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Today is national Take Your Kid to Work Day. Naturally, I began thinking what this day means to me, as a full-time homemaker. Oprah is fond of saying that stay-at-home moms have the “hardest job in the world.” Of course she is well-familiar with her demographic and her viewers, so it is a wise thing for her to say. It gets thunderous applause and vigorous head-nodding. But not from me.

As a stay-at-home mom, I disagree with her. It is not the hardest job in the world. I believe the title goes to crab fishermen off the coast of Alaska. Or coal miners in third world countries. Or perhaps child laborers in China who put together Happy Meal toys that my kids play with for ten minutes. The mother collecting rags to sell at a dump in Sao Paulo would be another nominee for having “the most difficult job”, I think.

Being an American Stay At Home Mom is one of the least difficult jobs I can think of. Yes, I gotta mop floors and wipe noses and dimpled bottoms and drive all over God’s green earth but it is not difficult. To me, having to wear pantyhose 40+ hours a week would be difficult. Having to deal with office politics, employee-lounge festering and crusty microwaves, nametags, cubicles, endless meetings, and commuting seems far more distasteful than anything that confronts me at home. Some women love those things, and that is great. They get exhilerated by working at a job and it is meaningful to them. Most likely, they see a side to the working world that I never saw when I had to wiggle my way into pantyhose or a hairnet.

But my kids are not trying to take my job. Any sexual harrassment issues that come up are easily solved by my flannel pajamas. I don’t worry about the ramifications of displaying my kids’ pictures openly, lest some co-worker or boss think of me as less dedicated because I have a family at home.

Most importantly, I have no paycheck. Nobody puts a value on the work I do because it is impossible. Over the years different dollar figures have come out that are oceans apart. I have seen homemakers valued at $500,000 year, but this article claims that homemaking is only worth $30,000 a year.

I bet the women collecting rags in slums would take that.

Yes, my job can be demanding. There is no dispute that it is critically important. I have days when, as a mother, I worry if I am doing a good job raising the kids. But the hardest job in the world? Never. I know how blessed I am to be a stay-at-home mom.

5 comments to Homemaker

  • pianoliz

    You should stop worrying about “doing a good job raising the kids”! I know that for my hubby and I, although not planning on having as many (even though we are starting off halfway there), look at your parenting style as a very good role model. Your children are well-mannered, well-adjusted, and HAPPY!
    I do not look at my upcoming role as stay-at-home mom as a “the hardest job”, because how can it be that hard when it is a job that you LOVE!

  • Hooray for saying it! I agree wholeheartedly. Never have I had a job I liked this well. Sure some, aspects are menial or boring, but we have freedom to do whatever we want: nap, go to the park, etc.

    I think a lot of SAHMs are a bit on the whiny side, and view it as a sacrifice rather than a privelege. We and our children are safe, warm, clean, well-fed, and have plenty of every necessity.

  • Uncle Jim

    My God are you one smart cookie!

    When yours kids are all grown up and you get to enjoy time with your hubby… (my brother is going to be one blessed boy)

  • Uncle Jim

    My God are you one smart cookie!

    When your kids are all grown up and you get to enjoy time with your hubby… (my brother is going to be one blessed boy)

  • You’ve got a wonderful perspective! Thanks so much for sharing it. Margaret

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