Is Being a SAHM a “Job”? | Validating Choices as A Mom

I came across an article recently from that really struck up my interest. The article in TIME, entitled “Being a Stay-at-Home Mother is Not a Job”, is one that I then posted the article on my Facebook page as well to see what other mom’s thought about the words of the woman who wrote the article, and I got even more interesting results from that.

The article really kicked up a lot of controversy between parents, mostly mother’s, as I think it was intended. While I didn’t really love the tone that the writer had throughout the piece, there were a few key points that made me think a lot about my own choices regarding “work”, being a mother myself.

stay at home mom and working mom

SAHM? WAHM? Career Mom?

In today’s society, there are many choices that a woman can make regarding her work life and her life as a parent. She can choose to be a stay-at-home-mom, she can be a work-at-home-mom, or she can  be a mother who also has a career job. No matter what she decides, it’s a personal decision that shouldn’t be judged by the rest of society.

The main point of this article was that women who choose be a SAHM should not regard their position as such as a “job”. I myself have called motherhood “one of the hardest jobs on the planet”, and who could really disagree with that? Apparently, the author of this piece since it is something that she herself said that she “loathes”.

If you are comparing a “real job” to the work that is done as a stay-at-home-mom, then by definition alone I guess you could not call being a SAHM a technical job. However, it is hard, hard work and often more time/energy-consuming than that of a “real job”.

The author of this piece, although she was a SAHM herself for 5-years, almost talked in a tone that was degrading to those women that refer to staying at home with their child(ren) as a job. She went on about how too often, women complain about the fact that they stay at home with their children and how much work it is, and how this is actually a luxury to be able to do so.

“…the truth is, for every mother who is happy with her choice to be a stay-at-home mother, there are at least three who are using its tribulations as a means to smugly declare their superiority to anyone within earshot”. -Liz Schultz from TIME article

If there is a point I agreed with, it is that getting to stay at home with your child is a gift. But, I can’t sit her and say that I think she is right about the 3/1 ratio of women who stay at home and think that they are so much greater than other women because of what they have to deal with at home. These seems like an overstatement and a little dramatic to me.

Does she think that these women are looking for some kind of empathy for the pity party that they are supposedly throwing? Maybe, and maybe some are. I have known my fair share of women who complain more than they are thankful for their ability to stay home with their children. I do have a personal opinion that women like this should be careful about what when they say when complaining, because there are so many women who would give anything to have a child and really struggle with it.


However, as I said before, I know from experience that although it may be a gift to stay at home, nurture, and raise your child, it does not always feel like a luxury to the person doing so.

Do You Need Validation?

Absolutely not.

If there was one thing that I really decided on, especially after reading this article, it is that women do not need validation for the choices that they make regarding their own lives and the lives of their family.

I have been able to be a SAHM since my oldest was born 3 years ago. I also work at home and run this blog, and am in the last year of my Master’s program. I plan on continuing to stay at home for a few more years, but then I will go into my career and continue to raise my children and run my home as well.


I work really hard doing all of that and I am in no way some supermom that can do everything with perfect grace. There are days when I complain and vent about my hard day, or all of the hard work I had to do, just like anyone else with a “job” would do. In no way do I do that to receive validation for the choice I have made and you will never once hear me say that I “hate being a stay at home parent”.

So the question is: Is being a SAHM a “job” or not?

My answer is that it just depends on who you ask! To some, they may say that it is the hardest job they’re ever held. Others may not liking staying at home all the time for no pay and no recognition, so they complain a lot about having to do so. Then you have those that absolutely love being a SAHM, but still understand the fact that it is a lot of hard work, just like it is a lot of hard work to be a WAHM or a mother with a career.

I don’t think that calling it a “job” is so far stretched from the truth, although there are obvious differences at a career job. I think all women should be mindful and respectful of the other decisions that the women around them make regarding work and parenting.

What are your thoughts on the article? Do you consider being a SAHM a “job” or do you completely disagree with it?

