“You’re a Stay-At-Home Mom? WHAT DO YOU DO ALL DAY?”


This is a fabulous post, written by Matt Walsh on October 9, 2013. Kudos to him for putting his wife and all ‘Stay-At-Home’ Mom’s on a pedestal. What a great post! Don’t just read it here, check out his site and see what he’s up to at > The Matt Walsh Blog.

You’re A Stay-At-Home Mom? WHAT DO YOU DO ALL DAY?”

It’s happened twice in a week, and they were both women. Anyone ought to have more class than this, but women — especially women — should damn well know better.

Last week, I was at the pharmacy and a friendly lady approached me.

“Matt! How are those little ones doing?”

“Great! They’re doing very well, thanks for asking.”

“Good to hear. How ’bout your wife? Is she back at work yet?”

“Well she’s working hard at home, taking care of the kids. But she’s not going back into the workforce, if that’s what you mean.”

“Oh fun! That must be nice!”

“Fun? It’s a lot of hard work. Rewarding, yes. Fun? Not always.”

This one wasn’t in-your-face. It was only quietly presumptuous and subversively condescending.

The next incident occurred today at the coffee shop. It started in similar fashion; a friendly exchange about how things are coming along with the babies. The conversation quickly derailed when the woman hit me with this:

“So is your wife staying at home permanently?”

“Permanently? Well, for the foreseeable future she will be raising the kids full time, yes.”

“Yeah, mine is 14 now. But I’ve had a career the whole time as well. I can’t imagine being a stay at home mom. I would get so antsy. [Giggles] What does she DO all day?”

“Oh, just absolutely everything. What do you do all day?”

“…Me? Ha! I WORK!”

“My wife never stops working. Meanwhile, it’s the middle of the afternoon and we’re both at a coffee shop. I’m sure my wife would love to have time to sit down and drink a coffee. It’s nice to get a break, isn’t it?”

The conversation ended less amicably than it began.

Look, I don’t cast aspersions on women who work outside of the home. I understand that many of them are forced into it because they are single mothers, or because one income simply isn’t enough to meet the financial needs of their family. Or they just choose to work because that’s what they want to do. Fine. I also understand that most “professional” women aren’t rude, pompous and smug, like the two I met recently.

But I don’t want to sing Kumbaya right now. I want to kick our backwards, materialistic society in the shins and say, “GET YOUR FREAKING HEAD ON STRAIGHT, SOCIETY.”

This conversation shouldn’t be necessary. I shouldn’t need to explain why it’s insane for anyone — particularly other women — to have such contempt and hostility for “stay at home” mothers. Are we really so shallow? Are we really so confused? Are we really the first culture in the history of mankind to fail to grasp the glory and seriousness of motherhood? The pagans deified Maternity and turned it into a goddess. We’ve gone the other direction; we treat it like a disease or an obstacle.

The people who completely immerse themselves in the tiring, thankless, profoundly important job of raising children ought to be put on a pedestal. We ought to revere them and admire them like we admire rocket scientists and war heroes. These women are doing something beautiful and complicated and challenging and terrifying and painful and joyous and essential. Whatever they are doing, they ARE doing something, and our civilization DEPENDS on them doing it well. Who else can say such a thing? What other job carries with it such consequences?

It’s true — being a mom isn’t a “job.” A job is something you do for part of the day and then stop doing. You get a paycheck. You have unions and benefits and break rooms. I’ve had many jobs; it’s nothing spectacular or mystical. I don’t quite understand why we’ve elevated “the workforce” to this hallowed status. Where do we get our idea of it? The Communist Manifesto? Having a job is necessary for some — it is for me — but it isn’t liberating or empowering. Whatever your job is — you are expendable. You are a number. You are a calculation. You are a servant. You can be replaced, and you will be replaced eventually. Am I being harsh? No, I’m being someone who has a job. I’m being real.

If your mother quit her role as mother, entire lives would be turned upside down; society would suffer greatly. The ripples of that tragedy would be felt for generations. If she quit her job as a computer analyst, she’d be replaced in four days and nobody would care. Same goes for you and me. We have freedom and power in the home, not the office. But we are zombies, so we can not see that.

Yes, my wife is JUST a mother. JUST. She JUST brings forth life into the universe, and she JUST shapes and molds and raises those lives. She JUST manages, directs and maintains the workings of the household, while caring for children who JUST rely on her for everything. She JUST teaches our twins how to be human beings, and, as they grow, she will JUST train them in all things, from morals, to manners, to the ABC’s, to hygiene, etc. She is JUST my spiritual foundation and the rock on which our family is built. She is JUST everything to everyone. And society would JUST fall apart at the seams if she, and her fellow moms, failed in any of the tasks I outlined.

Yes, she is just a mother. Which is sort of like looking at the sky and saying, “hey, it’s just the sun.”

Of course not all women can be at home full time. It’s one thing to acknowledge that; it’s quite another to paint it as the ideal. To call it the ideal, is to claim that children IDEALLY would spend LESS time around their mothers. This is madness. Pure madness. It isn’t ideal, and it isn’t neutral. The more time a mother can spend raising her kids, the better. The better for them, the better for their souls, the better for the community, the better for humanity. Period.

