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Is being a mom "enough"? - Page 4

post #61 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
I think the main difference is that these cultures are based upon a way of life in which providing for material needs involves little-to-no separation of mothers from children, and also a lot less separation of fathers from children than what we see in our culture, since Dad may take off sometimes on a long hunt but he's also spending heaps of time at home in the village.
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
This is a myth. There is little separation from babies, but when you find me a culture that has mom in the home with all her kids from babes to adolescents or at least pubescents, I will send you a million dollars.

Kids separate. It is a natural human progression.
i BEG to differ. it is NOT a myth. what we are losing sight here is the concept of mother. there is no concept of 'my mother'. but 'mother'. there is always a mother around to be and take care of the kids.

children DO spend so many years in contact with mom. not just in hunter gathering society but also in agricultural society and in some urban societies too where the concept of 'joint' family exists.

i am sorry but i hate to see how we are evolving.

sorry SM - taking this hugely OT here. sorta.

i hate how i have to leave my dd in the care of 'strangers' while i go to work. some of you are lucky. you have family and thus your child has many mothers. i hate how my dd only has one mother. only one mother to discipline and love her. she is missing out on soooo much. and society is heading that way. there is no support for moms who are more comfortable being WOHM. my gma was one of them. she just could not be a SAHM. but she had tonnes of family so my mom had other 'mom's' who took care of her. while other moms took care of the housework and cleaning, one mom watched out for the kids. i mean hello. the concept of stranger anxiety does not even exist there. this is in asia.

i mourn what society is becoming. i mourn what childhood is becoming. its even more heartbreaking because i study culture and i see the results. and it makes me wanna cry.

a constant parent is a child's birthright. being with their child for as long as a parent wants is the parents birthright. and it saddens me to see this not being given priority. it is sad our society demands our children and parents 'deal' with it.

and yes physically at some point we separate but never, never detach.
post #62 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
i hate how i have to leave my dd in the care of 'strangers' while i go to work. some of you are lucky. you have family and thus your child has many mothers. i hate how my dd only has one mother. only one mother to discipline and love her. she is missing out on soooo much. and society is heading that way. there is no support for moms who are more comfortable being WOHM. my gma was one of them. she just could not be a SAHM. but she had tonnes of family so my mom had other 'mom's' who took care of her. while other moms took care of the housework and cleaning, one mom watched out for the kids. i mean hello. the concept of stranger anxiety does not even exist there. this is in asia.

i mourn what society is becoming. i mourn what childhood is becoming. its even more heartbreaking because i study culture and i see the results. and it makes me wanna cry.
This only sounds good if the other "mothers" parent the same way you do. I don't want the village raising my children because I'm not like most of the village. When we have needed full-time childcare, which has been rarely for us, I liked that I could pay someone to come into our home and be with our children and do things as I want rather than rely on other women to do things as *they* want because we're all part of this mythical village.
post #63 of 90
With respect, child caregivers, teachers, friends can all become other "mothers" as well. Unfortunately, our society often gives very mixed messages about that though. How many times have I read here that even people who find a beloved nanny or a great school with great teachers for their kids are "shoving them off for other people to raise"? Plenty. Yet also, this idea that idealistically there should be a village/kinship (chosen or otherwise) circle/community loving and being with the kids is also revered.

It makes me sad sometimes that we are often not allowed to use and enjoy what's right in front of our face.

Why must it be either or? Do people who only enjoy mothering enjoy it MORE than people who enjoy mothering AND other things? I don't think so. I don't understand why it has to be a contest. Or why people think that it's not okay for things to ebb and flow over time, including interests and intensity. :/

Editing to add: Those people who really really enjoy caring for others often find themselves in a really difficult position. They might really love the children or elders they care for, but they are looked down upon for being "Strangers" by the people entrusting some of the caretaking to them while simultaneously needing to be careful not to become more than a stranger lest it threaten the parents/adult children.

So I'd say we idealize mothering as a society, even here, while simultaneously injecting it with competition and fear. Though to be honest, I am not sure it's really been any different at any other time, at least in *American* history.
post #64 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post
This only sounds good if the other "mothers" parent the same way you do. I don't want the village raising my children because I'm not like most of the village. When we have needed full-time childcare, which has been rarely for us, I liked that I could pay someone to come into our home and be with our children and do things as I want rather than rely on other women to do things as *they* want because we're all part of this mythical village.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
With respect, child caregivers, teachers, friends can all become other "mothers" as well. Unfortunately, our society often gives very mixed messages about that though. How many times have I read here that even people who find a beloved nanny or a great school with great teachers for their kids are "shoving them off for other people to raise"? Plenty. Yet also, this idea that idealistically there should be a village/kinship (chosen or otherwise) circle/community loving and being with the kids is also revered.
: to both these posts
post #65 of 90
This thread is really interesting. There have been some great replies, that are really useful to a lot of mamas. I think this topic is relevant to all of us. Personally, I think that being a mom "alone" is no small thing! It is the single most fascinating and fulfilling thing I have ever done. Of course, it gets frustrating sometimes, but everything does. I would not trade the experience of being home with my kids for anything else.

