Is being a SAHM setting a bad example to our daughters?

Over the past few weeks, something’s been niggling. A passing comment, a throwaway conversation between two strangers have left a sense of self doubt and worry about our family set up.

Aside from blogging, and the Christmas grotto job, I haven’t worked in my previous career for coming up to three and a half years now. Call me unemployed, call me a stay at home parent, call me lucky, call me a mug…but please don’t call me a housewife.

Just as someone did, without meaning to cause offence, in the age old small talk line. “So, what are you doing now?”. The question that leaves me shuffling around, searching for words, wondering to go into the blogging thing, extend out a description of being at home with the children, or just reply “Nothing”.

“So are you still a housewife?”.

Errr….I wouldn’t really describe it like that. (Aaargh!).

The conversation moved on, but the words stuck in my mind. House wife. So demeaning and dark ages, and yet how someone actually perceives my role.

And then, in the same 48 hours I had taken off my pinny and marigolds for the evening (that’s a joke btw) to relax with a bit of trash TV. Channel hopping, I settled on a scene in the new Channel 5 show about rich people vs poor people. Each family, with opposing scales of wealth, had a strong woman at the helm – one a low grade NHS worker, and one a high end consultant. Together they concluded that although they were worlds apart, they both knew how important it was to be role models for their daughters, by them seeing them go out to work.

Ugh. Another big kick for us SAHMs. Again, innocently and unintentionally. But it set my mind in a bit of turmoil… am I giving my two daughters a warped view of the modern world, by them seeing me cook for them each day, keep their home ticking over, and dragging them along on the school run each day?

Will they grow up believing I was ‘Just a stay at home Mum’, with no regard for the years I spent in further education, whilst working, and the career in science I was once so proud of?

Am I really warping their perceptions? Damaging their views on equality for women?

I can’t say I agree with those lines of thought, because our children’s primitive need right now seem to align with one of us being right here for them, and circumstances defined that to be me. To coerce them to eat, to wipe their bum and to cuddle them while they are little. Plus, the childcare juggle is just unfathomable in our current stage of parenting – school holidays, nursery and school drop offs and so forth. Where do you even begin to fill the gaps.

Whether you are working, not working, or anywhere in between, I’m pretty sure the most important attribute of parenting is to provide love, support and guidance. I will tell my daughters that I chose to put my career on hold, and it was all for them. I could go back out to work tomorrow, next year or anytime I choose to, we could make it happen, but the fact of the matter is, at this moment in time, I don’t want to.

Perhaps in the not too distant future I will return to my old career, a new adventure, but if not, I sure as hell won’t be raising anything other than two strong feminists, and they will never be showcasing their Mum as a housewife in careers week.


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17 thoughts on “Is being a SAHM setting a bad example to our daughters?

  1. oldhouseintheshires Reply

    You are doing what works for your family. You are putting the development of your children over your career. You are ensuring you are present in their lives. All these things are of great value! I have worked part time, full time, stayed at home and they all suck tbh! I could never get the balance right! I wanted to be present in my children’s lives but used to get bored frankly. I now work full time and mine are 15 and 17 and it’s too much so I’m going back down to 3 days per week after Easter. It’s a balance that changes as your children grow too. Being there in the early years is so important so enjoy it! Things may change in the future but those choices have to work for you. As my mum says, ‘on your death bed, it’s not your colleagues from work that will be holding your hand….” good advice really, #mondaystumble

  2. beautybabyandme Reply

    We are very much in the same position with our choices to stay at home and I too feel demeaned by these ridiculous “just a mum” or even worse “housewife” labels! I am a parent, and my job is to raise my child the way that is right for us as a family. I love this post honey and never ever are we setting bad examples xx #coolmumclub

  3. The Squirmy Popple Reply

    My mother was a SAHM until my brother and I were school age, and then she worked as a teacher so she could always be home when we finished with school. I don’t think it damaged my idea of what women can do in any way, shape or form. I’m a strong advocate for women doing what they think is best for their family, whether that’s working full time, working part time or staying at home. You’re doing what you want to do and what you feel is best for your kids, and that’s all that matters. #coolmumclub

  4. Briony Reply

    L once told me that only Daddy’s had jobs and we just had fun. On one had I was really pleased he thinks we have fun, I try really hard on that front, I’m not a naturally fun person! But I had this super long conversation with him amout the work I do and how if it wasn’t for me we wouldn’t have a lot of stuff. I know I have a part time job now but I want my example to be me, being happy and living the life I want, which is at home. #coolmumclub

  5. Mrs Mummy Harris Reply

    I dont think a SAHM is a bad example to kids, it just shows one of many options to do in a career. I’m soon to blog fulltime from home and as not all people get it then they’ll see me as a SAHM too no doubt! There is more to us and I think explaining it to kids will make them see its not just sitting and watching tele, there is a lot more to it!

