Is it fair to say that a woman who stays at home to raise a family doesn't work?

@James72 (26832)
Australia
August 14, 2008 2:53pm CST
I hear this statement a LOT! I am sure that you have also..... "No, my wife doesn't work; she stays at home with the kids. I am the breadwinner!". I remember a comment made on a talk show some while back that stated that a woman who maintains a household and looks after the children on a day to day basis is working the equivalent of two full time jobs! Do you think this talk show statement is an accurate reflection of what it is actually like for a woman that chooses to tend the home and raise the children while the husband goes off to work? Or is it an exaggeration?
9 people like this
31 responses
@dawnald (84131)
• Shingle Springs, California
14 Aug 08
I have never been a stay at home mom, but judging from how much work I have to do at nights and weekends, and how much my husband does, and how much goes undone, I have no doubt whatsoever that a stay at home mom can keep very busy indeed.
3 people like this
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
14 Aug 08
I have never been a stay at home parent either. But the fact of the matter is that things that do need to be done around a home do not end up doing themselves! Thanks for responding.
2 people like this
@bamakelly (5194)
• United States
14 Aug 08
I am a housewife and stay at home mother. I think that it is equivalent to a couple of full time jobs. I do just have one son who is almost five years old, however I can imagine that it could be a lot harder on the wife with a whole lot more children to care for. I don't see anything wrong with a man being the breadwinner. Maybe I am a little old fashioned in my way of thinking. Sometimes it is better for the mother to stay at home and tend to her children. I think they appreciate it later on in life. There are too many "latchkey" children in the world that have parents that work and somebody else looks after their children. I think it is really a shame especially on a toddler or even younger when they are put into day care systems and the parents can't always be around them to see the first things that they do or say. I can understand that these days both parents have to work because of the harsh economy. It is something that people could plan out better where having children is concerned. It is expensive having children. And it isn't just the materials that matter in a child's life. They need their parents time and companionship also.
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
14 Aug 08
I don't consider you to be old fashioned at all! The issue is that not all people can even afford to not have both spouses working anymore. To be honest I find this sad because surely it is in the best interests of the children to be able to have a parent with them as much as possible. All due respect to day care centres and child care workers by the way! Thanks for responding.
1 person likes this
@bamakelly (5194)
• United States
14 Aug 08
Thank you very much for appreciating this comment. To tell you the truth I am expecting to catch a little heat for these comments. Some two income families with children may not agree with me. I am not sure. We'll see.
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@James72 (26832)
• Australia
14 Aug 08
Heat is good! It keeps away the coldness of life! lol. Regardless of what others may think this is your opinion and is based on personal experience. My children were placed into day care at a very young age because it was not economically viable at the time to do otherwise unfortunately. I truly wish that this was not the case and certainly do not feel that my children have suffered greatly as a result; but I do feel that they would have benefitted more if this were not the case. The day care workers were wonderful and loved and cared for my children just as much as I do; but it is ultimately not the same. Consider yourself to be fortunate and do not be concerned about what others may think!
1 person likes this
@sid556 (31006)
• United States
15 Aug 08
It all depends on the woman. I know women who stay home and their homes are filthy and their kids are not being watched half the time etc. I also know women who work very hard to maintain the home and deal with the kids as well. I do know many women who stay home that work harder than if they worked at a regular paying job...and they don't get paid for all their hard work. Many men don't even take notice of how very hard their wives work. The hours are long and they are on-call 24/7. I stayed home with my kids when they were younger and even tho I did daycare to bring in an income, I got treated as if i didn't "work". Anyone that thinks staying home with kids and taking care of the homefront isn't work, ought to do it for a week.
2 people like this
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
15 Aug 08
Yes! Everyone should walk in these shoes at least once. I am sure that we would all generate a much higher level of apreciation for this role if we did. Thanks for responding.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Aug 08
I don't think a week would be enough time for someone who has never done it before. The kids are different around the parent that works. My kids think daddy is so much fun and nicer than me because I do the diciplin.But if he were home for say,a month,they would act towards him the same way they do me.Then the other partner would understand what we do as house wives and mothers.
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@James72 (26832)
• Australia
15 Aug 08
Maybe a week wouldn't be long enough no. But it would still be better than not at all! I can also appeciate what you are saying about Daddy being the good guy too. It is far easier to always be the nice guy when you don't have to deal with all the stress!
