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Am I A Bad Mother??? - Page 3

post #41 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post

Instead of focusing on whether it is right or wrong to work FT or SAH full time why don't we focus on truly becoming a family values country. We hear that term bandied all about and we are so far from any family friendly ideal!!

So many of us aren't making a choice to do one or the other. For many of us free will isn't in the equation at all-food and health and a roof over our heads are what drive our decisions.

I am proud that I work full time and take care of my family and my small house and my small yard. I am not interested in living in a tent-I don't like being cold.
I had to stop myself from applauding when I read this. I agree wholeheartedly. I don't want to say anything too overtly political but it kills me when our legislators tout themselves as supporters of "family values" and then do everything in their power to dismantle the social programs that help keep poor and working class families together.

Inching away from the soapbox now...
post #42 of 62
My DS is 2.5 yo & has been in daycare since 12 wks old. He *looves* it & is thriving. As much as it pains me to say, I think he is better off having that social interaction. I don't care what anyone else thinks. I am still his mama, I see most of his milestones & he is happy. It wasn't easy for me at first, but he is happy and that is what counts to me.

nak
post #43 of 62
I just wanted to give you what you requested in your first post: YES, I've been there, done that, and my child is fine!!!

I went back to work when my daughter was four months old, and from then until 10 months she was home with DH some days and home with a sitter on others. At 10 months, we moved her to a home daycare because she really liked other kids and more activity/intersting goings-on than she got at home. I pumped at work for the first year, and nursed at home until she was two.

She's nine now. She loves her parents, we love her, she's a smart, funny, delightful kid who loves animals and won't pick up her room. She is not alienated, she is not insecure, she is not anti-social, and because she spent so much time with her father right from the early months, she and he have an amazing relationship.
post #44 of 62
I'm chiming in here as someone who has been a SAHP (I despise that term, but don't have a better one), but won't be this time around. My third baby is due during my last few months of nursing school, so I will have class and clinical immediately following the birth and I will, in theory, be transitioning to being the primary breadwinner shortly after that.

I don't feel like it's ideal. I don't like it. But then I didn't particularly like being at home with the kids all the time, broke, and not being able to receive validation and recognition for my work from anyone other than my partner.

In my ideal world, I would take 6 months off after having a baby and then gradually transition to working a little more than half time, and continue that for the next 3-5 years before returning to full time (or almost full time) work. My partner would do something similar (although probably not take as much time off because he's not breastfeeding, heh).

The thing I've discovered about mothering (especially when infants or very young children are involved) is no matter what you do, it's wrong. Working is Wrong. Staying at home is Wrong. CIO is Wrong. AP is Wrong. Etc. Etc. And everyone gets so defensive because we're ALL being told that we're completely screwing it up that it becomes impossible to have a legitimate conversation about the actual benefits and downsides of any particular way of doing things. So you need to work through those for yourself, move forward, and not feel guilty about whatever it is that you're "missing" from not doing things another way. Because there's always something.
post #45 of 62
I only read the original post, but just wanted to say

NO!!!

My mom worked my whole life - went back to work full time when I was 6 weeks old. She had to financially. Her and I are so close now. Literally we are best friends. She is such a good mom and seeing her work when I was growing up planted some amazing ideas in my head about how strong women are, how to respect them, how capable they are. My childhood memories are of my siblings and parents - not really daycare. You still know who your parents are and feel loved by them even if you are away from them.

I am a stay at home mom. I value my time with my child. But I would never say that I am a better parent than a working mom. My mom was a working mom and to this day I never think I will be a better parent that she is.

When children grow up, you don't even remember about childcare or babysitting. You remember your parents, no matter how much they were or weren't with you.
post #46 of 62
Great responses to this thread. I just wanted to chime in with my own experience and what I've learned.

I stayed at home with my DD until she was 10 months. My husband is a post-doc, struggling to find a job. We've been living like students (because we have been students) for all of our marriage. I was tired of pinching pennies and living in housing where I was embarrassed to have people over. When my DD was about 7 months, this job fell into my lap. It seemed exactly like what I was trained to do, and I found that I was excited. DH hadn't found a steady job yet, so I made the decision to go back to work.

I have to say- it was REALLY hard for me. I truly believed that I would be emotionally damaging my daughter by going back. My care situation is pretty ideal- my husband stays at home 2 times a week (works from home), and my mom is here for the other 3 days. They bring her to me halfway through the day to nurse and to have some touch time.

