When you become a mom, your maternal instincts kick in and suddenly you are performing skills you don’t even know you have. Your baby is sucking at your tit in one hand, laptop in front of you, and the only other available hand is replying to that email. All this while, you are screaming at your older child not to draw on the walls with his marker.
Being a mom also means you will be judged by others, including fellow moms. A psychology professor, Kelly Ordenweller conducted a study to understand how moms perceive other moms due to stereotypes. Working mom or stay-home-mom, every action is due for a verbal attack, jealousy, and quick judgments.
I was given the mom title 11 years ago, and I am a young mom. A millennial mom. At first, I dislike being called a millennial mom because people think that millennials are irresponsible and spoiled. But now, I’m proud of it (and that’s why it’s the title of my blog!).
It’s not often a young lady becomes a mom at age 20, I do get my fair share of judgment and criticisms. But to be fair, I also get a lot of support and advice from family and close friends. Throughout this parenting journey, I went from a working mom to a work-from-home mom.
I didn’t want to miss out on the milestones of my oldest boy, so I’ve been working in the service and sales line since he was born. It was tough juggling kid and work, but fortunately, my employer and clients are understanding, sometimes they allow him to follow me to work too!
When I had my second boy, that was when I started a pet business in my own home, so that I can take care of him and still bring in the income. It has been like this since then, before becoming a professional blogger. The first thing I learned when I started working from home is that people assumed that work-from-home mom is the same as a stay at home mom. Simply because we are always at home.
Today, let us look at the stereotypes of what I’ve heard and experienced as a (mistaken) stay-home-mom.
Stereotype #1 Stay At Home Moms are Sloppy
This is one stereotype that I get upset when I hear it.
Yes, working moms get to apply her many colors of eye shadow and use the different brushes for different shades of blushers. Stay-home-moms have no reason to dress up because who needs to wear eyeliners and mascaras while mopping the floor?
I see those laser X-Ray eyes moving up and down a mom who is wearing a T-shirt with Bermudas and sandals. And the same X-Ray eyes not being able to make eye contact with another mom who is wearing a sleek jumpsuit and high heels. I have also heard of how people tried to label a group of moms as working and stay-home. I didn’t even know that can be considered a game!
I do get different treatments when I’m in my work dress, and when I’m in my casual home shorts and a sleeveless tank top. Even the tones and words differ. People are more chatty and friendly when I’m in my work clothes.
Stereotype #2 Stay At Home Moms Are Doing Nothing At Home
This is one that I get A LOT. It has to be in capital letters because out 5 people I met, 3 of them will say casually “Wow! Now that you’re always staying at home, you must be enjoying your life, doing what you want to do with so much free time.”
I’m seeing those nods now! You get that too right?
I’m guessing those who said that either provided such luxurious life to their wives, or they are too blinded by their work and have forgotten how their wives look like.
We don’t get to sit on the sofa with a pedicurist painting our nails red, while a housekeeper hands us a hot cup of coffee. Uh-uh. We are the pedicurist to our daughters and the housekeeper to the family. We pass that hot cup of coffee to our spouse first before ourselves. We are also the chauffeurs to our children when they have to go to school, to their first soccer training, ballet class, band lessons, endless lessons to be the next Michael Phelps. We also became self-taught teachers to help our children with their homework. Not forgetting we are the resident MasterChef to fill the family’s tummies with food.
So stay-home-moms are truly most of the time at home, just not enjoying the whole day to herself.
Stereotype #3 Stay At Home Moms Are Outdated
Because stay-home-moms do not work and interact with people from the outside world, they are not aware of what is going on with the world. They are assumed to be only good at one thing, and that is doing the housework chores.
What people have forgotten is that staying home also means you get to read the papers or surf the net at any time they want. Stay-home-moms do not need to wait for the lunch hour or escape to the pantry to look at the news online.
Thanks to digital technologies, stay at home moms can now get more tasks done at the same time. It is now possible to be carrying the baby and paying the bills through the mobile app. Because I was mistaken as a stay-home-mom, a neighbor (mind you, he’s the managing director of his own company) once asked if I knew that I can pay my bills through the bank’s app. Turns out I had to teach him how he can use the same app to pay someone else including food stalls through that QR code in the app. Kudos to stereotyping.
Stereotype #4 Stay At Home Moms Spend Their Time Gossiping
Because stay at home moms have ‘too much free time’ in their hands, they are thought to be going to the neighbors to gossip about the other moms. An assumption is a group of moms gathering together over tea, looking at Target’s online store to see what items are on discounts and which items can be used with the discount vouchers.
Otherwise, they will be chatting about why their butter cake did not rise and who is better at baking that 12 layer chocolate cake.
The fact is, stay at home moms are one of the moms I think are busier than the bees. When they do get to sit and rest, it’s either because they are waiting for the clothes to finish spinning in the washer, or they are on the toilet bowl. Sometimes they do not even have free time to text away on the mommy chat group in Telegram.
Because we are brought up with the mindset that working is the norm, stay at home moms are often judged mercilessly by working moms too. They can be stereotyped as selfish, inconsiderate of the spouse and family financials.
It is very easy for a stay-home-mom to feel lonely and isolated. Self-esteem goes for a dip in the ocean and feels that they are not able to fit into society’s expectations anymore.
My advice is to learn to ignore the noise. We can never change how others judge us, but you need to know that you are doing an awesome job as a stellar mom. Stay at home mom, work-from-home-mom, working mom, all moms will need to continue reading and be kept up to date. Have an idea of what are the new tech gadgets, which easy DIY crafts that you can do with your children to decorate the home, and whats the latest fashion trend, is pink going to be the next black?
Despite the stereotypes that I’ve mentioned above, there are of course the exceptions. Kelly Odenweller has found positivity among the negative responses. All moms are empathetic towards the overworked stay-home-mom, and working moms do admire ideal moms who seem to have everything under control. Where I’m staying, our moms help each other too. Working moms or not, we are still moms. Carpools, picnic at the park, an outing to the beach, babysitting, we can count on one another.
I strongly believe that when we support another mom, we are also helping ourselves become a better mom. To all moms out there, stay strong and keep going!
If you are looking for a place to vent on a stereotype you experienced or would like to share any positive experience you had, feel free to leave your comment below!