Finally, it’s probably true that stay at home moms have some down time. People who work outside the home have down time, too. In fact, there are many, many jobs that consist primarily of down time, with little spurts of menial activity strewn throughout. In any case, I’m not looking to get into a fight about who is “busier.” We seem to value our time so little, that we find our worth based on how little of it we have. In other words, we’ve idolized “being busy,” and confused it with being “important.” You can be busy but unimportant, just as you can be important but not busy. I don’t know who is busiest, and I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. I think it’s safe to say that none of us are as busy as we think we are; and however busy we actually are, it’s more than we need to be.

We get a lot of things wrong in our culture. But, when all is said and done, and our civilization crumbles into ashes, we are going to most regret the way we treated mothers and children.

20 thoughts on ““You’re a Stay-At-Home Mom? WHAT DO YOU DO ALL DAY?”

  1. Well said. It is a sad commentary on the values of many in our society when a paycheck is seen as more valuable than a mother who gives all to raise children to be good members of society.

  2. When I was the stay at home mom of 3 kids under 4, I spent all day making sure my kids tummies were filled, their dishes were washed (we didnt have a dishwasher), their clothes smelled fresh, their home was cleank safe and their toys were picked up, , their faces and bottoms were wiped, and their hearts were merry. I couldn’t wait till they took naps so I could have a downtime. My then-husband would come home and look at the pile of unfolded laundry on the bed and say, “What did you do all day?” I wish I would have said, “Sit down in your tidy house, eat your homemade dinner, and play with your well cared for kids.. I can’t tell you exactly all that I did, but I know it is an awful lot! because I am now exhausted” Motherhood is a non-ending job. I appreciate the way this man appreciates his wife and the mother of his kids.

  3. It used to be that both parents stayed home because businesses were all base out of the home. It wasn’t until the industrial revolution that dad started to leave to go work at the factory, which relegated women to the realm of *just* the home, which helped fuel feminist sentiment in the 60’s, leading to women charging back into the workforce.

    1. What a great piece of information to add, Kameron. Thank you for sharing this history. Today I find that there are a lot of parents not only staying home but home schooling their children also. We have many home school organization, clubs and groups around here that have their own sports teams and such.

      1. No problem. I’ll probably try and write about it in a blog post at some point. Oh definitely; I was homeschooled for half my life. It was awesome.

      2. Aww thanks! I also have a post on my list that will be dealing with sexual abuse and I’m sure I could use your input when the time comes to write it. 🙂

  4. Wholeheartedly and passionately agree with this…being a full time, hands on parent is a vocation and one which our children deserve, I have never ever understood why people want children only to hand them to someone else to raise…hey ho. It is only millionaires that can “afford” to have children, the rest of us make do…I don’t believe that mum going out to work is more financially beneficial than paying for childcare…unless of course she is in a high flying job, so dad can stay at home, maybe? So much to say about this, must stop…sorry.

    1. I agree, I feel that if we went back to the days of stay at home moms, the children of the world would be more well rounded, respectful and accept challenges with the willingness to learn and seek beyond their own understanding. The children today are suffering.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this! It’s so nice to hear the opinion of a dad who GETS IT. My ex-husband died in suddenly in 2005 at the age of 38, and my son, Max, was 13 at the time. He was devastated. I just gotten laid off from my job teaching at a junior college, and I knew finding a similar position would be extremely difficult. And I loathed the thought of returning to the cubicle prison of working as a paralegal. So, I talked to my husband about it, and we tightened our belts, which took a lot of sacrifice, and I stayed home. Over time I built a freelance editing business. But even if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t change a thing. I home schooled my son for awhile, and I was able to go to every single one of Max’s football practices and wrestling matches, which I wouldn’t have been able to do working in an office because most of the matches were at 5:00, and leaving early was never easy when I worked as a paralegal. I was always there when Max needed me, and never again did I have to apologize for leaving work when he got sick or when he was having a bad day and needed to come home right after his dad died. He managed to make the honor roll for the first time in his life the year his dad died, and I’d like to think I had something to do with that. Anyway, thanks again, from a very grateful Mom who was able to stay home at a very crucial time in my son’s life. And I was busier then, than I ever was when I worked outside the house because I was able to be more involved in his life.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me, Kennedy. What a blessing you are and what a treasure you have been to your son. We need more mothers like you in the world. I really feel the link today that we are missing is mothers staying home to nurture and rear their children. Too much emphasis is put on keeping up the jones and worldly goods when if we sacrificed and did without for our children, we’d have all we needed when they were grown, which in reality is lots and lots of love.

      1. You’re welcome. And I completely agree. My car is 8 years old, and I buy most of my clothes from a thrift store, and I don’t care. While my son is 21 now, I’ve chosen to continue to work at home because having a job I love is much more important than a newer car, etc., and I’m still much more available to both my boys than I was before, and I’m sure Max appreciates my being there back then, and I can’t imagine how difficult it would’ve been to take Max to therapy after he broke his leg in the tenth grade. But anyway… Thanks again.

Why hello, friend! Thanks for sharing your comments. Should you have a question, please feel free to ask it here and I'll do my best to reply promptly. Thanks for stopping by! xo Kerri