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Moms Tally Up How Much A Stay-At-Home Mom's Work Is 'Worth' After Woman's Husband Calls Her 'Lazy'

Photo: Alexander Grey / Unsplash
A photograph of a mom with a pensive expression as she holds her child.

One stay-at-home mother was met with support from fellow moms after she took to Reddit to vent about her relationship with her husband and their child, expressing that she feels unappreciated.

Posting to the subreddit r/BeyondTheBump, the woman opened up about feeling pressured to "prove" how much value she adds to her home.

The mom has been taking care of a 6-month-old child, managing the family’s appointments, cleaning, and maintaining the upkeep of their home, but she currently does not bring in an income.

Despite being a full-time mom, her husband sees her as 'lazy.'

“If we ever argue he brings up the fact that he works for this house and that I don’t appreciate him,” she wrote, “Even though I do!!! He sees me as lazy because I don’t work.”

The mom listed her responsibilities, explaining how she may not financially support the family, but she manages almost all of the labor at home. Her labor is repeatedly seen as the minimum expectation from her husband, rather than emotionally and physically taxing work that never ends.

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The couple had to move for her husband’s job, and in that venture, he didn’t even pack his own house. “He took a train and stayed in a hostel and I packed up the house,” she explained. “Then drove 6 hours with the baby alone.”

Whenever the stay-at-home mom would fall behind on a duty or a task, her husband would claim that she was “waiting for things to be done for her”. The mom expressed her frustration with that, recounting a time when she was trying to get ahold of their landlord to sort out a furniture issue, while her baby cried for attention.

“I’m so tired of being treated like some lazy person who does nothing all day because his life would NOT run the way it does without me. And I don’t want to have to prove it or fight for it.”

In 2020, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that women spend 77% more time caring for children than men do — this work is unpaid and, as this woman has proven, often underappreciated.

Moms across the world have, in recent years, become more vocal about the strains this places on their mental health. According to a 2022 survey, stay-at-home moms reported experiencing higher levels of "burnout" higher than their working counterparts.

Moms like the one in this TikTok video below by Erika Marie, have noted that stay-at-home mothers are often unable to prioritize self-care due to the pressures and responsibilities on them in their daily lives.

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Back over on Reddit, other moms showed their support for the burnt-out stay-at-home mom.

They reassured her that her labor has value and she doesn’t deserve to be treated like she’s lazy when the reality is that she is struggling to balance numerous responsibilities with little emotional or physical support.

“Sounds like you’re a single parent,” one user wrote, “He doesn’t do any of the actual parenting. He doesn’t love you to bits, he loves the free labor you provide the household. Yeah, he works, and then he gets breaks. You don’t. You never get a break. How is that fair?”

Another user wrote: “I work but I don't understand these husbands. If he was a single guy, he would still have to work while doing his own dishes, laundry, clean his own house, run errands, and cook or pick up all the meals for himself. His SAHM wife is providing 24/7 free childcare AND doing all that stuff for him!”

Others are suggesting that the mom take a couple of days off from all of her duties and let the husband see how truly difficult it is to manage raising a child and caring for a house without her help.

“They don’t understand or appreciate how much you do until you stop doing it,” one user explained.

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However, many moms have taken their support a step further, turning to numbers to paint a clearer picture.

One mom wrote: “Tally up the costs for a full-time nanny, housekeeper once a week, part-time staff assistant, Ubers for the trips you take, laundry service once a week, etc in your area. Tell him you’re happy to go back to work and here’s the bill for that to happen.”

Another happily provided the income of those positions: “Cost of a nanny 60-80k Housekeeper/cook 20-30k. You contribute 80-110k from those two alone.”

Another agreed, pointing out that “if you outsourced everything that you do in the house, he couldn't afford it.” 

These users are completely correct. Research shows that childcare portion of being a stay-at-home parent, not including household chores or errands, is costly. A 2021 survey from Care.com found that for just one child the average weekly cost of a nanny is $694, a childcare center costs $226 on average, and an after-school babysitter costs an average of $261 per week.  

The outpouring of support and encouragement has meant a lot to the original writer, who has expressed her gratitude for the encouragement and kindness of the commenters, and has plans to begin working on the side, and then talk more with her husband about his unfair expectations.

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Hawthorn Martin is a news and entertainment writer living in Texas. They focus on social justice, pop culture, and human interest stories.