Are You a Full Time Mom?

This is a fast off-the-cuff post ….

This weekend someone asked me if I was a ‘full-time mom’ – which I think is kind of interesting.  I’m pretty sure that as soon as you have that child in your arms, you are 100% a full time Mom (parent).  No one told me I could go into this at less than 100%.  Did I miss something in the fine print?

I know she meant was I a ‘stay-at-home-mom’ – but the wording struck me as odd. I responded that I was, indeed, a full time mom and I worked a full time job too.   And then joked that I wish I could come in at part-time sometimes because hearing “Mom, mom, mom, mommmmmmmmmmmy, mom, mom, mom” non-stop makes me a little wacky at times.

I also find it interesting when people, who knew I had a baby, would ask me if Dad is babysitting our kid (obviously if the little meatloaf wasn’t with me). Um…he’s the FATHER – they don’t babysit their own children.  They are also full time fathers. But it’s kind of how our society views things. Moms are typically are ‘in charge’ by default – no one ever asked me if I was babysitting my own kid…

Neither of these things make me ‘mad’ or ‘resentful’ – but I think they are interesting in and of themselves because they reveal so much about how we view parenting.  As if it’s a job.  No one has asked me if I’m a full-time spouse.  Never.

Another interesting thing – I find it weird that people ask me if I’m a parent, but not so much what I do for a living.  I get kind of twitchy about that; because I don’t think my entire existence revolves around being a parent. I love being a Mom – but I’m not just that dimension. Just like my job is not the only dimension about me either.  But, that too, also reveals how our society views roles of women and parenting too.

Anyway – that’s what is in my brain right now.

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About Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher

I'm a research librarian for Public Television, story teller, bike commuter, baker, music fiend, lover of reading & books, mother, wife, friend - and many more descriptive adjectives and nouns.
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88 Responses to Are You a Full Time Mom?

  1. I remember when an insurance salesman talked to me as if I was a human until it was mentioned that I stayed at home with my kids. After that I was a child. 🙂 Very weird. At the time I did feel a bit annoyed and wanted to say, “Hey, you f**king jerk–I bet I went to a better university than you . . .etc!” I was a bit stir crazy and high strung at the time, but looking back I realize that feminism puts men in a catch 22 situation. It was mostly women professors who constantly down graded the job of motherhood in my experience. I left college with a contempt for most mothers of the past and vowed not to be like that–until it became obvious that some weird instinct had kicked in and I suddenly wanted to be the sole person to choose the children’s literature for my kids.
    the men I know either walk on eggshells around women or have given up trying to figure the whole feminism thing out completely. This insurance guy just wanted to get us to buy insurance and didn’t want to waste his time on the non-breadwinner. Fair enough, insurance guy.

    • It is a sad commentary when amongst women, we cannot find respect for both SAH and working women. We are most of us doing the best we can with the situation we have.
      I do resent people making snap decisions about my intellect based on if I am working or staying at home.

      No one knows what is the best for them and their family until the situation arises – and then we have an ‘ah-ha!’ moment, right?

      Too much negative judgement and not enough support. We all need support..

      • I guess if we were all self-actualized we wouldn’t need/care about approval. 🙂

        • I think we still need support and understanding – we don’t need people thinking we’re dumb if we stay home, selfish if we go to work, depriving our families of we work or not contributing to society of we stay at home…

          🙂

        • Yes, I was just joking. I don’t believe anyone will ever be completely self-actualized. I don’t really believe in progress. No matter how we re-arrange things life presents us with so many challenges and so many opinions about the right way to do things. people have been struggling since the beginning of time with the idea of what makes life valuable. I try not to take people’s judgments too seriously because we’re all flawed and drive each other crazy even when we don’t mean to! Almost every time I’ve said–oh, I’d never do that–I do it. I can’t even figure myself out at times.

  2. Kylie says:

    Good post, Denise.
    I’ve been struggling with my identity since I’ve been a sometimes-work-at-home mom whose children are not at home bc they are at school or daycare. I don’t seem to fit anywhere. But, I’ve decided to stop trying to find contract work (bc it’s stressful, unreliable, and I haven’t made enough to pay for much besides childcare) and be a SAHM so I can at least socialize with other moms during the day and not sit in my empty home. Does that make me a full-time mom? Because I’ve just been doing the nightshift…

  3. Pingback: Doing it because I can | The Hungry Dog's Lair

  4. A.J. Goode says:

    I worked Saturdays when my kids were little, and everyone acted like it was such a HUGE imposition on my husband to ask him to watch his own kids so I could go to work and contribute to our family income. Poor baby, he had to “babysit” every Saturday!

    When our kids were sick, my husband would stay home with them because his job allowed him to have paid days off. I was a hairdresser who worked on commission — ie, no work, no paycheck. It was such a hassle to call all of my clients and rearrange my book for the day, and my boss was a real jerk about my missing work. Hubby could use PTO time, and besides he is a Medical First Responder . . . So the kidlets were probably better off home with him anyway!

    • It’s crazy how much GALL people have and give opinions about a family situation that they know nothing about. I agree – a First Responder is a much better choice for a watcher-of-children!

      My grandmother would get upset that I wasn’t making my husband dinner when I had a job that required me to work until 9PM on the weekends for a while. Like that was my ultimate contribution to the family – what I was making for dinner.

  5. djmatticus says:

    Sometimes I babysit the little prince while the queen it at yoga in the evenings… Wait… what? 😉 It is interesting the perspective our society still has regarding parenting and specific roles. The queen has said on more than one occasion that as the “mom” she is darned if she does and darned if she doesn’t – if she works, then she is judged for leaving her child to be raised by someone else, but if she doesn’t work then we won’t have the resources to make sure our child has the best opportunities in life. There is no right answer. Either way is a touch choice to make. Interesting, interesting.