I've been doing a lot of reading and observing about this, and I've come to this realization: it's not the quantity of time you are with your baby, but it's the quality of that time together. I think AP is so, so important to establish a bond of trust between mother and child. AP gave me the tools to be able to work outside of the house- extended breastfeeding, bedsharing/cosleeping, lots of babywearing and holding, and just generally being sensitive to my DD's needs and responding appropriately.

It's not about whether or not you work- it's the quality of the attachment. I truly believe that human being evolved engaging in shared care (Read: Mothers and Others... great book). In traditional societies, it TRULY takes a village to raise children. Our society needs to be more child-centric so that children are involved socially in the public sphere... you don't see so much of that these days. Babies are not only resilient, but they can thrive on multiple attachments because it helps them understand different types of relationships better. I truly believe that the relationship between mother and child is THE most precious- but it doesn't mean 24/7 togetherness. It CAN mean that, but it's not the ONLY way.

Mothers need to stop putting each other down and exposing our own insecurities by frivolous and mean judgments. Instead, we need to work together to make our society more child-centric and gentle towards babies.
post #47 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Path2Felicity View Post
...


It's not about whether or not you work- it's the quality of the attachment. I truly believe that human being evolved engaging in shared care (Read: Mothers and Others... great book). In traditional societies, it TRULY takes a village to raise children. Our society needs to be more child-centric so that children are involved socially in the public sphere... you don't see so much of that these days. Babies are not only resilient, but they can thrive on multiple attachments because it helps them understand different types of relationships better. I truly believe that the relationship between mother and child is THE most precious- but it doesn't mean 24/7 togetherness. It CAN mean that, but it's not the ONLY way.

Mothers need to stop putting each other down and exposing our own insecurities by frivolous and mean judgments. Instead, we need to work together to make our society more child-centric and gentle towards babies.


So well put, mama. I also wanted to add my experience as someone who did NOT have family available for care (aside from nighttime babysitting for date nights, yay!). A wonderful woman named Ana watched Ellie in her home from the time Ellie was four months old until this past September, when we started her in preschool.

On the last day at Ana's, I wished anyone who ever said "I would never leave my child with strangers" could have been there to see us all crying, even my husband. Ana meant so much to our entire family...not only did she help raise Ellie with kindness and love, but she helped "raise" me as well, as she already has a teenager. Ana helped show me what to do when Ellie was sick. She advised me on so much, from feeding to behavior. She is the reason Ellie is completely bilingual now. We were so blessed to have found her and will work to keep her relationship with Ellie strong.

I think there are as many ways to form strong attachments as there are mothers, dads, and babies in the world. We are all finding our own way and doing the best we can with what we've got.
post #48 of 62
Lot of great responses so far, OP.

Like others, I tend to avoid parenting sites (other than MDC) and I even had to stop reading parenting articles which are posted on major news websites, mainly because reading the comments attached to those articles were so maddening! I'm left to blissfully feel comfortable with my own choices.

I think, though, that we have all been guilty at one time or another of believing in a concept so much that we would sacrifice everything else in pursuit of that ideal. Reality, though, is a different story. Quality of life is important to me. We could "survive" on DH's salary or vice versa, but I'd default on my student loans and we wouldn't be able to live in a decent neighborhood/apartment or even in the city (urban living is important to us for several big reasons). Living in a tent or not living in a tent is a big quality of life issue for me and my family. Being slightly facetious here, but I've slept in a tent numerous times (on long-term hiking trips) and it can be cold and uncomfortable and wet. Not the type of lifestyle that I want for my family. Not talking luxuries here, just basic standard of living stuff. So, I think you can work toward an ideal but realistically there has to be compromises along the way. So you would live in a tent to maintain an ideal? Good for you! Just not a choice that I would make...and I'm totally okay with that.
post #49 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Path2Felicity View Post
I truly believe that the relationship between mother and child is THE most precious- but it doesn't mean 24/7 togetherness. It CAN mean that, but it's not the ONLY way.

Mothers need to stop putting each other down and exposing our own insecurities by frivolous and mean judgments. Instead, we need to work together to make our society more child-centric and gentle towards babies.
I truly love these sentiments and your entire post. The other day I came home a bit early and our nanny was still there (usually my husband gets home first). I watched her with Zoey and it was obvious that there is a strong bond between them. At first, my feelings were conflicted. I felt a little jealous and sad but I also felt relieved and happy that Zoey is looked after by someone who truly cares for her. Surely, a child can't have too many people to love her!

