Being a Parent is not a Job

Date: 15 March, 2016
Tags: stay at home mum, working mum, stay at home parent, working parent, full time mum
Writer: Toby & Roo

I wrote about this topic on my blog last month and it was a very… popular and unpopular post. It received a massive response from people who both agreed and disagreed with me, so I wanted to share my thoughts here too and see what the MOM community thought.

I feel like this is even more prevalent after a recent post on Facebook went viral and rather than being seen as a “Let’s build each other up, including SAHM’s” - which it was intended to be - it was seen as a slam of working mums. It wasn’t. We’re all just so sensitive and I feel like the terms we use are partly to blame.

We need to STOP with the whole “full time mummy/daddy” occupation thing. Being a stay at home parent is NOT a job. It’s so much more, but to say that it is your JOB implies that parents who work aren’t full time or don’t “parent” as much as you.

Look, I get it, being a stay at home parent is hard work – the hardest of work and the jobs are never ending, anyone who doubts that hasn’t been in that position or was doing something that they need to share so we can all do it, but still there is little acceptance from a society who seems hell bent on judging you, and there is little respect – if any at all. So along comes the term “full time mummy/daddy” because, thats your job right?


Whether you like it or not, it implies that by working, I’m not a “full time” mummy, I’m somehow a lesser mummy. A part timer.

I’m not a part time mummy and neither is anyone else. We are all full time mummies. Some of us work. Some of us raise our children without the addition of work. Some of us work FROM home. But none of those things make us any lesser a mother than the other, nor do they make you any more a mother.

This is my very biggest bug bare with the whole “full time mummy” terminology, and I know I’m not alone. It is one more way of pitting women (and men, though because of societies inability to accept men as the important parent they are, less so) against each other and, specifically, mothers. Being a mother is not your occupation, it’s your choice. It is a lifestyle choice and is one that should be respected to the max, but it is not a job.

Secondly, if you are a stay at home mum, your “employment status” is unemployed and it is as simple as that. To imply that you need an additional status gives the impression that there is something inherently wrong with being unemployed and we need to move away from that stigma – do you think that a billionaire playboy would consider something wrong with being effectively unemployed and living off additional means? No, of course not. So why should some of society's hardest working people – people who are taking total U-turns from their previous lives to raise the future generation without needing childcare – be made to feel that they have to justify what they are doing with their time with a job title?

We can’t feel this shame about unemployment – not every stay at home parent is on benefits and when we dress up parenting as an occupation it paves the way for that stigma to solidify and take hold. Own the unemployment and dismiss the desire to dress it up and explain to society what you do with your time – there should be no stigma.

One thing I don’t want is for people to think this is in any way a “diss” of SAHPs, it isn’t. I’ve been one myself, and as I said before, it was the hardest thing I ever did. I’ve written about the loneliness of being a SAHM (or really a stay at home parent), and I’m well aware of how much they do. Your roles are to cook, to clean, to maintain, to entertain, to raise, to love, to cuddle and so much more that can’t be put into to words, but these roles are NOT your job. They are your choice and to call them a job, in my opinion, diminishes what you do and what the millions of parents who either can’t stay at home or choose not to stay at home, do.

In a job you get breaks, you get payment or remuneration and you get holidays. Being a SAHP is not your job. It’s your lifestyle.

Further to that, calling yourself a “full time mummy/daddy” implies that when you head out to work, you have a break form the taxing role of your raising your child. You don’t. Your child is NEVER out of your mind, your heart or your soul. There isn’t a moment when you’re not subconsciously thinking of them or feeling guilty that you aren’t with them. You are still a “full time mummy” but instead of being able to manage and maintain ALL the aspects of your home, you are managing an external work load, whether that is as a retail assistant part time or as a doctor working 90 hours a week and probably utilising the help of childcare.

So can we cut it out with the full time mummy/daddy thing now please?

