I’m A Stay-At-Home Mom, Don’t Expect Me To Cook And Clean

stay at home mom

I’m a stay-at-home mom who firmly believes that cooking and cleaning are not part of my job description. Do I make meals for my child? Absolutely. Do I maintain a level of cleanliness in my home as not to attract bugs and avoid hazards, sure. Anything else is extra. I don’t make sure to pick up before my husband gets home from work and dinner is never on the table. Ever.

 

My husband goes to work to provide his family… everything. He buys all the stuff I should be cleaning and the food I ought to cook. I am eternally grateful. I get to spend my days with my daughter and the only time I forget how blessed I am to be a stay at home parent is, every 5-10 minutes when I long to be the one who whisks away to somewhere that is not my house, where there is only one persons set of needs to attend to.

 

This might ruffle some feathers, but I don’t owe my husband his favorite chicken dish and clean underwear simply because I stay home. I’m a stay at home mother – not a stay-at-home maid, not a stay-at-home chef, not a stay-at-home “my responsibility to do everything else besides earn money.” I am my child’s mother, not my husband’s.

 

Our family has a delegation of responsibilities that sits outside 1950’s standards– our daughter associates her father with vacuuming and hard work. Which is super, because 1) we are just crushing gender roles over here and 2) I’m not vacuuming. (And if I am, it’s because I want to, not because it’s expected. We both do what we have to do to keep this ship from sinking.)

 

Most days my kid takes a nap and do you know how I capitalize on those few precious moments? Not by running around like I’m on Adderall in a cleaning frenzy (although amphetamines would make this gig easier). I sit on the couch, I scroll mindlessly through 7 social media platforms, I call my best friend – I pull myself together, so my daughter can have a loving, attentive person to wake up to. And because I deserve it.

 

If you want the baseboards wiped and a casserole full of way too much cheese ready when you walk through the door, then I’m gonna drop the most important ball I’m juggling: our child’s development.

 

I teach, I change, I love, I explore, and I plan. I don’t operate from a wellspring of guilt and unpaid debt, trying to do all of the other things because I’m able to do one thing: stay home.

 

There’s a secret that every working parent knows and that stay-at-home moms (or dads) wish more people would say: staying home is harder. Before you have children, work is this terrible thing you’re obligated to spend 40+ hours a week doing. After you have kids, work is a respite. Children reframe everything – they show you what’s important and they reveal new meaning in words like love, joy, work, and challenge.

 

When our daughter was born I worked 3, sometimes 4, days a week. I stood on my feet for anywhere from 8-10+ hours per shift, I talked to people non-stop, and I was always carrying something, remembering something, or doing 5 things at once. And it was easier than caring for my child. Staring at a computer screen, lifting heavy things, or meeting deadlines: all less demanding than answering a little ones demands.

 

Putting dollars into a bank account, keeping a roof over heads, and providing diapers to go on butts is an important job that someone has to do, and so is yours. Don’t lose sight of why you and your partner decided one of you should stay home: to care for your children. Everything else is a bonus.

 

*As a disclaimer for the trolls: I know how hashtag blessed I am to stay at home, my spouse is quite literally the best human that I don’t deserve, and no there is nothing wrong with being a stereotypical housewife (just ask my husband how many times he’s cleaned a toilet). Anything else, find me in the comments. Xo*

 

Scarlett is a stay at home-ish mom, bartender, and wife. You can follow her on Instagram.

 

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93 Responses

    1. I think so often we as moms put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do everything. When I try to do everything, I end up sticking my kid in front of a TV. I’d rather spend more quality time with her than have a clean everything. Cheers to men who agree!

      1. Jme

        I just seen u on the news and i admire your thoughts! I also am home wiith a 1 1/2 year old all week. I also have a 15 yo autistic son and a 12 yo daughter. Like u, i have been working in restaurants and bars for many years, but right now i only work on the weekend. I havent had a minute to myself since the baby was born! We just bought a new house which needs some work and i am now realizing it is going to take years to finish. I worked very hard and it took every dollar to get this house while i was still breast feeding, up in the middle of the nigh w the baby and keeping our home in working order. I also cook at least 4 nights a week because i beleive in all non gmo and organic meals. At the same time, the wayne county friend of the court was illegally taking extra money that was not owed for child support for my husbands oldest 2children, so me not working is not not an option. It kills me because my husband finallly got his job with AT&T 2 1/2 years ago and was only able to take this job because i also was making great money. (This is when the FOC problems began) He is now making good $ but sill not bringing home enough for me to not work😔 i made an investment in him by letting him take this job while i paid 75% of our bills. I just feel at some point i should b given a break and compensated financially for the investment i made, instead im just physically and mentally drained!

