If you belong to multiple mom groups like I do, you not only get valuable information and camaraderie from moms; you also start to see patterns in how specific motherhood struggles play out in our communities and families. Sometimes, that info is helpful and affirming. Other times, that information makes you wonder what year we're living in. Nowhere is this more true than in the conversation that happens around stay-at-home moms (SAHMs), especially when male partners and other men are taking. There are several things that men need to stop saying about SAHMs already, even if only to spare me the reflexive anger I’ve become conditioned to feel every time I see a post begin with the words, “Am I overreacting? I'm a stay-at-home mom and my husband/significant other/some other dude in my life says [insert horrible asinine and sexist thing here].” Literally nothing good ever follows those words, and it's awful that there are still so many presumably decent men out there speaking and believing this kind of complete nonsense.
I’ve spent the entirety of my toddler son’s life (thus far) as a SAHM and now a work-at-home mom — a term I now hate, as it implies that until she takes on paid work, a stay-at-home mom was doing nothing at home. It has been such an eye-opening experience. People make so many assumptions about moms who quit their jobs and what it means to be a SAHM, all of which are colored by sexism regardless of whether the person making those assumptions is for or against moms staying home with their kids. Even self-professed feminists are not immune to making ridiculous statements about SAHMs, and the tricky nature of this conversation gets all the more fraught and problematic when it's men talking about it, given their privileged social position.
If you're a guy who's ever had anything like the following statements fall out of your mouth, please read on (and maybe draft a note apologizing to whomever you said it to or about). And if you are (or love) a stay-at-home mom who has had to deal with this kind of ignorance, please share and/or print as necessary. Better yet, post it to your mom group the next time this same problem comes up, cause it's bound to happen at least four more times before the week is up. Ugh.