Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Cultural Bias Against Stay at Home Moms

In honor of Mother’s Day, I want to thank all you moms who so diligently work to train up your children. Proverbs 31 speaks highly of a diligent and godly woman who also fulfills the roles of wife and mother: “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Also “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also and he praises her.”

I’m so blessed to be the wife of an amazing husband who appreciates and values me, and to be the mother of a handsome, sweet baby boy.  

Being a mom is a hard and scary job, though. Children are a blessing, a gift from God (Psalm 127) and we are to be faithful stewards of our time with them and of their lives.

I’m writing today about being a Stay-at-Home Mom. I know I’ve only been a mom for a short time, but I truly feel that motherhood is my one true calling. I look forward to raising a house full of kiddos for the glory of God.

However, I’ve noticed a cultural bias against children and motherhood (especially Stay-at-Home Motherhood). It’s only natural that the world would be opposed to SAHM-hood, since the primary goal in (my endeavor, at least, as a) SAHM is to raise kids up in the training and admonition of the Lord. The world’s ways are naturally opposed to God’s ways*.

I'm writing a short series on Why I Choose to Be a Stay at Home Mom. This post is sort of the introduction: "The Cultural Bias Against Stay at Home Moms".

When I was growing up – all through school, high school especially – I was always taught to “dream big” about what job I wanted to have when I grew up. “You can be anything you want to be” was the slogan: astronaut, lawyer, doctor, architect, teacher, and veterinarian were commonly touted as “successful” options. There were Career Aptitude Tests which matched you up with possible career options; there were lists of careers one could pursue in different disciplines, miles long.

It’s funny, though: I don’t recall Stay-at-Home Mom being on any of those lists.

Now, I’m not anti- women’s rights or anti- working mothers – this post isn’t about what I believe everyone should do. The purpose of this series is to let you know why I choose to be a SAHM.

When I finally decided that what I wanted to do more than anything in the world was to be a full-time mommy (without a second job), people occasionally voiced their concern that it was a waste of my “talent”. I could do so much more, if only I’d have a professional job. What a brilliant mind, what a shame it won’t be put to better use (okay, so no one ever said it so straightforwardly, but the bush was beaten around). 

At college, no one ever considers that someone would want to “find [their] calling” at home. In classes sometimes when we go around and tell what our major is, what we plan on doing with that after college, etc, they would respond to my response with an “Oh! Okay…?”

I had felt it slightly before, but I never fully realized the extent of the disdain or condescension that many people in society have toward wives and mothers who choose to stay at home and work there rather than find a “real” job in the “real” world.

Maybe people don’t realize the bias they have against SAHMs. When I first began to tell people that I want to be a Stay at Home Mom, I was… ashamed to say it. I find it to be an honorable calling, yet I’m ashamed to admit that it’s what I want to do? You see, the cultural bias against SAHM-hood has been deeply ingrained.

I don’t understand it, but somehow it’s deemed alright by society if a woman wants to be a teacher or secretary or cook or maid or nanny or nurse or personal assistant as long as they’re doing it for someone else’s family and being paid for it. However, those same jobs within the home, taking care of one’s own family, are less than; inferior; somehow not as honorable.

Many people look at Stay-at-Home Motherhood as simply the absence of a job. They think that SAHMs sit around watching TV all day, or on the internet constantly. In fact, I did a Google images search of "Stay at Home Mom" and half of the pictures had a woman on her laptop with a baby in her lap! Those people have obviously never been a SAHM. 

There is so much work to be done in order to keep a home maintained - and I only have a 4-month old! I know I will need God's grace more than ever to keep the house running when I have multiple children (who can make messes on their own) who need to be taught and played with and supervised in addition to the responsibility of making (and cleaning up after) 3 meals a day; keeping the laundry caught up, folded, and put away; keeping the dog taken care of; dishes clean; bathrooms cleaned; floors vacuumed; etc. That's not even including personal ambitions and time with God! Do you see how much work goes into this job?

This was a bit of a rant, but… Do you see it? Do you see the bias against women who choose to stay home and cultivate their children’s lives rather than leave it to the “professionals”? 

I don’t have a problem with working moms or daycares or babysitters: I worked at several daycares and was a babysitter and loved it! I worked for a few weeks as part of my internship for school and had to leave Asher in daycare, and he flourished there. Those ladies loved my baby and I’m sure he was learning so much – but no one can love my baby like I can. No one knows him like I do.

(*I’m not trying to say that it is worldly to be a working mom: some families need moms to work, and some moms choose to work. A family can raise godly children without being at home with them 24/7. God is sovereign. Personally, Brandon and I think the best way for us to train our children in God’s ways is for me to stay home with them and teach them.)


  1. I am with you 100%. It is as if the world is saying "women can and should be anything they want to be except a SAHM". I am not a SAHM yet, because my husband and I haven't started having children; however, like you, being a mom has always been my #1 dream and we both fully intend for me to stay home with our children.

    A recent Marie Claire article I read stated (I'm totally paraphrasing since I don't have it in front of me) that someone who chooses to be a SAHM is ignorant. That completely floored me! I knew that many look down on women who stay home, but I had never seen it written out in black and white like that.

    And just like you, I am not anti-working moms either. Each family needs to choose what is best for them. But our choice will be for me to stay home, and I wish others would respect that choice.

    I look forward to reading the rest of your series!

  2. Wow I love this post! I totally agree and I feel the same. Am majoring in history and plan to stay at home with kids. So then the whole class stares awkwardly. I love my daughter and when finances stabilize and permit I will stay home with her and hopefully homeschool. Right now, I am stuck in school though. I hope to read more soon!