Stay at Home Moms "Don’t Work a Day in their Lives". Really?

'Ann Romney' photo (c) 2011, Gage Skidmore - license:

Last night, on CNN, Democratic spokesperson and strategist Hilary Rosen announced that Ann Romney had “never worked a day in her life.”

Now, I don’t want to get all political in this post, but what floored me is that someone who is actually paid as a political strategist could not realize what an abominably stupid thing this was to say.

Because we all know that raising five boys doesn’t involve work, even if you’re battling breast cancer and MS, too. We all know that going to a job is ever so much harder than raising five boys. We all know that stay at home moms have it easy, and that it’s working moms who really contribute to society. We all know that stay at home moms are lazy.


The fact that she felt that she could say this without repercussions (she has since had to apologize, and Democrats are scrambling to try to distance themselves from her) shows that to a large proportion of people, that statement is obviously true in on its face. People honestly believe this stuff.

Those are the same people who never had to look after little kids while they themselves had a fever of 102, and they were wondering how they were going to get through the day. These are the same people who never had to occupy a three children under five in a grocery store, trying to keep them all happy. These are the same people who never dealt with trying to get a toddler to nap while the baby naps at the same time so that maybe, just maybe, you could please oh please oh please get 15 minutes to myself today.

'My boys and I' photo (c) 2011, Tanya Little - license:

I have worked outside the home before I had kids, and let me tell you: I loved my jobs. They were fun to go to. I loved talking to people there. I loved what I did. I loved the challenges that I could set for myself. Working can be fun.

Staying at home can be, too, but it’s also so incredibly exhausting. Now, I do believe that working nine hours a day and then coming home and trying to make dinner and get everyone into bed is also exhausting. But it’s a different kind of exhausting. There is something uniquely exhausting about never, ever getting a break from a busy 2-year-old.

I’d like to see Hilary Rosen try to get through just one day with five small boys.

But more than that, what does Hilary Rosen think Ann Romney should have done? Mitt Romney was making a good living. Does Hilary think that Ann should have worked nonetheless, because that’s what “real” women do? So we should work, even when we don’t need the income? That if we stay home with our kids, we somehow “betray the sisterhood” or something?

In polls of what childcare arrangement people think is best for the child, a parent caring for the child always exceeds all others by far. We all know that parent care is the best care, unless you’ve got a really sketchy parent. So what Hilary Rosen is really saying is that even though parental care is best, and even though the child would do best if the mom were at home, and even though in this particular case Ann Romney didn’t need the income from a job that she would have, she should still work. So children’s welfare comes way down the list of priorities.

Look, I know some moms need to work outside the home. But in survey after survey, the majority of working moms say that they would be home if they could–or they would at least prefer to work part-time. We know that it’s a tension. We know that kids need us. And that’s the big reason I decided to stay at home.

And yet, there seems to still be a significant segment of society who doesn’t even see that accusing Ann Romney of “not working a day in her life” isn’t profoundly dumb. It’s like she’s insulated from the vast majority of women who understand this tension and experience it everyday.

This kind of thinking drives me nuts, because it shows that some people have no respect for the work involved in raising kids well. When I was first home with my babies, my husband was doing his residency in pediatrics, and at social functions I used to talk with the female residents who had kids (all of whom had hired nannies). And one woman complained to me that her nanny never washed the floors and refused to get dinner ready and wouldn’t do the ironing. She said she was too busy with the kids.

And I thought: I’m home all day with my kids and I don’t get the ironing done and it’s hard for me to get dinner on the table, too. This woman eventually hired a new nanny who did all of those things. But I’m pretty sure the kids just got ignored.

I used to take my children to the library every week for a big outing. And today I have raised teenagers who love to read. We used to go for walks in the park. We used to visit the museum on free Tuesday mornings. We played. We sang songs. We went to play group. They had an incredibly happy childhood, and they learned so much. But it was work, and I was always trying to squeeze in cleaning and cooking. It wasn’t easy. I deliberately added things to my life so that the stay at home mom blues were kept at bay, but it was tough.

People who think it’s easy have prioritized the cleaning over the kids, in my opinion. Sure, you can have a perfect house and perfect meals, but sometimes you have to let some of that go so you can go build a snowman with the children, instead of making them watch videos or play quietly so you can your “real” work done. It doesn’t work like that!

So let me ask: do stay at home moms work? And how is it that people believe they can actually say this stuff?

Don’t forget to enter my contest where I will come to your church–and speak for free! You can win a “Girl Talk” evening where we talk marriage, intimacy, and fun! Enter here.


  1. I, for one, am very glad this lady said this. Now my secret is out and I don’t have to hide it any more! I do NOTHING! All day long! It is awesome! Bwahahaha!
    Cindy recently posted…Rattling the Tin CupMy Profile

  2. Cindy’s comment made me laugh. A lot.

  3. Megan G. says:

    I worked outside the home when my oldest son was little, and it was tough. I felt like I was letting someone down every single second of the day – the stress was just insane.

    Now I’m a stay at home mom, and I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to do that. When I just had one kid, I thought it was easier than working outside the home. Now that I have three children, I can barely find the time to remember to eat my own lunch. One of my husband’s friends (with a wife who is employed outside the home) recently commented to me that I just have more free time than his wife. This is a man I really respect and his wife is my friend, so it is not my intention to put them down at all, but I was screaming inside my head, “I CAN’T EVEN GO TO THE BATHROOM WITHOUT SOMEONE ASKING ME FOR SOMETHING OR BREAKING SOMETHING OR STARTING A FIGHT OR COLORING ON THE COUCH!”

    I have three beautiful, wonderful, mostly well-behaved children – one who wakes up early, one who doesn’t nap with the others, and one (the baby) who doesn’t settle down for bed until 10:30 pm, so I literally do not have even one second to myself in the entire day – right this minute I am nursing a baby. And I love it! But it can be physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting.

    Add in the housekeeping – which is my weakness – and, yes, it’s HARD work. Then there’s also the taking care of a husband who is providing for the family, getting your children involved with Christian friends and developmentally appropriate enriching activities or play dates, planning and shopping for and cooking nutritious meals that 5 (or more) people with different tastes and preferences will actually eat, and teaching them to look both ways before they cross the street, wipe their own bottoms, not take things that other people are playing with, answering how old you are when someone asks you, not picking your nose or burping or tooting in public, not saying food is gross when someone makes it for you, saying thank you for the gift even if you don’t really like it, putting dirty clothes in the hamper instead of on the floor, not leaving your half-eaten apple core under the bed, that an M is an upside down W, that it isn’t polite to stare or point or whisper at that person at the mall who walks differently, to treat others how you want to be treated, and that whining doesn’t help us get what we want.

