I was a Stay-at-home-mum.  This was a choice my husband and I made together because it is what worked best for our family. I am now a work-from-home-mum which has it’s own set of challenges. There are however a few misconceptions of a stay-at-home mum that I would like to challenge.

We sit on our arse eating biscuits and watching TV all day

I wish!  I definitely sat for longer and ate more biscuits when I was at work than I do now.  Now there are days when my arse doesn’t touch a sofa until 8:00pm.  There are perks to my job, I run my own schedule and I’m the boss.  There are great days which involve baking and meeting up with friends for a tea (and maybe a biscuit).  But those days mean I have worked twice as hard the day before and done double the amount of chores.  

When I took on my new job, I thought it would be easy to keep on top of the housework.  It wasn’t hard when there was just the two of us.  But we are four now, and kids come with a whole lot of stuff and make a whole lot of mess with it.  There are three universal rules that apply to all households with children.

  1. The washing basket is never empty.
  2. Someone is always hungry.
  3. There is always a mess to be cleaned up.

On good days my job is rewarding and fun.  On normal days it is challenging and busy, on bad days it is monotonous and thankless.  But on no days do I sit on my arse eating biscuits all day.


I am rich

I know I am lucky to be in a position where financially I don’t have to work.  But I got into that position by working hard, saving hard and not getting myself into loads of debt.  We are not rich.  We make sacrifices.  We very rarely go out to dinner, we haven’t been abroad for six years.  We don’t go to concerts and the children don’t have season tickets to theme parks. We live to a really tight budget but we make it work for us.  I am not by any means rich.  

I am on benefits

The flip side to people assuming I am rich is that they assume I am reaping in the money by claiming loads of benefits. The only benefit I receive is child benefit, which until last year so did anyone in this country with children.  When people assume I am on benefits they always do so whilst looking down their noses and acting superior to me.  The benefit system is in place for a reason and helps those that need it.  There are always those that take advantage and sometimes the system can be unfair, but so is most people’s attitude towards those who do receive benefits.  But no, the government does not pay me to sit on my arse eating biscuits all day.  My husband does!

I have nothing worthy to contribute

This one is perhaps the hardest for me to deal with.  It wasn’t that long ago that being a stay-at-home Mum was the norm. But now I live in a society where I feel I have to justify not having a ‘real’ job.  Maybe it’s my job title.  I hate the term ‘housewife’, I did not say ‘I do’ to bricks and mortar.  But in the same vein ‘stay-at-home’ Mum has a sort of prisoner ring to it. In my previous life I worked my way up, I held my own in boardrooms, I hired people, I fired people, I dealt with difficult clients.  In my current job I have to negotiate harder than I ever did in boardrooms, and there is no client more difficult than a tantrum throwing toddler, and I can’t quit if it all gets too hard.  

Some of my friends attitudes have changed towards me, they no longer ask my opinion.  Being a stay-at-home mum doesn’t strip me of my intelligence.  Okay maybe the first few months, but when the baby fog lifts I’m still here.  I am still capable and worthy.  

I voted in our current government because they promised to be all about families and pledged tax breaks for married couples.  But they turned against me and my family.  I have nothing against their initiatives to help with childcare costs so mums can go back to work.  But some of us want to be at home, and language like “those that want to work hard and get on” implies that I am lazy and have no aspirations, that my job is unworthy.

Being a stay-at-home mum is a valid and worthy job that shouldn’t need justifying.


The media pits working mums and stay-at-home mums against one another so much that we end up in a situation where we can’t do right for doing wrong. At the end of the day every parent I know, stay-at-home, or working, is doing their best and wants the best for their child.

And now that rant is off my chest I’m going to go and lay on my chaise lounge and eat biscuits for the rest of the day whilst the maid does the housework and the kids fend for themselves! 

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Claire Kirby

18 Comments on Perceptions of a Stay-At-Home Mum

  1. Thanks for writing this for all us SAHMs! I have never worked harder in my entire life!!…yet I still find that I still justify our choice in front of friends and family because a little bit of me thinks that they must assume I am rich/living the lazy life/unable to use my brain anymore…couldn’t be further from the truth (apart from maybe the latter because I have just had a baby). FAB post!!!

  2. To be honest, some days as a full-time mum I DO sit on my arse all day eating treats. But then I spend the rest of the week playing catch up and working four times as hard as usual. So, it’s not really worth it!
    I agree with all the things you say though, and have experienced the same judgements.

