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Wasting potential as a SAHM. It's true. - Page 5

post #81 of 91
I am excited at the prospect that my children will be in this world with all of your kids.
Most times I feel like I've got plenty of time to catch up, but there are times when I feel like a "waste" and always like I should be doing more, KWIM?
I guess when we were working, we got "validation" with a paycheck, or a title.....and I don't ever think (at least not for awhile ) my DS's could exactly articulate how much we are needed or loved or appreciated with words but those little kisses, smiles, and hugs say it all for me.
And for all SAHM's, I propose a tax credit for staying home!
post #82 of 91
Whether you are a SAHM or a WOHM, no potential is wasted! Its the hardest most important job in the world IMO. I've heard other peoples comments like "you're wasting your degree" and "you're not really working, its a 'baby vacation'", etc.

Those comments used to hurt my feelings, but I know now that they just didn't know what they were talking about, or maybe felt insecure and wanted to put me down to feel better about themselves. On my death bed, I know I will have absolutely no regrets over being a SAHM mom.
post #83 of 91
I really agree with the direction this thread has taken recently, and believe me I love reading confirmation that we ARE indeed making the right choices in the long run. As I posted before, I WOH 14 hours a week, which is what I need to work to do things the way dh and I want to do them (put simply), but is hardly allowing us to "live large" like before, and frankly feels like a hell of a sacrifice to have my once hefty salary slashed like that practically overnight. (So when's that shameless boasting thread starting up?! LOL ) And I do completely agree that it's for "all the right reasons" and that raising two (or more?!) amazing children is the best thing I could ever hope to do with my life...

BUT...

..I still do sort of agree with the original sentiments many moms including me felt whereby we feel we ARE wasting our degree or our gifts/talents/skills, kwim? And we're really pissed off about it!

Getting down to the nitty gritty, a big part of me thinks the idea that you have to go to a 4-yr college or graduate school in order to be a good mother is ridiculous at best and downright dangerous at worst. Are we saying that women prior to the 1960's (when women attending 4-yr colleges started spiking) were all bad mothers?? Are we saying poor women who can't afford to go to college are bad mothers?? Of course not, since isn't that pretty much counterintuitive to what it means to be AP in the first place? (e.g., getting back to our natural mothering instincts and roots, for lack of a better word)

So I think that when someone like my mother, who put herself through college and then graduate school as a single mom, broke all gender barriers in her particular career/position, so that she could afford to give her daughter access to education and a successful career... when someone like my mother asks, in all earnest curiousity, "What was the point of your degree if you were just going to stay at home?"... well, I think as much as I hate to admit it, that they just might have something there.

It is very hard for me at least to reconcile my own desire to maximize the amount of time I spend with my amazing kids and live out my values, with the sneaking suspicion that those baby-booming mothers and grandmothers who are mouthing off about how our generation is singlehandedly unravelling modern feminism, are right.

Anyone else feeling pulled in both directions?
post #84 of 91
Quote:
I've been a mom and nothing else my entire adult life and I think I'm really having a lot of trouble dealing with the feelings that I'm middle aged and have nothing (not even a good test) to show for the effort.
DB, this is me, too. I know, I know, I have 6 beautiful children and a loving husband and . I'm not dismissing the value of my children or husband. They're incredibly important, obviously. But having them in my life doesn't take away the feeling that I have done NOTHING with my life. I haven't accomplished any of the goals I set for myself and I think that is what makes me feel fairly worthless. I know that being a mom is an important job ~ I do ~ but I always wanted to be more than just a mother (no offense intended by that statement), so I feel I've failed.

Sure, I'm a mom. But am I a good one? I don't really think so. To be honest, I yell too much and criticize too much. I'm not nearly as patient as I need to be....not nearly as understanding as they deserve. I WANT to be so much better for my kids, and some days I DO succeed at being the type of mom I want to be. But more often than not, I don't. And then, on those days when I'm having a particularly difficult time, I wonder........when they're all grown and gone, are they going to LIKE me? I mean it ~ my mom and I have zero relationship because even though I love her, I don't like her at all. What if I give up 30+ years of my life for these children and when all is said and done, they don't want to have anything to do with me?