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Aug 08
It is a common way of actually saying it, but at the same time, it's not really all that accurate. Take a look at this: http://www.mylot.com/w/discussions/1050368.aspx Being that the particular discussion I refer to is already over a year old, that $138,095 a year would probably be a higher number now. However, I didn't hear the talk show, & I cannot actually judge on how accurate or inaccurate the show was.
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@James72 (26832)
• Australia
15 Aug 08
A similar example has been provided earlier in this post alluding to the same. Yes it uses examples that infer that each role is a full time job and it is obviously not possible for all of these roles to be done full time; but it is an eye opener nonetheless! Thanks for responding.
• United States
15 Aug 08
Nowadays where I am, one salary is not enough for the family to live on. Quite often, both have to work, & then either some kind of child care is needed to help out or children are left to fend for themselves. It can be very difficult for single parents to actually accomplish things, & I don't know how they do it. Probably with plenty of support from family & friends.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Aug 08
Oh - I forgot to mention that it is a common mis-conception that housewives have it easy. From the old discussion I pointed out, that 6 digit equivalent salary should demonstrate that they don't have it as easy as it seems.
1 person likes this
@deebomb (15323)
• United States
14 Aug 08
.. "No, my wife doesn't work; she stays at home with the kids. I am the breadwinner!" This man needs a slap up the side the head. His wife make sure that his money covers the bills so ia an accountant. She nurse sick kids so she is a DR. She takes the kids to school so is a schoffer and the list foes on with cooking cleaning grocery shopping and laundry. and that isn't the end of the list. A homemaker is earning and working just as hard as any husband. She is earning by taking care of his wages. Now I admit that this doesn't apply to all stay at home moms but it does to most
@capirani (1841)
• United States
15 Aug 08
Years ago, when my children were toddlers, there was a television program that spoke about all the stay-at-home wife/mother does and what the monetary value of all she does came out to. Now mind you, this was back in the early 80's. So I am sure inflation has added to this figure. But back then, the total value if the man had to hire someone to do all the work his wife did in her stay-at-home work was over $75,000/year. Can you imagine what that total would be now? Sometime, if anyone is interested, get hold of a Bible and read Proverbs 31. Take a look at what a woman is worth and all the work she is doing. Her value is far above precious gemstones.
2 people like this
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
15 Aug 08
In response to both comments..... Yes there is no question that a stay at home Mother/Wife is nothing short of a consumate multi-tasker! And as for the monetary value concerning what she contributes? An earlier post puts this value at over 120,000 a year! Some would say that the contribution is priceless! Thank you both for responding.
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• United States
14 Aug 08
I agree with the talk show statement because well a stay at home does have it rough and bows before the needs of her family and doesnt really have money for herself.
2 people like this
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
15 Aug 08
I have no doubt that it would not be easy. And I guess that it is not exactly a job where you can call in sick either! Thanks for responding.
2 people like this
• United States
15 Aug 08
Trust me. There are no sick days for an at home mom.I have had problems before and had to call and beg my husband to come home because I could not get out of the bed to take care of the kids.He was kind enough to come home and even took the next day off but at times he can't do that. It is rough being sick and still having to look after your little ones.
2 people like this
@MaasK1 (133)
• France
15 Aug 08
I agree with you and some of mylotters in here that a work done in home is much more difficult that the one we do in our offices. I do not have a child yet but my wife stays at home and I know how hard she works and I value her for that.
2 people like this
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
15 Aug 08
It is great that you do acknowledge what she does do in the home and I am sure that she appreciates you for this also! Thanks for responding.
• Philippines
15 Aug 08
I totally disagree!!!! Being a housewife is a career! I have a neighbor whose husband is a busy salesman,whose daughter got pregnant at age 17 and whose son is a special child. If you only see howshe manages to handle all these pressures ang physical strains these responsibilities call her,one could say she's truly amazing. She remains to be a good mother and wife while at the same time being able to take care of herslf. So a woman who stays at home works! All day and all night.
2 people like this
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
15 Aug 08
I agree with you also in that being a stay at home Mother is by no means a walk in the park. Your neighbour DOES sound somewhat superhuman! It is hard to imagine how someone would be able to handle all of those things at once. Thanks for responding.
@valeria1 (2724)
• United States
15 Aug 08
I think the worst job in the world is the stay home women or men. You clean, cook, keep the house and much more, mainly with kids that is a 24/7 work with no benefits or holidays. You make no money from it and nobody even perceive what you did. This is very true and when I see husbands saying that I would talk like I just did and I think from that point on they would never say that again. Actually to work in an office or some other cozy environment is much easier job than staying home!
