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The SAHM vs Working Mom debate
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amother




OP
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 1:59 pm
I have no intention of opening up a can of worms I really just want answers.

I work from 9-4. I have a grand total of 7 hours of cleaning help a week. I drop my baby off at daycare on the way to work and pick him up on the way home so there is literally zero me time. My other kids buses come staggered shortly after I get home and its a marathon to get dinner on the table. I look at stay home moms and I am not going to lie. I am downright jealous. I can not understand the debate the SAHMS have it harder. Can someone please explain the debate to me?

Let me me very clear that I do not think they sit with their feet up all day I get that they are busy yet I tend to my house also and am forced to do it in much less time...
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Kiwi13




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 2:05 pm
I was a SAHM for a while (now I'm a part-time WAHM), and I personally agree with you that being a SAHM is a luxury and not necessarily harder than working outside the house.

BUUUUUT....

That was NOT the case when I had a 2yo and twin infants with special medical needs. Never getting a break from caring for little kids is hard. It's a never-ending series of tasks and cleaning and soothing and feeding and changing... you don't sleep well at night, and you don't really get rest during the day either. You don't get to take a lunch break. You don't get to have interactions with other grownups. It's easy to lose yourself and your mind.

I still considered it easier than working outside the home for personal reasons, but my sister who works a high-stress job in corporate America told me after COVID lockdown that she doesn't know how SAHMs do it. She said she loved being with her kids for a couple weeks but that she'd lose her mind if she had to do it long term, especially without her husband home helping too.
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amother




Chestnut
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 2:08 pm
I've worked full time and now I'm a SAHM. Both are hard but working out of the house is much harder and way more stressful.
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zaq




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 2:08 pm
Please, let's not go there. This debate has been raging since Betty Friedan had her epiphany and no good ever comes of it. We just read, lehavdil, the useless debate in Kinnot between Oholah and Oholivah about whose fate was harsher. Why can't we just agree that parenthood is tough any way you slice it, we moms have to support each other, and leave it at that without trying to one-up each other?
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amother




OP
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 2:10 pm
amother [ Chestnut ] wrote:
I've worked full time and now I'm a SAHM. Both are hard but working out of the house is much harder and way more stressful.


Thank you!!!!! No one is saying that SAHMS do nothing all day but I wish people would admit that under normal circumstances the working moms have it harder.
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Kiwi13




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 2:11 pm
I think most of this debate boils down to personality. Some people thrive more working outside the home, others thrive more being SAHMs. Like I said, for me it would be harder to work outside, but for my sister it's the opposite.
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amother




Chestnut
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 2:14 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Thank you!!!!! No one is saying that SAHMS do nothing all day but I wish people would admit that under normal circumstances the working moms have it harder.


There are women that for them personally, it's harder to be a SAHM. They can't handle being with their kids all day. They need to be out. But I do think that many women would stop working if it would be a possibility for them.
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amother




Lightyellow
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 2:14 pm
Like everything else in life, it depends. Working was easier for me (I worked full time) while I had two babies and an in-house babysitter. I woke up at 7:30, walked out the door at 8:00 when my babysitter came, and she took over. She cleaned and folded laundry for me as well. I also went to parents for Shabbos so.... I definitely found it harder to be SAHM when I had four kids under 5 and I had no cleaning help (once I stopped working, it was better for my kids though).

A SAHM with cleaning help and sends her kids out for the part of the day and buys take out or prepared food now and then, is not in the same category as someone who homeschools her kids without cleaning help, and makes everything from scratch, etc.

And a working mom with two kids aged 14 and 16 and lots of cleaning help and prepared food, is not in the same category as a working mom with 5 little kids under 8 and no cleaning help.

All things being equal, being a working mom is harder, but all things are rarely equal. For example, when I worked, I had money for lunches (with a one hour break as well), cleaning help, etc. When I didn't work, I didn't even buy plastic plates (to save money) and I had no cleaning help. So....
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amother




Babypink
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 2:15 pm
Why does it need to be a competition?
Some people have it easier at work, some easier at home, some people have easier lives and or are just more layer back.
Life does not have to be a competition.
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amother




Chestnut
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 2:16 pm
amother [ Lightyellow ] wrote:
Like everything else in life, it depends. Working was easier for me (I worked full time) while I had two babies and an in-house babysitter. I woke up at 7:30, walked out the door at 8:00 when my babysitter came, and she took over. She cleaned and folded laundry for me as well. I also went to parents for Shabbos so.... I definitely found it harder to be SAHM when I had four kids under 5 and I had no cleaning help.

