An Open Letter to Moms Who Stay Home (From Your Momrades Who Work Outside It)

Nov 24 2014

Dear Moms Who Stay Home,

We have a lot to get to in this letter, but first we need to address this “Stay-at-Home Mom” thing, OK? Because “Stay-at-Home Mom?” Really? Who invented that phrase? And after what market research? And can we demand a refund? Because that can’t be the best we can do to describe your role, can it? No. No, we think not.

Sure, you can stay home. It’s not that you never do. It’s the juxtaposition of “Working Mom” vs. “Stay-at-Home Mom” that troubles us, because we know – we know – you WORK, momrade; either a paid job you work from home or ALL THE UNPAID WORK of home. Plus the errands, and the pick-ups, and the drop-offs, and running around. The extracurriculars, the play groups, the sports teams, and the PTO. The doctors’ appointments, and the pharmacy, and the hours and hours volunteering at school… so you can come home and help with homework. And more. Always more. Because we are mamas, too; we know there’s always, always more

The crux of it is this: there’s not always much “stay home” in Stay-at-Home Mom, and it’s certainly not staying home instead of working. So we’ve decided to call you Work-at-Home Moms, instead, because, paid or unpaid, that’s what you do. Although if someone’s figured out how to make that whole Eat-Bonbons-on-the-Couch-All-Day Myth a reality, we want to know about it, STAT, because, based on that data, we’d like to reevaluate our life choices.


Let’s begin again…


Dear Moms Who Work at Home,

Dear Mamas Who Get It All Done But Never Get a Break, 


Dear Momrades Who Don’t Get It All Done for Fear YOU Might Break, 

You are amazing.

You are AMAZING.

Amazing-er than you know. 

Listen; we’ll be honest here. We don’t know how you do it, Work-at-Homers. Breaking up fights. Kissing boo boos. Singing Let It Go nineteen times in a row. Chasing the dog who escaped again. Maybe chasing the toddler who escaped, too. Feeding children who think they need food more than once a day. Wiping the goo. Forgetting your credit card at home after everything’s rung up. Fighting a migraine and rock-rocking the baby. Peeing with the door open. Showering with noses pressed to the glass or playing peek-a-boo with the shower curtain. Or, you know, showering – what’s that?? 

BIG KUDOS to all of you who picked up the entire house in the morning, only to be faced with an identical mess after dinner.

And BIG KUDOS to all of you who picked up nothing because what’s the point? 

BIG KUDOS to you because you were there, mamas. You were there, and that matters. 

To those of you who made and doled out three meals today AND snacks…

To those of you who loaded the dishwasher…

To those of you who didn’t load the dishwasher because you got on the floor and played that matching game AGAIN and smiled through your exhaustion because they love it…

To those of you who said, “Screw the dishwasher” and “I’m not playing that matching game again” and plugged in a movie…  

To those of you who love those little voices which NEVER STOP FOR A BREATH…

And to those of you who live for afternoon naptime…

You are a GIFT.

You are a gift to your littles.

You are a gift to your home.

You are a gift to your community.

Yes, we know you fall apart sometimes. We know you are patient and impatient, loving and loud, kind and unkind. We know you say things you wish you didn’t, and we know you don’t get credit for all the things you don’t say.

We know you are tired and spent. And tired and happy. And tired and unhappy. And All the Things. We know you are human. We get it, because we’re human, too. And we’re here to tell you,


Human and heroic, momrades. Both/And.

Let us say this again:


You don’t get annual reviews when your boss takes the time to tell you you’re doing a great job — Outstanding! Exceptional! Exceeds expectations! You don’t get a pay bump or a bonus. You don’t get to check off “complete” or “done” on your most important projects because your little people take a lifetime. So let us be the ones to say this, “You are INCREDIBLE. You are BREATHTAKING. You are making this world a better, more loving place, and you are doing it for ALL of our children. Thank you.”

Dear Mamas Who Work at Home, YOU ROCK.

Dear Mamas who do all the volunteer stuff at school, THANK YOU! Your hard work is noticed and appreciated. Thank you for being the Village who brings up our children as well as your own. 


Thank you for showing up for your kids, mama, day after day.

Showing up to put another meal on the table that you’ll have to clean up after they nibble on it. 

Showing up to schlep the kids to the lessons and practices and performances and appointments.

Thank you for showing up for our kids, too; for the kids whose mamas are working outside the home. For taking them and shepherding them and loving them like your own. For being their soft place to land.

Thank you for showing up to listen to the same little people chatter at you all day.

For showing up in a big way even though sometimes it doesn’t seem like anybody SEES you.

For showing up even though sometimes it must feel like nobody HEARS you.

We see you, mama. We hear you. We value the sacred work you are doing, molding and nurturing and growing amidst so much repetition.

You are the glue that holds our communities together.

You have more patience, courage, fortitude and strength than you know. We can hear you saying, “but I just yelled…” and “but I don’t feel strong…” and “I made mac and cheese for the 47th time in a row…” and we know. We know, mama friend. But hear us. You’re human – AND you’re more heroic than you know. 

You are legends. You are champions. 

You are doing GREAT things. You are teaching our children wonderful things. You are teaching them important things. And you are doing a damn fine job of it. But when you stumble and when you struggle, know this: there are Momrades out there waving in the dark and cheering you on.

With love,

Your Momrades Who Work Outside the Home 


This letter follows a letter written to Work-Outside-the-Home Mamas from Your Momrades Who Are Home. It was inspired by (and many phrases stolen from) your deeply moving comments to each other on the 5 Kids Blog Facebook page. I cannot adequately express my love and admiration for the unreasonably generous ways you encourage each other. You people seriously put the RAD in Momrade. If you want to see more encouraging comments from Sara, Jenny, Amber, Janae, Sheri, Amara, Elizabeth, Jennifer, Jessica, Julie, Josie, Diana and more, click on over to the original post. Get tissues first to wipe your eyes; you’re going to need them.

x’s and o’s, friends,
Beth Woolsey