  1. Oh my God this is amazing! I’ve wanted to write this exact article a million times but I couldn’t find the right words to use. You did Scarlett! I am not a maid, a chef, or a go to babysitter for everyone else.

  2. Being a stay at home is HARD! I love spending time with my child but it’s hard to pick up after him and his father. Constantly doing laundry. Making sure my toddler is at least fed even if we are not. Making dinner just to have to clean the dishes afterwards (there have been plenty of times my partner will just leave his plate on the table) making sure I give he baby a bath. And did I mention ALL the laundry and it seems my toddler and partner have a competition on how many clothes they can get dirty in one day. Oh let’s add we have a dog (rescue so she’s skiddish always) and a cat who has long hair so you gona day w/o vacuuming and it’s looks like it’s been months.

    1. Ehhhhhhh I agree to some extent. But I always felt that the house was my job, and that it wasn’t fair to expect him to come home and maintain the house. But he never expected a spotless and gourmet meals either.

  3. I am a Stay at Home Mom for two children under the age of 4. It is exhuasting! But they nap. If I spent that time sitting on my couch watching Gimlore Girls (which I often do) and did nothing else all day, my husband would understand and wouldn’t complain. But he doesn’t get to sit on the couch watching TV (or nap, or workout) during his 8 – 5 shift. So it makes me feel better about my day to clean a bit, do some laundry, and often cook, in addition to allowing myself a small amount of me time. Not because he expects it, but because I feel it is part of being a good partner in our house.
    Disclaimer: this doesn’t apply to Moms with newborns, because that shit is rough.

    1. Shannon

      I get that he doesn’t get to take that time at work, but wouldn’t you also agree that at least he has real set hours, and days off. Because I can’t say that I do. I am literally sun up till way past sun down doing stuff so other people and this doesn’t come with days of or sick days. So girl watch some Gilmore girls.

  4. This article got taken the wrong way when I shared it ‍♀️ Nonetheless, I love it and it’s the most relatable one for me yet! I feel like I hear your voice in the back of my head when I read anything you write

    1. Haha yah I think it was very misinterpreted, and people read everything quite literally. I’m so glad you understood what I meant by it! I actually love to cook and do it as often as I can, but if it doesn’t happen that doesn’t mean I didn’t do my “job.” Thanks for sticking with me 😘💛

  5. I’ve stayed at home for 9years taking care of our, now 4 children, ages 9, 6, 4, 3 months. I totally agree. I try my best to get things done around the house, but the reality is I’m here for our girls, yes, ALL girls. There are plenty of days where dishes are still in the sink and dinner is not ready. Thankfully, my hubby gets it. He’ll come home and pitch in with anything needy.

  6. This woman is totally delusional and spoiled if your husband is out working taking care of the house and paying the bills your job is to take care of inside of the house and whatever’s inside Weather it be the children or whatever
    does he make you go outside and cut the grass or shovel the snow
    no your job is to wash the dishes cook the food and make sure your man has clean clothes if he is the actual provider taking care of you
    you are a spoiled brat

    1. You clearly don’t understand what being a stay at home parent does. It is literally a 24/7 unpaid job. There are some days where I barely have time to pee. I do the best that I can, and my husband understands that some days when he gets home, the house may not be sparkling and we might be ordering take out for dinner and because he’s not a dick, he thanks me for taking care of his daughter and offers to go pick up Chipotle. I can assure you that wearing clothes covered in spit up, picking boogers, going a week without washing your hair, and picking your baby up only to realize there is poop up to their armpits is not in the definition of being “spoiled.” You say to “get a life?” This IS our life. We wouldn’t trade it for anything, but it is NOT easy. So in conclusion, you should get your head out of your ass, or at the very least, refrain from commenting on something that you know nothing about. Oh, and check your grammar. It’s terrible.

    2. Cortney Rae Fuller I have been a stay at home dad myself and I would rather stay at home and keep the house clean cook for my wife and give her whatever she needs mentally and sexually then go out here in the streets deal with this food every day just to get a paycheck and bring it home and pay bills

    1. My husband also doesn’t have spit up in his hair and a baby with poop oozing out of her diaper. 🤷🏼‍♀️ My kid naps 2 hours if I am lucky. So I’m expected to clean an entire house, prepare a dinner and do laundry in that short period of time? And God forbid I use some of that time to take a shower and make some food for myself (gasp!). Nobody is saying that nothing is else is getting done. Scarlett is simply saying that her top priority is caring for her daughter and the other stuff takes the back seat. It’s all about balance, but if I have to choose between vacuuming my living room or snuggling my baby, I will 100% choose snuggling my baby every.damn.time. ✌🏼

    2. Every situation, every relationship is different. No solution is all inclusive. It’s up to the persons to determine what works for them. Communication is key.