    But what would I know – I don’t even have a job.

    • I can so relate to both you and Sheila. You bring back so many memories. Our children are grown, one with children of her own. I often hear that they were glad I was home with them.

    • Couldn’t have said it better myself!

    • So well written! Now, add to that homeschooling, and I’ve got it pinned. I don’t work a day in my life. Tell that to my thyroid, my pancreas, and my pituitary, all of which are going haywire from living the non-working life. Maybe I should get busy and go find myself a job! lol (really, I’m not a sarcastic person…)

    • Hahaha so well said!!!! I think all of us here agree wholeheartedly :-)
      Lauren recently posted…Followup: My Experience with Garnier BB CreamMy Profile

    • Megan, You made me laugh so hard! You’ve been there! I’m feeling that way with just two little boys! But I’m with everyone, that raising children, i.e. people, humans, feeling thinking breathing spiritual physical beings, future leaders, children of God, PEOPLE (remember, you ARE one), is the MOST IMPORTANT THING A PERSON COULD DO. If you’re blessed to have them, then for goodness sake, take care of them. Loving and teaching children is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I feel so blessed to do it! Crayon couches and all.

  4. Bravo, Sheila! Nobody loves their babies like their mommy does. I have heard from quit a few women that staying home raising children is more work than a career! Raising our next generation is the most important job of all!!!
    Lori recently posted…Pain Free SocietyMy Profile

  5. I am a homeschooling mother of four. My husband tells people that I work harder than he does. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It appears now days a lot of children are raising themselves, and this makes me very sad.

    • It is very sad. For outside folks to demean the work ethic it takes to raise children–daily–and not have someone else take the responsibility, it really hurts and is sad that those individuals are so ignorant.

  6. Words from a husband here…

    There was once a time in my young (and STUPID) life where I believed the same way this clueless woman does. There was a period of several months where I could not find work, and yet my wife was able to get employed fairly easily. I decided to take what I (at the time) considered to be the “easy route” and stay home with our two young children. I was a young guy and figured I’d get in some great video game time, while the toddlers “entertained themselves”. Boy, was I in for an education! Now I love my kiddos, but three weeks later I was an absolute basket case! I BEGGED Tiffani to help me find work again outside the home! That was approximately 22 years ago. A number of years later when I was well established in the IT (computer) field, we were able to bring Tiffani home to be with our kids, and we’ve never looked back!

    From that moment on, I have been my wife’s biggest advocate when I hear idiotic statements like this Ms. Rosen has made. Stay-at-home moms are probably the hardest working women on earth! And let me be the first MAN on this blog to state that unapologetically! Men, until you’ve walked in my shoes with your own kids for a few weeks, you’ve got NOTHING to say on this topic that will mean a thing.

    Our kids are 25, 22, 10, 7, 5 and 4. Yes, they’re all ours – we just spread them out quite a bit. My dear sweet wife stays home with the 4 youngest, homeschooling as well as caring for our farm. She works HARD! And if you care to know how I feel about her, see the post linked at the bottom of this comment!

    Moms at home… you have my UTMOST respect and support! And if you are a homeschooler as well, so much the better!
    Jason recently posted…The Most Beautiful Woman In The WorldMy Profile

  7. I think that the original comment referred to the fact that Ann Romney has never had a paying job. Like Mrs. Romney, I have also been an at-home mother raising 5 boys for the last 20 years. I still have a preschooler so it will be a while before I can even get a part-time job. If someone said that I have not worked in the past 20 years, they would be correct. I have not earned a single cent. I wouldn’t trade a minute with my kids for a million dollars; they are my priority and my joy. The point is that many women have not been as privileged as Mrs. Romney and me. Sure it is difficult to not have any money of my own to use but I have all the food, clothing, and shelter I need. I know that many, many mothers do not have the choice to be with their children and still have food on the table. Having said that, I do think that Ms. Rosen could have worded her comment in a more gracious manner.

    • Are you saying that it’s only “work” if you get paid for it? I must respectfully disagree.

      But as I said in my comment above, you still have my utmost respect and support for staying at home with your little ones!

    • I think what Rosen was also implying was that because Ann Romney had never “worked” she knew nothing about the economy and so couldn’t speak to it since she’d never had to find a job. But almost every stay at home mom I know knows a TON about the economy. They know about inflation from food prices and gas prices. They know how to budget. They know what it’s like when their husband is out of work. No matter what she meant, it was offensive either way, in my opinion. And I’m not even American!

      • I totally agree… Just because you don’t have a “paying job” doesn’t mean you don’t work… and being on a tight income, budgeting and following the market and prices are a priority!
        Katrina Welch recently posted…Weigh in Wednesday 4/11/12My Profile

        • Ilse Perzoff says:

          I was a “stay-at-home” mom in the seventies when the feminist movement became really strong. I had a great job before I had my first baby and loved going out to work, all dressed up, visiting with colleagues, going out for luch, etc. etc. It was a lot of fun.
          My husband I decided that we didn’t want someone else raising OUR children and consequently, I stayed home. We didn’t have a lot of money then, but I was good with handling money, household, and raising my three children. Taking a shower became a luxury,and to be quite honest, I had never worked so hard in my whole life. Every job I ever had, I took very seriously, and just because I didn’t get paid for staying at home, didn’t mean that this wasn’t the most important job I ever had. Also, my husband would not have been able to pay me for what I was worth and and what I did. I don’t have to itimize the many tasks involved in raising children, cleaning house, cooking, shopping, because every mother and stay-at-home mother will know.
          It used to irk me when a two-bit dollar store employee would ask at the checkout “do you work?”, and as I said before, never in my life had I worked this hard before.
          Anyway, I am happy I chose to stay home, because believe me, it took a very STRONG woman to do that because the pressure from the feminists was overwhelming, and I love my children and they are all upstanding, contributing citizens.

