To hate the term full time mum

(260 Posts)
Dylanlovesbaez Sat 27-Jul-13 09:32:14

I hate it! Just because I have to go to work does not mean I stop being mum on those days! I am a full time mum and a part time worker.

youmeatsix Sat 27-Jul-13 09:36:44

maybe you are over thinking it a little? i am a full time mum, meaning i dont go to work, obviously they go to school etc so i am not a full time mum 24 hours per day, i like being a full time mum, and dont need a "badge". To say you are a full time mum and a part time worker just sounds a bit confused

Suelford Sat 27-Jul-13 09:38:12

I always think people who describe themselves as 'full-time mums' jut have a chip on their shoulder about being unemployed, otherwise they wouldn't need to couch their status in 'job'-type terms.

Dylanlovesbaez Sat 27-Jul-13 09:39:08

I probably am over thinking it. There is a mum I know who told me I'm only a full time mum in school holidays. Just made me feel a bit shit, as if I'm less of a mum than she is.

GoingUpInTheWorld Sat 27-Jul-13 09:43:34

To be fair it doesnt mean you stop being a mum 8 hours a day, it just means you dont look after them for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week etc if you are working full time.

I think people who dont like the term 'full time mum' are usually feeling like they dont do as much as SAHM, and therefore if they work full time, then the term 'full time mum' makes them feel inadequate.

You dont see anyone getting upset or offended about people saying they are a full time solicitor, care assistant, bank manager or whatever.

Januarymadness Sat 27-Jul-13 09:44:42

Yep. I am a full time working Mum. I am a mum 100 percent of the time. Being a Mum comes first. Having a job doesn't make me any less of a Mum.

Januarymadness Sat 27-Jul-13 09:47:02

The term full time Mum sugfests that anyone who works is not that. Which is factually incorrect. What is wrong with stay at home parent?

thebody Sat 27-Jul-13 09:47:14

I used to work full time and was also a full time mom.

made me feel quite proud actually that I was so clever!

I have also been a sahm and now work part time. still clever😃

it's how you see yourself that matters not how others see you.

kilmuir Sat 27-Jul-13 09:47:46

If you have children that go to nursery etc then you are paying someone to ' be the parent' . So yes you are not full time mum

NeedSomeSun142 Sat 27-Jul-13 09:47:48

mums who work usually do ALL housework ,cook, washing cleaning AND work, sorry but being a stay at home mum is NOT a job, it's a choice. also when children are at school age there is no reason not to get a job apart from lazyness

You're over thinking it.

Also, I see a thread exactly like this posted every few weeks, and it never goes well.

Parenting isn't black and white all the time.

Just because someone says they are a "full time mum", it doesn't mean, by extension, they are calling you a part time mum.

Likewise, if someone says they are an "attachment parent", it doesn't mean, by extension, they are clung you a non-attachment parent.

I could go on.

So, when parents describe something about themselves, they tend not to be thinking about other parents or how they should be labelled.

What should full time mums / SAHMs call themselves, OP? "I'm-a-full-time-mum-but-of-course-I'm-not-saying-you're-a-part-time-mum" is a bit wordy.

Dylanlovesbaez Sat 27-Jul-13 09:49:00

It does make me feel inadequate because its to do with my child. I wouldn't be offended by other job titles as there is no emotional tie there. Within my circle of mums it's often said in such a smug way and when you say you are a working mum you get a look of pity! Also, the mums within my circle hand their children over to grandma at least once a week for 'me' time. Do they stop being a mum on that day?

SalaciousBCrumb Sat 27-Jul-13 09:49:37

Presumably you pointed out to said mum that she's not a mum during school hours, Dylan?

She's being silly but you're also being a bit daft to let it get to you. Water. Off. A. Duck's. Back. wink

Wallison Sat 27-Jul-13 09:50:18

I think it annoys some because the descriptor of 'full-time mum' seems to imply that there are 'part-time mums' out there, which is patently nonsense; I mean, you're either a parent or you're not. Similar to a phrase I heard that 'you can't be a little bit pregnant'. Have to say though that it doesn't bother me.

raisah Sat 27-Jul-13 09:51:03

I am a mum end of story regardless of employment status.

NewAtThisMalarky Sat 27-Jul-13 09:51:11

Under working time regulations, full time can't be more than (iirc) 45 hours per week.... grin

janey68 Sat 27-Jul-13 09:51:56

I agree it's a bit daft. Terminology like 'full time ' 'part time' are normally used in the context of paid work, so it doesn't really make sense to apply them to anything else. It's a bit like me saying I'm a part time swimmer, because I go to the pool for a few hours a week. Being a parent is not a job, it's not something that is time framed and you have off duty times. It's something you just are, all the time once you have children.

ohforfoxsake Sat 27-Jul-13 09:56:08

Kilmur and Needsomesun

You are both talking shite.

You don't outsource parenting because your kids go to school or nursery. What bollocks.

And no, it's not laziness. It can be economies of scale, needs of the children, availability of work, childcare and sometimes even freedom of choice.

But OP, I agree, the term Full Time Mum is a shit one and not a label I use. Once you become a parent you have full-time responsibility regardless of if you are mother or father, or where you or they are during an average day.

Dylanlovesbaez Sat 27-Jul-13 09:58:29

Kilmuir that hurt! Silly I know but it did! What about when children go to school? Are the teachers being paid to be the parent? If that's the case then I'm a full time mum to many children.

Flobbadobs Sat 27-Jul-13 09:58:53

It's a daft clumsy phrase definitely but not offensive really, just a different description of a SAHM. I know what you mean about the smug thing but it works both ways. Smuggery about working vs staying at home is age old, you will never get it right by everyone and frankly I stopped caring years ago grin. I childmind now, apart from my own youngest they're all school age but I was a SAHM for quite a while before having DD2. Not through laziness needsomesun but because of DH's working pattern and the scandalous cost of after school care here.
YABU, but I do get you. Let it roll off you.

Badvoc Sat 27-Jul-13 10:00:36

Hmmm...I can see why it upsets you but as the other posters say, by paying someone else to care for your child you are therefore not a full time parent (and let's include fathers here shall we, who don't seem to feel the same angst about not being a full time parent as women do!)

Badvoc Sat 27-Jul-13 10:02:28

I think the difference with teachers is that you are not paying them ( the state is) and afaik when your dc are at school teachers are "in loco parentis" so to speak.
I tend to use the term sat at home mum to describe myself but that's nit really accurate either!
I do voluntary work and care for my frail mother, so I don't stay at home much smile

candycoatedwaterdrops Sat 27-Jul-13 10:03:55

The person who cares for your children during your employment hours is not their mum, they are providing childcare not being a substitute parent. Ignore kilmiur! I used to work in childcare and adored the children I worked with but in no way was I aiming to be a replacement mum. confused

ohforfoxsake Sat 27-Jul-13 10:04:44

So you aren't a parent when your kids go to school? How about when they leave home? Or go to work? Or have their own kids?

Never heard such bollocks.

The phrase doesn't make any sense because you don't parent part time but it doesn't bother me as a WOHM.

Surely the children of parent(s) who SAH can't do childcare 7 days a week 24 hours a day anyway - there are periods when their children are in the care of someone else - school, playdates, relatives etc so it's not actually accurate either.

There shouldn't be a segregation of motherhood by hours spent with your children.

You're either a mum or you're not.

It's a way of passive-aggressively denigrating someone's choices. It says more about the person saying it than it does about you OP.

Yes, its her trying to feel superior. Point out that technically she's unemployed.

MoleyMick Sat 27-Jul-13 10:10:17

It makes me do an inward eye roll but doesn't bother me too much. I've a full time job and I'm a mum. When I freelanced from home when they were babies I was a stay at home mum.
For people who say I'm "not a full time mum" because I work, I just assume that they are people with whom I would have very little in common/would probably not get along with, so why would it matter what they think? grin

Forgetfulmog Sat 27-Jul-13 10:10:39

Yanbu, I bloody hate the phrase too. I'm a sahm but I don't think of myself as anymore or less of a mum than a wohm.

NeedSomeSun142 Sat 27-Jul-13 10:10:55

there are jobs that are school time hours hmm

HappyMummyOfOne Sat 27-Jul-13 10:11:19

Full time mum is a rubbish name used by those who dont work and trying to avoid saying they are unemployed. Unless they HE and their child never leaves their side to go to friends, school, clubs, grans etc then all parents have time away from their children.

Full time or part time relates to hours in a job or college course, nobody stops being a mum or dad whilst they are out providing for them.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 27-Jul-13 10:11:28

'also when children are at school age there is no reason not to get a job apart from lazyness'

Gosh, I have not worked for the last year because I have enough money to afford not to do so, not because I am lazy. I have spent my time looking after a large and complicated garden (because I love it), looking after lots of animals (because I am lucky enough to own them), volunteering in my local school and preschool (and being extremely helpful to them as I am a qualified teacher) and looking after the house. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to live this lifestyle but I am not bloody lazy grin

As for the full time mum description, it is just a shorthand way of describing what you do and means you do not have paid work. It is not a slur on mums who work hmm

charlottehere Sat 27-Jul-13 10:11:32

Don't like it either. I am a stay at home mum, don't do paid work.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 27-Jul-13 10:12:55

When I worked I would not think of being offended by someone describing themselves as a full time mum. I think people must be terribly insecure about their choices if this bothers them.

Dylanlovesbaez Sat 27-Jul-13 10:13:25

It's just the way she says it and the fact that she's always got time to get a massage or get her hair done! Yes I am a bit jealous. She just makes me feel guilty every time I see her but unfortunately I can't avoid her as if I did I wouldn't see anyone else as she is part of 'the group'. I'm the only one of us who works so that's another thing that makes me feel crap!

treaclesoda Sat 27-Jul-13 10:14:09

Mums who work usually do ALL the housework etc? Really? Single mums presumably do, but in homes with two parents present why on earth would just the mother be doing the cooking and cleaning etc? I don't know anyone whose husband expects them to do all the work confused

IncrediblePhatTheInnkeepersCat Sat 27-Jul-13 10:14:10

What about me and DH then? We both work part time to share the parenting of DS between us. Does that make us both part time parents? Or does it not count as we're not paying someone else?

It's a wanky term. OP YANBU.

Okaay, so only paid childcare makes you less of a parent? confused

What about people whose children are cared for by relatives for no payment whilst the parent works, are you a full time "mum" then?

Babysitting is paid "childcare" - so conversely you're not a FTM if you go out in the evenings?

Do you become a FTM once your children are at school? <pins on badge>

charlottehere Sat 27-Jul-13 10:15:11

I don't class myself as unemployed... I have a job... SAHM.....otherwise I'd have to pay someone to do my job.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 27-Jul-13 10:15:16

So it is actually one person who is annoying OP, rather than the blanket term?

diddl Sat 27-Jul-13 10:15:20

"also when children are at school age there is no reason not to get a job apart from lazyness"

Ooh, I'm happy to be lazy then!

Just walked the dog & am now going to bike to the local Lido for a swim.

As I have done every day this week, & will probably do every day next week...

