I don't work. I don't have little kids. Am I a SAHM?

I’ve never thought of myself as a stay at home mom. It was never my intention to be a stay at home mom. I went back to work after my son was born. I loved my job and wanted to keep working. When I stopped loving my job, and it was negatively affecting my life. I quit. Suburban Plankton makes enough to support our family, so I didn’t look for a new position.

I feel silly when I am referred to as a stay at home mom. When my son was younger, I guess I was a SAHM. Now he’s a teenager who pretty much takes care of himself, and it doesn’t seem like the title fits. I’ve had some part time jobs since over the years, but nothing permanent or related to my career field.

When I’m meeting people who ask me what I “do”, I generally tell them about my volunteer work. I was recently put in charge of one of the programs at the Sacramento city shelter working with pit bulls to earn their Canine Good Citizen certification. I’m very excited about it. I was telling my mom about it and saying I was happy to have a title, and she was like, “Oh, when people ask I just tell them you’re a stay at home mom.” I said I didn’t think I was qualified as I don’t have little kids and she just dismissed me saying I should be proud to be a stay at home mom. I don’t get where I should take pride in not having to work. I mean, yay, my husband makes good money, by how is that something that I should take pride in?

At what age (of the kids) does one stop being a SAHM and just become not employed? Also, if one is working very hard, but not for money, does that mean they are still a SAHM or are they a working mom?

When your kids actually leave home you’ll become a housewife instead of a stay-at-home-mom. Except… you do lots of volunteer work and that totally counts. Of course you’re still a mom, but it sounds like volunteering is what you ‘do’, now.

If I were you I’d say I was a homemaker for the short answer, homemaker who does volunteer work and has a teenage son if you wanted to give more details.

Another question I just thought of…What does a stay at home dad become when the kids grow up? Does he become a homemaker, too?

Most people would probably think of you as a SAHM. Lots of teenagers still need their moms, often desperately, just differently from how they needed them as toddlers.

I had a friend who continued to stay home after her daughter had left the nest, and when people asked her what she did, she said she was retired, which I thought was clever, and true.

Presumably you run a household, and that’s something to be proud of: you are contributing to a lifestyle both you and your husband enjoy. You’ve made the decision together that you would rather both have more leisure (as I assume you take care of a lot more of the shopping/cleaning/errand running type stuff and as a result he has more leisure time than he would otherwise) and that you both, as a unit, want to contribute to society through volunteering. That’s a life worth living, even if there isn’t a paycheck attached to it.

You could jokingly say “I save the [whatever] and my husband finances it.”

If he continues to stay home and keep house and it’s by choice, then yeah. That’s gotta be pretty rare though.

What you are? Lucky, that’s what you are.

Do I sound bitter?

Hey you could also be one of those annoying people I hate who says they’re a cook/personal shopper/secretary/housekeeper/nurse/therapist/blah blah blah self-important bullshit.

I know I am fortunate. And just to be clear, I am not in any way saying anything negative or less worthy about SAHMs. I was only just surprised to be referred to as one because I don’t think of myself that way, because I never stayed home with my son before he started school.

Yeah, those people are totally annoying. Or they call themselves “domestic engineers” or something.

Stay at home parents should own their title. It’s worthy. I just never felt I qualified as I didn’t put in the “hard time” when my son was little.

If someone told me they were a SAHM, I would assume they had made the deliberate choice to stay out of the paid workforce in order to be home with the kid(s).

Obe reason I might stay away from the SAHM label, if you are sensitive to the judgment of others, is that I can totally see this conversation occurring:

JUDGMENTAL PERSON: So, Rhiannon, what do YOU do?
RHIANNON: I’m a stay-at-home mom.
JP: Oh! So how old are your children?
R: I have one son, he’s a teenager.
JP: Oh … I see. Er, you must have a lot of free time, then.

