Post # 1
I’ve been noticing this more and more and I wonder if it’s a phenomenon in general or if it’s just me and my circle. My social group is composed primarily of couples. Of the 10 or so couples with which we have regular contact, I’m the only wife who works. Some of them have kids and some don’t. None of them have ever worked. The other wives are nice ladies, but I notice that they make lots of little comments which I find a bit snarky. Mostly it’s comprised of presumptuous –and inapplicable–advice about how I should keep my husband happy/interested and back handed compliments whenever they see me do something that seems “domestic.” I already have enough trouble finding things to talk about with these ladies as it is, but I took it really hard the other day when one of them saw me at the end of a 16 hour day and told me that I should wear more makeup because “your husband will love it.” It took everything in me not to remind her “hello, you’re a stay-at-home mom with one child (who is in school half the day) and you have a housekeeper, so OF COURSE you have plenty of time to sit around in a full face of make-up waiting for your husband to get home. I’m sorry that I’m out earning a living and that my value to our family is so obvious that it doesn’t need to be underlined with red lipstick.” Despite the judginess of HER comment, I’m sure if I had said what I was thinking, I’d be deemed the bad guy. Do any of you have any experience with this? Or, are there any housewives who can help me see where these ladies might be coming from?
Post # 2
Overjoyed: Wow, where do you live? The only people I know without jobs are legitimately unemployed or are stay at home moms, which is totally different than a SAHW (as in, looking for jobs).
But that brings me to how I can relate…
I’m about to become a stay at home wife (for a little while) and I am pretty emotionally conflicted about it. On the one hand, I’m kind of excited. I have SO MANY THINGS I’m looking forward to doing with all the extra time. On the other hand it feels pretty shameful and embarassing in our society to not have a job, especially given my background (business school, senior management roles, run with a pretty high achieving co-hort). You don’t realize how many times a week you get asked “what do you do?” until you realize that you soon won’t have an answer!
Post # 3
Overjoyed: I was a SAHW/FI/GF for a few years and all of my friends worked, so maybe it’s just the women you’re hanging out with? I think the main issue between the two worlds is that working women assume that SAHW do nothing/have it really easy and SAHWs assume that working women should have more time to stay in shape, cook, clean, etc. I guess the lesson is that when someone judges you, you have to be the better person and not judge them back.
Post # 4
Overjoyed: I can’t get past the fact that these women have NEVER worked…is there some sort of ultra conservative cultural or religious reason for this? I went to school with some people who were the children of super wealthy families and all of them have worked at some point in their lives…at least in the family business or in an area that interests them (ie film making, arts, non-profit, etc.) Even Kate Middleton worked before marrying Prince William. Barring some cultural element that wasn’t explained in the original post, this just seems very strange.
Post # 5
Overjoyed: Wow, you must run in a rich circle of friends? Or a run in a very concervative/patriarical group?. I do not know one person who was unemployed just so they could be a STAHW. To be honest in my area I don’t even know any SAHMs!! If they aren’t working Ft they are working atleast part time (mainly cause they wouldn’t make enough f/t to pay for childcare). Where you live? Not snarking, Just geniunly shocked that you know that many people who are SAHWs…it is literally unheard of around here. So no, not a phenominon, certainly not in this economy
Maybe if they keep giving you un necessary/condescending advice I would just counter with advice that is equally useless to them haha. Oh I should wear more makeup? You should re evalutate your 401K contribution…oh wait. Or just ignore it, which is probably the higher road.
Post # 6
Overjoyed: I’m trying to remember… aren’t you a British bee?
If so, where do you live, and how do you know anyone who has a HOUSEKEEPER!?!
I think this might be quite an unusual circle you have… I only know a few SAHMs, and they are only SAHMs because they can’t afford childcare on their salaries, so they wait until their children are school age before returning to work.
Post # 7
Before I begin, I love some of the couples we associate with. I think a few of them are very good parents and have raised awesome kids. With that said, I too get a lot of snide remarks. The ones directed at us are mostly income related. How people can’t imagine what it would be like with two incomes… and two high incomes. That bothers me a bit. These women are not working because they choose not to… My response is always a quiet smile. Quite frankly, they will regret not working when they realize they don’t have retirement accounts or SSI benefits.
Post # 8
Wow, those are ridiculously rude comments. I can’t imagine why anyone would say that to another person, it’s pretty low-class. Maybe if you said something like, “the best way that I can help my family is to work” or, “I love being able to contribute financially”, or something? Most of the ladies I know like this are very wealthy (like Park Avenue old money), maybe they don’t realize how obtuse they are being because the idea of needing more income is totally foreign to them?
Post # 9
Overjoyed: I agree 100 percent about how hard it is to relate to women I know who live this lifestyle. I work full time AND manage to run my household, so I’m not sure why the two need to be mutually exclusive. I believe strongly in financial independence…probably why I don’t have to wear much lipstick (just kidding).
Post # 10
cc1791: Ugh, the two income comments annoy the heck out of me. I have a fairly high income for our area and my DH makes good money as well. We are not wealthy, but definitely solid middle class now, especially since we don’t have children.