  3. As somebody who was a stay at home mum I could agree with all of those statements that you have made. My hat really goes off to stay at home parents, I went back to work and then had 6 months of not working due to being made redundant and I honestly swear I nearly went mad. It was hard blooming work and like you say, there is always something that needs doing whether that’s a child that wants feeding, a nappy to be changed, spilt drinks, or breaking up an argument.

  4. This is all so true and the last point especially hits close to home for me. I get so darn frustrated with this idea that I’m somehow dumber or less capable of coherent thought now that I’m a stay at home mom >.< I think no matter what we say or do, there will be people out there who will think like that.. Sigh

  5. Fab post and I feel EXACTLY the same as you. It is weird how our society totally devalues the role of being a SAHM and makes us out to be lazy more than anything. Yes we are fortunate we can afford to be SAHMs but that comes with a choice and we are much more careful and frugal than some people who say they cant afford not to work but then go abroad a couple of times a yr (which is entirely up to them we all make our own choices for our own reason and not criticising them but it is about choices). For me the choice was worth it and it is sad that the government doesn’t recognise what we do as worthwhile. Ooh sorry for the long comment, great post 🙂 x

    • I heard something today talking about the ‘luxury’ of being a stay at home mum. Luxuries are holidays and meals out. I do without those luxuries so I can be a stay at home mum!

  6. An interesting read. However in response to a prompt responses response. I have three children and I do a job share as a infant teacher. I love my job and it means that along side my hubby’s job we can have nice holidays etc however I also enjoy looking after my three children. I don’t think any parent should judge another most people are doing their best. And for me although I love raising my kids I also love working and contributing to supporting other people’s children. Some work some don’t. Some earn some don’t. Some are high fliers some aren’t. But as parents we muddle through and do the best we can. Don’t judge

    • I do worry about what staying at home teaches my children about working. They obviously have no idea about my working life before them. You are right Every family does what’s best for them and what’s best changes as your family grows. As much as I love being a stay-at-home mum I do feel you can loose your identity and place in society. I guess that’s why I am blogging. It gives me a voice.

      • Love this! I nodded about 100 times!! I really do identify with what you have blogged. The media and politicians seem to act like we don’t exist as valuable and important members of society. It’s only taken having my second child to realise it. Now I do not feel the need to justify my position whatever reaction I may get. But I do completely agree with your reply there. My five year old has commented that I’m a mummy “who doesn’t have a job” and I have said to him that that is not true it is just that my job is at home looking after him and his baby sister. And that I work hard doing it! Is one of my bug bears when I read of mums saying “I’m showing my children a work ethic” as if SAHMs don’t. It’s just differently. I do have moments when I worry about my status, that I have nothing to contribute in life, conversation, worry about being ‘boring’ company when I am with adults..But I keep up to date on Twitter and reading articles and newspapers..and I know that my life is not CBeebies..that this lack of confidence only comes in waves, and the most important thing is this time with my children. Nothing else truly matters and I’m happy with that.

        • I think we all feel guilty whether we stay at home or work. We have to justify it for some reason when everyone is just doing the best they can for their family. Thanks for your comment.

  7. I’m a working mum, but agree with every word you just said. I don’t understand why my identity should primarily be based on what I do for 20 hours a week rather than what I do for those other (7×24-20…I can’t do the maths) hours. I don’t get why the government thinks supporting the family only means tax breaks for childcare and help getting back into work, rather than having a structure where it’s an affordable option to have a single-income family, allowing kids to be cared for by the people who brought them into the world.
    And raising kids is the hardest, most relentless, non-transferable, under-appreciated thing you can do.
    But thank Christ that despite that people are still willing to do it, which alone shows you how wonderful it is too, because if a job in the public sphere was treated with the same disdain for such a sheer volume of effort everyone would throw in the towel.

    • Part time work, full time work or stay at home someone will always be telling you you are doing it wrong. It’s hard for all of us to get the balance right. I hate the divide between mums created by the media. We are all doing the best we can.

  8. Great post. SAHMing is bloody hard work and I have a lot of respect for those who do it… probably more so because as a working mum I really do sit on my arse eating biscuits all day 😉

  9. A very justified rant and one I see cropping up more and more in this blogosphere world….I’ve often wondered about these mothers that choose to have the high-flying careers myself, not the ones that genuinely HAVE to work, but the ones that by choice go out and leave the children with a carer…..why have children if you never intended to be there to influence or enjoy them? To me, it’s not ever been about anything but WANTING to be with my kids…the rest of it, I just never really felt a need to worry about.

    • Why defend your position by attacking another group of mothers? It’s not necessary. Some people enjoy working and it’s really none of your business. Do you dish out the same abuse to fathers who choose to work, or is sexism more your thing?

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