We are all Full-Time Parents

I recently read a great post over on the lovely Harriet’s blog, Toby and Roo. She had written a really honest account on why she doesn’t think that being a ‘stay at home mum’ is a job – acknowledging that it’s bloody hard work and often harder than many a job, but that strictly speaking it isn’t employment. She also said that she found the term “full time Mummy” quite offensive, as she felt it suggests that any parent who does have a job, is less of a parent.

I didn’t find her post offensive and other than working about 5 hours a week, I don’t have a job and I spend most of my time looking after my boys. I agree with Harriet that looking after your children is not a job – it can be harder, and more emotionally and physically draining. It can be rewarding, infuriating, exhausting, humbling and there are amazing days and terrible days.  Sometimes, when things get too much I just lie down, put my headphones in and let the boys climb all over me and each other in the play room whilst I pretend to be in some spa, far far away having a rather uncomfortable massage! 
What really surprised me was some of the comments Harriet had replying to her post; some people were apparently very offended by what she had said. I still don’t understand what they were upset about – they called her offensive and narrow minded and even asked her to take down her blog….WHAT?
What were they offended by? She didn’t be-little what they did in anyway at all!
If you choose to not work and to stay at home with your children (as I do), then that is your parenting choice. It is because it’s right for your family. I used to be a solicitor/lawyer, often working 60+ hours a week – that was hard, but being with my boys all day, every day can be harder.
If however, you work, whether part-time or full-time, that does not mean that you are any less of a parent. You are not a part-time parent! Parenting also includes providing for your children – giving them healthy food to eat and providing them with the setting and environment you want them to have. That inevitably costs money and so if you work to enable that, you are still parenting even when not with your children. Not to mention that most people who work don’t have cooks or cleaners and have to do all of the housework around their jobs.
And if you are in the financial position where you don’t have to work, but you choose to, then that is also a parenting choice. You are being who you are. You are being true to yourself. We want to raise our children to be themselves, to become and achieve the things THEY want to achieve.  As a parent, there is nothing wrong with choosing to work and in so doing, showing your children that they will be free to make these choices one day too.  You are not a part-time parent or any less of a parent than someone who either has to work or who doesn’t work.
I will say it again – I just don’t understand what people were offended by in Harriet’s post. I wonder whether they’re not actually that happy and are just looking for something to find offensive. I know I do this. I did and still do feel like I failed at breastfeeding my children. For a while, I didn’t even want to see other women breastfeed – it just reminded me of how I had failed. I did and I still do click on every breastfeeding post I see and take offence at anything which could suggest that formula is bad, or that any woman can breastfeed etc. I am ridiculous and I probably should have spoken to someone about it… but my very waffly point is that I do this because I still have issues with breastfeeding. I think that some of Harriet’s commentators must have issues with being a stay at home parent as I just can’t see why they would comment in the way they did otherwise.
Don’t worry about those comments Harriet, it was a great post as is your blog. 
And I’ll leave you all with this image. We don’t know if this wonderful lady is working or not, but what we can assume, is that if she is a mum and these are her children, that she’s no doubt doing everything she can for them and being a full-time parent just like the rest of us.
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13 Comments

  1. March 10, 2016 / 3:18 pm

    Ahh thank you so much for writing this and sharing my original article. You are so right: we are all full time mums and the truth is the statement "full time mummy" give the impression that someone, somewhere, will be a part time mummy. Same for Dads. It's just not a good expression and I firmly believe that to consider parenting a job in any way is undervaluing it and, frankly, insulting to the parents and their children. My kids are not my job, raising them is not my job – it't my privilege and transcends a mere job. H xx

  2. March 11, 2016 / 7:42 pm

    Totally agree with you. I work part-time but still consider myself a "full time" parent. I really don't know why people get so bothered about what other people choose to do, they should concentrate on getting on with their owns lives and stop focussing so much on what others are doing.

  3. March 11, 2016 / 7:42 pm

    I read Harriet's post and couldn't believe the comments. I worked full-time for the first six years I had kids, and the past four I've been a SAHM. Staying home isn't my job, it's my choice… But, irrespective of our opinions on the terminology for what any of us do, to comment in such a divisive way is wrong on so many levels, and that was what really got to me about the response that Harriet's post received!

  4. March 11, 2016 / 7:42 pm

    I haven't read the post but will head straight over. It annoys me when people say 'full time mummy' too. I agree that it isn't a job to be a stay at home parent. more like a calling if you like. x

  5. March 11, 2016 / 7:42 pm

    Really enjoyed this post and hearing both sides of the argument. I'm not a mum, yet alone a stay-at-home one, but I can understand the contrasting views about it. I Don't think there's a need to define what you are as 'stay-at-home mum', 'working mum'. You're still a mum first and foremost x

  6. March 11, 2016 / 7:42 pm

    I've read Harriet's post and have not found anything offensive about it.
    I am a stay at home mum its hard work but definitely not a job.

  7. March 11, 2016 / 9:52 pm

    Wow, I just headed over to Harriet's blog – some of the comments!!
    I hate how people can be so divisive over motherhood. We're all doing the best to look after our children, whether we work full-time, part-time or not at all. We should be celebrating each other for being so awesome, not fighting and bickering. I'm a stay-at-home mum during the day, and do all my self-employed work in the evenings. I used to work part-time until I had my third. Being a stay-at-home mum (or dad) is demanding, challenging, but incredibly rewarding. I'm not sure about it being called a job, because jobs have a salary, holiday pay, sick pay, a start and finish time. Being a parent – whether you also work or not – is all-consuming. It's amazing, don't get me wrong, but it's all consuming. Your children are never off your mind. x

  8. March 13, 2016 / 8:19 pm

    I am going to take a look at Harriets post now. Such a shame with the negative comments. I personally don't like the term 'full time mummy'. I wouldn't say parenting is a job because it isn't! It's a blessing.
    Great post x

  9. March 13, 2016 / 8:19 pm

    I've just read Harriets post and I too find nothing offensive about it. I agree, as a stay at home mammy it's not my job. I'd want paying if it was lol.

  10. March 13, 2016 / 8:20 pm

    I love this! I've just read Harriets too and I don't understand why people have made those comments either. There should be more support amongst each other. We're all doing incredible jobs based on our situations. I consider myself a stay at home mama because I have my daughter all week. But I also work from home freelance writing and in a restaurant in evenings, so after having two jobs on top I'm not sure what my label is. But that's the point. They're just labels and at the end of the day we are all fabulous mums and dads for raising our children to the best of our ability regardless of our situations. Fab, fab post!!! xx

  11. March 14, 2016 / 5:47 pm

    I agree that being a stay at home mum isn't a job, I chose to be a parent, however I didn't choose to stay at home, I was made redundant. This isn't something I've really thought about. Sometimes I'm unemployed, sometimes I'm a full time mum (when filling out forms) and I can't say it bothers me either way what I'm classed as. Xx

  12. March 14, 2016 / 11:36 pm

    I agree I don't see why people where offended over the post its not saying being at home with the kids isn't hard work it is hard but it's not a job/career option its as you say a families choice x

  13. April 18, 2016 / 11:26 am

    yer I'd agree it's not a job in the sense that a vocation is because it's something you will be constantly from the moment your pregnant. There are hard days of course but it's absolutely a gift not a working role x

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