A SAHM with cleaning help and sends her kids out for the part of the day and buys take out or prepared food now and then, is not in the same category as someone who homeschools her kids without cleaning help, and makes everything from scratch, etc.

And a working mom with two kids aged 14 and 16 and lots of cleaning help and prepared food, is not in the same category as a working mom with 5 little kids under 8 and no cleaning help.

All things being equal, being a working mom is harder, but all things are rarely equal. For example, when I worked, I had money for lunches (with a one hour break as well), cleaning help, etc. When I didn't work, I didn't even buy plastic plates (to save money) and I had no cleaning help. So....


It's not either or. I'm home, sometimes with 2 babies at a time, don't send my kids out before 3-4, almost never buy takeout and I have 3 hours of cleaning help a week.
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amother




Lightyellow
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 2:18 pm
amother [ Chestnut ] wrote:
It's not either or. I'm home, sometimes with 2 babies at a time, don't send my kids out before 3-4, almost never buy takeout and I have 3 hours of cleaning help a week.

It doesn't have to be either/or. But for me it was. Staying home meant I had less money and no money for cleaning help either. And I really, really, really hate to clean. I love my kids, but being a SAHM was much harder for me.
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lfab




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 2:23 pm
My personal take (and obviously this week very much depend on the specific circumstances) being a SAHM is easier logistically. You don't need to worry about taking off work for doctor appointments, school events, you can throw in a load of laundry or grocery shop whenever you want etc. But for many being a working mom is easier physically (assuming you don't have a job where you running around all day). Unless you're a SAHM with only 1 baby/toddler who takes a long nap in middle of the day you may get no breaks at all. Whereas most people get at least a lunch break during the day and depending on your job you may be able to take 1 or 2 short breaks during the day to grab a coffee etc. With that being said if I could I'd choose to be a SAHM mom in a heartbeat! The logistical stress of trying to fit everything into the day and not take off too often from work really gets to me.
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amother




OP
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 2:24 pm
amother [ Lightyellow ] wrote:
It doesn't have to be either/or. But for me it was. Staying home meant I had less money and no money for cleaning help either. And I really, really, really hate to clean. I love my kids, but being a SAHM was much harder for me.


Are you working part time or full time? I think working 3-5 hours a day is really the best of both worlds. You get to leave your house so you don't feel your brain turning to mush being with toddlers all day. It gives you motivation etc. You have some time to yourself so you are not harried mess getting in the door 10 minutes before the kids and you can still excuse the cleaning help! Given the choice I would work part time over being a SAHM but the choice is not mine and I work full time...
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amother




Forsythia
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 2:25 pm
It’s comparing apples and oranges. If you take the same woman with the same personality, same kids at same ages with same difficulties, same degree of help from DH etc etc etc. 99% of the time SAHM has it easier.

If someone has a medically fragile or SN baby as a SAHM, which is very difficult, their life would not be easier with the same baby as a working mom. Most would say it would not be possible to be working in that case. Impossible is more difficult than very difficult.
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amother




Babypink
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 2:30 pm
Still not understanding why this is a competition?
Is everyone so insecure the they need to say that they have it harder (and therefore they are better)?

You are all better than I am. (And no, I am not currently a SAHM- but I was a much better parent when I was)
You are all Eishet Chayils and work harder than anyone else, feel better about yourself now?
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Revafe




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 2:35 pm
Working mom here. It not a competition. But if u feel burnt out and stressed try to take a few minutes a day for ureself. Buy takeout if you have to. Take a me day and send the kids out.
I find that my brain goes there-to being jj of sahms when I'm overworking. I go get myself a manicure and buy myself lunch and feel like a mentch again.
If u keep comparing, somethings gotta give...
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amother




Midnight
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 3:13 pm
I've thought about this a lot. The basic issue is that an average home actually has about 2 hours of housework a day and 1 hour of food prep.