But I have friends who choose not to work, with and without children, and some are definitely living on tight budgets because of that. They will make comments like, “Well isn’t it nice to be able to afford buying a home” or “must be nice to go on fun vacations.” What I really want to say is, “My DH and I work really hard to be able to afford a nice home and lifestyle. We have chosen to wait to have children so we can continue maintiaing our lifestyle as well.” But I bite my tongue and just smile.
Post # 11
My kids go to school in a pretty well off district. Not only do I work, but I was a single working mom, for about 5 years. I don’t relate at all to many of the women. They are so cliquish and snobby and it’s just like high school, except these women are in their 40s and should know better.
Post # 12
cbgg: I recently became a stay-at-home-wife (no kids yet) as of the end of May, so it’s been a bit over a month now. I can totally relate to your conflicing emotions. I ended up leaving a job that was kind of toxic and didn’t pay me especially well, but required a lot of hours and a LOT of emotional bandwidth when my husband got a new, more well-paying job that requires him to be MUCH more “in the game.” It was extremely difficult for me to leave my old job without having another, especially after working since I was 14. My husband and I are trying to start a side business, so that’s basically my “job” at the moment although we both know it doesn’t take most of my time.
I must say… I’ve been managing to keep pretty busy, and it’s been really nice to not have to hustle to do the “domestic” stuff when we both get home from work at 9pm. The original plan was for me to take the summer off to decompress and then look for something new in Sept, but if our biz starts I probably won’t go back to a traditional job (and, honestly, my husband loves having my home and I’m in SUCH a better place mentally.)
ANYWAY, OP- your friends sound like self-entitled assholes. Sorry. I would NEVER judge a working women for not having time to do domestic things! We only have so many hours in a day. I, and those women, are extremely lucky to be able to spend their time doing things that they LIKE doing… whether it’s baking a cake, lunching with friends or putting on a bunch of makeup every morning (which, for the record, I barely even do now that I’m not going into an office!) I think you can absolutely respond with something along the lines of “oh, I’d love to spend that extra time getting ready every morning but, you know, I have to go to WORK.” Snarky? Probably… but those women don’t sound like the deserve your respect.
Post # 13
Overjoyed: I generally don’t have a lot in common with ladies who are SAHM/W, but I’m in consulting and can make indefinite neutral small talk with just about anyone. 🙂 I have very little interest in anything domestic but there are always TV shows, movies, the newest restaurant etc. I haven’t really encountered much snobbery or anything like that, just the knowledge that we’ll probably never be close friends due to lack of common ground – and that’s ok. 🙂
Should someone ever say something snarky or backhanded, I would know it’s out of insecurity. I mean, happy, fulfilled people don’t have the need to be nasty to or critical of others, they’re busy living. So in your place, I’d take it as these women somehow feeling threatened by your lifestyle, and ignore ignore ignore. Or better yet, smile kindly and tell them your husband much prefers the more natural, clean, professional look.
Post # 14
Overjoyed: I have always worked and thought it was really weird that some people don’t…what do they do with themselves? I always thought SAHMs and SAHWs were lazy and just sat around all day, worked out, etc.
Recently, though, I became a SAHM for a couple of things lessons: 1. I was spending less time with my daughter than anyone else due to my work schedule and 2. To finish my last couple semesters of undergrad quicker (full time wasn’t an option with working 50+ hrs a week and a new baby. I just didn’t have the time)
Since then I have learned that being a stay at home mom is actually so much busier than being a working mom. When I was working, I dressed nicely and had my hair and makeup done everyday. Now that I am home all day with my daughter, I really don’t have any time to do that stuff..anytime she is asleep I am picking up the house and getting chores done. I swear 90% of my life is spent picking up after her and FI now lol.
I can see how it would be hard for SAHWs to relate to a working wife and vice versa. The grass always seems greener on the other side. I go back and forth on which is “harder” but they both have their good points and bad points. I’ll also add that we have a baby and no housekeeper so it is difficult for me to see how a SAHM could be that busy with a housekeeper or how a SAHW could be that busy lol cuz most of my time is taken up with caring for our daughter. A friend of mine is a SAHM and not in school or anything and they just got a housekeeper. I struggle to realize how, if she stays at home and doesn’t have any other responsibilities, why she cannot take care of the house herself, though. Even when I was working and in school and had a new baby, I found the time to clean the house every week.
Idk where I was going with that lol just throwing my experience from both sides out there. I definitely have respect for women on both sides. 🙂
Post # 15
Overjoyed: A full, stay at home mom I can relate to. They are still working in my book, but a different job from me. I plan to pay someone to watch over my future LOs, they are doing it themselves. Anything I would agree to pay someone for that someone does themselves I see as a job.
A SAHW with a house keeper is a bit harder for me to relate too. I don’t understand what they could do all day. Maybe if they could explain to me what that is, I could relate. I have one friend who border lines SAHW, and I know she doens’t cook, or clean, and I just don’t know what she does with her day.