      • Agreed! Just because a woman stays home and doesn’t have a “paying job” doesn’t mean she isn’t in touch with the economy. We manage our own economies – budgets, payments, bills, unexpected expenses, often trying to make the dollars from our husbands’ paychecks stretch to cover everything so we don’t go into the red. Tell me how THAT is out of touch with the economy! Stay at home moms are some of the best economic managers I know.
        Melissa recently posted…Today…My Profile

      • Exactly! Knowledge and intelligence are not related to “paying jobs”!!!

    • learning is fun! says:

      I would also disagree with the notion that stay-at-home moms don’t earn any money. My feeling is this: while your efforts might not result in a ‘paycheque’ per se, the fact remains that you are saving money that would otherwise be spent on childcare, school lunches, etc. In my opinion, saving IS earning. I was fortunate that my mom was able to stay at home with us until my brother and I were in junior high school, and my father would be the first to admit that if not for that, and my mother’s frugality and expertise in budgeting, there’s no way they would be in the financial position they are today, nor would we have been able to enjoy some of the things we did as a family.

      • A penny saved is a penny earned…There’s a lot of truth to that! And I know that many SAHMs figure it’s their job to provide a second income by simply saving on stuff!

  8. I walked away from my computer when I first read about that statement this morning. I was boiling mad and my momma really did teach me to not speak when I didn’t have anything nice to say. I really try hard to follow that lesson to this day. Now that I’ve prayed and calmed down I can actually speak.

    While I understand that the original comment was referencing that Mrs. Romney has never had a paying job, I think that is still arrogant and highly uninformed. Just because I don’t work a job outside the house doesn’t mean that I cannot speak about or add to conversation on the current economy and how businesses function. I run our family finances (under my husband’s headship… the buck does stop with him, but $$$ signs make his head spin). My ability to understand what it takes for women to succeed in the current economy isn’t tied to whether I work or not.

    I’d love for Ms. Rosen to come take just a week in my shoes and decide that stay at home moms have nothing to offer to the political and economic discussions. I left my six figure job 7 years ago and have no regrets. I LOVED what I did and was good at it. But, I love my children more and love this too. It’s hard work and I’m glad to have this chance to raise the next generation to see a bigger picture. I wish I’d had this opportunity from the very beginning.
    Tiffani recently posted…Who’s Teaching Whom?My Profile

  9. What a sad thing for her to say, though I used to believe it too. And am still pressured by people to go to work and live up to my potential. God is slowly showing me that home is the place where I need to be and my family needs to be my main priority.
    Sis recently posted…“What Makes You Vulnerable Makes You Beautiful”My Profile

  10. I love this post, and your blot in general. I’ve always wanted to stay home with my kids and my husband and I make sacrifices to do so. Money is tight and I get very little time to myself (15 month old and 3 year old), but I would not trade it for anything. I have been very active with the kids department at my church and you can tell in minutes who gets time with their parents and who doesn’t. I’ve always wondered why being a nanny is a “job” but being a stay at home mom is not?

  11. Thank you for writing this post, Sheila! I have stayed at home with my 5 kids for 28 years (I have one left at home) and I get so tired of people hating on me for getting to not work outside the home. It is a huge blessing that I have been able to do what I love–take care of my family. But it doesn’t mean that my days weren’t filled with chaos.

    When my youngest was little I went into the bathroom and she stood at the door screaming to come in with me. I said, “I need to have privacy.” She replied, “I want to come in and have privacy with you!”

    I can relate to so many of the scenarios that you presented in this post. I had 4 small children at one time and a husband who worked long hours and traveled a lot. Someone always got sick or there was an emergency home repair needed when he was away. It has made me stronger but I am certainly glad for the time and memories I got to build with my kids.

    • Oh, that made me laugh: “I want to have privacy with you!” I’m going to have to remember that anecdote for when I do parenting talks. That’s precious. And yes, those memories are irreplaceable.

      • learning is fun! says:

        Sheila, this is a little off-topic, but a suggestion for a ‘Friday Funny’ post might be to have those who are parents post some of the priceless quotes that their kids, grandkids, or kids’ friends have come out with. I know my mom has a whole book pertaining to my niece…just a thought!

        ok – back to our regularly scheduled programming!

  12. Thank you for this post, Sheila. If I had a dollar for every person who thought I was nuts for homeschooling our kids when I could be making money as a Chartered Accountant… I was going to say, I’d be rich, but I think I already am, just in a different way.

    I want to encourage those moms who are at home with really young kids that it does get a little easier. My kids are 6 and 4 (still young, but not toddlers). They will actually play with each other and leave me alone for short spurts without setting the house on fire! They also actually help me with chores rather than “help” me (see blog post linked below for more thoughts on this).

    However, being with the kids 24/7 is still tough, and finding the right balance of time is s an ongoing challenge.
    Leanne recently posted…Teaching kids about money using choresMy Profile

    • Absolutely! I’ve been looking after a friend’s 2-year-old off and on when she’s been sick lately, and 2 is HARD! I remember those days. But it gets easier everyday; it really does. Though it’s still exhausting!

  13. When my husband & I started having children we both knew that WE wanted to be the one to raise them. Not daycare centers, not babysitter’s, not even grandparents (whom we both love & respect), but the two of us. When my daughters were little we worked opposite shifts so that ones of us was always with the kids. that was the only way to make ends meet. Later I was blessed to have a job at a preschool that also offered speech therapy that both of my daughters needed, so I took them to work with me. By the time their part of the day was over, my husband was able to pick them up and take them home. We didn’t get to see much of each other, but we were both commited to raising our kids.

    When my youngest daughter was ready to start kindergarten, my husbands job hours changed so that we were both going to be working durning the day, & I would be home with the kids after school. I was so thrilled at the thought of having a “normal” schdule. Both kids in school, our jobs, but a lot less pressure trying to balance schdules. Our plans were made, & it looked like things were going to be a lot easier. And then God laughed! Yes, I really believe that’s what He did.

    I wasn’t supposed to be able to have any more children, but I soon discovered that I was pregant again. This time with a little boy, & this time my husband & I couldn’t work oppisite shifts, so I became a SAHM. I was over joyed with the idea, it’s what I always wanted, but after experiencing both sides of this life I have to say that it’s harder for me to be the SAHM. Most of my conversations are with a charming little 3 year old. Even at 6 months my son seemed to think that sleep was optional, He stopped napping for the most part at 26 months, and sleeping through the night was unheard of. Don’t get me wrong, I have inforced bedtime, and naptime all along, but if the child doesn’t sleep then maybe he doesn’t need too, so I decided to cut out the naps I he sleeps much better at night. He still gets up within 15-30 mins of the time I get up & is very active ALL the time.

