She was a superwoman with a cape, but now she dons an apron. She is still a superwoman though. Yes, I am talking about the woman who puts her career on hold to take care of her kids, who quits her job to raise a family. She is the Stay-At-Home Mom or SAHM. For a few of us, she is just a housewife, or just a mom. We live in a world where many choices made by others, especially women, are often judged and not taken kindly. Passing snide remarks and making each other feel inadequate seem the order of the day.
But, be careful what you say. Utter a wrong sentence, make an uncomfortable inquiry and be ready to face her wrath. Here are 10 things you should never say to a Stay-At-Home Mother. And yes, these intelligent women get that underlying snide message hidden within that innocent query. Of course, they know when your query is well-intentioned. So utter these words at your own peril. (And please don’t miss the prickly rejoinders.)
1. Your parents or in-laws can care for the kids while you work!
They are the grandparents, not nannies. They did a great job raising their own kids, but that doesn’t mean that they should be burdened with raising their kids’ kids as well. Of course, I’ll need their constant support and guidance, but I cannot even think of a scenario where they are caring for my young, super-active kids for eight to ten hours at a stretch, every day. My parents and in-laws are hale and hearty, but they are old. They themselves need care and proper rest.
2. You are wasting your education and degrees!
On the contrary, I am putting my education and degrees to practical use. You want an example? See, how passionately I am listening to your thoughtless words instead of showing you the door. I have developed the art of patience and tact to deal with not just my little ones, but also adults like you who judge my lifestyle choices.
3. Both spouses should contribute to family income because the cost of living is very high.
I am contributing to my family in a major way being a homemaker and a stay-at-home mother. Contribution is not always monetary. And maybe we had been saving all along, maybe we have cut down our expenses, but how does that matter to anyone? My family’s financial situation is none of anyone’s business. Right?
4. Why don’t you hire a nanny or send the kids to daycare?
Yes, I can do that but choose not to. You send your kids to daycare and that’s what you think is best for them. I respect your choice, and I expect you to respect mine. We both know what’s good for our kids, and what’s best for us. Three cheers for choices we make to live our lives fully and fruitfully.
5. God forbid, what if something goes wrong between you two and he divorces you? What happens to your finances then?
But who told you marriage is an insurance policy or my husband is my money-minting machine? And you know, anything can happen with me, you, or anyone, any time. Regardless of that, we have to make choices and live with the consequences.
6. Children don’t respect and value their stay-at-home mothers much!
I am sure my children will be as proud of me as I am of them. And you know, respect has to be earned.
7. You’ll lose out on career front even if you rejoin workforce in three years.
Maybe I’ll never start again! Well, startled? Don’t you think I must have thought about it or sought guidance or advice before trading my briefcase for the diaper bag? Well, if you insist, what I am achieving right now is more valuable than what you think I have lost.
8. What do you do all day? (The classic question every SAHM must have encountered once in her lifetime.)
Oh, don’t even get me started. I bungee jump, scuba dive, paraglide, watch television, read and do a lot of other interesting things while there’s a fairy who prepares breakfast for my family, packs my kids off to school and hubby to office, prepares meals, goes grocery shopping, manages finances, cares for old and young, and does everything else. Would you like to meet her?
9. You must have a lot of free time, lucky you!
Well, sometimes I don’t get time even for combing my hair, but if this assumption makes you happy (or jealous), be it. By the way, I really envy you for the lunch break you get and the smoking breaks you take.
10. Do something meaningful with your life!
I am planning to be a candidate in the next elections and enhance the miseries of people with my stupid decisions. Better still, I am planning to be a scribe and project mikes on the faces of the people already in misery. Well, the most meaningful thing I can think of doing at this moment is to hang up because I know I am wasting my time carrying out this conversation with you. Bye!
This post was previously published on Mycity4kids.