But small kids grow, and they will leave the nest at some point. Of course, I want something interesting to do when that happens, too! I also admit to sometimes missing my exciting, dynamic job that involved lots of international travel. As it is, I've been "stuck" (in inverted commas, because it has been great!) in the same city for years. I also miss intelligent adult conversation sometimes, but perhaps that is also because I am single.

OP, if you LOVE kids and babies, have you ever thought of becoming a midwife? That is certainly a very necessary and fulfilling job that requires your skills as a mother too. And studying to become a midwife is, I imagine, really nice. The hours might be problematic though. Just a thought - and one I have been toying around with for myself as well.
post #66 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by septmommy View Post
I was so afraid that posting this would start the stay at home vs working mom debate that I almost did not start this thread. I am in no way questioning whether or not being a stay at home mom is "BEST". There are parents of all incomes, work scenarios, religions, ethnicities, schools of thought, etc that produce amazing people. It is my belief that as long as children are truly loved then they have a great fighting chance no matter what choices their parents make. I hope we don't fall into that debate as it is such a drain on energy and only serves to upset people. I'm not asking should being just a mom be enough, but rather, can it be? The responses have opened my eyes to the EVENTUAL need to have more. So simple, but something I personally neglected to think forward to. So thank you to everyone who responded, it has really been helpful.
I come from a family where no one has had just one career that they pursue from day one to retirement/death. Heck, we don't know what retirement means! My dad as been a carpenter/contractor, an electrical engineer, a RV mechanic/repair man, and now in his 80s, he still works on RV as a paying hobby. My mom was a sahm until my brother was in high school. She then started volunteering at Head Start, got her child development certificate at the community college and was hired as a Head Start teacher. She quit that when they bought the RV repair business and ran that. My sister has been a private dressmaker, a sample seamstress for a clothing designer, seamstress for a theater, and now does interior design. My brother started out as a gas and diesel mechanic. Got interested in rebuilding historic houses and replication. That has become his business. My dh has gone from one job to another until he found his calling in caring for developmentally handicapped adults.

I was a sahm/wahm for almost 13 years. But when Joy and Erica decided to go to school instead of homeschooling, I went back to woh. At first pt, later ft. When Dylan was born, circumstances dictated that I continue being a wohm. I would have felt very selfish asking dh to give up his low paying calling and the girls curtailing their dreams just so I could sah. By the time Dylan was born, we had 1 girl in college, one in high school, and one in middle school. Dylan thrived in dc. I think that dc was a good choice and fit for him. Being an "only" child was not a good choice; he loved the natural chaos of having lots of other children close to his age around him that he had in his family dc. I did change my career path from selling sewing machines to bridal alterations at a shop that was way more family friendly.

You will always be a mom but your role as a mom is changing as it should. Being a mother of an infant, a toddler, a school age child, a teen, a college age child, and lastly being the mother of an adult who is, herself, a mom, are not the same. And we moms must change and adjust to the different ages of our children. Or we run the very real risk of damaging our children by not allowing them to grow and mature and damaging our continued relationship with them. I read here on Mothering.com of posters lamenting that their parents (especially their moms) not letting them make decisions; of their moms not seeing that they are adults capable of making good decisions for their children. I've seen it irl in the relationship of my childrens friends and their parents because the parents don't allow their children to exercise independence as teens. Instead they impose greater control over their teens causing the teens to rebel even more. It works both ways. Don't become that mom or mil.
post #67 of 90
Quote:
i hate how i have to leave my dd in the care of 'strangers' while i go to work. some of you are lucky. you have family and thus your child has many mothers.
When I did childcare in my home, one of the kids who came called me "Mama Lizzy." I loved that her parents made me feel like I was part of their extended family, one of the people who was raising her.
post #68 of 90
I just want to second the idea of looking at community colleges - they are awesome! They also have a very wide range of students - from high school to elderly. I went as a high school student to finish my high school credits (thank you running start!) and it was a great experience. I learned alot, and had great professors to boot!
post #69 of 90
You have 6 children who still need you. I never could understand what SAHMs did all day long. Then I became one. I can really see the difference. Especially when a 14 yr old girl who has no other adult to talk to, comes to me, someone she barely knows, she talks to. I had more impact on her in the few times she was here, than in the many times her parents were absent. This was not the first time this sort of thing has happened. Plus, I see kids who cause a lot of troubles, whose parents rarely see them or know them, who just say "not my kid." But they do not know their child!