Yonionekanobe Sat 27-Jul-13 10:15:33

kilmuir that is one of the most ridiculous and frankly offensive things I have read on MN (which is saying something).

NeedSomeSun142 Sat 27-Jul-13 10:15:44

you should feel better not worse! what do they do when children are at school? household chores that you have to do after finishing work.

Dylanlovesbaez Sat 27-Jul-13 10:15:45

Humphreycobbler I am insecure about my choice but after sitting down and carefully going through our finances there was no choice. I don't criticise those who stay at home, good for them, but as a working mum I feel criticised.

Thing is if you look at it from the POV of the so called "Stay-at-home" Mum they may not see that as a good description for themselves either - maybe they don't actually stay at home much but like to be out and about with the children ?
Purely in terms of their own experience they may well feel that "full time Mum" is the most accurate description for their life role ATM.
It isn't (by most people !) meant to cast any aspertions on other people's mothering/worklife balance.
I'm surprised anyone would say to you that you're "only a part-time Mum" (because you also have a job) - that's very rude and clearly ridiculous !

charlottehere Sat 27-Jul-13 10:17:01

I don't think it is necessarily lazy to not work when children at ft school.disclaimer I am lazygrin my DS is only a baby though.

Dylanlovesbaez Sat 27-Jul-13 10:17:03

Yes it is mainly one person but she has led me to hate the term!

HumphreyCobbler Sat 27-Jul-13 10:17:19

Surely it just means they are looking after children all the time?

It is very hard to describe yourself when you do not work, I found myself floundering around as people just want a short description rather than a full on list. I usually just said I didn't work at the moment, which was blatantly not true as I was busy all day, but it was a shorthand term. As is full time mum.

Flobbadobs Sat 27-Jul-13 10:17:23

Have you ever tried to get one of these jobs needsomesun? They are like hens teeth and go within days.
Aside from that many families work very well with one parent, mum or dad at home to cover sickness/inset days/holidays etc. it is not laziness! It is a choice for the most part, I agree with you there but it is a choice that is made, in general, very carefully and is fully thought out on both sides.

onedev Sat 27-Jul-13 10:18:49

Totally agree Janey. I do like the idea of Working Time Directive Regs being implemented! grin

treaclesoda Sat 27-Jul-13 10:19:10

Dylan don't feel insecure about your choice. Look how stay at home mums get bashed too, it doesn't matter what you do, someone will tell you you are wrong.

charlotte - I agree. Everyone does what is best for them and their family. Full-time mum is a very silly term though, as silly as pointing out that a sahm is technically unemployed.

I am childish and bolshy. I'd be smacking her down with silly comemnts about paying her taxes. I wouldnt bother being her friend. OP is obviously nicer than me smile

Yonionekanobe Sat 27-Jul-13 10:19:38

It's bizarre I am always a mum, I am always a lawyer. Doesn't mean I'm doing one or the other actively the whole time. They are labels - just like I'm also a wife, daughter, sister...

janey68 Sat 27-Jul-13 10:19:59

As a bit of an aside, surely the term 'in loco parentis' (re teachers) is a legal term to define their responsibility should decisions need to be made about eg: urgent medical treatment? No one in their right mind would think it means the teacher takes on the role of mum and dad.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 27-Jul-13 10:20:25

I have had to work full time too Dylan. So do most women really, in this day and age. It is normal! Don't let that annoying woman get to you.

Scary that 'full-time wife' as a description was more normal than women pre children working not very long ago.

Iaintdunnuffink Sat 27-Jul-13 10:21:12

You're over thinking, it's one of those common phrases.

It is a shite term though as it doesn't really describe the persons situation. SAHM is also crap, housewife is awful. I don't think there is a good phrase.

I work.

NeedSomeSun142 Sat 27-Jul-13 10:21:40

my opinion, there isnt any excuse for not trying to find a job when your children are at school full time unless you don't want one? yes I work full time and do all the housework because my partner works long hours and doesn't get in til late.

it's individual choice yes, but nobody should be made to feel bad about going out to work and contributing to the country which gives out money left right and center

Flobbadobs Sat 27-Jul-13 10:22:44

OP I shall let you in on my secret. Every time this person starts, if you don't want to say anything out loud just smile as she speaks and think really insulting/rude thoughts at her. I found that repeating the mantra "fuck off" helped me to tune them out, i literally didn't hear a word they said... grin and the less you hear of it, the less it will bother you. Be confident in your choices and don't bother engaging in a pointless debate. Neither 'side' will ever win or agree with each other.

HappyMummyOfOne Sat 27-Jul-13 10:23:28

Dylan, just remember all the goods points to working. You have a salary, recent work experience, good role model showing parenting and working go hand in hand etc. Not to mention should anything happen you have the means to support yourself and child and are sharing the financial reponsibility between you. Its a huge thing to make one adult the only earner as the pressure can be immense and lead to resentment.

charlottehere Sat 27-Jul-13 10:23:58

pomme has a point, how about some come backs for the offender? Might shut her up. I am not sure it's the term but the suggestions she is putting behind it?

treaclesoda Sat 27-Jul-13 10:24:20

but yet needsomesun its ok for you to criticise those who choose not to work? hmm There are loads of reasons why people choose not to work once their children go to school, and 'laziness' is only one of them.

enpanne Sat 27-Jul-13 10:24:32

I wouldn't get too upset about it OP, ultimately both of you know that it is a euphemism for 'unemployed'. Let her have the small win and save face, you still have your independence and relevant employment skills, those are more important.

Ahardyfool Sat 27-Jul-13 10:24:40

It is sad that any parent feels they have to qualify that position by stating whether they do so alongside paid work.

It is also sad that we feel the need to justify our decision to work or not work.

I'd like to see a benefits system that is fair (pigs might fly), non-discriminatory, and appropriate so that all this watching what the next person is doing, getting, not doing or getting would maybe just stop.

However, it seems quite inherent in us to covet what others have. When did that begin - or have we always been watching over our shoulder like this I wonder?

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Sat 27-Jul-13 10:25:29

There is no good label for a parent who is caring for their children during 'normal' hmm working hours. Maybe 'I'm caring for my children full time at the moment?' You're always a parent, but you aren't always the one caring for them at that moment if you are doing paid work.

charlottehere Sat 27-Jul-13 10:25:51

needsome you haven't thought this through me thinks.

Dylanlovesbaez Sat 27-Jul-13 10:26:38

Thanks for responses. I need some witty responses that aren't sahm bashing! Maybe secretly she would like to go back to work. Both our dcs are 15 months and she is 4 months pregnant so she's not going back to work for a little while yet. Going to just try to ignore it.
I just want to clarify, as a teacher I do not think I'm taking on the role of a parent at all, just as my dds nursery workers are not taking on a parenting role. We are doing our jobs to give care and guide other's children, not raise them.

BlackeyedSusan Sat 27-Jul-13 10:27:05

i am what they would caall a full time mum. hate it too. they are at school now, but I am still doing lots in the day withh appointments for special needs.

I think it is hard work if you work as well. [lazy emotion]

can't understand her logic either, supporting your child financially is as equally valid as staying at home and looking after them to save child care costs. all depends on you particular set of circumstances, costs, help available, earnings, jobs available etc.

Dylanlovesbaez Sat 27-Jul-13 10:28:20

Perfect flobbadobs, will do just that.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Sat 27-Jul-13 10:28:23

Anyone who thinks the only reason not to have a job is laziness hasn't been job hunting lately! It's very harsh in the employment market right now.

charlottehere Sat 27-Jul-13 10:29:08

Especially school hour term time only jobs

NeedSomeSun142 Sat 27-Jul-13 10:30:04

no maybe not but most 'full time mums' around me take kids to School come home after chatting to other mums leisurely for maybe half an hour, have a nap, play on candy crush/Facebook, brag about how they are in level 57865 smoke about 20 fags between this. that's not laziness?

charlottehere Sat 27-Jul-13 10:33:21

As I said needsome not the most thought about argument. hmm

scraggydoodledo Sat 27-Jul-13 10:34:08

Yes. It's a silly term. It does imply that mothers (why is it always only applied to mothers?) who work are part time mothers and I think it is often said by someone to try to make themselves feel a little more important. You are either a parent or your aren't, in the same way that you are female/ married/ straight, etc. You don't stop being married when you are not with your husband and you don't stop being a mother when you are not with your child.

kilmuir- what a daft thing to say. Childcarers look after a child for a limited period of time. They do not take on parental responsibility. I very much doubt that most 'full time mums' actually spend 24/7 with their children anyway. The one in the OP seems happy to hand her child over to grandparents on a regular basis, so no more full time than many part time working parents.

I can totally understand why you dislike the term, especially after the way your 'friend' used it to you. She sounds incredibly rude and unkind too. Try not to feel insecure. You are a mother and you go out to work to support your family too. You have nothing to be ashamed of at all, quite the contrary.

needsome now you are just goading ffs

Ahardyfool Sat 27-Jul-13 10:37:28

I detest being a working parent. I also detest being a SAHP.

Situation A is such hard work and feels like a constant guilt trip as I inevitably have to miss lots of school bits and bobs. Across 4 children, I just cannot get to everything. There are not enough hours in the day to do my job as well as I'd like or parent and organise the home as well as I'd like.

Situation B is sometimes a little lonely, often a little tedious, and I am awful at creating my own structure to the day so it all goes pear shaped. I also found the 2 hour slots of time (as it seems to go between school and nursery runs, etc.) impossible to achieve anything in.

I'm happier working, marginally better off financially, constantly guilt ridden, permanently exhausted.

NoComet Sat 27-Jul-13 10:38:38

If you don't want to say housewife/ or <vom> homemaker there isn't a easy answer to "What do you do", certainly not once your DCs are at school.

SAHM works fine here, but it's a mouthful in RL.

'I'm just a mum' is both personally demeaning (I'm not just a mum, I'm a person who has a degree, interests and dreams beyond just being mum) and demeaning to mums in general.

I honestly can't remember what I answered last time someone asked what I did, but I know I felt belittled and very uncomfortable even though the person asking was lovely and old enough I wouldn't be suprised if his wife had been a SAHM for fora good while too.

A word of warning about Flobbadobs idea. I once did something like this. Only I forget myself and absentmindedly said what I had been thinking to the person who was talking. BAD moment.

NeedSomeSun142 Sat 27-Jul-13 10:40:57

thats my opinion, no goading it actually happens where I live

Flobbadobs Sat 27-Jul-13 10:42:16

Yep, thats laziness! However, do they get down time at all? You see a snapshot of their lives, not the overall picture. If you saw me at 9.10 on a schoolday you would think I was lazy too, however...
Like your OH mine works long hours. His job involves a hell of a lot of socialising/client schmoozing so late hours or overnight jobbies to go with it. I am 'on duty' 24/7 a hell of a lot with no downtime whatsoever unless I arrange a babysitter.
Are you getting it yet? So e parents can be lazy, some can be bloody dedicated, no matter where they spend the day!