2 people like this
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
15 Aug 08
Surely being a stay at home Mother or wife is not ALL doom and gloom? I agree that at least the husband gets to escape from it all every day but there are bound to be benefits of being at home as well. Especially when raising the children! Thanks for responding.
• United States
15 Aug 08
The mom that stays home does work. I dont think i could be a stay home mom. Then again im a single mom. Not how i imagined my life was going to be. My girls go to an amazing preschool where the teachers are close to my girls & are willing to help if i need it. Honestly i think even if i did have the option to stay home i dont think i could afford to, well if i lived anywhere else than CA then maybe. I think that talk show statement is a very old fashion point of view.
2 people like this
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
15 Aug 08
Being a single Mom provides a whole new perspective altogether! It's a catch 22 in this instance really. If you stay at home, yes you get to spend quality time raising your children; but you are then probably dependent on the welfare system. You head out to work and you have to sacrifice time with the kids..... It's a tough one! You are lucky to have found such a wonderful preschool and I wish you every joy imagineable. It cannot be easy working and raising kids as a single Mother. Thanks for responding.
@ronreyes (4724)
• Philippines
15 Aug 08
It's not the words that matters but what you're actually doing.
2 people like this
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
15 Aug 08
Short and sweet ronreyes! Thanks for responding.
• United States
15 Aug 08
I guess i don't have a real strong opinion either way. I am a SAHM. I have two master's degrees and I don't work - *really*. I do some freelance work and I do get paid from time to time. You can call it whatever you want, or say whatever you want. I stay home with my kids because I want to be the one who raises them. If I didn't, my husband would stay home and I would go to work. It just so happens he can earn more than I can so we decided he should earn the pay. We are a team. There are days he is sorry he missed the "for the first time" event and wishes he were the one staying home. Sure I have a few bad days but I am glad to be here.
2 people like this
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
15 Aug 08
Two Master's Degrees! That's very impressive! Seems to me that you are one of the lucky ones that can afford to play this role (or your husband)and that you and your husband have a strong and very equal relationship. The days you spend with your children are days that will never be repeated in many instances and I am sure that many other families would do this also if they could just afford to. Another concern for many women is the ability to get back into the workforce; but with your education it seems you have this aspect covered as well! You are very fortunate. Thanks for responding.
@Khunben (88)
• Thailand
15 Aug 08
I think every one is missing the point, if you take a considered conventional household, where the male goes out to work for a BOSS, and the female works as a home maker, and i use this term, because it is most defiantly work, at the end of the month, the male receives the pay cheque, and the female gets nothing, but the point is that its family money, and not his to do as he pleases, every penny is spent on family, and household stuff, so in that respect, the male is equal to the female, by way of having personal income. so a female cant expect to be paid for her hard work in the home, no more then the male can keep the pay cheque for him self, its called sharing the the responsibility, he does what he does, and she does what she does, but its all for the sake of the family...
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@James72 (26832)
• Australia
15 Aug 08
There is no question that the man and woman are equal; and no question that each role they play is as significant as the other. Your last point is also very valid in that it is a FAMILY effort. Together as one for the common good of themselves. Maybe payment or renumeration for a woman at home raising children is far more precious than money? As difficult and tiring as the role may be they get to experience moments in their children's lives that they will never get back! How do you put a price on this? Thanks for responding.