    Down time is unheard of & like the other mothers, I can’t go to the bathroom by myself. He plays by himself a little, but only if I’m in the room with him & he keeps up a non-stop conversation. Since I’m hearing impaired, it is very difficult for me to understand him unless I’m giving him my undivided attention. He wants to “help” me all the time, and I try to incourage it, but I really just want to be left alone so I can do it myself (I’m much faster).

    I love my son, and really don’t want to go back to work outside the home, but I found it much easier for me, to actually do both. I was able to keep work and home seperate, & of course in our case the kids didn’t suffer since they still had their daddy. But I miss the challenges of my job, seeing the results on a regular basis, and the quite drive home 😉 But for right now at least this is the best option for us, and I really don’t see myself entering into the workforce even when my son goes to school. My hearing is so bad that most jobs are very difficult to do so I think I will be working from home. I really do like being in charge of my schdule & knowing that if the kids are sick, or someother crisis comes up, I can change things as needed so I can be there for my family.

  14. I would definitely say that I work. Even on the days that I don’t get a single bit of housework done, I still go to bed extremely exhausted and early. I’m currently at home with my 6 month old and since we are still nursing my job is.physically draining, literally!, and I really have no idea how I’ll get anything done when she starts walking

  15. of course they work; they just don’t get monetary compensation.
    i tried the sahm thing knowing all the arguments – it’s not for me and my children and family are fine for it.
    my issue when it comes to paying work is always about flexibility. if i have that, you can call me whatever you want.
    nylse recently posted…Old Things/Old WaysMy Profile

  16. To be honest, when I first heard about this, I thought “Ah, Ms Rosen certainly doesn’t have kids. She may not understand how staying at home with kids can be work”

    Then I heard her say she’s a mom! Well, she would have fooled me!

    I don’t have kids. But my sisters and friends do. And my mom had nine of us. It is WORK!
    Ngina Otiende recently posted…Unlearning Lies – 3 Truths That Anchored My Soul In Early MarriageMy Profile

  17. I worked for 15 years before getting married and having kids, jobs included working with Billy Graham at Amsterdam 86, a financial planning firm and as an Exec. Asst. for various VPs. There were many looong hours and even weekend work, but it doesn’t shine a light to the fatigue of being a SAHM! You get pats on the back and or awards while working, interaction with adults, get to dress up LOL, see the results of the hours of work you put in etc. etc. Being at home is THE hardest job I have had, as well as the most rewarding!! It is also a job that will impact society in a very direct way – something many fail to acknowledge. Pouring character lessons, ethics, skills, knowledge, guidance etc. into the life of a child so they can grow up to be self sufficient and impact society is a job that rarely gets any awards or recognition, but it’s impact is greater than some of the biggest business deals ever made!

    I count it a joy and a privilege to be a SAHM and hold my head high when people ask me what I do. We have made some very big sacrifices financially and otherwise (no vacations so kids can be in piano, sports etc. instead) so I can stay home, but I wouldn’t trade the extras of life for being home with my kids for anything. It’s a 24/7 – 365 day a year job with little vacation time and can be a thankless job much of the time , but it also provides some of the greatest rewards in life – an unsolicited “I love you mommy”, seeing your child exhibit a character trait you have been working one , etc. Is it priceless YES!!!

    When I add the God given responsibility of bringing my child up in the ways of the Lord, my job description reaches new levels as I am working for the Creator of the universe who sees all. Everything I do is focused around who He is and His call on my life to be the spiritual mother of my children – a mother who can raise her kids to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, to be leaders and strong defenders of the Faith no matter what the secular world throws their way. That is a high calling I fall to my knees and pray for help about regularly and I can’t think of anyone else I’d like to work along side with more to raise my kids the God himself :)

    That woman needs to have her mouth washed out with soap, or perhaps walk in the shoes of a SAHM for a few months! And you wonder why society and family are falling apart….thank God for SAHM who pour their lives into future generations!

  18. I was a stay at home mom for ten years, then I had triplets to add to the three I already had. Now I’m a WAHM of six. The days I get to tuck away and work in peace and quiet are SO much easier than the days I’m full-on Mommy. Give me a break, Hilary (Who wishes she’d kept her mouth shut, I’m sure.)
    Nicole O’Dell recently posted…On Being a Sexy Mama: Great Expectations?My Profile

  19. Oh THANK YOU THANK YOU for this rebuttal. I am a homeschooling mom of two who gave up my job to stay home with my children it is HARDER THAN ANY WORKING DAY I EVER HAD!!! I wouldn’t change a thing, though.

    The Dems. (and this poor misguided woman) are assaulting our way of life in the name of progress and equality and it makes me ill. Sadly, our children are the ones who are suffering.

  20. I really enjoyed reading this post. It makes me not feel all alone. I am a stay-at-home mommy to four precious children (5,4,3,2). I have never worked harder in my life….and I loved my work-out-side-the-home life before I had children and worked VERY hard at it. (sometimes I still dream about that easy carefree life) The thoughts that Hillary Rosen spoke aloud are unfortunately what a majority of Americans have been programed to think. I have been told before, by another women (in our church and in our small group bible study), who does have children and a job outside the home, that she would stay home but she has got dreams that are so much bigger than that.

    Its not so much the comments as the thoughts that fuel the comments. As if stay at home moms don’t have big dreams or that having and RAISING a family isn’t a big enough dream. Or that the job isn’t hard and lonely enough as it is without other people down playing your role. Another woman, stared at me like I was the stupidest thing she ever saw, when newly pregnant with my first, I said that I was going to be a stay at home mom.

    Those things are difficult to swallow, especially when I feel I am very bright (if I don’s say so myself) and have huge dreams for when the season is right. But I can’t help but feel that we are leaving masses of the future generations to fend for themselves. This is why our country is in the state that it’s in. Children have become nice accessories, something that compliments life and can and should be put in a drawer if it becomes to tacky or burdensome.