So when the kids are out all day, they make their messes somewhere else. When you are a SAHM your "job" is actually childcare. But this job includes the huge amount of mess your kids will make while they are home. The endless snacks and meals they need to be fed. The actual physical childcare. The play dates. Etc. So working mothers feel like they are doing the same amount of housework, and they are, but they tend to not realize how different childcare looks at home versus in daycare/school etc

Think about it as if you had a full time daycare worker job, and a full time housekeeping job, and had to come home and do your own childcare and housework. It would feel like it never ends. And because you'd be physically tired and frazzled by the time you do the actual housework (when the kids get to bed, usually) 1 hour of work would take 2 or 3.

Additionally, because husbands/friends/neighbors/school related people etc don't realize this, they tend to decide that SAHMs have more time. So they tend to hand off to-do lists. I have found that no amount of saying no really puts an end to this. So this becomes an additional load to staying home that really adds up

I finished high school early. By the time I was 17 I was working full time in retail and in college full time. I was less good at time management because of my age. I had more free time then than I had as a SAHM to 2 children under 2. I actually love staying home and anyway could never afford to go back to work, but it's definitely hard work.
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amother




OP
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 3:29 pm
amother [ Midnight ] wrote:
I've thought about this a lot. The basic issue is that an average home actually has about 2 hours of housework a day and 1 hour of food prep.

So when the kids are out all day, they make their messes somewhere else. When you are a SAHM your "job" is actually childcare. But this job includes the huge amount of mess your kids will make while they are home. The endless snacks and meals they need to be fed. The actual physical childcare. The play dates. Etc. So working mothers feel like they are doing the same amount of housework, and they are, but they tend to not realize how different childcare looks at home versus in daycare/school etc

Think about it as if you had a full time daycare worker job, and a full time housekeeping job, and had to come home and do your own childcare and housework. It would feel like it never ends. And because you'd be physically tired and frazzled by the time you do the actual housework (when the kids get to bed, usually) 1 hour of work would take 2 or 3.

Additionally, because husbands/friends/neighbors/school related people etc don't realize this, they tend to decide that SAHMs have more time. So they tend to hand off to-do lists. I have found that no amount of saying no really puts an end to this. So this becomes an additional load to staying home that really adds up

I finished high school early. By the time I was 17 I was working full time in retail and in college full time. I was less good at time management because of my age. I had more free time then than I had as a SAHM to 2 children under 2. I actually love staying home and anyway could never afford to go back to work, but it's definitely hard work.


No one is saying that SAHMs don't work just that working moms have more on their plate. Even if the SAHM does not send her 2 year old to playgroup they are in school for a nice chunk of time at age three. The hours that I am working the SAHM is "working" too being the housekeeper nanny etc for the children home. However that SAHM is able to sneak it some dinner prep and laundry while she is "working" and I clearly can't. I am forced to begin all the mandatory housework only after my workday.
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amother




Valerian
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 3:33 pm
I dont have cleaning help. I stopped once I became a SAHM and never went back once I started working.

I became a SAHM when I was pregnant with #3. I was working part time and it made sense financially to stop working. I was home with a toddler and a baby. I had more kids.

When my youngest started school I decided to go back to work. I was looking for a part time job because I was bored and we needed the extra cash.

My job went from part time to full time really fast. Although my kids aren't young, I struggle daily. My house is a mess, dinner is never ready ontime and I only shop online. I am stressed out alot. I feel that my youngest is the most affected. All my other kids didn't experience having a working mom until they were older and more independent.

In a perfect world I would still be working part time.
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tichellady




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Jul 19 2021, 3:35 pm
The debate is stupid. Everyone makes their own family decisions based on what makes sense for their family, not based on what’s easier or harder for another family. And no one gets a prize for making their life harder than it has to be. My life is definitely easier as a SAHM than if I was working. I have plenty of friends who would much rather work than be home with their kids. All good! I also have friends who work full time and have very little downtime at work and friends who have plenty of time at work to socialize and place grocery orders etc. the details matter!
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