Flobbadobs Sat 27-Jul-13 10:43:02

themagickey oops!! grin

PearlyWhites Sat 27-Jul-13 10:46:12

Dylan of course teachers are being paid to be the parent, they are in loco parentis ie taking on roles and responsibility of a parent as do nurseries.

VinegarDrinker Sat 27-Jul-13 10:49:06

I have some sympathy with parents of babies/preschoolers who do all the childcare 24/7 describing themselves as FTMs. Imho the monotony and slog of doing that constantly deserves its own title!

However getting into semantics as PPs have said, there are so many flaws in it as a term that it's ridiculous. Firstly any SAHPs that use any childcare/preschool - nope, not a FTM. Anyone with family help - nope, not a FTM. Anyone whose kids are at school - nope, not a FTM. Working fathers - part time parents, obviously. How about parents who work night shifts? Tricky!

It's all nonsense really.

NeedSomeSun142 Sat 27-Jul-13 10:49:06

but your not 'on duty' if your children are at school, fair enough if you have children under school age, childcare is bloody expensive granted. What do you do if your at home until pick up time? no goading actual question because I think for ME it would be quite tedious and boring unless I had other friends in similar situation

treaclesoda Sat 27-Jul-13 10:52:11

I am currently a sahm, we made that decision as a family and are fortunate to have had the choice. As an aside, I have elderly parents and spend a lot of my time helping them whilst the dc are at school. But then, I was once told on mumsnet when I mentioned this that I was part of the problem in this country, sense of entitlement etc, I should be out paying taxes and paying my way (I'm not entitled to any benefits beyond child benefit) which baffled me as the amount I would pay in income tax if I were working would be a drop in the ocean compared to what it would cost the state to provide care to my parents that I currently provide myself, for free.

The whole balance of working/not working is far more complicated than the Daily Mail etc like to imply.

PearlyWhites Sat 27-Jul-13 10:52:24

Clean, iron, cook from scratch eBay things to make extra money so evenings and weekends can be quality family time.

NeedSomeSun142 Sat 27-Jul-13 10:53:40

pearly - I do that and work

PearlyWhites Sat 27-Jul-13 10:53:48

Although currently my two youngest are under three.

PearlyWhites Sat 27-Jul-13 10:55:14

Need some but if you work you are doing those things at a time you could be spending quality time with your dc.

diddl Sat 27-Jul-13 10:55:53

Teachers are paid to teach, surely??

"In loco parentis" in this case surely means that there is also a duty of care-necessary supervision etc.

I can't get worked up about it. Nor about my friend who is always mummytorosie (name changed to protect the twee). For God's sake, woman, you won a Gold medal at law school, studied at Harvard and played cricket to a professional level! There is so much more to you than "mummy", yet that's how you see yourself exclusively now.

OK, I lie, I can get slightly worked up about it.

I think labour in the home SHOULD be renumerated fairly (by whom? Ha... there's a question) and recognised as work, then then pfft, all these boring threads would disappear.

NeedSomeSun142 Sat 27-Jul-13 11:00:52

we do have quality time maybe not as much as others but unless I left my house in a shit tip and gave them microwave meals this is how it has to be

VinegarDrinker Sat 27-Jul-13 11:00:53

Actually my DS loves to spend "quality time" cooking and cleaning with me. On the days he is less keen it gets done when he is in bed. Although actually the term quality time makes me want to vom, I am a huge believer in benign neglect.

Tryharder Sat 27-Jul-13 11:02:41


I see a lot of self congratulatory, smug Facebook updates from relatives about doing a 'real job' ie. being a SAHM.

I just think oh fuck off.

The main culprit has 3 children with 3 different men from short relationships and is under social services supervision.

Being a SAHM or WOHM has fuck all to do with how good a parent you are.

NameThatTuna Sat 27-Jul-13 11:05:13

I work and share custody with my ex - not quite 50/50 but she see's him a lot.

What does that make me? A part time mum? angry


Ahardyfool Sat 27-Jul-13 11:07:32

I disagree about not being 'on duty' whilst children are at school or being looked after.

Being a parent is an overarching responsibility that doesn't go away.

What working parent has not at some point done any of the following at work:

Worried about their DC
Paid for school dinners on the work computer
Telephoned or been called to discuss child related matters
Booked, cancelled, organised, etc. appointments for their children
Completed school paperwork
Planned out every minute from when you leave the building until kids are in bed...running through multiple school/childcare runs, squeezing in ballet, cubs, swimming and a play date
Stressed about having run out of fish fingers for said playdate.
Taken 'lunch' to go to a school event
Negotiated with manager or colleagues in order to get to parent evenings, sports day
Worried about how to make 20 odd days of 'holiday' cover Easter, Summer and Xmas breaks along with Half Term
Had to rescue via telephone the child that has missed the bus
And so on...

Some parents - often dads - do not do any of the above whilst at work. Men would often not get away with it. Women, are often grudgingly tolerated with their demand for greater flexibility and understanding.

And so, women continue (in general) to struggle to make all situations work.

I hate to say it, but I would say that in general a male working parent is likely to be a more of a part time parent than, for example, a singlefemale parent.

If I am correct in that assumption - barring obvious exceptions such as single fathers, or fathers that can and do combine work with the sorts of things on my list - then this would indicate to me that the crux of the issue here is still a feminist one. A man is more likely to be congratulated (often by women) for either 'tolerating' a SAH existence or for attempting to combine the roles of parent and employee.

It's bloody difficult for anyone, but for women it is even more thankless than for men whichever way you play it. Work or Home or Both.

It's about time parenting in general lost all the gender assumption and bias.

Jinsei Sat 27-Jul-13 11:08:59

Hmmm...I can see why it upsets you but as the other posters say, by paying someone else to care for your child you are therefore not a full time parent

Since when has parenting been purely about childcare? confused

I would not dream of suggesting that a SAHM was any less of a parent because they don't help to put food on the table or keep a roof over their children's heads etc. And yet these are surely very important parental responsibilities. hmm

Ahardyfool Sat 27-Jul-13 11:11:42

Oh, and when I say about parenting losing gender bias, etc. I mean for the improvement of all. Men, women and children.

NameThatTuna Sat 27-Jul-13 11:13:18

Hmmm...I can see why it upsets you but as the other posters say, by paying someone else to care for your child you are therefore not a full time parent

I missed that comment

Wouldn't it be just lovely to be able to afford to be a SAHM, (not slating SAHM's)

Insensitive comment! Makes me feel even more guilty than I do having to get my DD up at 6am so I can go to work. I have bills to pay!

MrsCampbellBlack Sat 27-Jul-13 11:17:02

Problem is, there's no great term to describe being a SAHM really. And no-one I know in RL would refer to themselves as such.

I just say 'I don't work'. But I don't tend to care much what people think of me and my lazy ways wink

PearlyWhites Sat 27-Jul-13 11:17:42

That's fair enough need I wasn't criticising I was just answering the question of what I did when my older do were at school.

I've already paid for half of the roof over my children's heads Jinsei. Just saying !
And even if I don't pay for the food we eat I contribute to it's value by preparing and cooking it, something that in theory at least you'd otherwise have to pay someone else to do.

I do also think the post you quoted from is ridiculous though "by paying someone else to care for your child you are therefore not a full time parent" Are they serious ? confused

After all "It takes a village to raise a child"

PearlyWhites Sat 27-Jul-13 11:19:26

Tuna are you a single mum?

pianodoodle Sat 27-Jul-13 11:21:27

I don't really find it offensive. Maybe I just don't read into these things enough smile

I usually assume full time mum means SAHM or whatever - the main carer during the days. I wouldn't think of it as not a job even though it isn't paid as it's something you might pay someone else to do as their job.

It's just a way of describing what you do day to day really. Describing yourself as "unemployed" doesn't really seem to fit in those circumstances.

As part of my last job I had to ask people their occupation for a form and so many people said oh I'm "just" a SAHM in an apologetic tone and it made me sad that they saw this an inferior somehow sad

NameThatTuna Sat 27-Jul-13 11:21:28

Not anymore, ex and I split 5 years ago so both in new relationships. Why do you ask Pearly?

PearlyWhites Sat 27-Jul-13 11:25:04

Tuna, because you said I have bills to pay rather than we. Please don't feel guilty for getting your dc up early.

Jinsei Sat 27-Jul-13 11:27:12

I've already paid for half of the roof over my children's heads Jinsei. Just saying ! And even if I don't pay for the food we eat I contribute to it's value by preparing and cooking it, something that in theory at least you'd otherwise have to pay someone else to do.

Yes, I'm not suggesting for a moment that you're any less a parent because you don't pay for food or whatever. Merely making the point that parenting is much more than childcare.

NameThatTuna Sat 27-Jul-13 11:30:06

No worries Pearly, bit of a sore subject for me. I've had that comment directed at me before. Sorry for jumping on you like that.

The getting up early thing, most people do that but DD was tested for dyslexia recently. I keep wondering if it really is dyslexia and not the fact that she's so tired all the time. She begs me to get another job every morning. DP starts work at the same time I do and he's in management so can't share the drop offs.

Ive been looking for other jobs for months, but can't afford a drop in wages. 9-5 jobs in my sector are like gold dust.

stopgap Sat 27-Jul-13 11:30:37

In the two years I've stayed at home with my toddler, not one person has questioned my choice, questioned the validity of taking myself out of the workplace for a few years, implied that I'm "unemployed", a drain on society or living off my husband.

It must be awfully draining to have the kind of run-ins that are so frequently mentioned on MN.

internationallove985 Sat 27-Jul-13 11:34:57

I don't think women can win either way really. If you go to work you'll always have people saying you shouldn't be going to work your full duty is to your d.c and if you don't go to work others will call you lazy ect. which brings to the age old saying "You can please some of the people some of the time but you can't please all the people all of the time.
Off topic a bit here but it's sort of the same thing. I am a lone parent and I have always worked through choice and also due to new government laws lone parents have to work come hell or high water which I think is wrong it should be a personal choice as everyone's needs are very very different.
Yet I know of co-habitating couples living together where the mother doesn't work yest she is seem as a home maker and wholesome. However if a lone parent doesn't work she's seen as a scrounger and lazy. I have always wondered why morally it's one rule for one and one rule for the other.
I once heard or rather witnessed a debate between 2 mums at the nursery gate 1 mum was a stay at home married mum with about 4 kids the other was a single mum with 1 child and it went like this.
Married mum.. Are you going to get back to work now ....... is about to start school...... There's a job going in the school office.
Single mum.... Oh I'm not sure.
Married mum.... Oh you should do.. You've no excuse to sitting at home when they're in school.
Single mum.... But you don't work.. What's the difference.
What could the married mum say to that?
I couldn't believe this womens' audacity I wanted to say something to her but it was none of my business. I wouldn't dream about questioning other people's lives xxx

pianodoodle Sat 27-Jul-13 11:38:38

Same here stopgap I think whatever works for your family and your circumstances isn't something anyone should have to justify to others.

I teach part time in the evenings and a couple of times parents have referred to it being a bit of extra money for me like it's pocket money or something?! Not so it's the grocery money or whatever but it all goes into the same pot and is much needed!

