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Wasting potential as a SAHM. It's true. - Page 2

post #21 of 91
I think a lot of moms feel like that. We all know that being a mom is the most important thing, but society doesn't make us feel validated and many of us are unfulfilled deep down inside. It's not selfish or weird or anything. it just is. Maybe in the future you can fulfill your inner longing and feel more...I don't know, complete? My fear is that my inner most longing is to be a working actress and with each baby and each year passing, that dream gets more and more unlikely. It makes me sad, but I wouldn't change a thing, not for all the self fulfiiment in the world. I'm educated in other fields that I can work in (I'm a nutritionist), but that doesn't make me feel alive, kwim? Don't think about running yourself ragged right now, but maybe focus on when your little one is older. Put it on the back burner so to speak. ((((hugs))))
post #22 of 91
What a wonderful thread! Breathe, I can totally relate to what you are saying and I'd be very surprised if you got flamed for it!

Tigerchild, wonderful post (as usual!). I, too, try to think of these years as just a short time, kind of like high school or something.

After 12 years of University and 2.5 years of a post-doc I was really ready for a break when I got pregnant with DD. I was a SAHM for the first 15 months and at first I was completely in love and couldn't imagine doing anything else. I actually wondered if I'd ever want to go back to work.

But, I had been doing some work part-time on the side, at my own pace, and I found that I really looked forward to those phone meetings every other month when I got to talk "shop" and use parts of my brain and education that weren't being used much anymore. By the time DD was one, I began to feel the twinges of mild depression. I found I was usually not getting out of the house until after noon, and things weren't satisfying me.

Fortunately, DH is able to be a SAHD, so I returned to my career and I'm very very happy. I will be taking a year off when this baby is born, too. But I know it's just a year, and I plan to stay involved in my work a bit, but also savour that year since I know it won't last long!!

I'm really glad I took the break, because it allowed me to discover just how important that "balance" we talk about is. For each of us, it's different. For some moms it's working FT out of the home, for others it's taking an art class or yoga class twice a week. But that balance needs to be there. I now know that I will never want to quit my career, and that feels comforting for some reason. I just hate "not knowing", y'know?

I do think that motherhood simply does require a certain degree of selflessness and sacrifice, and that if we are honest with ourselves, it's part of what babies need. But I also think that if we remind ourselves how short a time it is that they are that dependent on us (when they are nursing every 2 hours, or need to be held all day), it makes it easier. And even then, we need to find balance and "me time" even if it's just DH taking the baby for a walk in the sling.
post #23 of 91
I currently WOH but intend to be a SAHM when our first babe arrives in June. I really appreciate all the thoughtfully written and honest posts on this thread.

And I wanted to follow up on something pageta mentioned.

I have what is by many people's standards "a really good job." I work in a university with nice people and I generally enjoy what I do but I often feel that I am not living up to my potential and I certainly feel frustrated by my lack of involvment in the world (i.e. issues of concern to me). I often question the purpose of my work and what I am contributing to society (especially when I bored to tears in my third meeting of the day as we are debating the most minute and insignificant point like it REALLY MATTERS in the grand scheme of life -- ooo sorry...little rant).

I often think about all the writing I used to do, my painting and other creative endeavours and think....oh if only I didn't have to work 40 hours a week (plus a 45 min. commute each way) then I could __________.

No answers here...just a slightly different perspective. I hope this thread continues.....really great discussion.

~Erin
post #24 of 91
Here's my view on this:

I am a PT SAHM/PT WOHM. I work 3 days a week and am home with Goo 4 days a week. Wow, is it is tough balance. I often feel like my work suffers, but then I really enjoy having time to help Goo grow.

I do want to have more time in the day. Somedays, I want to do everything.

I think the thing that SAHM miss is the community that earlier generations had. So many people had the whole neighborhood to visit (think Doris Day and the nice 50's shows).
We just don't have that today. Families are spread across the country and that makes it hard to take the time you need to be you.

Anyway, just my random babblings.....
post #25 of 91
I will be losing my teaching certification in May b/c I didn't teach public school for 2 years or start my Masters before becomming a SAHM, so that's a tangible loss- granted I am glad I chose what I did, but it's still a waste.

Also- I am an activist at heart and have very little time to pursue my causes at this time, and I have real talent in that area that is being wasted right now.