  6. Excellent thoughts – and I’m not even a mum. But I always hope that if I’m ever a mum, I’ll remember that I am first and foremost a PERSON.

  7. Actually this reminds me of one of my advertures while staying home with the kiddos one day. (I should totally do a post about it)

    I was out with the kiddos in the middle of the week, because they were both getting over general ickyness. While in the middle of our walk a lady, who I did not know, stopped us and blocked our path down the sidewalk. In her vocal best she asked, “Do you need a babysitter so you can go get a job?” Taken aback I did my best to calmly explained that I already have a job, a very good one. She then proceeded to grill me on where the mother was (who also works) and how she couldn’t believe that she “stuck me with the kids”.

    I had to refrain from letting out my primal rage and letting her know that when the kids are sick we (my wife and I) take special care to split our parental duties as much as possible. Because really it is our utmost treat to skip out of work and spend a random day with the children.

    In the end it turned out that this lady wanted me to hire her as a baby-sitter, I politely told her that I didn’t need one and continued the walk in the opposite direction of her.

  8. Interesting timing. I’m a working mom who’d like to be a stay-at-home-mom – for the most part. Except they drive me insane. So does my job. Which pays bills so it’d be really tough without it. It’s realllly tough with it too. Like with a sick kid – I NEED to be there and I can’t and that sucks. It sucks pretty bad. And you feel like you do neither well sometimes, not work or parenting.

  9. Carrie Rubin says:

    I agree. That dad babysitting thing used to really bug me. I never called anyone on it, but I bristled at the comment. I think it bugged my husband, too. He’s a great dad and far more than a babysitter!

  10. Smaktakula says:

    This can be such a sensitive issue. I can remember a time when I really put my foot in it.

    I used to sell insurance, and when writing a policy, I’d need to get the person’s occupation. I thought one of my clients was a homemaker, and asked her. However, moron that I am, instead of asking, “Are you a homemaker?” I asked “Are you JUST a homemaker?” To this day I don’t know why I phrased it that way.

    She was rightly offended, but accepted my sincere apology. I learned something, and we were cool after that.

    • Ha – we are all human – and like you said, it’s so sensitive. We are damned if we stay at home and damned if we work. Glad you were able to talk to her about it – and she was cool about it. I try not to get emotional about it. It’s all about identity and tying to find it and be ok with how we fit in society.

  11. Twindaddy says:

    I’m a full-time lunatic. Sadly, I can’t put that on my resume.

  12. You bring a lot of interesting points, Denise. I’ve also experienced the dad is “watching” the kids, like it’s a special event. I feel this more common among the stay-at-home moms. It’s hard to say. No matter, I think people should set aside their judgment as people have different reasons for working or staying at home. It feels like a complex, heated issue in my mind as I have experienced a lot on this subject. I can’t even comment….My issue is I want to go to work, but because I’ve been gone so long it’s a hard road back…I can’t just continue where I left off. That’s my current situation. P.S. I wrote about Librarians in my post today…If you read it, I just hope you think it’s funny!

  13. It bugs me too when people talk about dads “babysitting” because it devalues what dads do. I just got a book called Men on Strike: Why men are boycotting marriage, fatherhood, and the American dream and why it matters. It’s about our society becoming anti-male. I’ll let you know how it is. As for people asking if you have kids but not what you do for a living, I’m prone to do that. For me, it’s a way to make a personal connection beyond our jobs. If I want to get to know someone, I’m more interested in their personal life than their work life.

    • I’d be curious to hear about your book.

      What was weird about the parent vs job – it was family that I’d not seen in years; and not one person asked about what I do – they asked about my husband but not me. They all knew I was a parent – so it was just odd – I wonder if it’s because they are stay at home moms – that it just wasn’t something they thought about… who knows!

  14. unfetteredbs says:

    Our classifications are strange and judgements even more so.

  15. Rohan 7 Things says:

    Hehe, yeah the language is interesting, cultural assumptions I guess. “I’m a part time parent babysitting my kids” lol >.<

    Rohan.

  16. Kim says:

    I think it will take a while for society to catch up. When I was a kid, dads didn’t do half of what the dads I know now do. Society considered it their job to support the family financially, and not much else was required. Still, I find it odd when people tell me how “lucky” I am when my husband does things that I think are just normal things to do. No one tells him how lucky he is that I cook or drive our kid to band practice.

    • I know! Like I said before, I’m not upset – just find it curious. And you’re right – it does take a while for society to change the total mindset.

      My father certainly did not do stuff like that when I was growing up. It wasn’t part of the ‘social norm’ –

      We’re moving forward – albeit somethings slowly – but it’s moving.

  17. The Waiting says:

    I agree with you; that is the oddest way to word it. And while we’re on the subject of comparing parenting to a job you clock in and out of, can I just say that if momming is my job, then I’m still watching my mail for some paperwork outlining my 401K? I haven’t gotten it yet.

  18. rossmurray1 says:

    I used to HATE it (well, actually more “italics hate” than “all-caps hate” but I don’t have that option here) when people would say, “Oh, I see you’re babysitting today.” Umm, no, I’m fathering today. And I don’t even care that that’s a terrible verb.

  19. Fresh Ginger says:

    Right there with ya — I find it interesting that people tell me how “lucky” I am that my husband (who is also my child’s father, by some coincidence) does the drop off/pick ups at daycare on most days. It’s closer to his office. That simple. Why should that be so complicated? And, why the eff wouldn’t THE FATHER do that??? Bizarre.

  20. janet says:

    I’ve always thought it was “odd” when people said the dad is babysitting too 🙂

  21. So much this…from a “full-time dad.

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