Livingondaisland24 Sat 27-Jul-13 11:42:17

It just means that you're wiping their bums, feeding and cuddling your child rather than paid staff like nannies or nursery workers.

Passive aggressive much livingdaisies?

linvingon sorry

I agree internationalllove - mothers are damned if they do, damned if they don't sad

Livingon I wipe their bums, I cuddle them, I feed them. I can only afford to do that if I work.

Viviennemary Sat 27-Jul-13 12:18:58

No I don't like the term full time Mum either. When you're at work you don't cease to be a Mother! SAHM is slightly better. I absolutely do not agree with the sentiment that if you pay somebody to care for your child you are not a full time parent. So when your child goes to school or a few mornings at a playgroup or similar you are not a full time parent. No I just can't see this at all.

pianodoodle Sat 27-Jul-13 12:31:29

I think it refers to being the main day to day carer of your child rather than implying someone is not a mum or dad all the time.

That's what I've always taken it to mean anyway. I don't think it's a term loaded with offence unless you look for it.

badguider Sat 27-Jul-13 12:37:13

I work, and I don't mind people who don't saying they are 'full time mums' - afterall I do understand why they wouldn't want to say 'stay at home mum' as if they don't ever leave the house! Or 'housewife' which is inaccurate if they spend most time doing childcare not housework.

Yes, even though I work I am always a 'mum' all the time (nursery and mil would both call me the minute they had any concerns about ds)...

But I appreciate that sahms / f-tmums / whatever have no easy way to describe what it is they do.

ohforfoxsake Sat 27-Jul-13 12:50:11

There's not really any term to describe not working, not job seeking, not having pre-school age children that isn't slightly demeaning.

It doesn't help when people on here don't support the cause by branding SAHM 'lazy' and sit on their fat arses smoking fags and watching Jezza all day. Nor being part-time parents because they are working - not caring enough to be there to wipe their own child's arse. It's just more of the same stupid MN throw away comments which helps no one and only succeeds to make people feel bad about their situation.

I do wish there would be some thought before posting sweeping generalisations based on limited, assumed experiences.

MangoJuiceAddict Sat 27-Jul-13 13:01:35

I hate the term. I don't work. My DD goes to school. I start uni in September. I see friends. I am ME. I'm not in 'mum mode' constantly. I'm not a stay at home mum. Labels are just a bad idea, everybody and every family dynamic is different and constantly changing.

specialagentmama Sat 27-Jul-13 13:32:11

I work outside the home but im a mother all the parenting while at work as my wages puts fiod in their bellies and a roof over their heads.

martini84 Sat 27-Jul-13 13:41:20

Not this one again. Just another opportunity for mums to criticize other people, s choices. Started immediately with comment about lazy sahm of school agedchildren.
O and yes we are all full time mums whether working or whatever. Just a phrase like sahp wohp. Not need to get stressed over.
Mem never seem bothered by this kind of thing. If they are asked they will say they are a doctor or whatever.

peteypiranha Sat 27-Jul-13 13:43:14

Anyone saying this is cringey. I often see it on facebook 'full time mummy to little man' or even worse under the job description I have seen people write 'I work for my son, hes my boss' hmm Usually the people that write this are on benefits, and arent actually doing anything.

MammaTJ Sat 27-Jul-13 13:46:18

I am a mum 24/7. I work.

If one of my DC is ill I phone work and re arrange my shift. I am lucky that I have understanding bosses but they understand I am a mum first and formost.

I hate the term full time mum too. I think it is a stick to beat us with if we work but it may just be a SAHMs way of making themselves feel better.

motherinferior Sat 27-Jul-13 13:52:47

Like Ahardyfool, I have a constant worry in the back of my head about sorting my kids' lives and meals and social life (which their father doesn't, even though he does do rather more housework than I do). I am a full time mum. I have worked since both my kids were four months old.

martini84 Sat 27-Jul-13 13:54:48

Sahms are not unemployed. They are not on jsa. They are at home looking after their children.
If all sahms with school aged dc suddenly went out and got jobs than there would be less jobs for those claiming benefits or any children.
If you can afford to sahm why not.
If you want to, have to or choose to work, fine too.
We are all parents.

martini84 Sat 27-Jul-13 14:08:32

needsomesun my dh contributes by going out to work, working extremely long hours. Pays more in tax than we get back. Not that you should look at it like that. With 3dc including a baby the house would fall apart if I went back to work.

NigellaEllaElla Sat 27-Jul-13 14:12:03

I tend to use the words stay at home mum rather than full time mum, I think full time mum sounds a bit odd.

BUT just because I am a stay at home mum, I don't count myself as being unemployed, i would use that for someone who is trying to be employed.

Don't make anyone else make you feel bad for what are your choices in life. You are doing the best you can for your family within whatever limitations you have, and that is all anyone can ask of you and should be applauded.

fabergeegg Sat 27-Jul-13 14:42:05

I agree martini. What we need is a return to traditional values and to accept that raising children is something that often requires one parent to be present at all times. I personally don't care which one. I feel we've become a nation of grafters with a moral imperative to earn as much money as we can in order to have the best 'quality of life' that we can get out hands on.

Veering away from the OP because I simply can't help it, I'm starting to wonder why we think we have a right to two jobs per family at all. Why should there be enough money in the pot for this when some children are growing up in Britain today below the poverty line in families with a painfully small chance of landing one job, let alone two? And why are we cool with calling nursery staff 'the professionals' when nobody knows our own children like we do?

Rather than questioning my right to be thought of as a 'full time mum' despite being in full-time employment, I'm starting to question my own right to hold onto a multiplicity of roles in a country - and in fact, a world - where competition for employment is so fierce that many parents are struggling to show their children what employment looks like, never mind job satisfaction. Perhaps we need to think 'Yes, I have rights as a person and a woman and a citizen and a parent - but I don't necessarily have a right to my rights when more vulnerable families are being cut out of the picture to make this possible.'

Austerity is nipping at our heels no matter what we do. Perhaps if we saw motherhood/fatherhood as something that we do all day, well as something beautiful that we are, we could come to terms with it more graciously.

Rant over smile

motherinferior Sat 27-Jul-13 14:52:35

When I hear the words 'traditional values' I reach for my copy of the SCUM manifesto grin

Wallison Sat 27-Jul-13 15:07:02

Of course, if you want 'traditional values' then that would mean working mothers. Because most mothers, in most places around the world, have always worked. They might not have been paid a lot of money for it, but they have worked and most continue to do so. Even in the UK, working-class women have always worked; taking in washing, looking after other people's kids, doing ironing etc etc.

Viviennemary Sat 27-Jul-13 15:18:57

I thought I was quite old-fashioned and an old gimmer. But honestly, return to traditional values. What a thought!! A Mother (or father of course) who works outside the home is valuable to her family and so is a Mother who makes the decision to not work outside the home. Same with stay at home Dads. It's all down to circumstances and preferences and opportunity.

Wallison Sat 27-Jul-13 15:25:46

^^It's all down to circumstances and preferences and opportunity.

Agreed. People should do what suits them and their family.

Also, related to my above post I think it should be pointed out that even under the Victorian m/c 'ideal' of a wife not working, those mothers didn't do that much of the nitty-gritty of child-rearing themselves. So even if you postulate that the m/c Victorian model is the 'traditional' one (despite it applying only to a limited number of people, ever) then you wouldn't be getting down and dirty with the play-doh/sandpit etc should you choose to structure your family life in such a way. You'd have a nanny. And other household staff as well.

internationallove985 Sat 27-Jul-13 15:27:27

Martin84 so if married SAHM are not unemployed and therefore I will asume you don't think they're lazy then is it only fair to say that lone parents who don't work are not bone idle. Well there can't be one rule for one and one for another on moral basis. and B.T.W I am a hard working single mum. .However in my view all mothers are working mothers. love D.D as I do sometimes work is a rest. xxx

Gailus Sat 27-Jul-13 15:34:03

I think we're looking too deep into the term 'full time mum' and bringing our own hang ups to the issue. If I say I'm a full time mum it just means I am not currently in paid employment ...that's all. I'm not passing judgement on anyone who is in paid employment as well as being a parent. <shrugs shoulders>

Summerblaze Sat 27-Jul-13 15:37:52

What do you think people who stop at home purely because they want to look after their dc should say when someone asks what they do for a living. Do they say unemployed???? Then they would get the looks from those who think they are lazy, benefit scrounging etc.

Full time mum just suggests that someone is taking time away from the working world to look after their children 24/7.

I used to say that I was a SAHM but now I work so I now say that I work part-time at ***. Doesn't mean that my workload has changed that much at home but for 12 hours a week, someone else looks after my dc.

None of the phrases are that accurate anyway. When I was a SAHM, my dc's were sometimes at nursery/school/gp's house etc.

It is just that though, a phrase. Most people are not trying to imply anything by it. You are being too sensitive.

Rufus43 Sat 27-Jul-13 15:58:23

When someone asks me what I do I say " as little as humanly possible"

Tis true!

pianodoodle Sat 27-Jul-13 16:45:02

peteypiranha and Mammatj your attitudes are just nasty...

Why the need to be so mean about other people's choices? Why do SAHMs need to make themselves feel better?

Just odd.

MammaTJ Sat 27-Jul-13 16:59:02

pianadoodle, I don't know, but in calling themselves 'full time mums' they are implying I am only a part time one, when that is not the case. I can only assume they do it to make themselves feel better. No idea why they would want or need to, I just can't see any other reason for it.

Now, that is NOT nasty, nasty is something I just do not do. I do express opinions, which we are free to do on here.

Gailus Sat 27-Jul-13 17:12:37

MammaTJ; by assuming those that call themselves full time mums are somehow belittling you as a parent- says more about your own insecurities than anything else. To assume that they are doing it to 'make themselves feel better' is putting way too much importance on a well used common phrase. Move on.....

pianodoodle Sat 27-Jul-13 17:13:12

I hate the term full time mum too. I think it is a stick to beat us with if we work but it may just be a SAHMs way of making themselves feel better

You're assuming an awful lot there! I have used the term but I wouldn't expect anyone to take it as a personal insult to them I wouldn't be so judgemental.

Inferring that they use it to make themselves feel better is just a dig at SAHMs because you don't like the term full-time mum. Seems mean and a huge overreaction.

Rufus43 Sat 27-Jul-13 17:16:28

What about the American homemaker? That's very cringy! What other phrases can we use if we can't use working mother (suggests that looking after little children all day isn't work) or full time mum, or SAHM

Or should it change depending on how old your children are, for example full time child carer til they go to school then lady of leisure/lazy cow when the children are at school

Full disclosure I work for 4 hours a week and refer to myself as a SAHM cos its easier and 4 hours does not really feel like work

Summerblaze Sat 27-Jul-13 17:17:08

But they aren't really implying that at all. It just means that they have no employable job but aren't sat on their arse watching daytime telly.

When I was a SAHM I knew I was doing what was right for my family and therefore did not need to make myself feel better. It was just something to describe what I was doing.

You are damned if you do and damned if you don't. I would call myself a SAHM again if that is what is best for my family. I don't give a shit what people call themselves or what they think of me.