That said, I agree with PPs that even were I working, I would still be wasting other talents I have- although as a teacher- I really did have my ideal job

I hear you Breathe.
post #26 of 91
Quote:
I mean, can you really come up with an ideal job that would perfectly use your potential, much less actually find that ideal job? [/B]
Yes, and yes! Dh and I both had our dream jobs and we gave them up temporarily for our son. I'm a music therapist and get to use my music and help people all at once, Dh was a high up peace activist/program director. Both getting paid to do what we love and to have a positive influence in the world. And we will do it again soon...

Here's something I hold on to. When I was studying trumpet with a trumpet goddess in NYC, she told me however long you put the trumpet aside you will always be a trumpet player, and when you come back to it your playing will have grown because you will have grown.

Now that I'm coming back to it after a few yrs of being immersed in motherhood I'm discovering she's right. I'm a different woman with a different life perspective. I also feel more passionate about it because I'm not taking it for granted so much. I feel the same about my work, that I will really throw myself into it when I get back to it.
post #27 of 91
I keep thinking about this thread and all of the wonderful things you ladies have shared. I, too, left a "good" career to be a SAHM, but for me the career was always, in my mind, something to do until I had kids. I always wanted to be a SAHM. I knew I was going to college but once I was there I had no idea what to major in. I changed majors a few times. Eventually majored in English because I loved to read and was a decent writer. Spent a year in law school. Then went to grad school and emerged with an M.Ed. and a good job at a college. But I seemed to just fall into those things. I have always been envious of people who had a real passion for something. Being a mom is the closest I've ever had to that feeling.

It's not that I don't have interests. I have LOTS of interests! :LOL I just can't seem to focus on one thing with intensity and passion for long. I've picked up and dropped real writing several times. I've even had things published and would love to do more of that, but as we all know, being a SAHM really makes maintaining creative energy tough. Plus I'm still working p/t but from home. But it doesn't bring me much real joy, KWIM? Mainly I just feel tired and over stretched most of the time.

So I think my darkest fear goes down one level than yours, Breathe. I think my real fear is that I'm never going to feel that passion. That as much as I love being a SAHM, that once my dc are grown, I'll spend the rest of my life remembering the snapshots of the best times of having little ones and those will be the best times of my life. Then I'll regret that I didn't appreciate them more at the time. Sigh.

OK, so I'm not normally this morose. Just having a down day I guess. Too much inner reflection!
post #28 of 91
well, rather than post something original, i'm going to quote myself and a recent email to a friend which i posted on my blog :
i think that my struggle has to do with understanding my choice to be a mother. being a mother is a greater task than i could ask for. it takes everything of me, all the parts of me to do it as well as i like. i can do things outside of being a mom, and i do, but at the moment all roads lead back to that. the things that i am doing outside of being a mom include leading an attachment parenting group and organizing an attachment parenting group booth at a mother's day event. i also see a therapist to talk about being a mom, since my adult interaction is limited. i don't mind being a mom. i love it, it's fabulous. and i am still me even though i'm a mom. i guess i've found a career, you could say. but the struggle is that sometimes doubt creeps in. guilt creeps in. curiosity creeps in. and i begin to wonder if maybe there is some other version of my life. sometimes i feel the pressures of 70s-era feminism saying that opportunities were presented to me that i snotily declined. sometimes i feel the pressures of artisthood breathing down my neck saying that i should be progressing, growing, producing at all. at other times i realize that all of this is the stuff of life and if i were doing anything else i would be missing the real thing which is where i'm at - the purpose of the species, the intentions of my biology, to which i know that i am truly, truly dedicated. i know that despite the rhetoric, the goal of feminism was to allow for the choice, which as a culture we are only now remotely appreciating. i know that despite feminist gains that support for mothers at home or mothers at work or single mothers is decidely lacking and that the discrepancy between the pay rates of men and women is 75 cents on the dollar. i know that in order to be an artist fully, i must allow for life to feed the art. i also know how frida khalo struggled with the inertia to create, how fitzgerald felt that his earlier work was immature, and how salinger still hides in the woods. what history now tells me is that given all the time in the world (van gogh) or a hefty cocaine habit (basquiat), or the world's wealthiest sponsor (michelangelo), or some combination of the three, one can produce ad infinitum, provided one's back, or one's heart, or one's brain doesn't give out, which of course it eventually does. i am not yet 25. my world is not likely to end tomorrow. i must simply learn to accept everything in good time. i must also devise better methods for staving off all those gremlins of fear and doubt and guilt. and as an artist, for which the time will come, i must learn how to do as jack black has mastered and keep ego and critics away from my brain as my fingers type or paint or what have you. and you're right, indeed - f%&$ 'em.
post #29 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by muse
.however long you put the trumpet aside you will always be a trumpet player, and when you come back to it your playing will have grown because you will have grown.
Yeah--that's how I am feeling. When this SAHM thing ends, I will have come through it a different person (a better, and more focused person, I hope). I am toying with the idea of going into the field of women's health--doula-ing, some sort of advocacy for breastfeeding or natural childbirth. That is my passion now, and certainly was nothing I would have thought about so much before becoming a mama.