And since we're all being *totally* honest, I'll confess something else....I don't really like being a SAHM. But I don't really want to go work full-time, either. Not because I wouldn't like to have a job, because the thought of doing something I enjoy AND getting paid to do it is appealing. No, the reason I don't go get a job (aside from the fact that I have no marketable job skills now) is because I believe my being a SAHM is the best thing for my kids and because I don't trust anyone else to do it. I also believe that God blessed me with 6 children for a reason and one day I am going to have to give an accounting for how I lived my life ~ and how I raised the children given to me ~ and I don't want to be ashamed by having to say that I cared more about myself and what I wanted than I did them. So.....I stay at home and I raise my children.....and I AM able to find enjoyment in my job most days, but I also struggle against my extremely selfish nature that says, "What about me? When do I get my turn?" I can't look toward the future, when I am 52 and my youngest is 18, as the time when I'll be "free" to pursue my own interests, either. I have 2 special-needs children and I may still have one living at home when the youngest leaves. There's no way for me to predict whether my son will be able to live independently, so I can't plan for a future where my time is my own.

Like so many others have said already, I, too, have interests and talents and skills that aren't being used. I sometimes wonder why God gave me the talent and ability to DO something if I wasn't ever going to use it, kwim? It just creates frustration and resentment within me to WANT to do something and to know I can't......and to not see a time where I ever will. Sigh.......when I look back on my life thus far, I see many forks in the road ~ places where I had to make a choice and go forward in one direction and not the other. I made my choices, thinking I was doing the right things, but now I don't know anymore. I realize I have to live with the choices I've made, but I also wonder if I'd be happier NOW had I made different choices back THEN, kwim?

Anyhow, I'll shut up now. I don't even know if I stayed on-topic enough to post this, but I'm going to click "submit", anyhow. Thanks for putting up with me! ag
post #85 of 91
Thread Starter 
Wow. The sheer volume of replies to this thread show what an important issue this is for many mothers.

Kate, your post had a very spiritual undercurrent to it . . . you refer to God' gifts and blessings to you several times and it got me wondering what a strictly spiritual approach to this dilemma might teach us. I am not a practiving anything, but was raised in a protestant church and something about your post reminded me of messages saying that it is in fact a sin to fail to use your gifts. I personally do not jive with the whole sin concept, but I do wonder if some spiritual reflection (or whatever each of us does in our private, thoughtful time) might shed some light on how to ensure that we ARE using our gifts. For instance, what would a Zen Buddist say? Anyone want to take a stab at that? Other perspectives?

On this end, I have had a pretty important epiphany about my own gifts and how to use them (inslead of losing them!). A dear friend (also a SAHM and an AP one at that) and I have been debating for months whether or not to go into business together, and just this weekend we both admitted that our hearts were truly not in it. We both know of some places where our passions do lie and yet are not being explored (for me, becoming a yoga teacher, for her, becoming a doula), and we have vowed to support in each other in persuing these areas . . . at least *thinking* about them.

In the meantime, I have decided to apply some of the energy (and $$) I thought I was willing to invest in a new business venture into my mothering. In a spurt of high energy and clear thinking this a.m. (during insomnia, if you believe that!), I realized that many of my gifts which are buried right now can be unburied and used daily with my son . . . it will take creativity and LOADS of work, but I have a vision of how to do it. And I'm going to approach it like a project. And dh even agrees that it is well worth spending money, if needed. And talk about a win-win situation! I get to be creative, and musical, and artistic, and athletic, and possible even a leader in my small community, and my son is main beneficiary! YES! Now that feels like something I can work hard for.

And I better hurry, before Baby #2 arrives and it all starts all over again! (but I have a plan for then, too!)

It's amazing what getting out of that first trimester has done for my spirit! Phew!
post #86 of 91
[quote] Anyone else feeling pulled in both directions?[end quote]

Yes - a bit. And I'm sort of surprised by that. I've been following this thread with interest...but didn't think I had much to contribute. I've really been loving the SAHM stuff. I find learning about parenting to be stimulating and fun. And I was getting tired of work and performance pressure. (I'm an older mom so have a fair number of years of working already under my belt).

Still - I went to a concert tonight and felt that pull back to the professional world. I'm a choir director and still keep my hand in with a little youth choir and teaching a few private lessons. It buys the groceries and pays my cell phone bill and only takes a few hours a couple of evenings a week. So I'm not completely out of the loop - but its nothing major either. The college choir I directed the 2 years before ds was born had a concert tonight and I went. They sounded great and it was wonderful to see some old students...but sitting there I suddenly wanted my choir back. I wanted to be collaborating with them to make music on a challenging level - and I wanted to explore new music - and join some interesting choral associations - and plan a concert....and then I got home and ds was crying cause dh forgot to feed him and he was tired and hungry and my heart just exploded and I couldn't wait to get him in my arms and I wondered why I was gone for so long. Is this making any sense? So I guess that pull is still there ( I thought it had gone) and I'll have to figure out some way to combine things.