  6. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    I thinking making a choice which works best for you and your family is being a good example, and that’s different for different people. You are around to build up their self-esteem and that’s going to pay off for a very long time in the future my lovely #coolmumclub co-host xoxo

  7. Winnettes Reply

    This is has struck a bit of a nerve because I read a study a little while ago about the benefits of mothers working the kids going to nursery. I would love to still work but whilst nursing hours are long and child care is so ££££ that simply isn’t going to happen. Perhaps it is a bad example to set my children, perhaps it isn’t. I don’t know, but what I do know is that I get to go and see every school play and be there when they really want me to be. They won’t be sad that I am absent. I also know that the example I set is one of family importance and how to be the strong woman of the family without having to work (of course I am ignoring the blogging but perhaps that is equally unjust as we actually know how much work that really is!). Either way I do believe that in 2017/18 the label ‘housewife’ is pretty unnecessary and I would be offended too. #coolmumclub

  8. oldhouseintheshires Reply

    Popping back with #coolmumclub

  9. Lucy At Home Reply

    I worry about this too. I worry that they have never seen “professional” me, but I hope that I am teaching them to strive to be the best they can be in whatever situation they’re in – whether that’s as a mum, as a career woman, as a wife, as a friend – just be the best you can be wherever you are #coolmumclub

  10. Jo - Mother of Teenagers Reply

    I have done the whole range of full-time, part-time work options and ended up being a SAHM for 10 years, I still am by all accounts – it is just now I dip into some freelance work when I want to. I have written a similar piece about being bored and unfulfilled by being at home and my kids just seeing me as no more than a mum but to be honest I wouldn’t swap those 10 years for anything. Our children are our most precious commodity, they are only with us for a very short time so if you are lucky enough to be around for them enjoy every single moment because that time will be over before you know. You can always go back to work but you can’t rewind the clock on those formative years and being there for your kids. #coolmumclub

  11. So Happy In Town (@SoHappyInTown) Reply

    I have had exactly this fear ongoing in my head and I had a very similar conversation the other day when this working mum said to me “so what exactly do you do all day” to which I found myself ranting at her about all the things that i do do, making myself out to be the busiest person on the planet, all to justify me being a SAHM. And then I walked away realising that that was my problem as I obviously felt the need to explain why I am not currently out working. I did return to teaching last year though and it was just too much for us as a family. We were all stressed and the financial gains were not worth it. So I am so with you on this and I’ve chosen to be at home at the moment, so I can be there for my kids when they need me. Great post #coolmumclub

  12. crummymummy1 Reply

    Although I’m not a stay at home mum I am at home all the time as I work from home, & it does worry me that the kids see me doing the lion’s share of running the house simply because I’m at home more than Misery Guts is. There’s so much to worry about isn’t there!! #coolmumclub

  13. The Queen of Collage Reply

    I’m with you on the term ‘housewife’ it certainly does sound like you are tied to the house cooking and cleaning. Looking after your children by being at home is not a negative. #coolmumclub

  14. Wendy Reply

    I have felt this way a lot too, I would be really offended to be called a housewife. I think you are doing a fab job showing your daughters that you can be a strong amazing woman without needing a big professional career defining you too. You just need to do whatever works best for your family xx #coolmumclub

  15. Aleena Brown Reply

    I think it’s very important to show our sons and daughters he importance of hard work, and that hard work pays off. Who says that has to be modelled by going out to work?! Who says we can’t model that at home by working hard to achieve the things we do in our every day lives. In the real world, no one cleans your house for you or does the washing; that’s stuff we have to do, and it’s important for or kids to see that too. Who says we can’t model hard work when our kids see us getting up at 6am to squeeze in an hours blogging before the day officially starts? I don’t believe that going out to work, potentially doing something we don’t really want to do, is the only way to model the importance of hard work. Keep doing what you do until it’s no longer the right thing for you (if that day ever comes!) #coolmumclub

  16. Muffintopmummyblog Reply

    I completely agree with you – and the only problem I see is other people’s damaging perceptions! You are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t nowadays. I would much prefer to do as you are doing and raise my daughter, but right now, working part-time is something that I don’t have a choice in until we can buy a house. But when it comes down to it, I hope in the future I do have a choice. And I would likely choose to take some time out and bring up my children. Plus, look at how amazing your blog is! If that’s not something to be unbelievably proud to show your children someday, then I don’t know what is 🙂 #coolmumclub

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