I worked PT with DS#1 (directing a nonprofit program), but left when DS#2 was born. I gotta say, I do like being at home, even though I find it somewhat difficult at times. It goes SO FAST, and in the blink of an eye, they'll be grown and gone. And I am an "older mama", too, so I will be pretty ripe by the time they go.

So, in the meantime, I volunteer my time within the causes that matter to me. For example, I have a BA in English, so I volunteer to edit the newsletters of the organizations I belong to--this keeps my skills current & gives me something I can feel proud of & stick onto my resume for when the time comes. It also lets me make connections & get references for later down the road.

Maybe try volunteering. I am not sure what it was you did at work, but I am sure some organization would be thrilled to get you!


Good luck--sorry you are feeling so down.
post #30 of 91
Great, great thread. Breathe, I think your post is *so* important, and that these conversations need to be had by moms everywhere. I have so many thoughts going through my head, so I'm going to try and be concise!

First, I relate!! And so I find myself digging for ways to get the "pre-baby" me out there but its usually on such a surface level. I was a teacher and outdoor, experiential educator and so while I can't see myself returning to the classroom full time for many, many years (and, maybe never) I'm finding smaller, less time intensive ways to use those skills and passion- like teaching birthing classes, volunteering for things that we are involved in and taking on leadership roles there, etc...

Second, I completely agree with Dragonfly. By raising your dc the way you are, you will have a ripple effect on who knows how many others by the way son shows up in the world. Granted, we can't control how our children will grow up and be, but we certainly can have a huge impact in how we parent them.

Third,
"I really can't help but wonder if I could have been just as good a mama without ever graduating from high school, kwim? As in, what was the point of all that education and training just to sit around my house with my kids all day... no one needs to go to college and business school (or law school, or med school (or any kind of education) for that! And I actually mean that literally. As in, I don't think that being formally educated makes you a better mother."

I disagree with this. I know everyone's college or other educational experience is different, but for me, those years were such an incredible time for self exploration adn growth. Maybe I'll never use that sustainable agriculture degree beyond gardening, but it was time dedicated to *me* and my journey. If i didnt' have that, I think I'd feel more of the lost potential. I look at my mom who didnt' go to college until I was in highschool and has struggled to get her career to where she wants it to be later in life. Having had my sister at 17, she never had those exploratory, alone years. Being a mother started for her so early, I can't help but think that some of the issues she deals with in her life stem from this. (I dont think this would be the case of every teen mom, but it is for her)

Fourth, I constantly remind myself that who we *are* is just as important as what we *do*, especially when I feel like I need to be doing something more, bigger, greater than what i am. I try and remember who I am outside of actions, and it makes me feel a bit more settled- even if only for a few moments!

Finally, i agree with tofumama! I think some kind of a support circle, or thread is a great thing. we could move it over to Personal Growth and could each designate some kind of a personal goal or something that we want to be working on and check it with each other about it.

well, it took me most of the afternoon ot write this, between naps, errands, and lunch- need to quit while I'm ahead!
post #31 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by Fianna
...once my dc are grown, I'll spend the rest of my life remembering the snapshots of the best times of having little ones and those will be the best times of my life. Then I'll regret that I didn't appreciate them more at the time....


This has me crying my eyes out. I am nostaligic for right now.




I'm having a difficult time knowing my heart right now. We are having a good day and my sweetie is sleeping beside me. Yesterday I probably would have gone off on my slowly-becoming-useless degree that I'm still paying for. For me a p/t thing would really help with the balance.

I think my main issue is that I never pictured myself married, with children. I always thought I'd be climbing mountains and changing the world. I struggle with this idealized image of my amazing goddess-self vs. reality. And I wonder how I can complain about how society doesn't respect mothering when I seem to do the same thing- at least in regards to myself.
post #32 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by Fianna
I have always been envious of people who had a real passion for something. Being a mom is the closest I've ever had to that feeling.

So I think my darkest fear goes down one level than yours, Breathe. I think my real fear is that I'm never going to feel that passion. That as much as I love being a SAHM, that once my dc are grown, I'll spend the rest of my life remembering the snapshots of the best times of having little ones and those will be the best times of my life. Then I'll regret that I didn't appreciate them more at the time.
Oh my, this really spoke to me, Fianna! I can so relate.

