We all know the stereotype of the stay at home mom lounging on the couch, eating bonbons and watching soap operas. It’s a little out of date, but switch soap operas to texting her friends all day, and too many people keep the image of the lazy stay at home mom in their minds. Others are recognizing that many stay at home moms blog, but that isn’t always treated as a positive. Clearly she’s ignoring her family and not respecting their privacy. There has to be something wrong about what a mom does, right?

I’ll admit to being a big fan of being a work at home mom. I like the challenges of earning a living from my business, and frankly it’s the only way I could stay home with the kids anyhow. My husband doesn’t earn so much that I could focus entirely on raising my family. That way lies financial disaster for us, not to mention frustration for me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect those moms who choose to be stay at home moms, no work at home job, no home based business, just focusing on the needs of her family.

There can be a certain lack of respect for that choice, however. Many people say stay at home moms are wasting their educations and talents. They’d be surprised to learn that being a stay at home mom doesn’t turn your brain to mush. Most days at least, and anyone who has ever held a job knows working outside the home can do that too.

I think a lot of the problem is that raising a family isn’t seen as a serious contribution to society. After all, working parents do the same while holding down a job. Surely a mother doesn’t have to stay home with her kids and only stay home with her kids, right?

That’s certainly possible, but it’s not the only valid choice, and it shouldn’t be the only valid choice. Just because you can work outside the home and still be a wonderful mother doesn’t mean you have to work outside the home if you believe another choice is better for your family.

Being a stay at home mom doesn’t mean you’re like one of the housewives on a TV show. You probably aren’t a trophy wife, although hopefully your husband is proud of you. Your life is rarely all that dramatic, just filled with moments that make being a stay at home mom worthwhile.

You don’t always have time to watch someone else’s children, run errands for them or volunteer for everything that comes up. You may or may not love to bake. Your home is as clean as you care to make it, and if that’s too clean for some people and not clean enough for others, that’s their problem, not yours.

You are absolutely qualified to have an opinion on world, national and local events. You aren’t so obsessed with your family that you don’t pay attention to the world around you.

You do know the many advantages to being home. It’s not just raising your family and being there for your kids, although that’s a pretty huge advantage. Some stay at home moms are also helping with elderly parents or other family members needing special care. You can help friends out when it fits in with everything else you’re doing if you so choose. Plus you get lots of special time with your children.

Stay at home moms give up a lot, and many don’t realize just how much, especially financially. It’s not just the loss of income. It’s less savings for retirement. It’s a long delay in her career, which means missed promotions and opportunities. The sacrifices aren’t for the faint of heart.

What Do You Do When Someone Doesn’t Respect You as a Stay at Home Mom?

You aren’t always going to get the respect you deserve as a stay at home mom because some people just don’t get it. That said, the more confident you are in the value of what you do, the harder it is for someone to say it to your face. The things you do all day aren’t too trivial to be mentioned. They may not be topics that everyone enjoys discussing, but then not everyone enjoys talking about sports, that awful traffic jam, who got that great promotion or shopping either. Find something else to talk about to the people who find your work as a stay at home mom boring.

As for stay at home dads, yes, I know people stigmatize you too. It’s usually a rather different sort of stigma than moms get, perhaps even less comfortable since stay at home dad isn’t so traditional a position as being a stay at home mom. Keep doing your best and know that there are people who appreciate you too.