I am Unemployed?

When I turned in my resignation letter shortly before JDaniel was born (I was a teacher and we had to turn in our resignation letter in the winter if we aren’t going to be there the next fall in the county I worked in.), I knew I was leaving one career to start another.

My new career was stay at home mom. I totally viewed it as a career change because, it was.

I traded in teaching others children to get to be home to guide and teach my son.

It has been a demanding job at times. Raising a strong willed boy and helping he learn really has been the most challenging career I have ever had.

My life has been filled with building forts, spotting him on the playground as he climbs, introducing him to ways to find answers to his multitude of questions, potty training and more.

I have been a nurse caring for his terrible reactions to pollen.

I have been an advocate for healthy eating by introducing him to a variety of healthy foods.

I have been a limit setter. Teaching how to treat others and care for yourself.

I have been a life skill instructor. Teaching my son how to clean up after himself, get dressed, and take care of our house.

The list could go on and on but, I don’t think you need to read all about what I do as a mom. You do the same things and maybe even more.

What got me all fired up about this?

Two weeks ago I took JDaniel in for a check on how the gash on his head is healing with his plastic surgeon. When I checked in I was given a list of data to check to see if it was still accurate.

I skimmed down the list. Everything looked right.

Then I really read each item. Right under my name there was an area for employer and just to the right of the colon  after the word employer was the word unemployed.

I wanted to cross out the word and put stay at home mom beside it but, I didn’t.

I did ask the receptionist if she thought stay at home moms were unemployed. She totally agreed that they weren’t but, she did say that the hospital system the doctor’s office belongs to doesn’t have code for that.

Well, I think they should! I really think that stay at home mom should be a recognized profession.

When my husband got home, I told him all about the form.

I asked him if I was unemployed.

He is a really smart guy. His answer was “No way!”

He didn’t just say that to make me happy or appease me. He has spent a full day trying to balance playing, house care, potty training, food providing, and everything else that happens during the day. He know that it is a full time job.

This post is linked to Alphabe Thursday and Things I Can’t Say!‘s Pour Your Heart Out.


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  1. says

    Something similar happened to a friend of mine at a bank. She applied for a new account, and when she told them she was a SAHM they wrote down unemployed on the application. What happened to Homemaker as an option? Wouldn’t you think society would recognized the important job moms do by now?

  2. says

    I agree. It can be annoying. I am like a census magnet (not the every 10 year census but they sneak in extra ones that only go to a % of the population, another long story). We got chosen for one where they had to call once a month for 6 months and ask if everyone in the house was employed and “How many hours” they worked last week. I always had to say “zero” for me!! I wanted to say “168”

  3. says

    I agree! Funny someone just sent me yesterday the pay a stay-at-home mom should make and it was like $100,000 :) But there is nothing that can replace being home w/your kids, watching them grow. They’ll remember this forever {and so will you}!

  4. says

    I never really think about it as being unemployed. I always say I’m a mom. Unemployed makes it sound like we don’t do anything! Your husband is very wise!

  5. says

    There are so many things that irk me with those standardized forms. Another example would be how so many of the questions either don’t apply to kids or don’t have an answer code that is suitable for kids. In filling out paperwork for Maddie’s surgery, I had to choose “unemployed” for that same question because there wasn’t anything else that fit her.

  6. says

    Ouch. That stung, I’m sure, and with good reason. Anyone who feels that SAHM’s are “unemployed” need to try it for a week and see how it feels.

  7. says

    … And in many other countries moms are actually paid money for 2 years or more to stay with their children, and their jobs are guaranteed for 3 years. America is a very 3rd world country in this regard!

  8. says

    Hi there, came to your blog by way of SITS! :) Nice to meet you! I’m not a SAHM yet but I already know that that has to be one of the most tough jobs. You never have any “time off”. Because you are always taking care of your kids and your home. I’ve been told it’s the toughest job, but that it is also the most rewarding. That’s what I want to do as well. So bravo to you for taking a step in that direction! :)

  9. says

    Nope – you are not unemployed (it does sound so negative, doesn’t it?)! They should definitely come up with a code for it…one of the hardest jobs out there 😉

  10. says

    I agree! There should totally be a code for that. We may not get a W2, but we work harder than most employed people. I know I’ve never worked harder at any other job.