If you want to do something during the day, while they are at school anyway, or volunteer at the school, that is what I would do. Or take classes during the day.

"Just" being mom is plenty. Frankly, not to sound horrible, but I have yet to see anyone really be parents, and have both hold fulltime jobs out of the home. Who is raising the children while they are working? The children are not just dollies to be put to the side while the parents pursue things that they consider to be more important. No one can possibly see their children 10-20 hours out of an entire week and then claim they are just as much of a parent as a fulltime parent. (of course, when one parent works to support the parent and children who are at home, in my opinion, both are being fulltime parents, but when both parents work and simply pay some outsider to raise their children, they cannot call themselves fulltime parents).
post #70 of 90
My boys have fulfilled my life. Our family became complete almost 6 months ago when my youngest was born. I am a full time working mother and I have a college degree. I've never really used my degree except to actually GET a job and that's it. What I do now has nothing to do with my degree. But I work because I have to (right now). I'm not sure what I would do outside of work if I didnt' have my kids. Being a MOM is apart of my identity and I can't imagine life otherwise. To do things outside of being a MOM, I do enjoy - working out, art classes, running in races, etc., But those things also help me strive to be a better person and therefore, a better MOM.
post #71 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by sewchris2642 View Post
I read here on Mothering.com of posters lamenting that their parents (especially their moms) not letting them make decisions; of their moms not seeing that they are adults capable of making good decisions for their children.
I may very well have been one of the posters you read saying that.

I've been thinking about meemee's post about cultures where children grow up with many mothers -- and also about VisionaryMom's post about not always being able to trust all those others to mother our children in the way that we want them mothered.

And I realize that a big part of my adoption of Attachment Parenting, and also of Radical Unschoooling, has been a reaction to having my trust in my own immediate community broken -- well-meaning as these people were, it's just wrong not to trust children to know when they are hungry and when they are full, and it's wrong not to trust children to know how they would like to spend their time.

As I grew into adulthood, I realized that I really and truly did love learning -- I just hated being forced to learn on someone else's timetable in school. I also learned that I wasn't whiny and manipulative just because I wanted to receive love, affection, cuddling, and holding beyond the infant years.

When I became a mom myself, it was intensely important to me to succeed at breastfeeding even though the first few weeks were very challenging. I quickly realized that I needed to put some distance between me and my mom or she'd have my baby drinking formula from bottles, and possibly even rejecting my breast, likety-split. My mom was that concerned about the "inadequacy" of exclusive breastfeeding.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, maybe this is where all the extremes come in -- extremes like "either" you are a stay at home mom who takes pride in mothering and homemaking and wants to do nothing else -- "or" you are a high-powered career woman who leaves her children in the care of "strangers" in order to pursue her own goals.

I simply think that many (though certainly not all) of us at MDC have embraced our parenting philosophies as a reaction to things we didn't like about our own mainstream upbringings -- things that possibly broke our trust in our own communities of origin.

Whereas, in the kinds of communities meemee was talking about, the mothers were raised with lots of mothering, love, affection, and also personal freedom to explore the world and make their own choices.

They weren't made to wean from the in-arms stage before they were ready, nor were they micro-managed and made to eat when they weren't hungry, or forced into activities because it was seen as unhealthy for them to have so much time on their hands, or to spend so much time daydreaming or what-have-you.

I think mothers who grew up in environments where their communications were listened to and trusted are simply a lot more likely to trust in their extended families when they become mothers themselves. And then their children get to benefit from having many mothers, and then these mothers don't see their own lives as so "either-or."

They can stay home if and for as long as this works out, and they can branch out when they feel the time is right without feeling that they're leaving their children with strangers.

For those of us who had our trust broken in our communities of origin, I still think it's possible for us to build new communities that we can trust -- but it just takes time and effort, and I'll be the first to admit that I haven't succeeded yet.
post #72 of 90
[QUOTE=Lisa1970;15788240]You have 6 children who still need you. I never could understand what SAHMs did all day long. Then I became one. I can really see the difference. Especially when a 14 yr old girl who has no other adult to talk to, comes to me, someone she barely knows, she talks to. I had more impact on her in the few times she was here, than in the many times her parents were absent. This was not the first time this sort of thing has happened. Plus, I see kids who cause a lot of troubles, whose parents rarely see them or know them, who just say "not my kid." But they do not know their child!