      I’m certainly not saying that the person who works outside the home is exempt from having any responsibility in the home. It ALL has to get taken care of, regardless. If the stay at home person’s job is to strictly take care of the children (whatever that might entail) while the other person works outside the home, then I suppose, all the other stuff gets done when you are home together.

  7. I was a stay at home dad for 12 years. I did all the cooking ( my wife can’t cook ), laundry,shopping and some cleaning. I made sure my wife could relax when she got home.She always helped on the weekends. We raised 3 amazing boys ! I went back to work when my youngest went to school full time.

  8. Lynda Snage

    Scarlett, well said!! I’m a mom who just sent our only child off to MIchigan. I was a professional woman working way too many hours and traveling for meetings. After 5 years of infertility treatments, we were blessed with a son. We had already decided that I would stay home so we made the sacrifices early to make sure that would happen – bought an affordable house, kept cars longer and saved. Then when I was finally a mom, I realized how very hard this job really was. I tackled motherhood like everything else I had done, but this was much harder. I would sometimes wish I was still working as it would be so much easier. Thought if my son went to daycare, my house would look the same as when I woke, not in total disarray. Plus, I would have adults to interact with and problems to solve that I was really good at. But, when the feeling passed I realized I was exactly where I wanted to be. Now, 18 years later, I wouldn’t change anything.

  9. I’m a stay at home mom who literally does do everything… everything… and I’m exhausted. It’s hard but the guilt of not bringing home a paycheck is very real. And I’m glad someone finally said all this. It made me feel a little better today as I’m home tending to two sick kids while sick myself trying clean the house, wash dishes, wash bottles, take care of the dogs, make lunch, plan dinner all after a night of sleeping on my sick newborns bedroom floor just to keep a close eye on her.. I needed someone to tell me being a stay at home mom IS hard. I needed that especially today ❤️

  10. This Women speaks volumes ❤ I absolutely love being a stay at home Mom “most of the time” lol but I’m the complete opposite! I try to do it all even if that means I run myself into the ground. It’s the guilt that gets to me.. He works and I stay at home. As long as there is balance, teamwork and the kids are happy that is all that matters to me! This was a great read.

  11. B

    Seriously? How ridiculous. I am a working Mom, however I work at home and I do more of the house work, I am home. When my husband was a stay at home Dad and I was in the office he did it all and the kids were little. I helped out, but the majority is the person at home. Playing with your child is all good, but you can manage both. Make the picking up a game. I had my kids washing the cupboards with me. How hard is it to go throw in a load of laundry. And the kids nap. We all pitch in. I can’t imagine sitting at home for 8 hours while my husband worked and not doing the house work.

    1. Rebecca

      yes, thank you. I work long hours. My husband stays home. I don’t “expect” a perfect house day in and day out, but I do expect that he’ll do the dishes, keep the house clean, and cook meals. We are a team. The house is his job, no different then my job is mine. I work hard too. I don’t get to take my lunch break most days, or bathroom breaks either. My email and calls come 24/7 too. She sounds spoiled and entitled in this article. It’s not about what is and isn’t your job it’s about doing what needs to be done to maintain a household, pay the bills, and raise good kids.

  12. Prior to actually reading the blog and watching the interview I had a completely different reaction. People don’t realize you aren’t saying you will never do any type of cleaning or refuse to cook. It’s just not the number one priority when you have a little one to attend to. I go into work one day a week and work from home with my little guy the rest. After taking care of my child I barely get any work done at home bc of how much attention they require. Going into work the 1 day is actually my ‘break day’ since I am only responsible for me. I do the dishes, laundry and vacuum a few days a week and my husband cuts the lawn, changes the litter box and takes out trash. We both pitch in when it comes to cooking. Everyone needs to accept that no parents are the same and their is nothing wrong with that. If it’s working for you and your family than you’re doing it right. (Sorry for the lengthy comment, some of the people are just so mean on here)

  13. Hi! I found out about this post on Fox2. I get what you’re saying about being a stay at home mom. Today, my children are sick and so am I . I’m struggling to get everything done. I’m struggling to get chores done while I care for my three children and myself. I can’t do it all. And…on a normal day I’m homeschooling all day. I’m not thinking about trying to take care of my husband’s every need. I actually spoke to him about the help I need because I’m literally spreading myself too thin. Stay at home moms need help from their partners whether hired or volunteered. Great post!

