I hate to tell you this, but, well; it's a great, big, crazy, patriarchal mess out there and, in turn, we women have to be grown-ass women and work together if we want to get anywhere. That means creating a badass coalition of working moms, child-free women, stay-at-home moms and any other variation of self-defined womanhood. Maybe it's the traditional gender role; maybe it's the isolation; maybe it's the lack of networking opportunities, but we stay-at-home moms are all-too-frequently overlooked as viable soldiers in the fight. However, there are things grown-ass women never say to stay-at-home moms; things that don't overlook stay-at-home mothers or their role in undermining the patriarchy; things that are, honestly, essential if we want to keep this sisterhood thing going.
Madeline Albright once said that there's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women. Then, a few years ago Taylor Swift invoked it against Amy Poehler and Tina Fey for making a joke about her and attributed the quote to Katie Couric. Then everyone revisited the quote and Albright said she was sorry for ever even putting it that way in the first place. Drama and possible misinterpretation aside, the point remains. We're in this together, and that means everybody has to be cool and not work off the stereotypical narratives a patriarchal society has projected on women and their specific choices.
In other words, working moms aren't selfish and child-free women aren't "definitely going to change their minds" and stay-at-home moms aren't any of the things implied by the following questions, statements, or observations. A grown-ass woman knows all of the above, and she definitely knows never to say the following:
"I Could Never Be A Stay-At-Home-Mom!"
I know people don't really mean this one to be obnoxious, but intention doesn't shield it from being both insulting and annoying. What you're likely trying to say is, "I recognize how difficult your job is," but the way it comes out is, "What you do is soul crushing," or worse still, "I am above doing what you do." It's especially bad when followed by something like "I need to be challenged," or "I need my brain to be occupied." A grown-ass woman knows that there are better ways to express respect for another person's chosen line of work, and she certainly knows she isn't better than anyone else no matter what she does for a living.
"Don't You Worry About Re-Entering The Workforce?"
Any grown-ass woman knows that either
A) the woman in question is worried about her ability to re-enter the workforce and pointing out the potential difficulty is not helping her anxiety;
B) the woman in question wasn't worried but now she is;
C) the woman in question hasn't given any thought to re-entering the workforce, or has decided not to, and your assumption that she should is both presumptive and condescending.
Ergo, a grown-ass woman does not ask this very loaded question.
"As A Feminist, I Could Never Not Work"
The idea that one loses her feminist credibility the moment she steps away from her career is laughable, especially to grown-ass women. They know that feminism is for everyone, and the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality is not something that must be done from an office. They are aware that Lean In is not the first, last, or only book on feminism. Grown-ass women do not confuse "feminism" with their own personal goals.
Grown-ass women will join all SAHMs in the full-body shudder that is sure to ensue after hearing this obnoxious, sexist throwback term. Please. Just, like, don't. Even when you say it ironically it's kind of (read: totally) deflating.
"Don't You Get Bored?"
A grown-ass woman is careful not to project her ideas of what a SAHM does or doesn't do and how those potential does and don'ts could, maybe, make her feel. Rather, she will ask her SAHM friend about her day, listen, and wait for the friend to give her own assessment. After you've, you know, had a conversation, you can ask follow-up questions. Likely, she will learn that SAHM's days usually vacillate between mind-numbing boredom and overwhelming exhaustion born of a never-ending to-do list that never, ever gets to-done.
"Could You Do Me A Favor, Since You're Home Anyway?"
No matter how busy a grown-ass woman is, she does not attempt to pawn off any of her chores or errands on a SAHM. First, any grown-ass woman would be aware that a stay-at-home mother has her own schedules, and it's usually if not almost always full. However, even if her SAHM friend never mentioned the never-ending to-do list, a grown-ass woman would never assume that her friend is just sitting around, twiddling her thumbs, waiting to be given something to do.
"It Must Be So Nice To Be Able To..."
Grown-ass women do not romanticize what it means to be a stay-at-home mom, because they know that doing so comes off as simultaneously diminishing, judgmental, and ignorant. They are aware that being a SAHM doesn't mean having all the time in the world to pursue hobbies and leisure or whatever else, simply because they are in their home.
"Well, If I Was A Stay-At-Home-Mom..."
Grown-ass women know that this statement, where they go on and on and say all the wonderful, productive, Martha Stewart-esque things they would so totally do if they were SAHMs, is basically just a more offensive version of "must be nice." When someone says the aforementioned, not only are they romanticizing what it means to be a SAHM, they're implying that the SAHM is somehow going about it all wrong.
"What Do You Do All Day?"
It doesn't take a grown-ass woman to know that this is basically the one question that, when posed to a SAHM, will either make her laugh or cry (or both), until she descends into madness or internally talks herself out of some violent altercation. Be warned: if there is just one other SAHM on the jury at your murder trial, she will walk free because what the hell were you thinking?