H x




A Cornish Mum

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Holly bailey 09 October 2016

Your very wrong on a couple of points I think it is yourself who is being a bit sensitive with the term I haven't even heard of this term I usually see stay at home mum or homemaker and I don't see anything derogatory about these terms and secondly I have filled out probably 50 or 60 forms over the last 2 years all of which state homemaker as an occupation it is now a recognised occupation also if you fill out life insurance forms your occupation and income is pitted against several jobs just felt it necessary to correct you on the whole "unemployed" thing. I have both worked full time with kids and am now a stay at home mum I would disagree and say it is a job as it is much more than just "parenting" it is a job and it is a privilege.

Katherine 09 October 2016

Great post. I agree woth everything you say x

MMT 08 October 2016

This is an interesting post as I didn't really realise there was so much emotion behind the labels we give ourselves as parents - working, not working or anything inbetween. When people ask me what I'm doing now I normally rattle off a long winded sentence about how I was made redundant and am still 'weighing up my career options' whilst enjoying the kids being little. I think that's because I don't really like the term SAHM or full time Mum, maybe we should all just waffle more and worry less :-) I liked this post though, it was a bit of an eye opener.

A Cornish Mum 26 July 2016

I don't think it implies that other parents are only part time parents or not doing as good a job to say that your job is to be a stay at home parent, I think in all honesty it just gives people something to say when people ask. Instead of saying you don't work, where they then wonder are you lazy, unemployable etc etc saying you are a stay at home parent answers partially the answer of why you don't leave the house to work. I don't judge anyone by anything other than how they treat the people around them personally. Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix Stevie x

Lisa 13 May 2016

yes the worst problem has been with newer buildings. One comeontatmr did say that because this earthquake was so close to the city center and so shallow that its effect was like an 8+ and that no building can withstand that. I’m sure the debate will escalate.

Lateisha 12 May 2016

You really saved my skin with this inmarfotion. Thanks!

Gemma 07 May 2016

Very interesting post. I used to call myself a 'full time mummy' back in the day when i was a SAHM as it was just 'the' thing to call yourself. I never thought how it could imply that by someone working they was lesser of a mum?! Certainly food for thought.

Anonymous 22 March 2016

Excellent message I am a working mom and definitely feel like it does not make me less of a parent. Thanks for linking up with the #FabFridayPost

Anonymous 21 March 2016

Love this - so true. As a working mum two years in, it doesn't get any easier and I don't think of my daughter any less and I resent the suggestion these labels give that I am somehow less committed.

ethannevelyn 19 March 2016

When I meet people I don't label them. I think it is best to help each other out as much as possible as we can. Interesting post. Thank you very much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost

Anonymous 19 March 2016

Totally agree! Parenting isn't a job (if it was, it would be so low paid that most wouldn't bother)...you're right, it's a lifestyle, which brings with it incredible benefits! #FabFridayPost

Anonymous 18 March 2016

You make a subtle nuanced point around language and labels. These naming conventions serve as shorthand for categories but have become entrenched and a phony battle emerges around them #abfridayposts

Anonymous 18 March 2016

if you go out to work then someone else has to care for your child during those hours and that is classed as a job. So why isn't you looking after your child during those hours equivalent to a job????

Anonymous 17 March 2016

Seriously, we now need blog posts about this? Who cares what you are, what you o or how to refer to it? So long as the outcome is happy, healthy kids who gives a crap? Blogging gone mad.

Anonymous 16 March 2016

Wow that's harsh! As a SAHM I think to say I'm unemployed is shocking! Im not unemployed, to me that's someone looking to be employed but isn't at present, not a SAHM!

Anonymous 16 March 2016

Unemployed is not the right term at all, unemployed implies looking for work - SAHMs are not included in unemployment statistics.

Anonymous 16 March 2016

When you choose to bring a child into this world, you do so do because you want to make a difference. You have patental responsibilities to nurture and care for that childs every needs.

Anonymous 16 March 2016

You're absolutely right about the term "full-time mum/dad", but way off the mark on "unemployed".

Anonymous 15 March 2016

Great blog post x

Anonymous 15 March 2016

Great blog post - too many 'definitions' pull us apart when we should be raising each other up!


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