If You’re a ‘Full-Time Mom,’ What Am I?

little girl standing“I’m a full-time mom.” It’s a phrase you see a lot on the Internet, especially on parenting websites where mothers go – all too often – to make themselves feel better by ripping someone else down.

Because it’s not just “I’m a full-time mom” that they write. It’s “I’m a full-time mom because I really love my children” or “I’m a full-time mom because I sacrifice for my kids” or something to that affect.

It’s the mommy wars in one ridiculous, confounding phrase.

Aren’t we all full-time moms? Those of us who have kids?

Whether we’re home with them all day or out of the home working from 9 to 5, whether they’re in school from 8 to 3 or we’re working at home while a babysitter keeps them occupied, don’t we share the same mom-ness, the part of ourselves that functions not just as ourselves but as someone’s mother?

I’m a working mother. For the most part, I work from home, but I also go outside of the home to cover events for the newspaper or to shoot family portraits or photos of newborns.

I respect stay-at-home moms; I really do. In a country where the cost of childcare hangs like an albatross round the necks of so many parents, we have financial proof of the value they contribute to the economy, but my respect is more than that.

More From Inside Out: Go Ahead, Tell Me I’m a Bad Mom

Anyone who can sit in a room with a small person and read “If You Give a Moose a Muffin” 20 times in a row with a smile on her face and without driving a screwdriver into her ear deserves people bowing at her feet. She is a goddess.

And that’s only an hour out of a stay-at-home mom’s day. She does so much more.

Still, she’s no more mom than any of the rest of us, those with kids who we let out of our sight for hours at a time.

We’re full-time moms because there is no on/off switch that lets us suddenly stop worrying about the bully who won’t leave our kids alone on the school bus because we’re off duty. We’re full-time moms because some days you go to work because you want to and some days because you really want to be able to fill Santa’s bag this year. We’re full-time moms because after work we will run pell-mell out the door to make it to soccer practice on time, and the night before the school play we will be up all night sewing until our fingers bleed.

We are full-time moms because there is no part-time in this job.

And we knew that signing up.


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  1. Great post! Moms should be trying to lift each other up instead of put each other down. Motherhood is a hard enough job without others judging, comparing and putting in their two cents!

  2. Kimberly Schotz says:

    Well said. Moms should be supportive of each other.

  3. I am quite put off by your first paragraph alone. I don’t think anyone gives themselves a job title just to “make themselves feel better by ripping someone else down.” That is really harsh and judgmental, and I don’t think it’s true at all.

    I think *all* moms take things way too personally. I am a “full-time mom/stay-at-home-mom”, or whatever you want to call it. I could just as easily take issue with the term “working mom.” It doesn’t insinuate that I don’t technically work, despite the fact that I don’t earn a paycheck. I think our guilt, no matter what side of the fence we’re on, lends itself to this oversensitivity and defensiveness. We need to just give each other a break and realize that no one is judging us but ourselves.

  4. I’m a stay at home mom. Which is just that, I stay at home. Doesn’t make anyone a better person or mom for that matter. You make me feel like every other working mom. I am the minority, not you. You have no idea the backlash and comments I get from people just as youself. Can you really tell me why working mom’s feel this way about us because I’d really like to know? I don’t know why these “mommy wars” even exist. Everyone needs to mind their own business and do what’s best for their family and themselves. And no, I don’t read “how togive a moose a muffin” 20 times a day!

  5. Debby Chandler says:

    I often hear that too. I would have loved to have been able to stay at home with my kids at least for the first few years. But a Mom is always a full time mom no matter if she works outside the home or not.

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