Are You A Stay At Home Mom? This Just In: You Suck

May 12, 2010

I received the following message via Facebook today. I think that it’s pretty awesome. And by awesome, I mean, so profoundly insulting and ignorant that I actually yelled out “REALLY???” and scared some flamingos.

Catherine –

I know I probably shouldn’t say this, but I have to ask you, how did you end up a “stay at home mom” with no job after all the university you took? … I have to take you off (my Facebook) as it is such a disappointment that you never did anything with your life and you do this all day… it was not what I would have imagined for you Catherine… so sad.

So there you have it, people. I am a disappointment. I have no job. I am doing the worthless and pathetic work – wait! no! unwork – of raising two beautiful children, when instead I should be, I don’t know, out there in the world using my years of education to teach other peoples’ children about Plato or sell cola or design widgets or something really meaningful. Because raising children isn’t actually work, right? It doesn’t actually contribute to society. And, of course, the fact that I write about parenthood and children and family and the condition of love in post-modernity is just, you know, pffft, whatever. Who reads that stuff? What does it actually contribute? What good am I really, people? What good are you? You should go have a good think about that.

TRANSLATION: what a great big steaming pile of utter bullshit. Didn’t we bury Linda Hirshman’s nonsense under there a long time ago? Which is to say this: no woman is less of a woman for choosing to stay home with her kids. Nor is any woman any less of a woman for choosing to work at home with her kids or to work at home without her kids. Nor is any woman any less of a woman for choosing to work outside the home and parent as a working mother. Nor is any woman any less of a woman for choosing to not have kids at all. No woman is any less of a woman, or a feminist, or a human being for making any one of those choices. None of these choices is any less valid or meaningful or worthy than any of the others, because these choices can only be measured according to the fulfillment of the individual, and anyone who tells you otherwise is likely just straining to justify their own choices as a defense against their own insecurities over those choices.

In related news, I think that we’ve found someone worthy of the given name that corresponds to Emilia’s new favorite word.

UPDATE: Although this person was determined to unfriend me for being such a disappointment, she waited to do so until after I had responded to her message, at which point she said, among other things, this:

As for my opinion on “stay at home mothers”, I do have a thing about stay at home mothers as I do not think a man should make all the money and the wife stay home and not have to work (just to raise the children)… that is just my believe (sic). I think both people should work and everyone I know work (sic) and take care (sic) of their children.

So there you have it! It’s a sexism thing! Women staying home and not working – you know, just raising children, which as we all know means sitting your ass and eating bon bons all day and contributing to the public good in no way whatsoever – is sexist and backward because it means that the man does all the work and makes all the money and the woman is just – what’s the word? – kept. Silly whores, all of us.

FEMINISM: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.

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    { 209 comments }

    Shash May 15, 2010 at 10:50 am

    I can’t believe the ignorance and complete stupidity of some people! It makes me wonder though… how many others are thinking it but just don’t say it?!

    Is tarring and feathering people wrong….
    .-= Shash´s last blog ..Friday meme Challenge! =-.

    Edwin Perello May 15, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    This video is actually anti-prostitution prohibition but it touches on the fact uber feminisim has been working against women’s rights. Interesting video, and somewhat apropos.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TdEYqOZY_E&playnext_from=TL&videos=m_IH4IVHWWA&feature=sub

    Stone Fox May 16, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    it is these little digs that women make towards other women that make me want to go lay (lie? i can never figure that one out) down on the highway: surely it would be less painful to be run over by a Mac truck than try to explain this one small idea that no woman is lesser-than because of the life choices she makes.
    .-= Stone Fox´s last blog ..Memory =-.

    Amanda Nicole May 17, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    WOW!! I honestly think that you should have taken her off of your friends list before she had the chance to take you off of her’s! I think as long as a mother is doing what she feels is best for her kids she should not have to be attacked! I went back to work after having my little one for 2-3 months and ended up crying almost every day before going, so my husband told me to give my notice and I don’t regret it at all!!

    You do what you think is best for your kids, you and your family, and let comments like those slide off your back. There are some of us out here (who may or may not agree with every choice you make) that realize that you are doing what you feel is best for your family!
    .-= Amanda Nicole´s last blog ..Wesley is walking!! =-.

    Rebecca Van Hout May 17, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    So let me get this straight…We have choices, but we are not allowed to take option B. Only option A is o.k. So how is Feminism different than being forced to stay home? Now we are forced to go to work or we are nothing. HAHAHAHAHA! You know what? I would NEVER give up the 15 years I stayed home with my little ones for any $ amount. Staying home has not hurt my education one bit. I had my children young on purpose because I wanted to be able to keep up with them and be a younger grandparent so I could enjoy my grandchildren someday. My children are well adjusted, intelligent, and happy.
    I went back to school in my late 30′s and now I’m almost done with my BSN. I will go on to have a wonderful career as a nurse because I want to, not because I have to prove myself “worthy.” What an idiot your “friend” is. She is probably jealous that you get to stay home an actually enjoy being a mother!

    Amanda May 17, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    If no one else has said it today, I love you! I’ve had a rough day and needed a pick me up read! I agree with you 100%. I’m a working mama, though I wish I could be a SAHM. It’s hard work, but the payouts so much better! There really isn’t BonBons is there? *sigh* Keep doing what you do!

