Sunday, December 21, 2014

Being a housewife is akin to being on welfare?

The other day, I read an interesting article on Salon.com.  It was about a woman who was being "bullied" by a woman at her child's bus stop.  This article, which was originally published in November 2013, was written by Jessica Stolzberg, a mom who has two kids who are now in school.  At the time her article was published, Stolzberg's kids were 8 and 11 years old.  Apparently, the other mom at the bus stop felt that because Stolzberg had kids in school, it was time for her to go back to work.  The other mom was herself a part time therapist who took dance classes six times a week.  However, the part time therapist felt it was her right to ask Stolzberg about how she spends her time, now that her kids aren't home all day.  Therapist mom even had the nerve to ask Stolzberg, "Can I ask what you do all day?"

Stolzberg handled the first question with class and aplomb, but the lady continued to make snarky comments throughout the school year.  Finally, when Stolzberg had had enough, she confronted the lady, and was then treated to another comment about how perhaps she should seek therapy to find out why the therapist's comments upset her so much.  I don't think you'd need a therapist to answer that question.  It's because the therapist was being rude, insensitive, and, well, snarky.  If it were me, I think I would have told therapist lady that I spend my days lounging in black, crotchless, velvet pantaloons, masturbating to music by Grace Jones.  Then I would have smiled and winked at her.  Or, if I'd been in a pissy mood, I might have told her it was none of her goddamn business.  Clearly she's not busy enough with her own life if the way I spend my days is such a big concern to her.

I must admit that I could relate to Jessica Stolzberg somewhat, except I don't even have kids.  I am a SAHW.  And I'm sure that certain people actually do wonder what I do all day...  On the other hand, most people probably don't care because they have their own lives to worry about.  It used to really bother me that I didn't have a job outside the home.  It was an insult to my pride.  And when I first became a SAHW, it nearly drove me nuts not having anywhere to go all day or anyone to answer to.

As time went on, I became pretty good at filling the hours with meaningful activities.  I started to make music and write, which has even ended up earning me some money.  I daresay Jessica Stolzberg, though she doesn't work outside the home, is also a writer.  That's what she does all day, aside from tending to household chores that need doing and raising her kids.  Frankly, I think it makes perfect sense for parents to want to raise their kids, rather than put them in a child care facility.  But I understand that other people both want and need to work outside the home for a living.  That's okay, too.  Whatever's legal and gets you through life-- that's my motto.

Anyway, after I read the article, I made the mistake of reading the comments.  And someone wrote this...

I cannot even fathom why anyone would WANT to be a stay at home mom. Even if I had the opportunity to not work, i.e. if my husband made enough money to support the family, I would feel like a complete failure and a mooch not providing financially for myself and my kids. I'm pretty sure we don't live in the 1950s anymore so no one expects a mom to stay at home, so why would you? I have worked [outside the home] my kids' whole lives and they're perfectly fine. I've been there for them for their awards and events and conferences and everything in between. I come home and make dinner and clean and do laundry, but I work for a living and pay my own way. In my opinion SAHMs are no different than welfare moms. they just get their money from their husbands instead of the government. Go to college and get a job. Have some self respect.


Wow.  I mean, I guess I get that some people think that SAHMs or even worse, SAHWs, are "mooches" because they don't earn a steady paycheck from some corporation.  But are they really akin to "welfare moms"?  Aside from the fact that some people really do need welfare and are getting it through no fault of their own, what makes you think your choices should be everyone's choices?  There's no one "right" way to live.  And everyone is dealing with different circumstances.  Naturally, this commenter got a rebuttal...  Here's one of the better ones.

SAHM moms are no different from welfare moms???!!! You're not only offensive, but totally ignorant. How dare you presume to know everyone else's situation. If a family has enough income for one partner (male or female) to stay at home, good for them. My partner works ridiculous hours, but makes a decent wage, and appreciates the contributions I make to our family. I not only spend a ton of time helping out at my children's school (which they love), I also, whenever possible, take photos and videos for the Moms I know aren't able to attend many school events because of work. Thankfully, these women don't seem to share your opinions, just appreciate that those of us who are able to give their time to make a better school for all of our kids. And I respect the choices they make as well. Your choices are fine for you, not for many of us. The difference is, I don't draw idiotic conclusions based on people whose choices are different from mine.