I also believe it takes a village and always has. I majored in Anthropology in college and never read of a culture where mothers raised children all alone without the help of extended family and friends. Viewing things in this type of context makes me feel even more comfortable with my choice. Thank you so much!!!
post #50 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by NicolleLynne View Post
I'd love to hear from some moms who worked or are working and have older kids that are doing fine. I need to know if it's going to be okay or if I should go out and start pricing tents...

TIA!!!
I have older kids (18 months and almost 6 years) and they're doing fine.
post #51 of 62
Been there, doing that right not. My daughter went to daycare at 4 months old (and most people thought I was spoiled for being able to stay home so long) and sure I miss her at times, but I think it was the very best decision for my family and she is thriving at 11 months old there. I thought before I got pregnant that I might want to SAH, but I planned to go back to work. I don't have to work, we could do just fine financially on my DH's salary, but together we decided that we wanted both of us working for various reasons. Anyway, once DD arrived, I loved her to pieces, but SAH with an infant anyway was so hard on me. She was definitely on the high needs side of things, but still, I'm just not cut out for it, with an older child I think I would do better, but it was super hard for me with an infant. I was happy to go back to work at 4 months and if we decide to have another, I might go back earlier, but definitely not later. But yeah, I am a much better Mom to my DD when I am working, I am a much better wife and I feel much better for myself too.

And the real surprise to me was how much DD loves daycare, I figured she would like it fine, especially as she got older, but she loves it no at 11 months. Sure, it was an adjustment for the first few weeks, but she liked it find after that and as she got more mobile and whatnot, she has just taken off and loves it there so much. She loves all the toys, all the other kids to interact with and watch, she even has a "best friend" there. The two of them light up when they see each other which I figured would not happen until she was at least 2 or 3. And her personality of being curious and wanting new things all the time, it was exhausting for me trying to keep up 24/7 especially since she is not a good napper, but she gets so much of that fulfilled at daycare now that she can now appreciate more chilling with Mom & Dad in the morning and at night and I can appreciate playing for awhile with her on the weekends and going on "adventures" with her to keep her entertained (adventures = trips out of the house anywhere basically ).

But you have to always do what is right for your family and yes as others have said, no matter what that is, it will always be "wrong" in someone's eyes.
post #52 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by blissfish View Post
UGH! That makes me want to stomp over to that other site and assault the author with office supplies.


Yes yes yes to all that's been said. I work a very demanding job (high school teacher) that is, duh, underpaid, but still is the primary income for our family.

I think it's all about priorities and what's important to your whole family. For example, I could never live without a job - it's part of who I am and I love what I do. However, when DS was very small, I was not a teacher, but an admin assistant for an insurance company. NOT a job I loved, and I despised being there instead of with my son. So I took steps to change that situation - we both did, DH and I.

Basically, if you like to work, it's part of what makes you a whole person. And all children deserve to be parented by people who are whole, and happy. If you are not a whole and happy mother when working, reevaluation of your life choices might be in order. Same goes for a SAHP who is not a whole and happy person - a happy parent breeds a happy, well rounded children.

This is just my belief. We are all different and unique in our preferences, and the world would be one big bummer if we were all the same.
post #53 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
This happened to me actually. Thanks to Canadian mat leave and a few other things my son was basically with me 24/7 for the first year. My mother was over and I left to make tea in the kitchen - and that's when he walked for the first time.

The first time you see it & share the wonder IS the first time. It's the same at 5 as it is at 5 months, too.
Oh, that sucks... Just the OPPOSITE happened to me. I went back to my full-time job when DS was eight weeks old and he went to his godmother's house during the day. He and I hung out together after work and on the weekends, and he always did his best stuff on the weekends. It was almost as if he was saving it for me.
post #54 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by NicolleLynne View Post
I truly love these sentiments and your entire post. The other day I came home a bit early and our nanny was still there (usually my husband gets home first). I watched her with Zoey and it was obvious that there is a strong bond between them. At first, my feelings were conflicted. I felt a little jealous and sad but I also felt relieved and happy that Zoey is looked after by someone who truly cares for her. Surely, a child can't have too many people to love her!