  11. says

    I feel like that sometimes too. I’ve been lucky in that so far I haven’t gotten any “what do you DO all day?” remarks, but a lot of the time I feel like apologizing anyway for being home. Dumb, I know b/c this is the hardest job I’ve ever had. Ever.

  12. says

    I’ve experienced this since resigning just before having my twins and it really has been an eye opener. The girls are 18 months now and i am getting a lot of questions about when i will be ‘returning to work’.
    Since having the girls i think i have worked harder than any day i spent in the office, it’s exhausting.
    It is a shame that the ‘work’ isn’t recognised isn’t it? Maybe one day that will change!

  13. says

    AH yes! I am all too familiar with the “Unemployed” remarks. I quite my job as an office manager. Keep in mind first time being a manager and first time with my own office to be home with my son, did I just go whoops, I’m gonna be “Unemployed now” No. It was a career change for me too. Do I plan on one day returning to a “typical” nine to five job, maybe when my children are in school, but right now I am giving my children the best for what I feel is the most impressionable years of their lives. I’m not unemployed. I’d like to see some people go out with a newborn baby, handle the grocery shopping then take a toddler to the public restroom with all those nasty germs to use the potty. Juggle that, the damn groceries and colicky newborn to beat, and you tell me I don’t have a job to do?!!! Bull$&it!

    Anyway I agree with you! 😉

    Heather From and Mommy Only Has 2 Hands!

  14. says

    I am reminded of the movie scene were the mom was trying to express how she is best equipped for a position by itemizing everything she did as a SAHM, or was it Reba? LOVE this post…

  15. says

    No way! Being a SAHM is the toughest job I’ve ever had – I like to say I never left teaching, I just have a smaller class size now and no financial pay for what I do.

  16. says

    When I was growing up in the late 40’s and 50’s the women that worked outside the home were sometimes looked down upon which wasn’t fair either. They usually had to work because the income was badly needed. Back then probably 90-95% of the women stayed home. Now I guess at least 60% work outside the home? I’m guessing. Still there are many at home working 24/7 and they should be acknowledged. Certainly they can come up with a code for that form.

    Our first two kids were born overseas and the hospital was a couple of hours away by air. So, we had to fly up two weeks before the due date and live at the hospital. The second time my husband had to stay behind and take care of our first son 24/7. He was 16 months old at the time. My husband learned real fast that it was a lot of work.

  17. says

    That is crazy! Why should they list your profession anyway?

    I like how you outlined all of your duties and titles, that is so true!

  18. says

    As women we will never be considered equal to men! I hate school forms that ask Are you Hispanic or not Hispanic? There is no choice to simply say “White”, Asian or Black, just Hispanic or Not Hispanic! I tire of the proactive and politically correct garbage. That is why our world is int he terrible shape it is in today! Now you have me fired up! I need to post something I have not seen in a while. Stop by this weekend to check it out! A mom is a full time job! Duh to the idiots who can’t comprehend it!

  19. says

    Ooooh Mama – this one still makes my hair stand on end. I was a stay-at-home mum for two children, seven years apart. That’s a long time to wear all of the hats you described. Both my adult children tell me (often) how lucky they think they were to have that sort of upbringing. If I had a dollar for every person (mostly women) who referred to our family’s choice as doing ‘nothing’ I’d be rich.
    Big kudos from me for your choice of profession(s).

  20. says

    You are most definitely NOT unemployed! In fact, my biggest reaction to parenthood (now that I’m past that stage of life) is that it’s a good thing we have children when we are young because it’s a lot of work!

  21. says

    That would have driven me insane. I am a working mother and I think stay at home mothers work much harder than I do! Seriously, raising a child is hard and important work.

  22. says

    Although I have “worked” my whole life plus raising my son, I agree with you. I think it’s easier to work in an office whole day then staying home with 1 – 8 children ! That’s not work that’s hard work !! You should have written “self employed” !
    In Europe it’s exactly the same, when you stay home you don’t work !

  23. says

    hmm … i totally agree with you. there are many places and forms that still use the old term “homemaker” … which to me would have been better then “unemployed”. weird they dont have a code for it. [i love your writing in this post! – you have such a way with words!]

