Mum Labels

Mum labels.  Here’s a definition list:

WAHM: Working At Home Mum

FTWM: Full Time Working Mum

PTWM: Part Time Working Mum

SAHM: Stay At Home Mum

TTSSM: Trying To Stay Sane Mum (okay, I made that up)

If I try and fit myself into the label categories it would look something like this: I’ve was briefly a PTWM, mostly a SAHM, recently a WAHM and always a TTSSM.  Since becoming a mother, I’ve drifted from one category to another but to my kids, I’m always just ‘Mum’.  They don’t care what label is attached to me!  I’m not against the categories as such, but when they cause an obvious clicky rift or horrid generalised judgement, I can’t see them being a positive thing.

Below are two examples of noise that have come into my life about this subject.

FTWM: I heard a FTWM say this in regards to SAHMs on a radio program: “We are busy at 10am, not sitting in a beauty parlour getting our nails done!”

SAHM: I’ve heard a SAHM say that FTWMs are selfish and only want  expensive cars and big houses.

How can one generalise so much about so many people if the particulars aren’t known? Sometimes to me, it seems like there’s an unseen battle going on and it should not be so.  It should not be so.  If, as women, we could take the time, the time, to listen to each other; to understand; and to appreciate each other for our differences. To take the time, the time, to be compassionate.  To take the time, the time, to support one another in words and actions; let us not bring one another down!

There is power in women together, supporting one another. Believe it. When I visited a remote village in India, I saw the power of women together and the undercurrent of strength in that day never left me.  I run a large Facebook page, and it saddens me when I, too-often, see mothers tearing other mothers down, all in the name of “It’s my opinion”.  There is opinion and then there is narrow-mindness.  

Being a mum is an immense challenge laced with incredible joy; it’s a labour of love.  I acknowledge FTWMs have a huge challenge caring for children, managing a household and the rest.  I acknowledge SAHMs have a huge challenge caring for children,  managing a household and the rest. I acknowledge WAHMs have a huge challenge caring for children,  managing a household and the rest.  I acknowledge PTWMs have a huge challenge caring for children,  managing a household and the rest. 

Sure, the challenges are different but so are the differences from family to family and they are just as real to the relative person.

Throw out the labels.  Shake judgement off; make a choice to.  Let us see, really see, each other with compassion, and respect. I dare say, we all have days, or weeks, or months, or years when we struggle.  We all have good times where the sun shines bright.  And there’s power in women together, supporting one another. I’ve seen it.

If I have to have a label, I know what category I’m most comfortable in: MUM.

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  • Reply
    October 27, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Awesome post. I’m definitely a TTSSM, especially today!

  • Reply
    Christine Bunn
    October 27, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Well said Kelly…… Get this on TV, spread the news so we can stop the guilt trip we tend to put yourselves through.

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      October 28, 2010 at 2:27 pm

      There is a lot of that isn’t there Chrissy. I would love to see more support and less judgement.

  • Reply
    The T(w)een Factor
    October 27, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    PTWM – Thanks for this post! Love it! It is so true about us mums.

  • Reply
    October 27, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Good message. xx

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      October 28, 2010 at 2:29 pm

      Nice to see you here Fiona! I love meeting new faces. I’ll pop by your blog soon to say hello too!

  • Reply
    Tweets that mention Mum Labels: Is There a War? | Be A Fun Mum -- Topsy.com
    October 27, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dannie Wallace, Tina Gray and Marissa Roberts, Be A Fun Mum. Be A Fun Mum said: Mum Labels: Is There a War? http://beafunmum.com/2010/10/mum-labels-is-there-a-war/ http://fb.me/H8WJXP6A […]

  • Reply
    October 27, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    LOVE this. I agree completely. We as mums should never judge others and be grateful for the path we choose for ourselves and our own family. When we do whats best for us, that is truly the best answer.

  • Reply
    Nicole Grant
    October 27, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Such a great message Kelly. I am constantly trying to justify my many roles to people – and mostly those closest to me! I feel guilty enough without my fellow mums adding their ‘two cents’. I am a mum first and foremost though, with a part time practice and have just started a full time PhD. Yes i am busy and sometimes (ok always) struggle to keep up, but my kids are happy and healthy. No one has any right to judge another mum’s choices, unless they’re detrimental to the well-being of their child. I absolutely agree with you that all mums are working mums. The hardest of my ‘jobs’ is parenting, and I have the greatest respect for all mums.

    From a work-at-home-stay-at-home–studying-mum.

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      October 28, 2010 at 4:16 pm

      I know what you mean Nicole. For me, some people who are close to me just don’t get what I do and I get the silent but deadly “oh”. I’ve learnt to just respect that and I don’t talk about that particular part of my life with them. And I’m fine with that.