  14. Kristina

    I am a mother of five, I have kids from 40,36,19,17,17 yes I gave birth to all of them. I do everything around here I am a maid,taxi,cutlawn,gardener, and so on. I am so tired I can tell them I need them to pick up after there self, its not happening, I cook dinners do all laundry. I have multiple health problems,I have had 34 surgeries in the last 14 years because I keep doing everything I get more taking advantage of. I also have three dogs three cats I take care of them all . gurr

    1. Just the maid

      I am so happy the author is standing her ground. If you don’t, you end up like us. Treated like a servant. I had a career. He talked me into giving it up to raise our children. They are in college and I am stuck. No job, no money and no self-respect. The other night, he said something he has said a few other times, “All you do is sit on your ass watching tv.” I don’t sit down until 9pm. I work all day around the house, cook, run all the errands, pay all the bills, do laundry, and until they went off to college, I homeschooled. He and our youngest to come in and trash the house when they walk through the door. My youngest actually said to me tonight that I don’t do enough because I didn’t edit his paper for him. I take care of a sick parent and maintain three lawns. I barely have time to go to the gym. At nine, I sit down and unwind. God forbid. My husband never says anything nice and criticizes every thing I ever do. It’s really insulting since he couldn’t keep up with me, if he tried. I wish I had never given up my career. I would be free.

  15. Love this I have been married for 31 years my husband and I have raised to wonderful children and yes I was a “stay at home parent ” and did it all cooking cleaning shopping managed the house completely I look back and see how much I missed with them . It was like having two full time jobs .Our children are great respectful successful adults and couldn’t be a prouder parent. I firmly believe this is due to being able to be with them but wish that I would have read this as a young mother and changed some of my priorities I think it would have not Only made me a better parent but most importantly made me feel better about myself.All parents need to read this especially if one of them is fortunate enough to be able to be an at home parent

  16. Stacy

    I must say, as a Gen X-er who grew up with a mother who stayed at home, and who was part of the generation of women where roles were still largely traditional, I find this refreshing.
    Most of my memories of being a child are of a frazzled, stressed out woman who yelled at us constantly to stay off her newly washed floors, and who spent her days slaving away at keeping every single corner of the freaking house spotless. She would shoo us out the door so we would be out of her way while she did her chores, and stressed about having a homemade meal on the table for my father each and every night. I remember countless nights where she would burst into tears and get angry at my father for being late and “ruining” dinner. Meanwhile, my dad was working his hardest to keep bringing home the bacon and supporting a wife and three children.
    Long story short . . . your daughter will thank you one day, for being the attentive, nuturing and not-neurotic about cleaning mom who created beautiful memories with her as a child!!

    1. Scarlett

      Thank you for those encouraging words! I always think: yes, I can do ALL the things, but at what expense? Thanks for reading and sharing your experience Stacy!

  17. Scarlett, as someone who aspires to be a mother one day I appreciate this immensely. We do not yet know which one of us, if any, will be able to stay home with the kids, but my partner and I have had many conversations about what that looks like and it totally aligns with this. I thought perhaps it was strange or revolutionary, but it’s not – it’s common sense! Thank you for being bold and honest and a true gender anarchist!! Not one size fits all and I am so excited for a society where we all do what fits best for us, not what history has told us it should look like. ❤️

  18. Shanyce

    I love this read it made me smile cry and just feel understood I am a stay-at-home Mama too I figured this was honestly easier than going to work but this is a full-time job all I do all day is clean take my kids to the park feed them clean cook repeat people think this is easy but it’s so hard and I’m glad I read this I love the fact that you said I’m not a stay-at-home maid I’m a stay-at-home mom I hope to find more of your readings because we didn’t like these really lift me up I can’t three more of your post and any other moms that have things to put up some more great reads
    Keep it going Scarlett 😄😄😄😄😄😄😄

  19. Anne

    So he goes to work to support you and your kid and you can’t even be bothered to make dinner for him even though you’d need to make food for you and your kid already? How very grateful of you. Sounds to me like there is no equal division of labour in your home…he works all week and then has to come home and cook and clean, and I suspect he probably also does most or all of the outside chores too. I fear for your marriage; this sounds unsustainable for him.

  20. Eric

    Amazing how half the critical posts vanish after a few days, but only some of them. Nice way of fabricating more support than you really have for being lazy and selfish. Unlike Anne, I don’t fear her marriage, I hope her husband realizes what a horrible person he is married to and leaves her, where she will then complain how unfair it is to only have half his income because she needs more money for clothes and vacations.

      1. Eric

        Well, being you don’t have ads, and I am a revisit, not a unique hit, me revisiting doesn’t do much for your traffic. I am surprised with all your free time to blog all day you have not realized that yet. This is blogging 101, also, I increase your bounce rate being I leave in a minute and don’t go to other pages. All things considered, I am probably hurting your metrics. 🙂

      2. Scarlett

        Could really use a guy like you on our team to help monetize. Perhaps a suggestion for better placement for our ads, since you missed them?

  21. Eric

    Free ad blocker. Again, blogging 101. 🙂 You probably could use someone like me, but I am too successful to bother with small timers.

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