    Alison May 18, 2010 at 2:46 am

    “Hear, hear!” to the many heartfelt and thoughtful comments above especially re: “real feminism” and “taking it easy”. I am 38, had my first child at 32 and have been full-time SAHM since he was less than six months old. It wasn’t originally fully my choice–son’s health at the time made it extra hard to set up child care–but when I finally had the chance to return to work last summer I realized how much I do value this time with my kids. My house isn’t as clean as I’d like because we’re busy living life in it and I struggle to find the time to pursue my own interests, but I am learning and thinking every single day. I am grateful that I don’t have to get us all out the door to daycare and work each morning but sometimes I sure wish I could say “Ask your teacher–it’s time for me to go to work.”

    I do plan to return to the workforce and realize that even if I wait until my first child graduates from high school I will be only 50 with 15-20 years MINIMUM working life ahead of me. (If social security even exists at that time the starting age is sure to be higher than 67 and our 401k’s need a lot more time to grow!) By the time my younger child graduates I will be able to pour myself into my career like I did when I was single and hopefully my husband will be able to step-down the intensity of his worklife.

    I do regret getting my BS directly out of high school but not because it is being wasted; I regret it because I didn’t know enough about myself or the world to make a good decision on what to study. My major was geography, I loved the fact that nearly anything on earth can be described by where and how it exists on the planet’s surface; BUT I did not want to go on to get a master’s & Ph.D to teach on the college level myself nor did I want to get into GIS (Geographic Information Systems) which was overtaking cartography during my college years. After graduation there was not a career path I wanted to follow so I hopped around between various fields and eventually ended up working my way up in commercial construction management. It was interesting and challenging but not a good long-term fit so I won’t be returning to it. So between the poor-fitting college major and the job-hopping that resulted I am faced with the reality of needing to restart my career ladder and very possibly obtain more training and credentials despite the fact that I already spent plenty time and money getting a degree previously. And right there is the problem, instead of pursuing a field of interest and a career, I “got a degree”….

    So contrary to your FB “friend’s” opinion, I am not wasting my BS Geography by being with my kids and helping then to explore the world but actually putting it to more use than ever before!

    Christina May 18, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Un-f’ing-believable. What year is it?! Haven’t people (adults) learned to mind their own business?
    .-= Christina´s last blog ..It’s a Conspiracy. =-.

    IzzyMom May 19, 2010 at 9:19 am

    And this comes from a “friend” of yours? Ugh! Good riddance.

    It always kills me when people imply that raising children is not work because it’s the hardest 24-7/365 job I’ve ever had.

    Being here to make sure my children have some stability and don’t grow up to become jackasses like your “friend” is something society should be glad for because, after all, this generation we’re raising will be running things when we’re all crapping in our Depends.
    .-= IzzyMom´s last blog ..Gawd Mom, That’s SO Dumb =-.

    simona May 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    this acquaintance of yours just sounds so stupid and shallow she wouldn’t even deserve a reply. and yet – it seems to me – the fact that dozens of women (me included) feel compelled to post a comment is a reminder that, down deep, a tiny voice, inside each of us, sometimes whispers that same, awful thing. remember when the kids were newborn, and didn’t sleep, and after weeks of being edgy, verging on insanity, you begged the baby’s father for a couple of hours of rest and he said: “but darling, you’re the one who stays home, in the morning I have to get up and go to work”… that’s what I mean, and that voice, I’m sure, must be male

    Angela (@AngEngland) May 21, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    I went on a similar soul-searching rant after the New York Time’s piece and my blog post about it (http://angengland.com/blogging-and-motherhood-success-is-not-limited/) includes the following:

    “The article makes it sound like one cannot be a successful mother and manage a successful career simultaneously. I’m sorry – that mentality is so last century. Is it not? Have we NOT come further than that since the 70’s and 80’s when women were still seeking entry into “male-run industries”. Like publishing, marketing, PR and online industries?

    Maybe I have a warped idealistic point-of-view. After all, I grew up with a mother who not only runs a successful home-based business (one of the top in her company!) and has trained hundreds of women internationally in said business, but ALSO raised and homeschooled eight (count them – EIGHT!) children. Both. It never crossed my mind to disbelieve the notion that I could be anything I wanted to be. I could be a successful mother (as well as any mother can consider herself “a success”) and ALSO manage a successful career writing online.”
    .-= Angela (@AngEngland)´s last blog ..A Review of Mabel’s Labels Custom Bin Labels =-.

    jael May 22, 2010 at 1:53 am

    It grieves me, especially since I was once a stay at home mom and now have had to return to work. I would love to go back to the way things were- totally focused on my children, but I can’t do that now. I’m sorry she was so rude to you but I think this open discussion is the best way to handle it. When we talk about why something is hurtful, we are educating the emotionally ignorant. This person simply has no insight into the power mothering brings to a woman’s life. I have been many things in my life, but nothing has mattered to me so much as the title, “mother.”

    Kelly May 22, 2010 at 10:28 am

    I love how eloquent that person was in the defriending message. So well-written, so lovingly hashed-out. So fucking full of crap.

    anne May 28, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Hi Catherine –
    I love your blog and your musings. If you don’t mind me asking, could you share with your readers how much money you make being a mommy blogger? This might inspire the rest of us. I certainly don’t think of you as a stay at home mom, but a writer who tackles some of the bigger issues in life. I admire your work very much.

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