2 people like this
@capirani (1841)
• United States
15 Aug 08
Personally, I do not think that people should be getting married and/or having children until they have learned how to live like responsible adults. Too many are having children without even thinking about the consequences. I also think that we need to return to the more old fashioned values where the men made sure they were able to provide for a wife and a family before they even thought of getting married. That meant they would have a trade or some kind of good income where they could afford to be the breadwinner. All of these ideas that what the women do is not important, that children don't need their mothers home raising them, and that "women's work" is somehow degrading or unfulfilling is messing so many things up in this world. The job the woman has in raising her family to be responsible adults and to make the home a place where the husband can get away from the stress of the world is the most important job there is. The old adage "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world" is a very true statement. It is the one who is actually having the most influence over the child who ends up being the one who guides the child into adulthood. Those early years are the most important in the forming of who the child will be and what kind of value system the child will have. The women are the heart of the family. This does not mean that women should not have other interests or outside pursuits. It can get very boring and monotonous sometimes for stay-at-home wives and mothers. Unfortunately, this world has gone crazy so that it is hard for people to have the closeness in the communities that they used to have before all the women started leaving the home to go to work outside the house. The women's stress levels now have risen considerably. Health issues that didn't plague women in the past are increasing now because of this increased stress. The really sad thing now is that for those women who truly believe they should stay home with their children, the world is preaching to them that they cannot be fulfilled in doing that. The world is telling them that they will be happier, healthier, stronger women if they leave their children in day care and go out and get a job. It makes the stay-at-home wife or mother feel guilty that they are somehow cheating themselves by not having a career, and that they are somehow being lazy by not having a money-making job. Money isn't the most important thing. Having all the best items out there you might want to buy isn't as important as what is going on with the children and the marriage. Amazingly, lots of families get along with very little material possessions, but with lots of love. In addition, men and women are getting married too young and they are not at all prepared for what is out there in store for them in the way of obligations, responsibilites, financial problems, and childcare. They get married, don't have a good education, then have to have both of them working so that they can attempt to survive on their minimum wage incomes. Then baby after baby is born and they don't have the money to take good care of themselves or their children. They have to work overtime. And many of them, not having the experience they need to be responsible adults, spend the money they do have unwisely. Who is being the parents in these cases? The grandparents? Most likely, because they certainly cannot afford the costs of professional childcare. Add to these all those couples who are having children and are not married, not even living together so their children are being raised in single parent homes and those parents are either having to work more than one job or are on welfare just so they can survive. I just don't think the so called sophisticated world can go back to being supportive of stay-at-home moms. It's a shame though. And it is a real shame when mom and dad cannot agree on whether mom should stay at home or not. That just increases the family stress which adds to the children's stress. Some men want their wives to stay home but the wives want careers. Some women want to stay at home and their husbands just want them to get out and make money and do not value the work their wives do at home. And in all of the fighting over it all, it is the children who suffer the most. Then they grow up, and the cycle repeats.
2 people like this
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
15 Aug 08
It's just like the Bob Dylan song - "The times they are a changin'!" and they truly are. A woman has just as much right to seek a career path as any man; yet there is also no question that the children will benefit more from having a stay at home parent while they are younger. But ultimately the financial pressures on families increase as time goes on and for many it is just not possible to survive on a single income anymore. There does need to be more responsibility taken though; such as with the statement you made regarding having baby after baby. It may be stereotyping on my part; but it seems that a lot of people that have many, many kids and continue to have more are the people that can least afford to! Lastly, it is a vicious circle for sure and many kids will continue the cycle because they do not know any different. Thank you for such a well thought out response!
2 people like this
@savypat (20247)
• United States
14 Aug 08
From what I remember of one study if a man had to pay for the same things his wife did for him and his children he couldn't do it. If stay at home wife and mother isn't work I don't know what is. I've been both stary at home and working and it's all hard.
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
15 Aug 08
Well having had experiences of both sides would definitely put you in the position of being able to really know what it's like! Thanks for responding.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
15 Aug 08
I don't totally agree with it...but in a way I do. Taking care of the home and the kids cannot be considered as no work....but at the same time it isn't like 2 full time jobs. What I've realized from working at home and outside the home is that....the responsibilities on the home front are more...and there's a lot of multi tasking involved ...which most men don't realize. With kids around, we can't get one thing finished at a time...and to add to that it's not just cooking and cleaning that needs to get done...there is the child's daily needs to be taken care of....disciplining aspect...it's so many things that's happening at the same time that tends to seem like a lot of work. Before we had kids too, I was a 'homemaker' (that's how I prefer calling my job)...and I could get all my housework done and have free time for myself. And I actually thought it was bliss....because I could sleep when I wanted to....do whatever I wanted to. But once I had a child, things were very different. Even though my first son was a very easy child and not fussy about anything....doing everything and taking care of his daily needs would tire me out. It was a LOT of work...and it's not easy. And with two (and the second one isn't easy like the first) it was tougher. Another thing I noticed is that when a man works outside the home, he gets to choose the job he wants to do (based on liking, experience or whatever). It's not like there's just one job outside the home. But the women who stay home have no choice. They need to do the cooking and cleaning and taking care of the kids whether they like it or not....whether they are paid or not. A man who goes outside the home to work comes back home and relaxes after a tiring day....and for his wife at home it becomes another job to take care of HIS needs then. She has no time to rest....not even during the weekends. If she feels she is tired and needs a break one day, she gets a lecture on her responsibilities towards her home and kids. That is what happens when people think of the work of a wife at home as 'no work'. And I personally feel that it is this attitude that irritates the wives who stay home more than the fact that they are not getting paid for what they do. Raising the kids is a lot of responsibility....one cannot wash their hands off it..no matter what....doesn't matter how tired she is....or how much she doesn't want to do it at the moment. And men who think of this work as a woman's work and no work....generally do not help out even a bit.