"It's all down to circumstances and preferences and opportunities"

YY, Mumsnet at it's best really helps me see that that is the case.

I was a SAHM until DC2 started school, then a P/T pre-school practitioner, and for now back to SAHM due to the economic climate (employers went bust, hard to find other similar work in competitive climate, hopefully will do soon)

As I said upthread describing yourself as a full-time Mum rather than a SAHM is just another option (which as I said upthread may feel the most accurate description) and is very rarely used to imply any disrespect to working mothers I feel.

soverylucky Sat 27-Jul-13 18:00:56

I am a full time mum who works part time in a school.

How come these threads only ever talk about mums? Mt DC's have 2 parents who have always in some way,shape or form worked outside the home and yet no one has ever asked DH if he is a full or part time parent hmm

StayAwayFromTheEdge Sat 27-Jul-13 18:09:21

I really hate this arguement.

We are all full time parents - some of us work and some of us don't.

Some stay at home parents are idiots, as are some working parents.

As long as you are happy with your choice and you can afford it, it is nobodies business but your own.

Having said that I was very tempted to comment on FB last week when a friend said something along the lines of how busy she had been chasing various appointments for her children and finished by saying "who said being a stay at home mum was the easy option" - utter bollocks, what does she think the rest of us do - leave our children to suffer?

MrsMook Sat 27-Jul-13 18:15:06

I'm a GOTHM (Get Out Of The Home Mum) grin. If people ask about my occupation I tell them that I'm a teacher, but currently staying at home to look after the DCs. I'm sort of on Maternity Leave as I receive Maternity Allowence, but the temporary contract I had between DCs ended so I have no current employer. My "maternity leave" ends when DS2 reaches an appropraite age and when I find a appropriate post of benefit to my family.

When I was working I remained a mum during the working day, but didn't have the level of immediate responsibility that I do when I'm the primary carer. DH is biologically a parent as much as me, but his role as a parent isn't as tied up into his identity, and when away from the DCs he isn't mentally "on call" in the same way, nor in the night. I suppose when I was working, my parenting hours and "on call" time was still suffcient to add up to full-time hours.

I can see why some people feel undermined by the reverse logic of "full time mum", but I'm not fussed as long as I'm not called a "housewife". I might be a wife, but I didn't exchange vows or rings with a house. My primary role is to look after the DCs, and housework is a part of that, but it is not my main focus.

MaryPoppinsBag Sat 27-Jul-13 18:16:36

The term 'Full-time Mum' doesn't bother me why would it? I am comfortable in the choices I have made. And need not justify myself to anyone. Nor do I want anyone to justify themselves to me.

But I've done all 3 options - F/T work, P/T work and SAH. So have nowt to prove.

Live and let live and just get on with your own life.

janey68 Sat 27-Jul-13 18:19:05

I don't like this argument either, but the phrase 'return to traditional values' makes me shudder as much as the term 'full time mum'.

If you don't want to work and have a partner able and willing to support you then fine, no problem, but don't kid yourself there is anything traditional or universal about it. Most women in the world work.

I also don't agree that we've become a nation obsessed by work and earning more and more and that it's somehow morally wrong for a household to 'take' two jobs. Working is a fact of life, nothing to be afraid of, it is not an alternative to raising children, it's something parents combine with raising kids, and tbh as all our own children are likely to spend a significant about of their adult lives working, I feel it's important to guide them towards realising that work can be interesting and rewarding in many ways other than the Wages

janey68 Sat 27-Jul-13 18:19:52

About = amount

I didn't work when dd was small, but do now.

Imo, the correct response to 'what do you do?', is 'I don't work'.
Being a parent is not a job.

sunshine401 Sat 27-Jul-13 18:36:08

This whole issue is always cropping up on here.
I must add that you always get the mums/dads on here who are so guilty of their choices that they insult anyone who has done it differently, which is a waste of time and energy as anyone with common sense can see straight through it.

Saying you are a full time mum is just that really. You have chosen to stay at home and be a full time mum. Rather than having a full/part time out of home job. It is just a phrase that some people chose to use. If I did not work because I had chosen to stay at home to look after my children all day I would refer to myself in the same way.

feelingdizzy Sat 27-Jul-13 18:37:33

Full time mum is a phrase I wouldn't use but I think many people use it instead of SAHM and its not meant in an insulting way.

I think many labels are used to make use feel guilty for our mothering choices. I also think some is vaguely competitive; in my life is harder kind of way. Some comments are also based in interest in a lifestyle that isn't our own.

I am a lone parent and have been for a decade and have always worked, so have never been a SAHM (only had 6 weeks maternity leave).

If I am honest I am slightly fascinated by SAHM as I am by other things I have no experience of. Also definitely when my kids were younger I did indulge myself in my life is harder than yours ,and would have loved the choice to stay at home. I wouldn't have stayed at home I would have just loved the choice too!

Now I am happy with my choices and my lovely kids and recommend to everyone not to feel guilty.

Wannabestepfordwife Sat 27-Jul-13 18:48:56

I don't like the the term either any mother is a full time mum I've not met a mum sahm or wohm who isn't constantly thinking of their children's need.

I'm a sahm and when people as what I do I just say I stay at home.

I really don't understand why people are so bothered by what other people are doing as the children are looked after its sweet FA to do with me.

pianodoodle Sat 27-Jul-13 18:53:51

There are so many assumptions and generalisations sad

In some situations, a family is financially better off by having a SAHM there are lots of other reasons other than "they can afford it" - some can't afford not to stay at home the same as some can't afford not to work.

It all depends on individual situations and circumstances. The only generalisation I'd make is that most people are just doing the best job they can - whatever it is or whatever they choose to call it smile

I most certainly would not say "I don't work" or think it the correct response! I think it is up to me to decide whether I've done a days work or not and I wouldn't presume to tell others how they should answer that question.

Mothers (and fathers) have so much pressure and guilt to cope with at the best of times we shouldn't encouraging it amongst ourselves.

That's a nice post piano - regarding doing a full days work I often feel I do about 8 hours with the morning and evening shift combined, even if I do have a few hrs off whilst they're at school (which after all is only for 6 hrs, 5 days a week and term time) There's quite a lot of time they are at home one way and another smile - and trying to fit a job around those school hours is not easy and is also very competitive.

MammaTJ Sat 27-Jul-13 21:36:38

Gailus, you have over estimated any insucirities I might have by so much.

I work full time nights in a flexible job, with understanding bosses.

I could not be a more full on mum with options in any other job.

FirstStopCafe Sat 27-Jul-13 22:03:04

YANBU. I hate it too

WMittens Sat 27-Jul-13 22:09:41

Just because I have to go to work does not mean I stop being mum on those days!

No, in the same way that I don't stop being a training consultant when I leave the office, but that doesn't mean I do 168 hours a week.

Sure, you're still mother to your children when you're at work, same as I'm still a driver because I have a driving licence, even when I'm not in my car.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 27-Jul-13 22:10:23

I call myself a full time mum as well as other roles as i don't woh. I always took it as that what it meant.
I wouldn't think of you or any other mum as pt mum who woh.
But, it is a way of distinguishing between those who woh and those that sah.

Kewcumber Sat 27-Jul-13 22:13:39

Really don't worry about it - once they are at school we all become part-time mums to some extent or other.

I have worked (almost) full time, part-time out of the home, part-time at home and not worked at all.

Practically they all work a bit differently but really what does it matter as long as you and your child are happy.

DuelingFanjo Sat 27-Jul-13 22:14:14

Oh there'll always be some stupid people who get some twisted pleasure out of telling working parents that they are sub-standard. It's all Bollox, and those kinds of people are not worth your time. Of course you are still a full time mum when your kids are in childcare/school. No one ever throws this shit at men.

Just. Pity those who feel the need to be so vile and stupid. They probably have mean hearts.

Devora Sat 27-Jul-13 22:18:57

The only classy response to all this SAHM/WOHP nonsense is not to care. Honestly, does it matter?

fluffypillow Sat 27-Jul-13 22:35:34

I see my role in life at the moment as a 'full time Mum'. I would describe myself as that. My older children are at school, but my toddler DD is at home with me 24/7. I do everything for her/with her, and I don't pay anyone else to look after her. This is why I feel I am a full time mum.

If I had a job, and paid a nursery or childminder to do the things for her/with her that I do, then I wouldn't see myself as a 'full time Mum'.

This would not make me any less of a Mum though. We all have choices to make in life, and there are so many difficult choices when you have children. Who is to say who's right or wrong? As long as our children are safe and happy, who really cares what we label ourselves?

StayAwayFromTheEdge Sat 27-Jul-13 22:40:59

FluffyP - but those of us that work still consider ourselves to be full time parent.

When your toddler starts school will you be less of a parent because you no longer have her with you 24\7 and don't do everything for her,

I do not stop being a parent when I go to work.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 27-Jul-13 22:45:51


I don't think anybody has said that you aren't a full time mum if you woh.
What they are saying is they refer to themselves as full time mum because they don't have a job to define themselves other than sahm.

StayAwayFromTheEdge Sat 27-Jul-13 22:53:23

Morethan - fluffyp quite clearly said that considers her self a full time mum because she is with her child 24-7. She went on to say that if her child went to nursery and she went to work that she wouldn't consider herself a full time mum.

I do not agree with her.

HooverFairy Sat 27-Jul-13 23:05:32

I hate the term 'full time mum'. This is because it implies that anyone who works is a 'part time' parent, this is reinforced by the fact it's used to describe mums who do not work. I hate it so much because it brings out my insecurities of having to leave my LO whilst I work. I don't consider myself a part time parent but I fear that others do, some people don't understand that some mums don't have a choice about working.

fluffy, it's fair enough that you will be a part time parent when you are not with your child, but I will never be that. 'Part time' implies that you are not being an attentive or responsible enough parent. I can manage to be everything a 'full time' mum is even when I'm not with my LO. Don't generalise, it's offensive.

HooverFairy Sat 27-Jul-13 23:06:25

And I care what people label me as, especially when it comes to my child.

Permanentlyexhausted Sat 27-Jul-13 23:06:42

I understand what people mean when they refer to themselves as a full time mum but agree that it is a nonsensical phrase. I don't consider myself a part time mum because I go to work and leave my children behind, any more than I consider myself a part time wife for those hours, or a part time sister/daughter/etc.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 27-Jul-13 23:07:46

I can see the point made by FluffyP though.

If somebody else is doing the caring other than a parent the parent isn't doing that role full time, they are doing something else during this time.
Maybe the role of full time parent only applies to somebody who does parent 100% of the time.
I think the problem only arises when people either try to justify their choice, they aren't happy with their choice or are put in the position of having to label themselves.

StayAwayFromTheEdge Sat 27-Jul-13 23:11:46

Morethan - I am very happy with the choices I have made and the opportunities that are open to my children by me going to work. Do you believe that we all become part-time parents when our children start school?

Fluffy comes across as being rather smug.

JassyRadlett Sat 27-Jul-13 23:12:59

The trouble is that, in the world of employment, full-time and part-time are binary choices. You're one or the other if you're employed. So when that language is appropriated to describe something else (such as caring for one's own children) you can't just dump the associations that go with the term 'full time' because it suits you.

