while doing so!!

  29. @christine.e.melang

    I feel like your last comment is a perfect example of why the whole "who works harder" debate is pointless--it's pointless because there are so many shades of gray even within one category of moms.

    I know stay at home moms who don't sit down until 11pm at night. I also know stay at home moms who spend a good portion of the day on Pinterest. I know working moms who work their asses off all day, and I also know working moms who spend a good portion of the day on Pinterest. There is such variety even amongst working moms or stay at home moms that it will always be impossible to categorically say that one works harder than the other.

    My days as a SAHM look absolutely nothing like the days that you describe as your experience in being a SAHM...so you really have no authority to say whether you work harder than I do or not. In fact, the only authority that you have here is to say that you feel like YOU work harder as a working mom than YOU worked as a mom who stayed at home. But the fact that it makes it true for you doesn't make it a universal truth by any stretch of the imagination.

  30. One thing I find particularly interesting about Christine's comments is that she assumes all nuclear families are fully functional. While I am fortunate to have a wonderful husband now, I have been with men in the past who made daily life much harder, not easier. How about women who deal with alcoholic and / or abusive spouses? Does this make each evening "easier" on the SAHM? Clearly not.

    The point is, making sweeping, generalized statements about any class of people is reductive, juvenile and offensive.

  31. Oh goodness moms, can't we all just support each other and recognize that it's hard no matter what? I came over to comment since I found Melissa's post funny. And, yes, I work full time. Outside the home.

    Let's all get over feeling sorry for ourselves because of our situations and try to be there for each other. Nothing good has ever come from us complaining about who has it harder, has it?

    Why are moms so quick to judge other moms? Really? It has never made sense to me even before I was a mother. I've never seen a group more judgmental of its own than mothers.

  32. Sorry to get on a soapbox. I really only clicked over to tell Mel I liked her post.

    Mel, I liked your post. AP, thanks for sharing.


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