  • Reply
    October 27, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Well said, as usual Kelly.

    I don’t know if there is a “war” as such, but I have definitely witnessed the “grass is greener” mentality. I think when we feel doubtful or insecure about our own position/ decision or just have the occasional “wish things were different” day, it is easier to lash out against others. I don’t know why we feel the need to get into different “camps” and grumble against each other, but sadly, that is what sometimes happens.

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      October 28, 2010 at 4:12 pm

      I like the perspective you’ve brought here Julie. I can see how it can happen easily without maliciousness. It is sad but perhaps, because of our society’s need to keep-up-with-the-jones’ does us no favours.

  • Reply
    October 27, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Wow Kelly, done it again, fantastic post, love the pics too. xx

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      October 28, 2010 at 3:35 pm

      HA! Thanks Renee. My kids did wonder why I was sticking things on my head. But the funny faces — they are used to that.

  • Reply
    October 27, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    In the past two years I’ve gone from FTWM, to SAHM, to WAHM, to PTWM, but always a TTSSM! But the only label I’ve ever given myself is ‘mum’. And I agree, whichever mum acronym you slot into, it’s always work : )

  • Reply
    October 27, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    You rock. This post is tops. xx

  • Reply
    October 27, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Hi Kelly I just found you through Ash. Fabulous post. Excellent points. Gee, it’s so boring, isn’t it? Life is hard enough being a mum without all this extra rubbish spread on top. J x

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      October 28, 2010 at 3:31 pm

      Hi Jane! Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here. Love to see new faces to the blog. I’ll pop over and visit your soon. xx

  • Reply
    October 27, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Im a SPTWNAHLLTTFSCM – Single Part time working Never at home live life to the fullest share custody mum.

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      October 28, 2010 at 2:23 pm

      LOL! I was waiting for some of these. I knew you wouldn’t dissapoint me Nicole.

  • Reply
    Amelia Hunter
    October 27, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Love it love it love it!!!

    *stay at home mum trying to stay sane while dealing with my psycho mother in law as well as getting a degree…

    Did I take it too far? Probably, oh well I feel better for getting it out though!!


    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      October 28, 2010 at 2:21 pm

      BAHAHAHA! Love it! Made me giggle.

    • Reply
      Kristy McGrath
      November 3, 2010 at 1:25 pm

      I love this and can relate oh so well. It is nice to know I’m not the only one in this boat (mother in law from hell boat, ALL ABOARD!!!lol!!!)

  • Reply
    October 28, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Love it Kelly! The photos are fabulous and I love how you look happiest with the MUM label! I think I’m a TTSSM too! x

  • Reply
    October 28, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    War might be a bit harsh but certainly I’ve heard and obversed heated discussions and snide comments, which I think is terribly sad. From my observation I think it stems from mums feeling inadequate or threatened in their own role and from that position attacking somebody doing something different in a bit of a “get them before they get me” situation. I don’t know any mums who are happy and confident in how they choose to parent who feel the need to attack anybody else. Would be so much better if everybody just accepted that the vast majority of us are doing the best we can, in whatever way fits our family and felt confident enough in our own way of doing that to encourage other mums too!
    (I’m really tired so I apologise for the lack of coherence there, stringing words together isn’t working today!!)

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      October 28, 2010 at 2:53 pm

      Makes perfect sense Robyn. Totally get what you mean and I agree. I think too, that you are right in saying that it’s probably less to do with being mean and more to do with feeling insecure. Excellent perspective. x

  • Reply
    October 28, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Yes we mums wear many hats…. and every family is different… lets not have a war…

  • Reply
    November 1, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Love it Kell! And love the labels other Mums have given themselves hehe 😉

    I think it’s sad that there’s voiced opinions over each family’s decision & every Mum’s choice in regards to what we do. I also feel sad when Mum’s in each category make the other Mum’s in that group look bad. For example, a SAHM I’ve come across, does live it up to the max! But we’re not all like that!! And a FTWM I knew, cut her maternity leave short and returned to full time work when her first child was only 10 weeks old because her and her husband decided to buy a new 4×4 – so there I was looking after their 10 week old on top of my 3 week old every Monday so they could save money on child care all because they’d chosen to buy a $50,000 car that was out of their means. Yet I know many FTWM who are far from that and have their own reasons. And for me, being a WAHM, there are others that give this group a bad name too – some Mum’s of pre schoolers I know just play DVD after DVD or ABC kids all day in order to get their work done. Myself and others like me then get a bad rep even though I don’t work until 8 at night and sometimes through til 1 just so I can keep my day clear of work.