Calling oneself a full time parent implies that those who don't fulfil the criteria for 'full time parent' are either part time or non parents.

Something can be a common 'shorthand' but still also be very lazy use of language, irritating and as this thread has shown it upsets some people. Which means it might be worth considering an alternative, unless you do really consider parents who work outside the home (including the partners of parents not in paid employment) as lesser in the parenting stakes?

morethanpotatoprints Sat 27-Jul-13 23:20:27


I agree and included that point in my post. If you are only a full time parent when your dc are at home then there are few full time parents.
I didn't mean to imply you weren't happy with your choices, but usually find on these threads that the arguments are usually made by those not happy with their choices, or having to find a label etc.
I am a mum a wife a sister an unwaged assistance a H.educator, but I hate the thought of having to label myself as xy or z. I am me, an individual with many roles and responsibilities.

scottishmummy Sat 27-Jul-13 23:23:32

Quite simply I don't define myself as mum,full time or not
It's not the whole summation of what I do
I don't think men define themselves as fathers,fulltiime or not

Permanentlyexhausted Sat 27-Jul-13 23:23:49

I can see Fluffy's point too, but I do think she is wrong. It isn't as black and white as that. At what point exactly do you stop being a full time mum? Is it only if you use paid childcare? What if you go to work and leave your child with their other parent? What if you go to the shop for some milk and leave the child with their other parent?

I imagine Fluffy may feel differently about the term if she ever finds herself with a job outside the home.

BoffinMum Sat 27-Jul-13 23:32:25

I prefer the term economically inactive mum tbh. Something like that.

scottishmummy Sat 27-Jul-13 23:40:05

I've never defined or introduced myself as a parent
I'm yet to meet a man who defined,or introduced self as father/parent
Yet women seem to be pigenholed as muthas,as if its the zenith

AmIthatHot Sat 27-Jul-13 23:41:01

I don't want to comment on Fluffy's smug post for fear I get deleted.

I am a full time mum. I also work full time. When I am at work, I am still my DD's mum.

And it is because I am her full time mother that I work full time. If I didn't we may end up in a hostel or B&B

I'm her Dad as well, but that's a whole other thread.

And yes, I am not happy with my choices, mainly because I don't actually have a choice. I work or we starve.

Jinsei Sun 28-Jul-13 00:41:56

If somebody else is doing the caring other than a parent the parent isn't doing that role full time, they are doing something else during this time. Maybe the role of full time parent only applies to somebody who does parent 100% of the time.

You are confusing parenting with childcare. Childcare is one aspect of parenting, but it is only one part of a bigger picture. When I am out at work, I am earning money to pay for the food that my dd eats, for the roof over her head, for the fuel to keep her warm and for the various things that she needs/wants. I am therefore fulfilling my responsibilities as a parent even when I am not looking after her.

scottishmummy Sun 28-Jul-13 00:47:30

A childcare worker doesn't love my children.nor should they.parent do that
Nursery,school, maintain safety and external standards as is their responsibility
A parent, parents don't log off at end day.regardless whether working we switched on 24-7

I agree op, i don't like the term either as the term "fulltime mum" more or less states working mums are not fulltime parents-when of course they are.

I class myself as a stay at home mum

LynetteScavo Sun 28-Jul-13 01:00:59

I thought "full time mum" was the new phrase to replace "housewife".

I don't feel like a full time mum because I work when my DC are at school (yes, I have a cushy term time only job grin), and I have to mentally switch off from my DC, and concentrate on work. Otherwise I would start blubbing mid-morning about missing my DC.

My youngest is 8yo, FFS!

I would love to be a housewife. I would have a pretty pinny, and always change the sheets on Monday, and apply makeup just before DH arrived home, so I looked "fresh" when taking the fish pie from the oven.

Just the words full time mum sound like hard work, though. You don't get to go for a wee in peace being a full time mum, like you do at paid work.

I'd much rather be a housewife than a full time mum. grin

LynetteScavo Sun 28-Jul-13 01:03:57

"stay at home mum" sounds easy.

Maybe I want to be a "homemaker". I would make bunting, and sponge cakes and casseroles. <muses>

LadyLech Sun 28-Jul-13 02:06:08

As others have said, I hate the term "full time mum" because it is utterly meaningless. All mums are full time mums, because you never stop being a mum.

However, some people use it to mean 'I care for my children full time'. However, if this is what they mean, then do they accept the logical consequences of that? This would mean that the overwhelming majority of parents stop being full time parents / become part time parents once their children go to preschool at age 2/3 or school at 4/5.

I work part time, school hours term time only. My children have less than 1 hour's childcare a week and have only once used a babysitter in 9 years! So do I get to call myself a full time mum, as I challenge anyone to tell me what they give their children that I do not! My children go to breakfast club for 15 minutes in the morning three days a week. I do all the after school clubs, the hobbies, the homework, I'm home during the holidays . in what way am I anything other than a full time mum of two school aged children? And this is why it is such a meaningless phrase.

Newyonker Sun 28-Jul-13 04:24:38

Ladylech, I think most would accept the "logical consequences" of that. If someone told me they were "a full time mum", and then that their children were 11 and 13, yes, I would be a little confused. Yes, "full-time mum" means you are doing full-time childcare of your own children.

The funny thing about this thread is that it is full of women declaring that they don't like the implications -for them - of how other women describe themselves - and then asserting that those women should label themselves xyz - without allowing for what those other women might think of it.

SAHM don't like that phrase because we often don't "stay at home". It sounds just as silly to us as the part-time implication of "full-time" does to you.
"What do you do?" "I don't work" sounds ridiculous (student? Disabled? Lady who lunches? What do you mean?)
"economically inactive" - are you on a very tight budget? Credit card reached its limit? What do you mean?

Perhaps if we called ourselves "child minders of our own children" (CMOOOC) everyone could be happy?

Pitmountainpony Sun 28-Jul-13 06:04:52

Oh is just an expression.....but a sahm is full time caring for her children and a mum who works full time is spending less time caring for her children as she is usually paying someone else to care for their needs. I think full time mum expresses clearly the volume of time and energy that sahm require to care full time for their kids.
Once you have two or more pre schoolers at home ll day I am in no doubt that doing that full time is more exhausting than working full time in many jobs and caring in smaller chunks of time for your kids. So it is work being a sahm and full time is just a way of describing do not have to take it personally. It is just how some sahm identify themselves......and good for them if they want to emphasize how very like work being a sahm is, if your kids are with you all the time.
You can call yourself a full time mother who also works full time if you want to if that makes you feel good about your choice.

Pitmountainpony Sun 28-Jul-13 06:20:27

Yeah but working mother versus full time mother is also a sahm is not working.......whatis this modern obsession with being defined by what job you do.....I do not subscribe......we work whether we are working as mums all day or going doing other often personally meaningless tasks in exchange for money....I know some do meaningful jobs but there is a lot of doing a load of old bollocks like selling stuff people do not really need, in exchange for money.
I mean it is all work to me whether you get paid or not.
You can work looking after your child or you can work doing something else and use some of your money to pay someone else to look after your child....they will be working too when they do tht, hence why you pay them. They would not do it for free. Parenting is one of those unusual forms of work where we mainly do it for no financial payment when it is our own kids.......but it becomes paid work usually when it is someone else's child. So a child,index is working full time child minding but a sahm is not working full time at mothering..? Now that makes no sense....of course a sahm with children at home is a full time mother in terms of the quantity of care she provides day in day out. What is the problem....pretty logical. Wen I return to work when my kids starts school I will no longer call myself a full time mother, I will be a full time worker and mother simultaneously. Clearly being a mother is not something that is time is a state of being....but caring practically for the children you are a mother to can be time quantified it he same way a job can be.

Simplest answer to the comment "I am a full-time mum" is "Me too! Isn't it great!"

StayAwayFromTheEdge Sun 28-Jul-13 08:12:17

PitPony - when your children start school will you become a part time parent?

I know that I often joke that I work to get away from the children, but the reality is that I have a very demanding job and still have to do all thing that stay at home parents do (homework, cooking, ironing, clubs, trips, appointments etc) - yes, my husband helps out too, but must SAHMs have partners that help as well. Working is not the easy option some of you are trying to make out - I had a fantastic time on mat leave and a lovely tidy house to go with it.

Having said all that, unless I receive a huge windfall I would rather work than not.

LadyLech Sun 28-Jul-13 08:16:10

The trouble is new yonker, is that people who have school aged children do describe themselves as full time parents, when clearly they're not. Although, I hear it most from mothers of preschoolers whose children go to pre school 12 or 15 hours a week.

I also know women who have used this phrase despite putting their child into the crèche three times a week whilst she is at the gym, or another woman who put her child into nursery one day a week so it can be 'socialised' (or she can have time to do other times). Surely these are not 'full time' mums are they? They use more childcare than I do! Yet, I hear women describe themselves in this way, which only shows how meaningless the phrase is.

Dylanlovesbaez Sun 28-Jul-13 08:18:09

Wow! I'm amazed at some of the responses and found some quite hard to read. I'm shocked that quite a few people seem to hold the same opinion of bitchy mum, I work so therefore I'm a part time parent! Trying hard not to care but knowing how judged I am without knowing much about me is frightening. I know I would probably be judged if I didn't work but I don't think I'd have the sickening guilt if it was the other way around.

Dylanlovesbaez Sun 28-Jul-13 08:20:16

Ladylech, that's exactly what I'm experiencing. They have constant childcare at the drop of a hat and time to themselves yet describe themselves as full time mum and me as part time!

StayAwayFromTheEdge Sun 28-Jul-13 08:31:36

LadyLech - you are talking utter rubbish - we are all full time parents. I do not stop being a parent when I leave the house to go to work.

LadyLech Sun 28-Jul-13 08:36:06

Stayaway, read my very first post. That is my very first sentence of my very first post.

enumberfest Sun 28-Jul-13 08:37:32

Ah, yes, the gym creche. So often used so often from so early by mothers who describe themselves as 'full time mothers' and like to spout nonsense about nurseries and orphanages.

Dylanlovesbaez Sun 28-Jul-13 08:37:48

I've admitted that I don't feel fully comfortable with my 'choice' to be a working mum but why do so many assume that others are not comfortable with their choice and that's the only reason they dislike the term? So many assumptions. As said previously, there was no 'choice' for me, it was the only way we could afford to pay the bills.

LadyLech Sun 28-Jul-13 08:38:01

Actually it is my second sentence blush

StayAwayFromTheEdge Sun 28-Jul-13 08:39:08

I was basing it on this...

"The trouble is new yonker, is that people who have school aged children do describe themselves as full time parents, when clearly they're not."

Maybe I should have said that I do not stop being a parent when I drop my children at school.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sun 28-Jul-13 08:45:36

I think the phrase ' full time mum' is meaningless but it's also irritating when working parents of preschoolers say ' I do everything a sahp does and work ft'. Unless they've cloned themselves, work opposing shifts with their partner or never sleep they actually don't.