Of course it’s none of JP’s business. If I were the one being judged as above (and I have been, though for different reasons), I’d just laugh it off, as I’m fairly impervious to the judgment of strangers. But if the OP thinks she’d find it a little upsetting, then best to avoid the situation.

Anyway, when people ask what you “do,” it’s usually because they are trying to keep the social chitchat going. Since that’s the goal, why not say something that promotes it: offer up an answer that gives the interlocutor something to hang their conversational hat on, and ask them a question too. Like this:

PERSON: So what do you do, Rhiannon?
R: I’m not in the paid workforce right now, but I spend my time on a lot of different activities, including running a program for the Sacramento Animal Shelter. And I have a teenage son who’s wonderful to talk to if I can ever catch him between soccer practice, homework, and hanging out with his friends! What about you - did’t I hear you say something earlier to Sally about being an accountant?

There you go - now you can have a conversation about raising teenagers, the animal shelter, the other person’s activities, or whatever. You’ve done your job (heh), which is to make it possible for a person with reasonably intact social skills to have a friendly conversation with you. That’s all that really matters.

Just cut to the chase and talk about your volunteer work. There are numerous jobs that would not get done without people like you. You are doing a service needed in your community. Be proud of who you are and what you do and don’t worry about those who will judge you based on how much you could earn.

Well I’m not sure what title you want to give yourself but being home with your teen is important. My husband and I hope to organize our lives so that I can stop working when our kids get to high school - and I have worked every day of both of my kids lives.

Basically I’ve always thought that teens need their moms home and underfoot a lot more than preschoolers or kindergardeners do. Your 5 year old isn’t going to ruin her life in the hours from 3 - 6PM but no matter how well you raised her in the early years your 16 year old just might.

Without any judgement intended or implied I would say that it really depends on how much of your time you spend “gainfully employed” and what exactly you’re doing during that time. You said your son, “pretty much takes care of himself.” Does that mean he does his own laundry, washes his own dishes, cleans his own room, participates in the preparation of family meals and/or scavenges his own food, shops for his own clothes, school supplies, and toiletries, and takes the bus to school? Do you help him with his homework, give him rides to football practice, and schedule his doctor and dentist appointments? If you spend a significant portion of your time doing some or all of these things for him, then I would say you’re most certainly a stay-at-home mom.

If not, do you handle the majority of the general housework/yardwork and run most of the errands? If you spend a significant portion of your time keeping the house clean and presentable, and the household running efficiently, then I would be more inclined to call you a homemaker.

If you spend most of your time on leisure activities, then housewife seems the most appropriate title.

Unless you’re volunteering more often than you’re doing those other things, I would lump your volunteer work into one of those three titles. When I was a stay-at-home dad, I would “fill my time” with volunteer work, but I didn’t consider that my primary occupation. It was just filler. Something to do during those times when I had nothing to do. If most of your time is spent volunteering, however, then I would just say what you do at the shelter. I wouldn’t even say that you’re a volunteer. Work is work, and if you’re spending 30-40 hours a week volunteering, that’s your job.

Of course, I don’t really see why the label is important at all. If you’re trying to explain to someone what you do, then you have to be prepared for them to form their own opinion anyway, regardless of what you call yourself. If someone thinks you’re a stay-at-home mom because you are a mom who stays at home, it’s unlikely you’re going to change their minds.

When all of the kids are school-aged, the title disappears. You just become a homemaker.

Just tell folks you’re a “kept woman.”

Volunteer work is damned important. People who denigrate it as “not a real job” are insufferable jerks.

If you are still pressed to say SOMETHING, tell the insufferables that you are in charge of the Pit Bull program at the Sacramento City Animal Shelters.

And then send a pit bull over to their house to bite 'em in the ass.

You have kids, and you’re not working for a salary, so yes, you’re a SAHM. Schools, hospitals, libraries, and many other places rely on people like you, so it’s not a pejorative.

Why not just call yourself a MILF and let it go at that?


I really don’t understand why the OP has any confusion whatsoever. You are the very definition of a SAHM.