    Gosh I can’t wait til all mine are at school so that all these ‘labels’ aren’t so full on. It feels like then some of the pressure eases up… Am I right? Are you judged more when you’ve got pre-schoolers? Because once they’re all at school there’s sort of that mentality that you can do what you like now? But then I suppose there’s pressure on Mum’s who remain SAHMs – are they looked down upon? Would love to hear from Mums in that boat 🙂
    [My Mum was a SAHM my whole life and I loved it!!]

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      November 3, 2010 at 7:18 pm

      @Meeya, You are right Meeya. It’s true. It’s hard when we are lumped in with one group and you are given a “bad name”. I guess that is part of the problem with generalised labels.

  • Reply
    December Aussie Mummy Bloggers Carnival — Good Goog
    December 6, 2010 at 5:35 am

    […] of Be a Fun Mum – Mum Labels: Is there a war? Since becoming a mother, I’ve drifted from one category to another but to my kids, I’m always […]

  • Reply
    December 6, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Great post. And yes, I’ve been every one of those labels over the course of 15 plus years of parenting. Support other mums and forget the labels.

  • Reply
    December 6, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Love it! I’m a FASSM (failed at staying sane mom), but don’t tell my kids, they just think I’m normal. The pictures are great, too!

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      December 6, 2010 at 3:40 pm

      BAHAHA! Good call Kristin. I wonder when my kids will realise how un-normal I am… lol

  • Reply
    December 6, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Great post . I really liked the pics 🙂

  • Reply
    December 7, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    So true. I am tired of having to justify my choices all the time. And if I had made different choices, I would have had to justify them anyway. No wonder most of us can relate to the TTSSM label.

  • Reply
    December 8, 2010 at 10:58 am

    great post. people are very different and no one is a SAHM (FTWM etc) for the same reasons, with the same schedule, attitude and success as another.
    i am a SAHM, and will hopefully be a PTWM soon, as my son enters prep in January. We’re all doing what we can or have to, in a way.
    I used to be a career GIRL, but whatever I do now, I know that my label always will end in M, for mum, and that’s what matters.

    • Reply
      December 8, 2010 at 10:59 am

      oh, and GREAT illustration of the labels with your pics !! 😀

  • Reply
    The mother experiment
    August 1, 2012 at 8:35 am

    TTSSM, SAHM, or EMIM (embracing my insanity mum).
    I don’t think there needs to be a war. I think there’s way too much sensitivity and people take offense for no reason then wage war against the other side, it’s just stupid. As you said, we are all mum.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Thanks for that Kelly. It helps to keep it all in perspective.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Yes! Thank you so much for this post. So true, and needs to be said. Let’s all remember we’re all trying to muddle our way through this Mum gig. While we may have different challenges and make some different choices, we are all just trying to be the best mums we can be. 🙂

    • Reply
      Annette Higgins
      February 19, 2014 at 10:42 am

      What’s a TTSM mum? I’m flexible in how I view other women. Everyone’s circumstances are different and some have a huge mortgage and other expenses to pay off. I’m a Mum who works at home as a piano teacher. Its an interest to me and wonderful to see the progress the students make. I live with Chronic pain and as my daughter goes to childcare. Yes I got all the harsh comments about putting my daughter in daycare. She’s an only child and needs the socialiation and they have more resources in childcare.

  • Reply
    Lorraine k
    February 19, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I’m proud to call myself a StaHM (Student at Home Mum). My degree has been a long time coming and think it takes guts to (re-)Enter the workforce as a ‘mature age’ graduate. I think no matter what you label yourself or what others label themselves, aren’t we all TTSSMs? Some just succeed in different ways (workplace, study, work from home,care at home), just support each other cause we’re all trying to do the best we can with what we’ve got!

  • Reply
    Sharron peacock
    February 19, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Well, I think I’m the SAHMWISWCTTSN mum.
    Stay at home mum who is sick with cancer
    Trying to stay normal lol….different to most but
    True for me BUT, to my kids, I am just MUM.
    I love that 🙂 love your photos kell lol

  • Reply
    Bard Judith
    February 19, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Where’s the USEM label? (UnSchooling Entepreneurial Mom)? 🙂

    I just quit a steady job I’ve had for the last ten years (four hours a day, four days a week, four months of vacation a year. Call me crazy.) to be at home with my ten-year old daughter to nourish, build, and encourage her learning, while starting to build my own online business.

    As so many others have commented, ‘Mom’ / ‘Mum’ is one of the few labels I’ll wear, and wear with pride and contentment. I appreciate the article and the subsequent discussion!

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