My dh is fond of saying "life is about trade-offs". When he first said that I thought it was a depressing comment...but the more I look at it - he is right. And that is OK. In some ways I'm lucky. I married late so had lots of time to work my a$$ off and get more degrees than I really need etc. So by the time we got pregnant I was really feeling ready to make a change...and I'm loving it. But I don't want to give up all the other stuff completely too. Don't know yet how I'll do it.

Thanks for all the beautiful, thought-provoking posts. And thanks for 'listening' to my post-concert ramble.

J
post #87 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by momto3g3b
I can't look toward the future, when I am 52 and my youngest is 18, as the time when I'll be "free" to pursue my own interests, either. I have 2 special-needs children and I may still have one living at home when the youngest leaves. There's no way for me to predict whether my son will be able to live independently, so I can't plan for a future where my time is my own.
Wow, you have such a uniquely challenging situation momto3g3b, I don't think you can rightly refer to yourself as "selfish" at all!
post #88 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by Breathe
I personally do not jive with the whole sin concept, but I do wonder if some spiritual reflection (or whatever each of us does in our private, thoughtful time) might shed some light on how to ensure that we ARE using our gifts. For instance, what would a Zen Buddist say? Anyone want to take a stab at that? Other perspectives?

Buddhism would say that we need to practice being in the present moment. To be fully engaged and mindful of what we are doing at any moment, wether that be nursing, cleaning, cooking...Buddhism would also say the motherhood is a great opportunity in life to practice compassion and egolessness. I have been practicing Buddhism for a number of yrs but it wasn't till becoming a mother that I truly understood either of those concepts. But the important thing is also to be compassionate towards ourselves; we cannot give give give all day long to a small child without also taking care of ourself and our basic needs first.

I actually believe that for me playing music IS a need, and is connected with my spiritual practice. If I can play 10 minutes a day, as well as practicing some meditation and yoga a few times a week then I can be in the present moment with my son so much better. He benefits, I benefit, and hopefully in some way the whole world benefits.

There is a Chinese saying; If you neglect your art for one day it will neglect you for three. I believe it is crucial we stay connected to our "arts" even on the smallest level. I have been trying to be more creative in my days with my son, really enjoying cooking new meals, doing art, and last week I sawed up some blocks from a tree branch. It felt much more inspiring than standing around in yet another parent toddler group and I felt more like myself. I have to remind myself there is no "fixed" way for how to be a SAHM and I CAN still be myself and do interesting things.

Breathe, I am dying to hear about your new project!!! Tell us more !
post #89 of 91
What a great topic of conversation, I'm so glad you brought it up and that so many have posted their feelings and perspectives. I have three boys - two of which are older 14 and 10 and one 16 month old. With my first two I had no choice but to have to work full time from the time they turned three months old.

I have a very good job and have established myself as a leader in my field. I got remarried a few years ago however and we decided to try for our own child - my third boy. Since I've had him I've been working a modified schedule - three full days a week. I am lucky in that DH's schedule allows him to stay home the days that I am working and vice versa. At first I thought it was great that I could still go to work part time and keep good money coming in and have that adult connection on a part time basis.

However we've recently decided to downsize to a smaller house and I'm going to quit my job and become a SAHM. My main reasons for this are...

- When I work I like to do a really good job however working part time I feel like I'm doing a half *ssed job at work and a half *ssed job of being a parent! Trying to juggle both is just way too much for me.

- Two weeks ago I had to go to my oldest son's high school orientation to prepare him for next September. That was SCARY! I could swear that just yesterday he was learning how to walk. Kids grow way too fast and having had to work all those years I feel like I missed so much time with them. I want to be home for all my kids - I think it might even be more important for me to be home now for my older two then it is for my youngest.

I don't feel like my talents will be wasted - I feel like I'm wasting my mothering talents when I'm at work!
post #90 of 91
Quote:
Originally posted by HelloKitty
[- Two weeks ago I had to go to my oldest son's high school orientation to prepare him for next September. That was SCARY! I could swear that just yesterday he was learning how to walk. Kids grow way too fast and having had to work all those years I feel like I missed so much time with them. I want to be home for all my kids - I think it might even be more important for me to be home now for my older two then it is for my youngest.

[/B]
You know - this is interesting. Somehow I always thought that once my kids were old enough (in school...whenever we decide that will be) that I could go back to work. But last year a colleague of mine quite work so she could be home for her 2 high-school age boys. We talked about it and her thoughts were that yes - they needed her home when little. When they got to grade school, she went to work and thought it was fine. But once they got to be teenagers, she thought they needed her more available again. Interesting. And it makes some sense. And for me, a new way to look at things.

J
post #91 of 91
I haven't read the other replies, but how about LLL leadership or Girl Scout leader?
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