LadyLech Sun 28-Jul-13 08:49:19

And that's the point of my posts - it is ridiculous to say we become part time parents because our children go to school / preschool, or because we go to the gym three times a week, or because we work evenings when our husbands get home to take over, or because we work full time. We are all full time mums all of the time, whether we're with our children or not. It shows the meaninglessness of the phrase.

I'm comfortable with my choice to work outside the home and I don't like this term. It's a term that IS used to put people down. Bugger that.
I will be a parent, god willing, for the rest of my life. If you choose not to work that's fine, that's up to you. Just don't insinuate you're a better parent than I am because of that.

MissDuke Sun 28-Jul-13 08:57:09

When people say it to me, I just say 'oh me too, I am a full time mum to three and also work part time at blah blah. Makes life busy, but that's how I like it'. Normally this moves the conversation on to another topic lol.

StayAwayFromTheEdge Sun 28-Jul-13 08:58:36

I give up. LadyLech you clearly said that parents with school age children are not full time parents.

MoleyMick Sun 28-Jul-13 08:59:40

At the school where I work, if a parent doesn't do paid work its filed as "home duties". Which sort of covers it I suppose. But it's probably a bit weird as a response when people ask what you do!

BergholtStuttleyJohnson Sun 28-Jul-13 09:01:23

YANBU. I'm a stay at home mum to two preschoolers and hate "full time mum" also. It implies that mothers who work are only part time mums or something.

LadyLech Sun 28-Jul-13 09:01:39

Stay away, read my other posts in context of the first one:

"As others have said, I hate the term "full time mum" because it is utterly meaningless. All mums are full time mums, because you never stop being a mum.

However, some people use it to mean 'I care for my children full time'. However, if this is what they mean, then do they accept the logical consequences of that? This would mean that the overwhelming majority of parents stop being full time parents / become part time parents once their children go to preschool at age 2/3 or school at 4/5.

I work part time, school hours term time only. My children have less than 1 hour's childcare a week and have only once used a babysitter in 9 years! So do I get to call myself a full time mum, as I challenge anyone to tell me what they give their children that I do not! My children go to breakfast club for 15 minutes in the morning three days a week. I do all the after school clubs, the hobbies, the homework, I'm home during the holidays . in what way am I anything other than a full time mum of two school aged children? And this is why it is such a meaningless phrase."

StayAwayFromTheEdge Sun 28-Jul-13 09:07:15

Sorry I must have skipped over the post where you said you were so wonderful.

Yonionekanobe Sun 28-Jul-13 09:09:33

I'm starting to wonder why we think we have the right to two jobs per family at all.

So who should go out to work? DH or me? We both have the same schooling, degree and professional qualification.

Samu2 Sun 28-Jul-13 09:12:49

This is just stupid.

Everyone is a full time mum. If you have children you are a mum, you don't stop being a mum just because you work or someone else is caring for your child a few hours a day.

I have three children who go to their dads at the weekend, am I a part time parent when they go as I am not doing the hands on caring? Is my ex a part time dad because he only has them at the weekends?

What about when my MIL has two of mine for the day, on that day am I not a full time mum?

It's just ridiculous.

I am a SAHM/ Carer come Sept all of mine will be in school full time, I am pretty sure I won't be a part time mum then either. Like it or not, saying you are a full time mum if you SAH is implying that those who don't are part time parents, and if that isn't what people mean then they are pretty stupid for using the term and need to think about what they are actually implying.

LadyLech Sun 28-Jul-13 09:17:31

Stay away,

Sorry but I'm really not getting where you are coming from.

I've never said that, all I've said is that the phrase is meaningless, because

A), I think we're all mums all of the time, so we're all full time mums,

And B) even if you do care for your child 100% of the time, sooner or later, you are going to end up being away from them (whether its cause they're at pre/school, you're at the gym, or you're at work)- will this make you a part time mum? In my opinion, obviously not, which goes to show how silly the phrase is.

The point about me working, just goes to illustrate that once a child is at school, there is no difference between a parent who works, and one that does not - we're all there for our children all of the time, and many women still call themselves 'full time mums' even when they're children are at school, which again shows how silly the phrase is. The only response to that would be for me to say "well I'm a full time mum who also works part time" which in my view is just as mad because parenting is not a competition and it's not about one upmanship.

Therefore, because I think you can't be anything less than a full time mum, and the not very nice implications of using the term, the phrase in my view is meaningless.

StayAwayFromTheEdge Sun 28-Jul-13 09:22:49

Yonion - the men should work and the women should stay at home of course. I'm not sure why we educate the girls at all - keep them at home and teach them hospital corners!

In reality I earn twice as much as my DH and love my job(s). He does have a better pension though, so it makes sense for us both to work.

TallulahBetty Sun 28-Jul-13 09:35:58

This never bothered me until a SAHM friend said I was a "part-time worker, part-time mum". This really grated on me and I told her so.

IOnlyNameChangeInACrisis Sun 28-Jul-13 09:38:08


If you're not economically active, it's doesn't follow that you're not doing anything worthwhile. Parenting is just one worthwhile thing than an unemployed person might be doing. He or she could also be visiting lonely old people, working in community gardens, volunteering with refugees, writing books, taking photos, etc. The odds are good you're putting in a hell of a lot of housework, too.

If you mainly spend your time looking after your own children, say so. Feel free to add in any interesting/enriching hobbies or volunteer work as well. Don't feel you need to make it sound like paid work. You ARE working, you're just not paid for it.

I work full time. I am economically active. That doesn't mean I'm not a parent all the time. It DOES mean that when I'm asked what I do, I have a profession to mention as well as my children. (And it also means I never do any housework if I can possibly help it - but that's probably just me.)

jacks365 Sun 28-Jul-13 09:52:53

I'm not 'economically active' at the moment but what picture does that give? How would you imagine someone who gave that phrase?

I could describe myself as a magazine editor (unpaid community one) I also do care in the community again unpaid but my number one priority is my children so I say sahm. Thing is people understand sahm they also understand full time mum though I can understand some not liking it. We are very much in a situation where we need to find a pc word for mums who choose to be at home with children for what ever reason that values them without devaluing mums who work outside the home. It's not going to be easy

MinimalistMommi Sun 28-Jul-13 10:38:10

mums who work usually do ALL housework ,cook, washing cleaning AND work, sorry but being a stay at home mum is NOT a job, it's a choice. also when children are at school age there is no reason not to get a job apart from lazyness

laziness? Really? hmm

TheRealFellatio Sun 28-Jul-13 10:41:11

Don't be silly. What would you have us called us then? Housewives? Unemployed?

motherinferior Sun 28-Jul-13 10:50:23

Good grief, I don't do all the cooking and housework and washing (actually I don't do any of the washing). That has nothing to do with whether I am a parent or not!

martini84 Sun 28-Jul-13 11:08:15

Well I have just heard for every job 5 people apply and up to 45 for low level jobs. So actually people who sahm are not lazy. They are keeping the jobs for those who actually need them. I sahm with no support from the govt and I am fed up of being slated for it.
Equally I would bever call myself a full time mum. We are all full time parents.

scraggydoodledo Sun 28-Jul-13 11:09:19

It is hard to find an acceptable phrase to explain that you are not working because you are looking after young children.

Personally, I think SAHM is the best one as it explains the above. Full time mum sounds smug and implies that others are part time. In my experience, it is used by/of mums who have school aged children, who are not actually with the children full time and are trying to justify their role. This fits with the OP's experience, where the 'friend' leave her DD with grandparents v regularly. I have no idea why that makes her morally superior or a better mother than someone who pays for childcare (not my opinion but it seems to be hers).

The three times I have personally had it used to me were:
1. By the MIL of a SAHM with children aged 12 and 9 'she's a v busy full time mum'.
2. By the husband of a SAHM with school aged children, who went on to say that he felt that pre school children should be looked after FT by their mother. This man was a work colleague, who knew that I had pre school children.
3. By a SAHM with one 10 year old boy.

Yes. I can remember these occasion because I inwardly rolled my eyes each time.

Many SAHMs are fantastic, dedicated and hardworking but not working doesn't make you a better mother than one who does and no, teachers/ childminders are not parents, nor would they describe themselves as such.

OP- please try to stop feeling insecure about working. You are doing a v worthwhile job, which will provide a v good example to your DD as she gets older. You are also taking joint responsibility for paying the bills which is obviously vital for all of you. This woman is just unpleasant. Either ignore her or stand up for yourself; tell her you are a full time mother and a full time teacher. Don't let her make you feel bad!

cushtie335 Sun 28-Jul-13 12:54:04

I've not read the whole thread but have never liked the phrase "full time Mum" as I agree that when you're a parent, you're a parent 24 hours a day until you kick the bucket. I think the problem is there isn't a suitable alternative descriptive phrase for what we would previously have called a "housewife", "househusband" or "homemaker" as the Americans seem to say.

Rufus43 Sun 28-Jul-13 14:22:38

Homeworker, sounds a bit weird but means you work in the home and can be used for men and women. Sorted!

LilacPeony Sun 28-Jul-13 15:35:08

"What do you do?"
"Full time child care." is ok though isn't it? For people whose kids haven't started nursery or school yet?

LilacPeony Sun 28-Jul-13 15:42:27

Or. "I look after my children full time." I never used "SAHM" as I took them out a lot, so not a good description.

Rufus43 Sun 28-Jul-13 15:47:40

Mine are at school, the youngest is 10. Coffee lady? Sounds like I make it though...and I am crap at making tea and coffee!

Just thought that homeworker sounds like I do school homework! Scrap that

morethanpotatoprints Sun 28-Jul-13 16:11:12

I think this is a problem of trying to find a label for what you do.
On here you are either wohp, sahp, or wahp.
That really says nothing about you as a person, your interests, hobbies, ambitions etc. Its just lumping everybody into a pre determined category.
Perhaps when people ask what you do you should provide a full list, it seems the only way to be an individual and not a label.

kimmills222 Sun 28-Jul-13 16:55:26

There's nothing like a full- time Mom, its just a term we usually use for mothers who do not work and stay at home all day long. But that does not mean that they take better care of their kids while the working mothers do not.

fabergeegg Sun 28-Jul-13 17:48:01

In the first week of my DD's life, I found that midwives, health visitors, GPs and family friends all asked what I was 'going to do'. I thought it was obvious. It was staggering to say, 'Well, I'm at home with DD,' and see no reaction. I hadn't realised this was considered a weird thing to do. Even in the first weeks of being a mother, there was an expected date to shove the poor child into someone else's arms and hurry off to do something middle class....

morethanpotatoprints Sun 28-Jul-13 17:51:19


I don't mind the term and agree it doesn't mean they take better care of their dc, but it also doesn't tell us what that person does.
Why we live in a society that has to label and categorise everybody is beyond me. If somebody is genuinely interested in how you spend your time they will listen to it all, a label says nothing, imo.

Yonionekanobe Sun 28-Jul-13 17:54:18

Like motherinferior I don't do the washing, I don't do the majority of the cleaning and definitely no ironing.

When it comes to the DCs, I do do all the organising, worrying and unconditional loving. Full time.