    The transition to being home full time was a difficult one for me, but I am proud to say that I have become pretty good at my new “job.” I came home because it was my conviction, which by the grace of God, has become my calling. Not that I am perfect or that my children are (or that my house is clean) but I am proud of who I have become and other people should too.

    My rant. Great Post. So glad I saw it. Thanks for letting me speak my mind. :)

    • Megan G. says:

      I can so relate to your second and third paragraph. At my husband’s work functions, people always go around the table and say, “Oh, what do you do?” to the spouses. When I say I’m a SAHM and homeschooling mom to three, there’s always an awkward pause and then everyone gratefully moves on to the next person without saying anything other than an occaisional, “Oh, how…nice?” This has happened more times than I can count! When I first quit my teaching job, I felt like people would think I was not intelligent or that I was unemployable because I am a SAHM. I’ve been home now about 4 years, and I’m almost over that silly notion, though it does rear its ugly head from time to time. I’m so thankful to have a husband, family, and sweet group of SAHM friends who value and encourage me in this role, when the world does not.

      • Megan G. says:

        Hm. I don’t homeschool all three! One of mine is only 2 months old. I realized my sentence structure had slightly misrepresented myself!

      • That’s when you tell them, Megan, that you’re a Domestic Engineer.

        • You can always tell people that you’re a teacher, nanny, cook, and housekeeper. A stay at home mom holds all of these “jobs” and does them all at the same time.

  21. I wouldn’t trade this time at home with my boys for any amount of money in the world! With my oldest heading off to college in the fall, I know these moments with them are fleeting and fly by faster than I can blink. I am thankful for this opportunity to stay at home with my boys. I am indeed a blessed mama!
    Pam recently posted…When a project doesn’t turn out quite the way I expected . . . .My Profile

  22. This is a great article. Ive only recently stopped feeling sheepish when i say I am a stay at home mom. I just imagine people think its below my training, I am lazy, or wonder why I don’t get a “real” job. But I love that we have found a way to be close to our kids even though the money is tight

  23. Thank you so much for writing this post! It gets so frustrating to have people think we just watch Days Of Our Lives all day long. I mean, seriously? I can’t think of the last time I have actually sat down to watch tv during the day. I’m just happy if I get to sit down period!

  24. I have 2 and 3 year old kids and just went from full-time to part-time at work. I am working SO MUCH more now than I used to. I didn’t realize how easy I had it. :-) Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to be able to be at home 3 days a week now, but it’s definitely harder and more exhausting. :-)
    Allison recently posted…Curious George Birthday PartyMy Profile

  25. I find comments like that to be ironically anti-feminist. Because at its core, wasn’t the feminist movement about giving women more options? More choices? So why is being a stay at home mom not a valid choice? I’m extremely grateful to live in a country where I even have a choice! Why can’t people focus on THAT instead of making it a Stay at Home vs. Working mothers war? She made her choice, you made yours, more power to both of ya!

    And women need to knock off the stay at home vs. working mother backbiting. We gotta have each other’s backs more. Because if we don’t, who does?
    Melissa recently posted…Today…My Profile

    • Megan G. says:

      Thank you for saying what you did about the feminist movement being about more choices. I’ve been thinking that all morning, but haven’t been able to articulate it.

  26. Loved reading all the comments. I am currently a stay at home wife! Yes, that is a little strange but my husband and I made the decision that I would stay home even before we have kids. I spent several years as a live in nanny and I know a tiny fraction of what it is like to be a stay at home mom. I look forward to having kids and staying home with them and right now I enjoy staying home and taking care of my husband. He loves having me great him at the door with supper ready and having energy to spend time with him at the end of the day. Someday our lives will change but as all of you have said as hard as it is to stay home, you love it and your kids love it as well. So ladies, no shame in what you do, you are shaping the future.

    • Megan G. says:

      I think it’s wonderful that you’re a SAH wife! You’ll have the basics of living on one income and keeping a home down before you have kids – those things were HUGE adjustments for us when I quit my paying job.

  27. Thanks for sharing this! I have enjoyed reading all of the comments and love to see others who feel the same. I feel so encouraged today! Wanted to let you know that I posted about this article and being a SAHM on my blog-
    Aubrey recently posted…from my mommy heartMy Profile

  28. I became a stay at home mom just over three years ago. I’ve not regretted it once. I have seven children, and we’re flipping into the homeschool boat beginning the upcoming school year. I also have a more than FT job from home job doing transcription because my hubs has learning disabilities and ADHD which equals a job that doesn’t pay well. And you know what? I’m fixing to start paying a maid to come in twice a week and help me stay caught up with the housework. If I have to start prioritizing, then God, my hubs, my kids, my job and then the housework. I hate, no loathe, all the work i have to put in with laundry and keeping the floors clean and the dishes done.

    And the amazing thing is people want to accuse me of being lazy, sitting at home eating chocolate all day while the money just comes flying in. I usually work from 5 am until 8 am and then 7 p.m. until I’m having to prop my eyelids open with a toothpick. I work hard, but watching my kids grow up is worth it. It’s so worth it.

    I have a cast iron skillet that I will be happy to put anyone’s name on if they beg to differ that SAHM’s don’t work their collective butts off. You go mamas!

  29. I could just cry reading your post and reading all the comments following. I have been a SAHM to my 2 children 7 and 4. My 4 year old is getting ready to enter kindergarten in the fall and all I hear is, “What are you going to do when both of your kids are in school?” I really want to answer, “Oh, I know! My kids won’t need mothering anymore!” I don’t like to engage in the SAHM/Working Mother thing b/c I know many women have to work out of financial necessity. I also know that many of our “necessities” truly aren’t necessary. My parents sacrificed a lot for my mom to stay home. However, now I think SAHM moms are looked down upon – at least that is my experience and it seems many here feel the same. I have a post graduate degree, but nothing makes me prouder or has been more work than raising my children. I believe raising our children is the highest calling a woman can have. It’s what we were created to do! Thank you for your validation, Sheila! And to all you stay at home moms, I appreciate what you do, and am so proud of what you are doing!
    Sarah H. recently posted…Color Run Atlanta!My Profile

  30. Just because you work doesn’t mean you know squat about finances and the economy. Just because you stay home, doesn’t mean you don’t. LOL. As evidenced by my husband who works and has no clue about that kind of stuff, and me, who stays home and takes care of all that stuff.