And then the precious lady who compares SAHMs to welfare moms retorts with this...

can you please explain to me how SAHMs are any different than welfare moms, other than the fact they get their money from their husbands instead of the government? those things you've described doing; volunteering, etc., could be done by any parent who isn't at work during the day.

p.s. This is coming from a former single mom (who at one point had no choice to be on welfare) who worked hard to finish my degree and got a job so I could have the ability to provide for myself and my children.



Hmmph... well, aren't we a little self-righteous and holier than thou?  So the other commenter wrote this.  

That's very easy. My husband and I each contribute to making life better for our family. His work has a dollar amount attached, mine doesn't. I'm very happy to have a husband who sees my contribution just as important as his, if not more so. It was his idea for me to stay home just before the birth of our first child. I was reluctant, but didn't want to put our baby in day care - we made sacrifices in other areas to make it work financially.

I was raised by a single mom who worked her ass of to keep us off of welfare (doesn't work for everyone, and I respect that), so she had to miss a lot of things at school when we were going up. She tells me quite often how pleased she is that I'm able to be there for my kids more than she was able to be for us. She's thrilled to be a part of it, too, and I'm so grateful for every single sacrifice she made for us.

I worked hard to finish my degree, too, at one point holding down three part-time jobs as a full-time student. I did it all without any public assistance, or any help from my parents, something of which I'm very proud. I did it before I became a parent, which is no better or worse than your choices, just mine. Please don't assume that SAHM moms don't have a kick ass work ethic, my ambitions are just devoted in another direction right now. When the time is right, I'll get back to the profession in which I practiced for over a decade. I earned the right to make that choice, however you feel about it. And during the many years I was at work, perhaps some of my tax dollars helped make your goals more possible.



I get that many people prefer to work for a living.  Our society is very work oriented.  If you don't have a job, many people will think you're a loser.   Other people will think you have no identity.  Unfortunately, a lot of people don't have jobs because there aren't any available.  I haven't had a job outside the home in many years.  I wanted one for awhile, but then came to realize that due to the nature of Bill's work, it would be very difficult to do the work for which I was trained.  And I have absolutely no desire to work at a boring low level job for which I am way overqualified.  Moreover, there are other people out there who actually NEED those jobs.  At this point, we don't need the money.

And folks, I'll be very honest.  Getting up the crack of dawn, fighting traffic, sitting in meetings, working under fluorescent lighting in a cubicle while putting out fires, and dealing with annoying co-workers and bosses isn't all that much fun.  I've done it before and if I don't have to do it again, so much the better.  Maybe that makes me a loser in some peoples' eyes, but hell, we get by.  And there are advantages to our lifestyle, too...  as long as we can maintain it.  I know I wouldn't have gotten to see nearly as much of the world as I have if I hadn't been what some people would call a "dependapotamus"...  And because I write about those experiences, other people get to learn through me.  Besides, now that my blogs have made enough for a Google payment, I can't even say I'm not earning anything.

But anyway... I don't think of myself as akin to a welfare recipient, nor do I think that receiving welfare is necessarily something that people should automatically be ashamed of.  Sometimes people need help and a decent society should be prepared to give it to those who need it.  Being an able bodied person and on welfare for years on end is a different story, of course.  But I don't think that definition applies to most moms I know, whether they're working outside the home or not.



A good song about laziness...

2 comments:

  1. Both the bus stop jerk and the author of the article equating stay-at-home-moms with welfare mothers are total bitches. each family's income is theirs and theirs alone do decide how to appropriate. I expect to attain a high level of education, but if i'm lucky enough to marry someone whose income dwarfs what mine will likely be, I'll use my education mostly to care for children and.or pets. I'll work enough hours to keep my license current, but I'll certainly not be a workaholic once I have a family.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. I wonder why other people care so much about how other people live their lives. Truth be told, working for a living is often a colossal drag.

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