  24. says

    In the past I have crossed stuff out on forms and put my own answers in, it also messes with the statistician’s heads because they can’t fit you in any box. I often refuse to conform to market research, evaluation forms, its the paperwork that is wrong not the individual.

  25. says

    Yikes! I have been a working mom and now have the blessing of staying home with my two boys…and I don’t consider myself unemployed! Unemployed (the economic definition anyway) means you are actively seeking work…and that is something I am NOT doing. I have enough WORK at home raising and homeschooling two young boys!! I am out of the workforce. Not unemployed. I have a job. Mom!

  26. says

    Of course being a mom is a job! A full-time, challenging and infinitely rewarding one. It’s a shame that not everyone sees that. I would have been upset to see “unemployed” on the form too.

  27. says

    Lol. I’ve been a SAHM for most of the last 20 years and never worked more than realllly part-time jobs when I did in the last few years. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    It should be recognized and respected so more people feel like its something to aspire to.

    I was told repeatedly in high school that I “couldn’t JUST be a mom” I “NEEDED a career”

    Then I watched as people told my own 16 year old the same thing over and over even up til now and she’s twenty. Its ridiculous.

  28. says

    Amen, Sista! I’m 100 times more exhausted at the end of the day as a stay at home mom than I was as a teacher or librarian. This is more than a full time job. Full time jobs only keep you occupied 40 hours a week. We are on duty for 168 hours a week!

  29. says

    I can’t believe a hospital or doctor would put something like that on a form! They should know better! It’s nice to hear that your DH knows what a mom does, and takes part… {:-Deb

  30. says

    It’s not working for the man so in a lot of people’s eyes it’s not a job but you are helping to shape the future and therefore it’s a very important, and probably the most rewarding, job:-)

  31. says

    As a career counselor and coach for women I have had women hang their heads in front of me and say “I’ve just been a stay at home mom.” Careers are the sum total of your life experiences paid and unpaid. So, every Mom is always contributing to her career and therefore should not be labeled as unemployed. When and if she is ready to return to ‘paid’ employment she now has a whole host of other incredible skills to market. Maybe next time we all see a box like the one you encountered, we can challenge the oversight with a drawing a new box. Ladies, then place an X next to Employed as a MOTHER. The greatest job that enhances and advances our world. :)

  32. says

    This drives me nuts. My husband always makes sure to tell my kids that “Mama works harder than all of us and she doesn’t get paid for it.”
    I believe it is completely insensitive to list SAHMs as “Unemployed”.

  33. says

    That may be a ‘politically or legally’ correct way to ask if the bill is going to be paid! I always laugh when I see those entries (how about the description – Other for profession.)
    31 years ago I made the decision to be a stay at home mom. And, I am thankful for EVERY day of those 31 years that I got to do stuff with/for my husband and kids, and dogs. And, for myself too. You are not going to regret it one day. I promise!

  34. says

    Look at all the comments you got on this one! I guess you aren’t the only one who was stirred up about it. I identify somewhat, because I have struggled with the word “Retired” when I found so much identity in being an active registered nurse.

  35. says

    If stay-at-home-moms were to write their resume’ it would go on for pages and pages and pages! There is no more gratifying, or more important, job than to raise our children who will be the leaders of tomorrow.

  36. says

    Definitely NOT unemployed! Underappreciated by the world, yes. I think people need to stop and think what our society would be like if EVERY mom worked outside the home and their children were not given the love, support, structure, guidance, etc that stay-at-home moms provide for their children. I’m definitely not dissing moms who do work; there are many that have to (I was one), but I’m singing praises to those moms who take their job as mom seriously and give their all to nurturing their children. You go!!

  37. says

    Oh. Man!

    I remember this phrase from 100 years ago when my own kids were small. You’d think they’d find a better way to phrase that by now.

    Stay at home Mom’s have the most important jobs in the world! There is nothing more important and more of a precious resource than our children.

    JDaniel will be one of the ones who shapes the future! And all because of you! His intelligent, caring, creative and PRESENT Mom!

    Thanks for sharing this!

    Hugs and A+

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