Becca
post #33 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by newmainer
Maybe I'll never use that sustainable agriculture degree beyond gardening, but it was time dedicated to *me* and my journey. If i didnt' have that, I think I'd feel more of the lost potential.
I know everybody's experience is different, but for me this is what I believe to be KEY to my current happiness and state of mind.

I wonder how I would ever have been able to give up so much of myself and my time if I hadn't had so many years of total devotion to me. Not only going through school, but the partying years of staying up all night and meeting all sorts of interesting people. Of getting into riding and training and competing (horses) and all the years I focussed on that. And just having so much time to myself! I cannot imagine being where I am now and not resenting so much of it if I hadn't had my fill of it earlier. I've BTDT, got the T-shirt, LOVED it, but I'm ready to move on. I really believe that if I had been a mother in my 20's I would have really sucked at it (and that's just me, of course, I know there are wonderful young mamas out there!!).
post #34 of 91
Fact: When I return to the workforce after a 4-6 year or more break, my opportunities for advancement will be limited by the gap in employment and my age. I guess I am wasting my master's degree because I am not using it now. I am not earning or paying into a retirement plan now, this concerns me. We do contribute the annual amount for the tax deduction but I would like to contribute more.

I feel discriminated against by preschools as a sahm. They want the fulltime paying moms who aren't ever around to see what's going on. (If you read my other posts about p-schools, you know what I mean.)

There is no job better than being with my ds! I was able to rock him to sleep for all of his naps, no sleeping on hard pads on a daycare floor for him. I enjoy hanging out at the park with him and other moms. I feel much more at peace being a mom, no workplace conflicts, concerns over contracts or day to day stress. I had a very stressful job. We do have good and bad days and on the bad days I sometimes think going to work is easier than staying home. I can truly say that being a mother is the most rewarding experience of my life. I don't think anything else could compare and that includes fame, fortune, Nobel prizes, travel, etc.

Sahm's are not Mother Teresa, but I can't help but think that if more kids had healthy happy homes with good moms, there would not have been as much work for Mother Teresa.

Potential can be at any age. Clara Burton started the American Red Cross at age 75!
post #35 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by siddie
Fact: When I return to the workforce after a 4-6 year or more break, my opportunities for advancement will be limited by the gap in employment and my age. I guess I am wasting my master's degree because I am not using it now. I am not earning or paying into a retirement plan now, this concerns me. We do contribute the annual amount for the tax deduction but I would like to contribute more.
Potential can be at any age. Clara Burton started the American Red Cross at age 75!
--Great post, siddie!!!
I took a 6 year break in my career and other than taking an 'update' type course (I'm an RN) it was no big deal: in fact [and here's a classic!] One interviewee said,' I question your committment to the healthcare profession as evidenced by your time away from it.' and another said,'I congratulate you for showing your commitment to family and raising your 3 kids well. I'd like to hire you.'
-- I also fought my (now-ex) husband tooth and claw over my need to mother our children according to the dictates of my conscience. After 5-6 years of steady fighting (and marriage counseling) he admitted to me I've done a great job with the kids....ironic, as he was a workaholic with no time for me or the children.
I am glad the posters here are open to speaking your minds and hearts. Do what is true for you, and makes you happy and you'll never regret it

Mother of 3 grown children (24, 20, and 18!!)...but who remembers the struggle.....
post #36 of 91
I have some of the same feelings. I am different in that I never had a career. I didn't finish college because I lost my funding. Then I got married and had my son at 21. So if you can believe it I have never had a job (my parents wanted me to concentrate on my studies in high school. I don't feel like being a mom is fulfilling my whole potential. Sometimes I get so depressed because I had so many plans for my life. I was in all enrichment classes, I have a genius IQ but I am just sitting at home raising babies. Plus I am planning to homeschool so I am stuck her for... well forever it seems. BUT... and this is a big but... I can't imagine myself being any happier being at work. I love my kids so much and I would miss them so much if I wasn't with them. I miss them when I drop them off at Sunday school and that's only an hour and I'm in the same building! I think for me what I need to do is find things that I can do WHILE being home like write a book (even if it never got published, I love writing), take some classes, get involved in something like discovery toys. So while I would love to do my own thing I know that I would feel worse if I was away from my kids. The idea of sending them off to school where i am away from them hours a day makes me feel sick inside. I know I'm not making any sense but that's okay, I'm tired! LOL
post #37 of 91
I hear ya Mommas!