    Besides, SAHM obviously have more time to stay home and read up on it on the internet!

  31. kharking says:

    I have never figured out why taking care of someone else’s kids all day for a meager wage is work and taking care of my own and “paying” myself out of how well I manage our resources isn’t work. The Employed vs. Working distinction makes sense but is not how her comment was phrased.

  32. I would argue that an unpaid SAHM has *at least* as much understanding of the economy and its state as a working mom. Many of us are living on waaay less than those with two incomes. Most of my SAHM friends, me included, make our families work with household incomes of less than $40k per year, some much less. I know that I am MUCH more aware of rising gas prices, food prices, clothing prices, the tax situation, national debt, etc., than I was when I was working and we had a “healthy” income. We SAHMs have to “earn our living” by being extra frugal with groceries, shopping at thrift stores for clothes, sticking to strict budgets, etc. I’m not saying that a working mom doesn’t do these things too, I’m simply saying Rosen is totally ignorant if she thinks we don’t have a grasp of the economy because we don’t get paid!!!! If anything, the OPPOSITE is true.
    Lauren recently posted…Followup: My Experience with Garnier BB CreamMy Profile

  33. Women’s Liberation: You can “work” now YOU MUST “work”. Really, incredibly stupid. I am “liberated” when society perceives me as an intelligent, hard working, capable woman with a choice, and with value; my identity is not strictly whether I married or am single, have a high tittle at “work” or manage a home respectfully, whether I was born into privilege and still chose to work or just volunteer in the community. Thank you for your post, it put into words what I was struggling with!

  34. THANKS FOR POSTING! We’re all over this on Common Cents as well…

    Common Cents

  35. I had a awesome job before having kids, but I wouldn’t go back for anything. There is nothing more important to me than raising my children. I thank God everyday that I am able to stay home with them. I am truly blessed to have a husband who works hard for us but because he does that we have the best life possible. I feel sorry for Hilary Rosen, who clearly missed out on her kids growing up.
    Nicole recently posted…Jamestown Bridge 10k, DNSMy Profile

  36. Ms. Rosen’s comments made me crazy. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and all the follow up posts. I’ve been an at home mom for 16 plus years–for the first 6 years with my little ones I worked part time as an RN in the evenings and it was very hard. But, as someone said, it is so much harder to never get a break! I have not forgotten those days.

    As far as Ann Romney is concerned. I would aspire to be like her. She is gracious and caring and while she may not have “economic expertise” in the form of a business degree, she is obviously listening to the women of America as she travels around and her husband is very smart to listen to what she has to say.

  37. And here we have a backhanded apology from Hilary to Ann:

    “Let’s put the faux ‘war against stay at home moms’ to rest once and for all. As a mom I know that raising children is the hardest job there is. As a pundit, I know my words on CNN last night were poorly chosen. In response to Mitt Romney on the campaign trail referring to his wife as a better person to answer questions about women than he is, I was discussing his poor record on the plight of women’s financial struggles. Here is my more fulsome view of the issues. As a partner in a firm full of women who work outside of the home as well as stay at home mothers, all with plenty of children, gender equality is not a talking point for me. It is an issue I live every day. I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended. Let’s declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance.”

    Read more:
    Nicole O’Dell recently posted…On Parent Talk: Be a WAHM; America’s Coming Collapse; A Wedding TranspiresMy Profile

  38. My husband and I agreed when we first married that I would be a SAHM. Because of that he has always had to work two jobs; sometimes because of the economy and sometimes because he likes to spend it as fast as he can earn it. We also agreed that I would homeschool our children. Most of the time, he’ll tall you that I do a good job educating them. However, there are times when he makes statements like Ms. Rosen’s. He reminds me that he’s the one working and I’m. He is under the impression that I should be able to have an impeccably clean and organized home, in addition to the shopping, cooking, and educating. I almost wish we had a situation where he would have to do it for a few weeks to see what was involved..
    Heather recently posted…Eternal Encouragement – The MagazineMy Profile

    • Heather, that’s heartbreaking. If you see my comment way up above this one, you’ll note that I DID spend a few weeks at home with my children many years ago. And ever since that time, I have been my wife’s biggest fan. She works HARD! Yes, I learned my lesson. I wish I knew how to get this message across to other men who have no idea.
      Jason recently posted…Do You Pray With Your Wife?My Profile

  39. I KNOW that staying home with the kids is work, because I witnessed my mom raise and homeschool four kids. I could not handle the stress that she went through, especially with us girls during adolescence, and she did a beautiful, amazing job. But at the same time….the first time I heard of this was today, when my husband told me in the very same tone as this article that the lady who made the comment and “other stupid liberals like her” think that married couples who have multiple children are bad people. I realize that staying home with the kids is a real 24/7 job, and I admire women who stay at home with the kids. If I were to become a mom, I would choose to stay home. Added to that, I respect free will and choice and all of that, but I do think that couples who have as many as 5 or more children are selfish and ridiculous. The world is massively overpopulated, for one thing – but the main problem is that there are SO MANY thousands upon thousands of children without love, in horribly abusive situations (sexually abusive, physically abusive, mentally abusive), who desperately need to be adopted into loving, Christian families, even in North America; so to have five or seven or ten kids of your own is, yes, I believe incredibly selfish. Why not adopt five or seven or ten of the beautiful, deeply hurting children who are not loved and who are trapped in abusive situations in orphanages or foster care?

    Those are my thoughts. My husband got mad at me because apparently it isn’t conservative thought, and therefore I’m not the same person I was nine years ago when he decided to marry me. I told him that maybe if he had talked to me or spent any amount of time with me in the past several years, maybe he would have already known who I am and what I believe.

    Sorry. Rough night.
    Jen recently posted…deliberately confident in the character of GodMy Profile

    • Well, I understand your position, but be careful before you judge my heart for having eight children. Incredibly selfish and ridiculous are pretty strong terms. Maybe I just never thought of adoption, maybe there were reasons we didn’t qualify for adoption, maybe in living our lives prayerfully before God we felt His call in a different direction. But without knowing me, would you really just assume I’m selfish?