Hmm, potatoprints - your post has me in mind to give slightly more radical, fuller, and more honest answers to the standard "What do you do ?" questions. I've rarely defined myself purely or even mainly in those terms, so why should I conform to the agenda behind the question when it's not one I share ?
So, say I get another job working P/T with young children in pre-school, why should those 20 or so hours of my week be the ones which define me most ?

I think I might start saying "I'm a mother to dd and ds" and then, if applicable "and I also work in X pre-school with the littlies" or something like that. Don't see why paid employment should always come first
(though maybe that's why I currently don't have any !)

LimitedEditionLady Sun 28-Jul-13 21:10:45

I know its been said already but im a mum for the rest of my life even when im at work part time and even when theyve grown up and left home.I dont pay anyone to be a parent,they dont parent kids at nursery .Take it whoever said that is "a full time mum"(SAHM) and clearly think that they are a better mum than the ones who have to work.I love that my child goes to nursery and DC enjoys his time with other children and adults,doesnt make me not his mum while hes there.

LimitedEditionLady Sun 28-Jul-13 21:16:00

It must upset mothers who work full time when they hear im a full time mum musnt it?id be hurt and i think we get enough guilt trips as mums.aww but being a mum is the best x

peteypiranha Sun 28-Jul-13 21:19:27

I work full time and Im a full time mum. I would never call myself that though as think its a ridiculous term.

peteypiranha Sun 28-Jul-13 21:21:10

I say I work full time and I have got 2 kids and if I didnt work I would say I look after the kids.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 28-Jul-13 21:29:39


I agree totally.
On here I would say I'm a sahm because its the shortest nearest answer that people can relate to, but there are many different roles I choose within this including but not only Wife, cook, cleaner, H.educator, unpaid assistant, etc. I hardly ever stay at home, too grin
Maybe parents who woh find it easier to define themselves i.e job title and mum to dc.

I have been a parent for 15 years.
I have never once, in all that time felt the need to specify that I am a parent, full time or otherwise.

I have a job. I have 3 children.
That is it.

I very much doubt my DH has ever had to explain that he is a full time worker and a full time father either.

I just don't get it.

If you choose to stay at home with your children and you enjoy it then good for you. Describe yourself however you wish, whatever you feel comfortable with.

Someone describing themselves as a full time mum doesn't mean they think they are a better parent, or somehow they are trying to put me down.
It means they have made different choices to me.

That's ok, you know. Even on Mumsnet that's ok.

It doesn't mean I am a part time parent. It means I have 3 children who I look after, feed, clothe, love, just like every other parent. The amount of time I spend doing that is irelevant. There are no prizes for spending the most amount of time with your child. It is just what we, as individuals choose to do.

Being a parent is not something you can do on a part time basis. You can't say ok ill love them for 25 hours a week, and then ill have some time off.
It's not a job. It's being a parent. You don't forget you have children if you go to work, or go to the gym, or send them to grandma for the weekend.

scottishmummy Sun 28-Jul-13 22:04:31

I've never introduced myself or anyone else as comes up but not as opener
if it social do will mention job,a skill (great baker),or some such to keep conversation going
Full time mum is a term of choice for mother superiors,to obviously try put boot in

"to obviously try put boot in"

I really don't think it is used like that sm - not by most people anyway

scottishmummy Sun 28-Jul-13 22:19:52

In my experience,yes the mother superiors do use fulltiime mum as a dig
i see on thread some concur.not unlike outsource etc all those terms are same ilk
It's not a biggie,nor is it particularly original.

martini84 Sun 28-Jul-13 22:22:17

Wonder why women get worked up about these things. A man defines themself by their job or career generally. I don't think a man would be offended by the phrase full time dad.
I have never used the phrase full time mum but I do not think those that do mean it as a slur on working mums. Both sahm and working mothers can be good or bad parents. It down to the individuals.
Icsahm at the moment and that doesn't make me a better parent than a wohm.
It also does not make me lazy or workshy thamk you.

TheYamiOfYawn Sun 28-Jul-13 22:34:17

If anyone asks, I say I am a SAHP because it seems to be the generally accepted term, but before I knew that some people found it offensive, I used to call myself a full time mum. It was in no way intended as a criticism of other mothers who worked outside the home, but as a description of what I did during the 40 hours a week when I would have been working in my old job.

I really wish that there was a word that meant the childcare aspect of parenthood, rather than the relationship and care side of things, which are full-time for all involved parents.

In my case, I was made redundant when I was pregnant, and I couldn't afford to go work.

Pitmountainpony Mon 29-Jul-13 05:10:25

Stay away. Of course not. I will become a working mother then if I am lucky enough to find work.

I think it is up to people how they define themselves and if you are so easily offended by someone,s self description , well that is a problem for you.

I used to work full time and now I work full time caring for my children.what are the choices.
Stay at home mum
Full time mum
All short hand for saying you are caring for you child in lieu of a full time job. Since everyone is so obsessed by what people,do it is just a quick way of saying you are currently not working outside the home , just at home and with your kids.

It is very complicating to draw out from this that this means a working parent is a part time parent. I have never heard anyone say this unless itbis an insult. If you take an insult from someone stating they care for their child every day, rather than pay others to do so , through choice or necessity, then frankly you are choosing to be offended and also being a little dogmatic and domineering in how you think others should describe their current role in life.

mrsfrumble Mon 29-Jul-13 07:11:31

I say I'm on a career break. And as I always have my two very small children with me it's obvious why.

I think it's hard for many SAHPs to find a descriptive term they feel comfortable with. Most will have worked before having children and will be used to having a job title they could define themselves by, and as this thread proves people have wildly differing opinions on what SAHP / housewife / homemaker / whatever actually involves. So while I can understand the problem with 'full time parent', I wouldn't automatically assume that it was being used to imply superiority, more likely someone just struggling to give a name to what they do all day.

I had to tick 'homemaker' (I'm in the US) on an insurance application for the first time last week. It made laugh and cringe at the same time, with its suggestion of pinny-wearing 1950s domestic perfection; so far from the state of chaos that reigns in our home.

Poppy4453 Mon 29-Jul-13 07:26:39

I'm a SAHM, it difficult to know what to call myself really.

Housewife sounds so 50's.
SAHM a bit odd.
Full time mum not so sure about that.
I don't work sounds unemployed and lazy.

someone said "oh your just a mum" to me the other day. I gasped!

Is there a title which says I had a really good job now I have the luxuary of not working and enjoying my children?

martini84 Mon 29-Jul-13 07:37:32

Actuaalt the only person i know who used the term full time mum was a wohm mum .

martini84 Mon 29-Jul-13 07:40:43

Actuaalt the only person i know who used the term full time mum was a wohm mum .

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Mon 29-Jul-13 07:48:53

I think if something makes you feel guilty you really have to examine what that says about you. I used to HATE the term full-time Mum when I left my dd in nursery when she was a baby. I knew it would have been better for her to be with me all of the time. I was then a SAHM for six years, and didn't really notice or care how others described themselves, as I felt happy with my choice. Same now I am back at work - I feel it's the best fit for my family so plain don't care how others run their families, and how they describe themselves.

LadyLech Mon 29-Jul-13 08:37:17

I think the problem defining the term comes from the fact that being a parent at home comes in so many different forms, that most terms usually attempt to describe an aspect of it, so that it may not apply to everyone.

A) Some women stay at home and spend 100% of the time looking after their house and children.

B) Some women spend their time looking after their children, but have cleaners so do no housework.

C) Some women are at home, but their children are at school, so do not really do much childcare (Esp if their children are of secondary age).

D) Some women are at home, but do very little childcare or housework because they have au pairs, cleaners and nannies to help them.

E) Women who are at home, and do some childcare, but not all the time because their children go to preschool, nursery or the crèche on a regular basis. These women may or may not also have cleaners.

F) Women who stay at home during the week, do all the childcare and housework and then work one or two evenings a week in a little part time job when they're children are asleep (friends who do this do consider themselves SAHM) even though they do work. There are also those who have a little job working at home, but keep their children with them.

I am sure there are women who do not fit into any of these categories, but these categories describe some of the very different experiences of women I know who stay at home.

How do you find a word that describes it all? Homemaker doesn't really apply to B, D and sometimes E. Full time parent doesn't apply to C,D, E and sometimes F. SAHM doesn't apply to any of them if the women are out a lot.

The term that seems to cover it all, seems to be 'based at home', given that the main objection to SAHM is the fact that many women are out and about a lot. All women who do not work are based at home - that is their default place, when they're not out at their various activities and it is where they return to during the day. But, this doesn't really work because a) it sounds contrived and b) it doesn't actually say anything about what the woman actually does (which I think is some of the objection to the term SAHM).

However, given all the very different experiences of women who do not work, I do wonder whether it is possible to get a term that covers all those variations and is actually meaningful. Somehow, I doubt it.

In the working world society seems to find no difficulty finding a label for every job no matter how specialised, unique, or esoteric. For example my DH was once a bryozoologist - meaning he studied bryozoans (a creature similar to corals)
So, it's interesting that as a society we seem to have so much difficulty finding a term for mothers raising their own children - something which is arguably truly the worlds oldest profession.

janey68 Mon 29-Jul-13 10:38:49

I don't think it's surprising at all, Juggling.
After all, both parents raise their children whether both, one or neither of them work. As has been discussed at length, parenting and the art of raising children embraces far more than childcare.

Well, I suppose the problem is that parenting or mothering is both a role and an activity or occupation.
Though variable it always involves a considerable input of time, energy, and resources !

scottishmummy Mon 29-Jul-13 19:13:40

I've never felt guilty work ft,though there's occasionally an external expectation of it
You work oh do you have to!..head tilt. Actually,i dont have to,I want to
IMO,mummy guilt is a societal expectation foisted upon mothers.not fathers mind

Wbdn28 Mon 29-Jul-13 19:19:56

When people ask the boring but ubiquitous question "what do you do?" then "full time mum/dad" is a brief answer that gets the message across. If people say "I'm a parent" (without saying "full time") then the judgy ones will say "So what do you actually DO?"

jellybeans Mon 29-Jul-13 23:58:27

It's just a term, nothing offensive. Certainly didn't bother me when I worked full time and used nursery. It is actually used on official forms including my DC birth certificate. I use it sometimes but am a student also so sometimes use that. Even housewife doesn't bother me. I am happy in my role and what people call it doesn't change that or what I actually do.

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 30-Jul-13 00:27:14

OP, YANBU, I completely agree - and do find the term pretty offensive. Mostly because it is usually used in relation to women, without working dads being labelled as "part time".

I am a full time mum - I never stop being a mum, the same as I don't stop being a woman. I'm not a full time child carer, though - my children go to school and nursery and their grandparents.

Emilythornesbff Tue 30-Jul-13 08:41:41

I try not to over think these terms.
I believe the term "full time mum" has come about because the term "housewife" fell into such poor favour.
Shame really.
Nothing's perfect.
SAHP (IMHO) sounds a little too laboured. But I guess it's a bit more accurate. But it does sound a bit like you'd never go out grin

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