If you want to do something during the day, while they are at school anyway, or volunteer at the school, that is what I would do. Or take classes during the day.

"Just" being mom is plenty. Frankly, not to sound horrible, but I have yet to see anyone really be parents, and have both hold fulltime jobs out of the home. Who is raising the children while they are working? The children are not just dollies to be put to the side while the parents pursue things that they consider to be more important. No one can possibly see their children 10-20 hours out of an entire week and then claim they are just as much of a parent as a fulltime parent. (of course, when one parent works to support the parent and children who are at home, in my opinion, both are being fulltime parents, but when both parents work and simply pay some outsider to raise their children, they cannot call themselves fulltime parents).[/QUOTE]

I'm sorry? Have you ever worked outside of the home? I've been a full time mom AND a full time worker ever since my first one was born. Just because we pay someone to take care of our children when we're to support our children, feed them, clothe them, etc., does not make us any less of nuturing or caring parents!! There are days when I would give ANYTHING to break free from what I'm doing to spend more time with my kids, but it's just not in the cards right now. This thread clearly should've been place in the SAHM forums!!
post #73 of 90
Busymama77 -- you are so right! But I don't think this discussion should necessarily be confined to the SAHM forum. I think ALL of us have valuable insights into this matter.

I would love to move into a more "seamless" way of life, where we stop seeing such a disconnect between home and work, and between mothering and women's empowerment. It doesn't have to be either/or. It can be both/and (I didn't invent this concept, I'm not sure who did).

So many of us have been living in this false dichotomy wherein investing in one part of our lives means taking away from something else. We really can move into wholeness, and of course this is going to mean different things for different families. It's not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.

I'm all for encouraging everyone, including the OP, to embark on their own journey of self-discovery. We are "enough." We don't need to do or achieve anything else in order to be more "enough." Enough is just enough, period. Once you know that you're enough, you can lovingly move into interacting with the world in the ways that bring the most joy to yourself and those around you.

This may mean continuing to do what you're already doing. It may mean taking up something new. Just stay open and alive! Rest assured that you are already enough, and live happy!
post #74 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Busymama77 -- you are so right! But I don't think this discussion should necessarily be confined to the SAHM forum. I think ALL of us have valuable insights into this matter.

I would love to move into a more "seamless" way of life, where we stop seeing such a disconnect between home and work, and between mothering and women's empowerment. It doesn't have to be either/or. It can be both/and (I didn't invent this concept, I'm not sure who did).

So many of us have been living in this false dichotomy wherein investing in one part of our lives means taking away from something else. We really can move into wholeness, and of course this is going to mean different things for different families. It's not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.

I'm all for encouraging everyone, including the OP, to embark on their own journey of self-discovery. We are "enough." We don't need to do or achieve anything else in order to be more "enough." Enough is just enough, period. Once you know that you're enough, you can lovingly move into interacting with the world in the ways that bring the most joy to yourself and those around you.

This may mean continuing to do what you're already doing. It may mean taking up something new. Just stay open and alive! Rest assured that you are already enough, and live happy!
I really like how you put everything. Well said, mama! And yes, I know it shouldn't be confined to one forum, but I was a bit bothered by what Lisa1970 said and felt that it didn't belong in this post.
post #75 of 90
Quote:
i am sorry but i hate to see how we are evolving.
I have issues with particular parts of our culture, in particular American workaholic culture, but overall, I really love the quality of life I enjoy. I've lived in countries near and with hunter-gatherers and nice as it is to be near children all the time, when you bury about 20% of your children before they reach adolescence and get frostbite while you sleep... yeah, that sucks.

I also think the hunter-gatherer/agrarian/industrial dichotomy and generalizations are just as false as the WOHM/SAHM dichotomies. Some children of WOHMs see their parents for as many hours a day as those in tribes. Some at least see a grandparent all day.

To Mammal Mama, I see your point now. I do think that there is too much diversity amongst hunter-gatherers to generalize about how "they" do things, though. Of course parents are with their children more--but they are also with adult children and cousins more. And they do a lot of other things, like marrying women out of the tribe through arranged marriages, that are necessary, that we don't do.

Doesn't mean it is always helpful to suggest this as a model for us, you know? We enjoy a higher standard of living (by which I mean, children are hundreds of times less likely t die before the age of five, and we suffer a lot less pain in general) precisely because of the division of labor.

There could definitely be more balance in our lives and I am committed to staying at home until my children can enjoy day-care long enough for me to work. But I'm under no illusions that my situation is somehow more natural than that of a WOHM.

