parent opinion

PARENT OPINION: Please, stop calling me a 'stay-at-home mum'.

Please stop calling me a stay-at-home mum.

Society has been doing this thing for a while, where we give a full-time parent a title based on the location of their office: the stay-at-home mum, the stay-at-home dad. This appears to be the only time we do this.

We don’t call the butcher the 'butcher shop butcher', or the doctor the 'doctor's office doctor'. That would be weird, right?

So please stop calling me a stay-at-home mum. 

Believe it or not, I’m rarely home.

 Watch: Be a good mum. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

On any given day you are more likely to find me at the school, the gym, the park, the grocery store, the chemist, always the freaking chemist, the doctor's, the soccer field, gymnastics, and the chemist again.

Call me the at-the-park mum, at-the-gym mum, in-the-public toilet for five hours while my toddler poos mum. They are all much more realistic titles.

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Regardless of whether we are at “home” or at the office all day, we are still mums. It doesn’t switch off after 5pm (at which point it makes sense that you would then call me the currently-at-home woman. Right?)

Since when did we start defining people’s roles by their location? Is it important for others to know that we are mumming from home? (Which in fact is not true. We mum from all locations.) But alas, I get it.

I do.

We have already started using the acronym SAHM and we already have a hashtag, do we really want to give all that up? (That is rhetorical. The answer is yes). Can we not do a little better than a title that sounds like we’ve been chained to the leg of a table and told to stay?

The title of stay-at-home mum paints a demeaning picture of a woman doing a whole lot of nothing while occasionally making a snack for her child, and mostly just enjoying a life outside of the stressful workforce.

An incorrect and outdated picture, but it comes with the territory. It comes with the title.

'Working mum', on the other hand, what a vision.

The working mum is very busy; she doesn’t just “stay at home”. What a confusing time it was for all mums across the globe when COVID-19 hit and the working mum became a forced-to-stay-at-home mum. 

When mums met at the park on a Friday afternoon, we could hardly tell ourselves apart. We didn’t know which way was up!

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I am a stay-at-home mum. By the same token, you could call me a stay-at-home writer, a stay-at-home reader, a stay-at-home wine drinker... It might start to get a bit tricky when people catch me outside of the home, doing these same things. 

"I thought you were a stay-at-home mum," they will say. "I am, yes of course I am, but I had to duck out to get Panadol for the toddler, a new drink bottle for school, and wine for me," I will say. 

They will have caught me out. I’ve lied about my full-time role. I’ve misled them. 

Just when the world was comfortable with the understanding that mothers are safely in their houses all day, doing all day at home things, I let the cat out of the bag and now they don’t know where we are. 

Us mums, we could be out doing anything. We’re everywhere. Sound the alarm.

So what should you call us, the women who do not get paid to work all day and night? I’d start by calling us by our names.

If you are wondering what it is we do for a living, well, when someone asks me I respond with... all the things.

I am not what I do. I am a woman. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a writer. I am many other things, and I do all the things.

Hashtag it if it makes you feel more comfortable.

Tiare Snow, Author of SHE: a collection of you, me, her, and blogger at Fly In My Wine, is also a wife of one and mother of three. Wine, writing, and building book clubs fill the in-between moments of her daily life.

Feature Image: Instagram / @flyinmywine

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