I had dd#1 when I was 18 and just out of high school and just married dh. I graduated Saluatorian and had a scholoarship to college that I could not turn down, so defered it for 1 year. I am really smart and planned to get a doctorate degree, before getting preg while in high school. I went to college with a baby driving 70 miles each way and got my BS in 4 years in a very difficult program. I graduated last May (when 6 months prego with #2).

Dh and I had planned to have me stay home and I was looking forward to it. I love staying home with my girls, but Feel exactly what you are talking about. I still talk to and see many of the people in my program and see what they are doing. I want to stay home, but sometimes leaving my girls and learning more and improving my mind looks so much better than staying home, KWIM.

I love my girls and sitting here on MDC and nursing my babe with Abby coloring on the floor next to me warms my heart and I love it *most * of the time.

I do have a small herd of show cattle that we raise, but that is even more frustrating right now. I can't take the baby out to do chores and check calves. I want to go take care of my cows, but have to let dh do it after he comes home from work. We live in a very rural area and there is no around to watch dd. Last Sat, I took 2.5 hours and preg checked heifers for a neighbor while dh kept the girls. The baby cried the entire time I was gone. DH tried everything - baby food, a bottle (she won't take one), a sipppy cup, sling, ect. SHe stopped crying the minute I walked in the door. I love that she needs and misses me, but I feel like I can't go do anything becuase I don't want her crying for ever and only Mom can fix her.

There are days I long to go sit in a classroom and use my brain.

We plan to have 3-4 more kids, so this is my life for the next 15 years AAGGGHHHHHHHH

I wish we lived closer to town, so I could at least take 1 class a semester or so. Dh says I can and even encorages me to, but I don't want to have to drive to town late and night by myself.


I worked so hard to get this degree to stay home. I get very frusterated and feel like I am wasting my brain!

So for the rambling rant, this topic hits very close to home.

s to all
post #38 of 91
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post #39 of 91
Thread Starter 
Well this has turned out to be an *unbelievable* thread. My usual M.O. is to try to respond to each poster -- validate their feelings, reflect a little, try to expand on their thoughts -- but in sitting and reading this this morning, I feel like your words are so eloquent and so moving that I would cheapen them by trying to respond. I feel like I could take your thoughts, post them verbatim into a document and publish it as a book.

Reading your stories is like reading about the modern SAHM . . . she's a former hi-powered businesswoman; a musical genius whose instrument is collecting dust; an accomplished and highly educated professional who has CHOSEN to put her career on hold . . . for who knows how long; and a recent high school grad whose whole "career" is yet to be discovered.

To me, this is EXACTLY why motherhood is SO hard and SO complex and SO difficult to describe that no one ever does it justice. We come to it from vastly different places, and yet we share so many of the same feelings. And we're so damn tired and overworked that we rarely have an opportunity to explore our feelings and needs!

I am speechless. And I should leave it that. My attempt to try and summarize our experiences will be woefully inadequate. I guess that's the genius I see in contemporary mother-writers -- somehow they have the creativity and SKILL to put our shared experience into words.

[and yes, Brain, Child is a *fabulous* magazine filled with thought-provoking and hilarious (if not always positive) pieces about modern mothering -- No, I'm not getting kick-backs from them, but you should check it out! www.brainchildmag.com]

Here's what I propose:

1) a "Toot Your Own Horn" thread, where we all come and BRAG BRAG BRAG about how amazing and talented we are -- talents on hold or not -- bc dammit! Don't we need a place where we can be honest about our strengths and gifts?!?! And don't those of us who are afraid of wilting on the vine need to feel good about ourselves?!? And wouldn't it be amazing to learn some life details about our fellow MDCers?!?

Wanna?

and 2) shortly thereafter, a support thread (as suggested above -- I've gotta rush so I can 't go back to see who that was -- sorry!) where we help each other realize some "balance" goals . . . and put them in writing so they start to seem real. I'm sure it's been done here before, but I would love to see the posters on this thread continue this discussion in a positive and maybe even life-changing way!

What thinks ye, Inspiring Goddess Mamas?



Eleanor
post #40 of 91
oh gosh, I have a day like today where i've yet to brush my hair, wash my face or even step outside (storms) and have spent at least a total of 1 hour staring out of the window pondering my existence and the futility of washing yet another load of nappies, and the things we can't afford 'cause I'm still paying back a student loan for a degree I don't need.... and then I come here and realise I'm not alone...

...and look at that ~ the sun just came out! (for at least a minute...)

Steph
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