      I’m sorry you’ve had a rough night. We do change over time, sometimes in ways our spouses don’t know or realize and then it’s a SHOCK when it comes out. And sometimes our emotions color how strongly we state things, so maybe you expressed your views in a way that was less gracious and compassionate than you would normally be. Hopefully you and your husband can work through the painful stuff. It sounds complicated and long term and a rough road ahead, not just one rough night. For that I’m especially sorry.

    • Jen, overpopulation is not a problem in North America. Underpopulation is. Our birth rate is below replacement level. In Europe it’s drastically below replacement level. Our economy is going to shrink substantially if something isn’t done, and the standard of living for our children is going to be very reduced if we don’t fix the population.

      We certainly could simply boost immigration, but that has its own problems.

      Even worldwide, overpopulation is not the problem. Wars and corrupt governments are the problem. There’s more than enough food and water for everyone, but it doesn’t get to the right people because you have corrupt governments. The answer is not to stop having children; it’s to get rid of the corrupt governments.

      With the agricultural advances ushered in by Norman Borlaug, the idea that the world can’t feed itself has now been disproved. It can. The problem is politics and war in so many of these countries.

      Also, God never said not to have children. He told us to multiply, and He said that children are a blessing.

      That being said, we do have a duty to help those that we can through adoption as well, I certainly believe. And through foster parenting. But I don’t believe that it’s selfish to have many children. It’s actually beneficial for society, and it’s in line with what God teaches!

  40. Anonymous says:

    1. People who aren’t actively looking for a job are considered outside of the workforce.

    2. Ann Romney, therefore, has not “worked” in the economic sense of the word

    3. The whole conversation was about women and their focus on the economy.

    I actually think the comment that Rosen made later about women who are both child-raisers and employees have the hardest job was much worse than her first comment- because, really- why are we even fighting about this in the first place?

    There is SO MUCH women-bashing going on right now in the political world and it just makes me batty. Rosen is not dumb for making poorly-worded statement. But we are all so defensive about it that people jumped into a tizzy.

    Rosen wasn’t hating on SAHMs or Romney. She was making the point that the Dems have been making this whole election….that the Romneys are out of touch with the general American public.

    • You’re right! I just read the whole quote.

      “What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country, saying, ‘Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.’ Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing, in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and why do we worry about their future.”

      She was simply saying that Ann Romney had never brought in a paycheck, and didn’t understand the real economic concerns of women – for one thing, her husband has always made enough money for her to be able to stay at home with five kids. That’s not really being in touch with the reality of the average person’s economic situation.
      Jen recently posted…deliberately confident in the character of GodMy Profile

      • It’s not? Really? I think the opposite. A woman at home with kids is the one who manages the household finances, the one who buys the groceries, and budgets for gas. I’m pretty sure most SAHMs who read this blog are more plugged into inflation, and the concerns of their husbands having a job, than even their husbands are! So no matter how you read it, it’s a pretty dumb thing to say, in my opinion!

      • kharking says:

        Ok, I see where you are going with this and, in the sense that her husband has always made enough to support them comfortably, she probably hasn’t had to make the kinds of decisions that some of us do like choosing between buying shoes for the kids or gas to drive to church. For that matter, I can’t think of any politicians (or their spouses) who can sympathize from experience. People who run for higher offices always have a significantly higher income than the rest of us. All of them are out of touch with the general American public in that regard.
        The quibble that I see with her statement is where she says that Mrs. Romney is out of touch with the economic struggles of ordinary women because she does not work outside the home. Working outside the home or not has far less relevance to understanding the economic concerns of women than one’s overall economic status.
        As many other commenters here have remarked, women, whether working outside the home or not tend to be the ones running the budgets and household expenses. The likelihood that they will be doing this increases if they are at home because they are the ones doing the work to keep the household running smoothly. This is true whether their husbands make 30k per year or 300k. To do this requires being intimately familiar with one’s home economy (which is inherently complicated with that many children involved) and necessarily the community economy. Does a WOHM do some of this too? Of course! But to say that someone doesn’t understand economic realities for the sole reason that she does not work outside of managing her own household and has relied on someone else for a paycheck is ridiculous.
        For my part, I am far more aware of the economic issues of job security and rising costs now that I am responsible for running a four person household on my husband’s modest income than I was when I was working–partly from necessity and partly because dealing with those things is how I contribute to the well-being of our family.

    • I’ll have to respectfully disagree with you there. It was a dumb thing to say, and her apology was also dumb, because, as many have commented below, those who have to balance both do not necessarily have it harder (when I was working 50% time and my husband was working 50% time, and I had a job when my oldest was a baby, I found it MUCH EASIER than when I was home full time, because I had a bit of a break from the baby).

      I do think it’s dumb for women to fight over this, but it was she who brought it up. And if she was simply saying that the Romneys are out of touch financially, she could have just said that. But she didn’t. She decided to go at Ann for not working, and that was dumb, especially since she’s a political strategist.

      I agree that we should all lay off the mommy wars and focus on the economy, which is the real issue. But that’s not what Ms. Rosen chose to do. That is what Ms. Romney chose to do in her response. And for that I thought she was very smart.

    • By the way, I really don’t understand this whole “the Romneys are out of touch” attack thing. The Obamas are millionaires, too, after all. The question isn’t whether they understand ME (well, not me, since I’m not American, but you know what I mean). The question is whether they know what to do to fix the economy. And that’s what it comes down to, which is really what people need to focus on. Who can fix the economy? Calling people names or insulting them for not working is just distracting from the real issue. And ultimately all of you Americans will have to decide who you think can fix the economy, not who understands you the best. And I hope, for the rest of the world’s sake (especially up in Canada with a pipeline you apparently don’t want, even though gas prices are going through the roof :) ), that you choose well. /politics off

      • That whole pipeline thing was a spiteful move on our president’s part… NOT indicative of what many Americans feel.

