Are the people who earn an honest living by working jobs any different from stay-at-home mothers (SAHM) who work tirelessly around the house?
This was the discussion in the popular “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit when Redditor randomusername34232 – a male nurse – said his SAHM sister criticized the nature of his profession with a sexist remark.
So when he defended himself, he wound up dividing the family and asked Reddit:
“AITA for telling my sister she has no right to judge my career since she’s never worked a day in her life?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained how it all went down.
“I was over at my grandma’s house with my mum, sister, brother and 3 cousins and their girlfriends. For some backstory I’m a male midwife and I recently completed my degree and am currently doing my graduate year.”
“I do really enjoy my job because it provides a relationship with your patients and allows a lot of flexibility and it pays pretty well too. I’m 25 and making $78,123 per year. I ended up doing midwifery after nursing.”
“My sister has always criticized my nursing career as ‘not being manly enough.’ [She] has told me women don’t like feminine guys and I’d have trouble finding a wife etc…. Usually, I just put up with it since I don’t want to cause any drama in the house, but I reached my boiling point today.”
“For some information on my sister, she has genuinely never worked a day in her life. She either mooches off her parents, any boyfriends she had at the time, but now she mooches off her husband. I feel bad for a guy ending up with my sister.”
When the sister made another dig, she didn’t get away with it this time.
“She made another comment about my career again today and I got angry. I told her she’s never worked a day in her life and she’s an incompetent mooch and that a stay at home mum isn’t a job which I know isn’t true, but keep In mind I was pissed at this point.”
“This resulted in everyone in my family basically turning against me and yelling at me and at this point I just decided to leave. They said I’m not allowed at any gatherings until I apologize.”
“But I have too much pride for that. AITA?”
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if and where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Many of the comments sided with the OP as NTA however, some expressed disappointment with his comment about stay-at-home-mothers.
“NTA. If you want a relationship with your family you’re still gonna have to suck it up and apologize, but you’ll be justified in not doing so.”
“If they’re gonna be sexist and denigrate your choice of career as not manly enough, they don’t get to complain about sexist elements when you return fire.”
“You still kinda suck for the comment about SAHM not being a job, but since you know it is, I’ll excuse it with absolutely justified anger.”
“They sound exhausting. Telling you not come back may be the greatest gift they could give you ;-)” – JemimaAslana
“A GOOD stay at home mom is a job not all of them. Otherwise agree.” – Iwanttoffendyou
Based on the sparse details about the sister’s situation, this Redditor had a hunch about her demeanor.
“I think there’s also a huge difference between sitting down with your partner, running the math on childcare costs, weighing the pros/ cons, and ultimately deciding that it makes the most sense for your family to have one parent stay at home and OP’s sister who’s never worked a day in their life and then continued not working after their marriage/ the birth of their child.”
“Obviously, we’re dealing with very limited information here, but OP’s sister sounds like the type of stay at home parent who complains about how hard it is to find a good nanny.”
“Something tells me that they’re also the type who will continue referring to themselves as a stay at home parent even after all of the kids are in high school.” – CaseyJonesABC
This Redditor argued that being a SAHM comprises a literal laundry list of jobs that are all “valid forms of work.”
“When people shame SAHM’s I always like to point out that:- Cleaning lady is a job- Being a nanny for children is a job- Dishwashing is a job- Chef is a job.”
“A stay at home mother basically does all of these things that people get paid for. Just because she’s not getting paid doesn’t mean that any of those activities aren’t valid forms of work. Of course they are – we wouldn’t hire people to do them if they weren’t.”
“To comment on the comments above, I don’t believe it should necessarily be financially viable to justify staying at home. I know mums who do work but found it heartbreaking and very very difficult to go back to work after having a baby.”
“They only did so because financially they couldn’t afford to be a SAHM. Wanting to be with your children and being able to afford it is also a very valid reason to stay.”
“The thing is more that you should always be able to be independent and provide for yourself when there is a need for it, so OP’s sister mooching off her parents as an adult is really ridiculous.” – darthvadercake
“You make good points, but the flip side is that home care – dishes, cleaning, cooking, groceries, laundry, paying bills, etc.- are still things that working parents do.”
“They don’t go away just because you have a job outside the house. So when a sahm says, but I do the dishes and laundry so it’s a ‘job,’ that rubs people the wrong way.”
“Yes, some people have a house cleaner, some sahms have house cleaners, but nobody (almost nobody) pays someone to do the dishes or cook, so those things aren’t extra work a stay at home parent does.”
“Everybody does that! If your spouse isn’t doing chores, that’s between you and them and has nothing to do with being a [stay-at-home-parent].” – Laura71421
This Redditor delved deeper into what constitutes an actual job as it applied to the sister.
“I think we have fundamentally different understandings of which meaning of the word ‘job’ we’re working with.”
“To me a job can be both the position with associated tasks as well as the title held by a person. The position and its associated tasks do not change no matter who applies for, holds or leaves the position.”
“It’s an abstract term in that sense. It is a job even if no one is currently working it.”
“If you went through law school you’re a lawyer by title – even if you’re not currently employed as such and doing no work in a legal field. Barrister and attorney is different, because – depending on your country’s legal system – there are authorizations or certifications involved.”
“Op’s sis holds the SAHM title even if she doesn’t do the actual work, but that doesn’t make the job that needs doing any less of one.”
“And wow… semantics.” – JemimaAslana
This person revealed who they thought was the bigger a**hole.
“NTA – you were justified in what you said but maybe went too far in the heat of the moment.”
“I would apologise for calling her incompetent and the ‘stay-at-home mom’ comment, but don’t apologise for the fact that she’s never worked a day in her life.”
“She’s the a**hole, and don’t apologise without getting her to as well.” – IndividualCandidate
Hopefully coming to a mutual understanding will be an effort that is worth the payoff. Because while stay-at-home-parents deserve respect, so do people in non-traditional jobs.