A WOHM maximizes her competitive advantage and specializes and lets her children benefit from being with the tribal group of kids. They might be with her less than children of a SAHM or a hunter-gatherer's children would be with their parent, but they still see her for many hours.

A SAHM is more involved with her children during the day but unless she's exceptionally lucky she misses a lot of the social input that most hunter-gatherers get throughout the day. Her kids are in a truly unique and modern relationship with her, a somewhat bilateral thing that never existed with hunter-gatherers.

So that is why I don't think it's useful to talk about a lot of these concepts as if they were even nearly universal amongst pre-agrarian people, or to apply them to us today.

Better to talk about attachment for what it is, and how it can exist across cultures. Different kinds of attachment are equally valid.
post #76 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post

"Just" being mom is plenty. Frankly, not to sound horrible, but I have yet to see anyone really be parents, and have both hold fulltime jobs out of the home. Who is raising the children while they are working? The children are not just dollies to be put to the side while the parents pursue things that they consider to be more important. No one can possibly see their children 10-20 hours out of an entire week and then claim they are just as much of a parent as a fulltime parent. (of course, when one parent works to support the parent and children who are at home, in my opinion, both are being fulltime parents, but when both parents work and simply pay some outsider to raise their children, they cannot call themselves fulltime parents).


The bolded part makes no sense. You're basically saying that dads (because, let's face it . .. they're usually the ones woh ft) are always "full time parents" but moms are only full time parents if they SAH? A dad who woh FT who only sees his kid 10 or 20 hours a week is ok, but not a mom? Or even reversed if there's a sahd? So . .. really, the only family structure that works for you is that there's a SAHP and a FT woh parent? That leaves out quite a lot of the families out there. ... which is pretty horrible!
post #77 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by septmommy View Post
My mother is insistent that being a mom is not enough to satisfy my own soul, but it really is.
I don't think anyone is qualified to tell somebody else what can or will satisfy their own soul.

I can see where there are valid concerns (yours, your mom's, and other posters) about being able to support yourself, etc. That's another issue entirely from whether or not being a mom is enough to satisfy you.

I have no answers for you. I honestly thought that I'd go back to school in my mid-30s, having sent my four kids off to school, and also having discovered my passion. Well - I didn't even have my second child until I was almost 35, and I never have discovered my passion. There are things I enjoy and things that interest me a bit, but I don't have a passion in the "this is what I want to do with my life" sense. If something happened to dh and/or our marriage, then I'd have to go out and get a job. It wouldn't pay well. I've btdt, and I can live with it, but I would feel bad for my kids.

I guess if you do have concerns about paying bills, then maybe the idea of getting some formal education in ECE would be a good place to start. Other than that, I've got nothing...
post #78 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
I also think the hunter-gatherer/agrarian/industrial dichotomy and generalizations are just as false as the WOHM/SAHM dichotomies.
I think you are right about this. And I also wasn't advocating for us all to become hunter-gatherers. The Earth certainly couldn't support the hunter-gatherer lifestyle if it were adopted by a large proportion of the current population, anyway.

I find it useful to learn from other cultures because I think every culture has something valuable to offer. In our own modern culture, I see it as very positive that we're not so likely to blame natural disasters on anyone's "sin," or to, for example, think we need to sacrifice some people every year in order to appease the gods and have a good crop yield.

I think our ability to analyze and use the scientific method is one very positive outgrowth of some developments that were awful in other ways, i.e. in the sense of large numbers of people spending their lives in slave labor, or very low-paid labor, so that the fortunate few could lead lives of leisure or pursue whatever courses of study piqued their curiousity.

Some of the fortunate few developed wonderful technological advancements, so I can't say that I wish none of this ever happened. I just think we are now living in an age where we can literally pick and choose and craft the world views, and lifestyles, that seem truest to us and that work best for us and our families.

We can learn a tremendous amount from other people groups -- but this certainly doesn't mean that we have to give up the positive aspects of our own cultures and become just like them. Rather than idealizing, we can just listen, observe, discuss, synthesize, and learn.
post #79 of 90
I also wanted to add that I think one positive aspect of our current technological revolution, and corresponding economic crisis, is that there will be more and more of a shift from working in an office to working at home.

It saves employers a tremendous amount of overhead cost -- and it also saves employees the cost and time-investment of driving to and from work and keeping up a professional wardrobe.

Not to mention that all our "water cooler breaktime chit chat" is with our families.
post #80 of 90
So, in a sense, our technical revolution may be brining us full-circle -- back to a more family-friendly way of life.
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