1 person likes this
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
15 Aug 08
I definitely agree that there is significant differences in responsibility and effort between a housewife and a housewife/Mother combination. In relation to caring for a husband's needs too; in this day and age I would hope that most men would contribute to as much as they can as well and not come home and expect to be waited on! In a sense it would be like having one more child! lol. There IS a lot of misunderstanding and a lack of appreciation for sure regarding the role a wife and Mother plays and it is actually sad that in some instances women have to defend themselves when tired etc. On a more positive note; I am sure there are also many experiences that a stay at home Mother does get to have that they wouldn't trade for anything! Thanks for responding.
@SViswan (12072)
• India
16 Aug 08
I definitely agree. No amount of money could pay for the joys of taking care of the home and kids...and most wives/mothers I know do it with lots of love (and who can put a price to mother's love?) BUt it hurts when comments like the one you posted in your discussion come up and when people (especially husbands) think that the wives do nothing at home. I doubt if any of the housewives are doing their work for the appreciation that they are going to get from someone else (I feel they all do it because they want to and they are happy taking care of the family...even when they don't have a choice) but when their work is looked down upon and seen as 'nothing'...then it really isn't worth doing it for someone who doesn't appreciate it. I've also seen cases where wives have given the husbands the chance to do their 'work' so that they realize how hard it is. BUt that has backfired on them and most Indian men think of it as a wife's duty and that they were born to do it and wait on them hand and foot.....and besides the husbands would yell at the wives and sometimes even hit when the wives tried to take a stand and just show the husbands that they do work at home and do not sit idle. That is a very sad state...and I feel sorry for these women.
• United States
15 Aug 08
I completely agree with that statement. I am a stay at home mom. It isn't as easy as everyone thinks. I still have to get up early in the morning.I cook breakfast so they eat good before school.Get the kids up and ready for shcool. Take them to school.When I get home I clean up after the breakfast.I clean bathrooms and bedrooms. I sweep and mop the kitchen. Pick up and vaccum the livingroom. On top of all this I have a 4yr old son that is not in school. He watches cartoons while I clean but I have to stop in between to get him a drink or a snack.Yes I get on the computer but even a workplace gives out breaks and a lunch.I am a nurse a shopher a cook a maid and a nanny all rolled into one. But I sure do love my job.The rewards you get as a stay at home mom are much better than that paycheck you could be getting.I haven't missed any of my kids first words,first steps,or first day of school.I wish all mothers could stay at home with their little ones.
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@James72 (26832)
• Australia
15 Aug 08
Your last points especially are so very true. You can't put a price on the experiences you have with your kids and these are things that if you do miss them, you will never get them back. I think it would be great too if all Mothers could stay at home to raise their kids but as we all know it is just not financially possible for many couples these days. Thanks for responding.
• United States
15 Aug 08
I understand that a lot of families can't afford for one or the other parent to stay home. I hav,several times,thought about going back to work. But when we consider day care costs we realize that it would actually cost more for me to work than stay home.
1 person likes this
@Elixiress (3893)
15 Aug 08
Well she doesn't work and she is not the bread winner unless she is earning money from home, so I think that is a fair enough comment. However I am not saying it is easy, definitely not, but it is not a job, it is a lifestyle. You can't just dump your kids when you get bored of looking after them like you can with a job.
1 person likes this
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
16 Aug 08
Yes, the "breadwinner" as such is the one who brings home the paycheck; but there is no question that both roles are just as significant, regardless of whther actually paid or not! Thanks for responding.
@newtondak (3950)
• United States
15 Aug 08
Not at all fair - and a husband who has ever spent a day at home doing what his wife does every day would never say such a thing!
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
16 Aug 08
Yes, very true..... How can you truly know unless you have walked a mile in the other's person's shoes? Thanks for responding.
• India
15 Aug 08
he is sure an idiot who blives so thats enough i think.......
1 person likes this
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
16 Aug 08
Yes I would have to agree. Short and to the point! Thanks for responding.