Stay-At-Home Mom Says She Should Be Entitled To 'Sick Days' — 'I'll Hire A Sitter'

They're actually doing way more work than the average employee. So why not?

overwhelmed stay-at-home mom Gustavo Fring / Pexels

Despite persistent perceptions to the contrary, being a stay-at-home mom is a ton of work on the best of days. But when you're sick? It's pretty hard to argue that sitting at a desk while sick as a dog is worlds easier than cooking, cleaning, and chasing after kids while running a fever. 

But stay-at-home moms never get a day off, let alone a sick day. One mom online said it's time for that to change, and her husband's response says everything about how our society devalues homemakers' work.


The woman said stay-at-home moms should get sick days just like regular workers.

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the silly and wildly inaccurate stereotypes of stay-at-home moms just "sitting around and eating bonbons all day" persist even in 2024.

For over a decade now, for instance, we've known that moms in wealthy countries spend nearly double the amount of time on child-rearing than they did in the 1960s when being a housewife was the standard.

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And that's before you even get into the cooking, cleaning, shopping, errands, and transporting the kids hither and yon that come with the job — yes, job. It's a lot of work!

Now imagine doing all of that while also being chronically ill and never getting a day off because you don't have "a real job." That's the situation a mom on Reddit with a baby and three other kids under 10 is in.

And when she asked her husband for some help on days she was sick, his response said everything about the way our society, especially men, tends to think about "women's work."

The mom asked her husband to use his job's sick days to relieve her when she was ill, and he called her 'unreasonable.'

The mom explained that her husband gets a generous 12 sick days each year from his job on top of his vacation time. As with most employers, his sick days are "use 'em or lose 'em," which means because her husband rarely gets sick, a good 10 of his sick days are lost each year.


His wife, however, was not so lucky. "I … have several chronic illnesses (Crohn's, POTS, EDS, CFS, ADHD)," she wrote in her post. "Generally, I function okay," including keeping the house clean, home-cooking every meal, and home-schooling the kids.

"I deal with my symptoms well most days," she wrote, "but some days I'm dealing with nearly fainting, extremely low blood pressure, dizziness to the point I can barely walk. Other days, I am in tremendous pain from Crohn's."

@yourtango A husband, who works in finance, told his wife that he could wasily manage her stay at home mom role. Was he in the wrong? #finance #stayathomemom#reddit #aita #marriage #family #greenscreen ♬ original sound - YourTango

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So she proposed to her husband that he hold back six of his sick days each year for her to use — meaning he'd stay home with the kids so that she could rest and deal with her symptoms.

"He says no, I function just fine and don't need sick days." So she told him instead she'd hire a babysitter for those days, which he called "unreasonable" because she can "just sit the kids in front of the DVD player on bad days."

Being a stay-at-home mom and homemaker is work — and experts say it would come with a six-figure salary if moms charged market rates.

First, let's state the obvious. The real reason this husband is balking is likely that he knows deep down he couldn't handle a single day of doing his wife's job for her, nor does he want to.

Or maybe he's just a bloviating chauvinist! Either way, his response and the societal perceptions that underpin it are absurd.


Several studies have actually crunched the numbers on all the work that stay-at-home moms do, and they're pretty staggering.

In 2018, Welch's, the company that makes all that grape juice kids like, did a study of 2000 American stay-at-home moms with kids between ages 5 and 12 and found they worked an average of 98 hours a week — the equivalent of two and a half full-time jobs.

And if they were to actually charge the market rates for professionals like babysitters, nannies, house cleaners, chefs, personal assistants, and the myriad other jobs that stay-at-home moms take on for free, they'd be pulling down more than $184,820 a year.

@yourtango Communication is key in any relationship. Talk to your partner about the division of labor, including household chores. #domesticlabor #divisionoflabor #relationship #housework ♬ original sound - YourTango

So yeah, stay-at-home moms should get sick days. And paying a babysitter to come in when you're sick? It's not even remotely "unreasonable." Stay-at-home moms are not indentured servants (and the perception they are is fueling a wave of divorces, by the way), and their husbands should be willing to step in to relieve them if need be.

As for this mom? She should leave her husband home alone one Saturday to "just sit the kids in front of the DVD player" while she spends the day at a spa or something. He'll surely change his tune 15 minutes in, tops — assuming he survives that long, of course.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice, and human interest topics.