*Here’s to letting the decisions of others be their own and not demeaning any one decision that a woman has to make*joanna at motherhood and merlot



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  1. I didn’t read the original article, but I would say being a SAHM, while not a “job” in the sense that you are making money for the work you do, it is still very much work. A lot of work. And while you may not be making money from it, you are not spending money on childcare, which can be a huge cost (but that is an entirely separate issue!). I actually think it can be way more work than some jobs you have outside of the house. And unlike other jobs, you don’t really get a break. I think if you are a SAHM and you define it as your job, then go for it. If not, that’s fine too. I think for those of it who are doing it we can call it a job or not. I’m not sure where I’m going with this other than I think it’s personal preference. 🙂
    Bev recently posted…I’m running my second 5k!My Profile

  2. Love this! This is a very thoughtful post! I am totally sharing it on Facebook. I love being a SAHM, it’s hard, but I have seen so many benefits in my family by doing it. It worked for us, but I know that every family is different. If semantics is what the original author was trying to pull out of the discussion, phooey on her. That is sad. A job, a lifelong passion,what we are doing now, what we can afford, because really what does it matter what word or prashing we use? I think it is time as women we just put on our big girl pants and stop sniping at each other. There are unhappy women in the workplace, at home and everywhere. I say don’t focus on it and do what works best for you.
    Jen recently posted…Man Day Post: Jen’s Guy vs. Free Range ParentingMy Profile

    1. I completely agree! There is way too much judgment that takes place between females and the choices that we make as women. The original author was strongly opinionated on her stance that it is not a “job” and that women complain too much when they do stay at home. It isn’t easy, and sometimes you just need to vent about it! But that doesn’t mean that demeaning what one woman chooses to call her life’s “work” is appropriate or fair.

    1. Sometimes when I talk to those that don’t have children, I get the feeling that they think parents (stay at home or those that work) really just hang out during the day when they are home with their children. I think it’s difficult to realize how much work goes into it unless you have been there.

  3. I really like your balanced outlook and nonjudgmental tone, Joanna!

    Years ago I spent almost every Friday with a former co-worker when both of our daughters were babies/toddlers. I chose to stay home after my daughter was born; my friend continued at the same company and was quickly promoted to management, where she was able to work flex hours for a 4 day work week. One day she asked me, “What do you **DO** all day??” My answer: “What you pay someone else to do all day at your elite Georgetown daycare.”

    So is it a job? I agree the answer depends on who you ask; however, I say yes for ONE reason: We all have the same number of hours in a day and those hours are all filled with work, just DIFFERENT types of work. Considering many make a good living providing childcare, I would say that taking care of your children all day is a “job.” That said, being able to do it in your own home at your family’s schedule is a HUGE benefit! Those articles that talk about how much a SAHM would be making if she were paid for her services may make some feel more justified, but let’s face it, out of the home career moms have to do many of these things, too, just in a fewer number of hours. Bottom line: we all have our jobs and we don’t need to justify them — if we embrace our chosen responsibilities, do them to the absolute best of our ability in the time we have, why would we want to spend our remaining time or energy judging what someone else is or is not doing. 🙂 This is a (I would venture to say, unnecessarily) touchy subject, and you presented it well. 🙂
    Wendy recently posted…A Working {Blog} StaycationMy Profile

    1. Well said! I don’t think anyone should have to justify their position as a SAHM with numbers or a title. I like reading those articles about how much a mom would make, but then again, it’s almost just from a humor perspective because we all know mom’s don’t do what they do for payment.

  4. I’m a SAHM and it can be tough. Some days are easier than others, just like outside jobs. Both of my kids are in school now, and I could get a job, but my husband’s schedule is crazy and we worry we’d never see each other. So I still stay home. It works out well for our family.
    Amber recently posted…Hey, It’s Okay Tuesday!My Profile

  5. OMG my ex-husband would always make this comment, “Being a SAHM isn’t a job, where’s your paycheck…” Grr he wasn’t ever able to manage what we do, it’s “too much work” Like when we had 3 kids, he always said that.. but since we have four, I’m now entitled to say it’s a job.. what!?!? No.. But I’m not a single mom of four and I work from home and run a blog. Busy to say the least. I really don’t care what people think, you just gotta choose your battles..
    Natalie recently posted…$15 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway #HippityHoppityMy Profile

    1. I agree that you have to pick your battles. Unfortunately, I think it’s sad that this topic is something that women have to fight for and about in general. If you are staying at home with your children all day, taking care of them and your household, to me that is considered doing “work” regardless of the paycheck.