        Thanks for bringing this article to the table, Sheila! I pray that now it doesn’t turn into a feminist or political free-for-all.
        Jason recently posted…Do You Pray With Your Wife?My Profile

      • rommney was born rich; the obamas weren’t. they worked their way up. huge difference in terms of relatability – which is romney’s issue right now.
        nylse recently posted…Love SongMy Profile

        • I guess I would just echo this thought, though: who cares whether you can relate to them? What matters is whether they can fix the problem. Neither couple is relatable; I’m not sure that two Ivy League parents who both worked high power political jobs are that relatable, either. But I don’t care. I think what the world needs is a mature leader who can handle the economy, promote economic growth, and ensure North American security. None of us is going to have either couple over for dinner, anyway, so all of that is kind of moot. And if people truly vote on that sort of thing, then we are in trouble. :)

          • the obamas are relateable to me in many respects. i cant say the same for rommney.
            you’d be amazed at what people vote on. and if history is any indicator, campaigns do not indicate who can fix a problem once in office – it’s a whole lot more complicated than we can fathom.
            nylse recently posted…Love SongMy Profile

  41. I was actually struck by the comment you made about a young lady that complained about her nanny not getting dinner on the table, ironing, etc. Isn’t it weird how we have all these expectations?

    I can agree… I stay home and sometimes cannot find the time to iron, take care of house/son, figure out dinner!

    Thanks for this post. I still cannot believe Rosen said that.

    I wish more women could get into one another’s shoes more often… for some perspective!
    tina recently posted…Nouwen on CompassionMy Profile

  42. Probably a no win. Had she “worked” outside the home, the Democrats would complain that she didn’t need to work outside the home and she was just being selfish and greedy by taking a job someone else needed more than she did.

    I don’t see President Obama calling her remarks what they are, an attack on women.

    Double standard anyone?

  43. Just, wow. This from the same woman who, in 2008, blasted people who had anything negative to say about Michelle Obama because she didn’t think it was right to blast the wives of the politicians. Apparently she just meant the democratic ones.
    Megan Elzey recently posted…SixMy Profile

  44. Thanks for posting!! Great article!
    Yes Moms do work

  45. Rosen’s argument seems to be that Ann Romney cannot relate to financially struggling moms who are forced to work because Ann Romney has a privileged life and is of superior economic means. However, did Ann start off that way? No, actually Ann and Mitt inherited nothing and worked and saved just like others. Also, Ann has also served thousands of women through Church ministry and has listened to thousands more on the campaign trail all throughout the country. So, wouldn’t someone such as Ann have a more correct read on the pulse of mothers in America than most because she has been at the grassroots level? Absolutely yes. So is Mitt wrong to listen to his wife, Ann, on what she hears from working women and mothers throughout the country on economic concerns? Obviously, a resounding NO! Is Rosen a political DNC operative trying to pit women against each other using class envy. yes and it’s a shame. Women aren’t stupid and see through Rosen’s desperate attempts to boost BO by waging a phony war on women.

  46. I am a new SAHM.. I have 3 children ages 8, 2 & 9months. I have only been home for five months now and I can tell you this is much harder on me than when I was working 45 hours a week. Yes it was exhusting to come home and have to spend the evening making dinner and getting the kids to bed but I also had so much “free time”. My job was a blast, at times it was hard work but I was able to do things like sit down and eat lunch for an hour and have conversations with adults that had nothing to do with kids. But no matter how much money I made and how much I loved my career, I felt terrible everyday that I left my kids. They are only small for a very short time and I believe that if more parents invested more time in their children at a young age our country would be greater and stronger. I now see my whole family thriving by my being home, my husband has less stress and my oldest is doing better in school because I have the time to spend with him on homework and extra academic activities. Sometimes I feel like I havent had a “day off” in months…SAHMs work never ends, but it is the best amd most rewarsing job in the world, no amount of money can take me away.

  47. ROBERT BRICKER says:

    When our first child was born my wife went back to work quitea good job after three days she came home and said i dont want to do this isaid if you dont mind me working 12 to 15 hours a day @ our business its fine with me onr more thing i do not have to do the dishes she agreed i got the better partof the deal but we are both happy ps 4 kids

  48. I was a nanny for 5 years. I’ve been a mom for 21 years. Nannies have it EASY!!!! But what do I know?I’m just a behaviour therapist, a shrink, a restaurant manager, a grocer, a baker, not candle sticks though, oh and I wear pearls and heels and have the roast done *just so* by 5pm. AHAHAHA! Send me that Rosen chick, I’ll show her work. Send me Ann Romney and I’ll give her a foot massage and a fake ID so she can go shopping alone.

  49. I’m deeply proud to be a homemaker. Listen as I shout it from the rooftop, “I am a happy-to-be and proud-to-be stay-at-home mom!!!”

    For us stay at home mothers to be accused of doing “nothing” all day, is not only disheartening, it is also very upsetting! Truthfully I feel sorry for people, especially women, who do not appreciate the value of a stay at home mom. We have the most important job in the world. Being a stay at home mom is the best gift we could give our husband and children.

    We are not only homemakers, we are nurturers and the keepers of our family.

    For the past few days, I’ve been working diligently to build my community blog called MAMABEARMATTERS.COM. It is my mission to celebrate stay at home mothers, to connect with and recognize all of you. I know from experience the lack of support and understanding we often face. So I invite you to visit my site, as I would love to learn more about your journey and how you reached the decision to be a stay at home mom!

    Plus, I have this awesome GLOWING GREEN SMOOTHIE RECIPE that you’ve just got to make for your family! Even my 20 month old toddler loves it : )

    Despite anti-sahm comments from ignorant people like Hilary Rosen, I stand strong in my decision to dedicate my life to caring for my family and home.

    Mama Bear Matters! Share your story, you story matters.
    Khristine Anne recently posted…Happy To Be A Stay At Home MomMy Profile

  50. I salute full time mothers. There’s nothing harder than raising up your kids, doing all the household chores plus taking care of the husband. Don’t mind negative comments around you, it won’t make you less of a person.
    Brittney Diez recently posted…EcoTools & Earth Month – The Living Beautifully CommunityMy Profile

  51. Ann-Marie Meyers says:

    And, here, from the end of it: I was a SAHM for 28 years. Then my husband died, and left me without a financial leg to stand on. I am now in Rosenland. No one will hire me, or even interview me because, I would never have spent all those years just staying home doing nothing (with my autistic kid, no less) if I were good at anything else.
    Next year, or the year after if I don’t run into any financial setbacks I will be on the dole, a “lazy, selfish liberal” who wants the government to give her a handout. No, Mr. or Ms. Right Wing Big Business. All I wanted was for YOU to give me a chance to prove my worth to you, but you refused.
    Sucks to be me, and sucks to be you, because by this time next year you will probably be on the second person you hired for that job I wasn’t good enough for. If you had hired me, you would have had me for life.


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