You may be familiar with the acronym SAHM. I, however, was not until about 10 minutes prior to writing this post. I first saw it on a twitter profile, "I am a SAHM." It reminded me of "I am Sam, Sam I am" (...Dr. Suess anyone?) and I ignored it. By the third or fourth time, I arbitrarily decided it was some sort of club, likely religious in nature. Around the tenth time, it was google/urbandictionary search time. The results revealed that I was way off (not surprising) and SAHM has zero to do with religion or spirituality in general. Rather, it stands for Stay At Home Mother.
|I will not eat green eggs and ham,|
I will not eat them Sam I Am
A couple things struck me about this discovery. First, the twittersphere is occupied by a lot of stay at home moms, which makes sense. Home-based jobs, including the job of mothering, allow for unfettered and unsupervised access to the internet.
The other thing I noticed is that the job of stay at home mom is a touted badge of honor. The SAHMs are a proud bunch. And of course they should be, but I note this because non-stay-at-home-mothers don't seem to proclaim their motherhood as dominantly on their twitter profiles as the stay-at-home kind. Whenever I saw "SAHM" in a twitter profile it was the first identifier (i.e. I am a SAHM, a photographer and a lover of lucky charms cereal). For non-SAHM moms, it was one identifier tucked into a list (i.e. I love pickles and road trips and my twin baby boys).
I have no doubt that working moms love their children and their motherhood just as much as SAHMs. Perhaps I'm overanalyzing an underwhelming amount of data, but my guess is that SAHMs self-identity is spread less thin than working mothers, making it more natural for them to put their SAHM hat front and center. I also think the publicized pride might be a tiny poke at those feminists (there is a camp of them) who think that modern day SAHMs are a step backward in the women's movement. For the record, I disagree with this camp - the feminist movement was about gaining choices, not about being required to do the exact opposite of past generations.
My last hypothesis on the matter of SAHMs is that there is a lot more put into the stay-at-home versus back-to-work decision than a mere "what strikes my fancy?" question. Household income and the specific career at hand are certainly two of those questions. But, I think a discussion of those considerations (and the many others) is fodder for another post...