  6. I don’t care whether or not someones says being a SAHM is a job as long as they acknowledge that it’s hard work and not always something the SAHM enjoys at the moment. What I do HATE is when people say being a SAHM is a luxury. My husband and I have given up a lot so I can stay at home with our son. I understand totally that some people just can’t make it work and a woman who would like to stay home with her kids isn’t able to but I’d say the vast majority of us are giving something up in order to be at home, nurturing our kids. Thanks for writing this post – it brings up a lot of great points!
    Susannah recently posted…Connecting Over a CuppaMy Profile

    1. It’s a hard decision to make as a family. I don’t think that it is a “luxury” for ever family either, since most are giving up a needed paycheck in order to stay home. With the cost of childcare and everything else that comes with being a SAHM, the loss of the paycheck sometimes balances out in my mind. It isn’t some “spa day” luxury to do so, but I am grateful that I get to be the one that raises and teaches my children.

  7. I too am a STAHM, and a homeschooling one too. I do see how some days are harder then others, but I consider it a huge blessing to be able to stay at home with my boys. I do miss that extra paycheck, but the time is get watching them hrpw and develop is far more valuable. 🙂
    Treats by Tanya recently posted…How To Make Dandelion JellyMy Profile

    1. I give you a lot of props for homeschooling your kids as well! My mom home-schooled six children for many years after my dad passed away and those years are some of the best education I’ve received.

  8. It seems like articles like these are published to make people angry and stir up controversy. Sometimes I get tired of all the titles that come with parenting. I think your post was very balanced. I guess if you don’t get a paycheck being a SAHM isn’t a job as defined in a dictionary…however it is hard work! It all comes down to respecting other people’s choices.
    Melissa Matters recently posted…How to Recover From a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Parenting DayMy Profile

    1. Thank you! I really wanted to come across as far to both sides, because I really do think it should be every woman/families decision on their own and they can label it whatever they want! 🙂

  9. Being a stay at home mom is not a job. It is a responsibility…a life choice YOU made. What do you think career moms do when they get home? All the things stay at home moms do but on a greater time constraint. That is a fact. My mother was a stay at home mom…and she typically slept until noon. Lazy, lazy, lazy.

    1. I’m going to disagree with you. While it may not be a “job” technically, because I don’t et paid for it, I put just as much work, hours, and effort into my days as a career woman does. Not one is above the other, but SAHM are anything but “lazy”.

      1. I wasn’t aware you put in as many hours as an ER nurse, teacher, lawyer, or Doctor. Managing a blog is tough work and time consuming-I had no idea.

        1. Sara D:

          Here’s a quote from Joanna’s post I think you ought to take another look at:

          *Here’s to letting the decisions of others be their own and not demeaning any one decision that a woman has to make*

          And really? I think there’s probably a lot you “have no idea” about. And, trolls don’t belong on blogs but under bridges. Namaste.
          Jill Robbins recently posted…What a drag it is getting oldMy Profile

          1. jill, do you know what a MOM MARTYR is? Have you heard of the term Sanctimommy? Women get a college education because life and career goals are more than just cleaning, cooking (which every adult has to do regardless…unless you are a chef or Nannie that needs to do these things to prevent homelessness as paid labor) and wiping noses and butts. If you were completely content and truly believed motherhood is a job, you would not be pursuing an education. If you’re a responsible, non mom martyr or lazy ass that CHOOSES motherhood over a career for her own validation and acknowledges this…then live it up and be happy. Motherhood is motherhood and a job is a job. I wouldn’t call my kids a job-seems insulting to both you and children. Own it as a choice and stop making incomparable comparisons.

          2. I was pursuing a career and in school before i started having children. The fact that I chose to continue with my education while raising four children has nothing to do with my validation as a mother or the fact that it is, in fact, the hardest “job” on the planet. What’s insulting is a woman, like yourself, bashing the decisions of other women, without any basis of fact about their lives.

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