IMAGE Ricky Mujica via Rhyshell Castleberry/Facebook
When someone asks you "What do you do?" and you reply, "I'm a stay-at-home mom," a lot of people still reply with this question: What do you do all day? Huh.
This tattoo artist and mom from Florida had enough of the prejudice between moms who have a career and those who stay home. So Ryshell Castleberry decided to post a tribute to all stay-at-home moms via a Facebook post (it was posted in March 2016 but still very much relevant today). It came in the form of a hypothetical conversation between a husband and a psychologist. Here's an excerpt:
Question: What do you do for a living, Mr. Rogers? Husband: I work as an accountant in a bank. Psychologist: Your wife? Husband: She doesn't work. She's a housewife. Question: Who makes breakfast for your family? Husband: My wife, because she doesn't work Question: What time does your wife wake? Husband: She wakes up early because it has to be organized. She organizes the lunch for the children, ensures that they are well-dressed and combed, if they had breakfast, if they brush their teeth and take all their school supplies. She wakes with the baby and changes diapers and clothes. Breastfeeds and makes snacks as well.
Ryshell called out people who dubbed her job as a housewife "not working," even if it clearly involves a great deal of tasks every single day. "Being a housewife has no diplomas, but has a key role in family life! Enjoy and appreciate your wife, mother, grandma, aunt, sister, daughter... Because their sacrifice is priceless," she wrote.
Ryshell also shared her two cents as to how she answered someone who asked her, "You're a woman who works or is it just 'housewife?'"
Her reply: "I work as a wife of the home, 24 hours a day. I am a mother. I am a woman. I am a daughter. I'm the alarm clock. I'm the cook. I'm the maid. I am the master. I'm the bartender. I'm the babysitter. I'm a nurse. I am a manual worker. I'm a security officer. I'm the advisor. I am the comforter. I don't have a vacation. I don't have a license for disease. I don't have a day off. I work day and night. I'm on duty all the time. I do not receive salary. And even so, I often hear the phrase: 'But what do you do all day?'"
Rhyshell's post has been shared more than 300,000 times and has garnered 651,000 reactions. But some career moms took offense, citing that it’s the same daily routine they have excluding the eight hours they spend for work. One mom named Gina Welker Palmateer wrote, "It’s also the daily routine of working women. They just have eight hours a day less to do it all." Another mom named Stormiee Leigh Weaver said, "Some moms work AND do this. We must be super moms as well!"
Rhyshell, who welcomed her fourth child last January 4, replied in the comments to defend her post, saying anyone, whether a working mom or working dad, should be able to "read the message and replace the words with words that fit [their] situation." She added that the main idea is to recognize the efforts of often under-appreciated people.
Moms, we are all in different circumstances, so support rather than criticism or judgment is what our community needs. As one mom Terin Marie commented, "I think being a stay at home mom is a super taxing job for sure, but I know a working mom is very hard too. ... It's ALWAYS tough being a hard working parent, in the home, out of the home, both."