I also believe it takes a village and always has. I majored in Anthropology in college and never read of a culture where mothers raised children all alone without the help of extended family and friends. Viewing things in this type of context makes me feel even more comfortable with my choice. Thank you so much!!!
Of course not! The more love a child receives, the better in my book!!!
post #55 of 62
Chiming in a little late here... but I'm in the same boat. I've generally been the primary or sole "breadwinner" since DS1 was born 2.5 years ago. It just worked out that, between DH and myself, my degree and experience lend themselves more easily to a stable and flexible "career"-type job. DH has been a SAHP, a part-time WOHP, and (briefly, due to child care issues) a full-time WOHP. Most recently, we scrambled schedules and worked mostly-opposite shifts.

I'd happily choose this option over living in a tent. 1) DH is a loving, competent parent. Just as loving and competent as I am. 2) Living in a tent in Alaska in January would SUCK.

And a big "YEAH THAT" to all the PPs who mentioned the historical inaccuracy of the SAH-WOH distinction. I read an article in National Geographic (not sure when it was from... It was in my parents' bathroom ) about one of the last surviving true hunter-gatherer groups in Africa. One thing about the article that struck me was that to an outsider, other than nursing infants currently in a carrier or attached to the breast, the author found it difficult to tell whose kids were whose. Everyone took care of each others' kids at some point or another. This is where our modern, "AP" take on babywearing and work kind of becomes a little... I'm not sure the best term... FORCED at times. Yes, "traditional" societies wear their babies. But what about kids who are too heavy to be comfortably worn while doing hard work, but are not yet old enough to stay safe on a foray into the bush to gather plants (my 2.5 year old is a good example of this). Generally, mom would go out and kiddo would stay back with grandma or auntie or random other woman with some kids, and then everyone would share the food that mom gathered. Or maybe grandma would go gather. Or auntie, with auntie's kids staying home someone else. There is NOTHING unnatural or inherently "bad" about leaving your kids to go do things that aren't kid-friendly. In fact, I'd say it's pretty darn cave-woman-esque .

Now, the fact that we so often do it in such an all-or-nothing kind of way in our society is probably a bit off. I mean, our society has set itself up so that you either "work outside the home" or "stay at home." A few manage to "work at home," but really, honestly, if we were true to our roots, there would probably be very few kids in full-time child care, and very few kids whose parents proudly announced that their kid has NEVER stayed home with anyone but mom (and once, in a crazy moment of wild abandon, Dad got a shot at kiddie-wrangling, but only while mom went to get her hair cut ). We'd all fall somewhere in between and there would be no real distinction, but rather a continuum.

But... society is what it is, and health care is what it is. I think that, if health care weren't employment-based and good, solid, challenging part-time work so difficult to find, DH and I would probably both choose to work part-time to equal a full-time salary, but that ain't gonna happen at this point.
post #56 of 62
I read this thread awhile ago, but taking care of my 10-week old prevented me from responding until now...

Anyway, I really appreciate reading all these responses. Around the time this thread first popped up, I was feeling really guilty about needing to send my DS to full-time daycare at 12 weeks old (which is just 2 weeks away now!). I'm still not completely OK with it, but I'm feeling so much better just hearing all of your experiences. And truthfully, as much as I love my DS and want to do everything I can for him, I don't feel like I'm cut out to be a full-time parent to an infant. It feels a little isolating and exhausting! It's strange to say, but I feel like going back to work, having some adult conversations, etc. will actually be a nice *break* for me (something I never thought I'd say, even though I like my job!) and will help me appreciate my time with my son even more.
post #57 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippy918 View Post
Yes on this! Working saves my sanity too. There are those weekends when DS is whiney and cranky cause he refused to nap or eat and I can't wait for Monday to roll around.
AMEN! Yeah I have those times too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DariusMom View Post
All this, especially the part about dads. Nothing irritates me more than letting dads off the hook. Somehow dads still "raise their kids" even if they WOH 60 hours a week, but moms who WOH even very PT *aren't* "raising their kids" or "have a stranger raise their kids."
Yessirreee!

Now, I agree with those who say that having more people in your child's life to love them cannot be bad. Also I figure it can't help but teach them adaptability.

Plus there's nothing like it when I get home and DD says "MOMMA!!!" And jumps up and down and gives me a big hug.
post #58 of 62
Of course you're not a bad mom--which is just what I have to keep telling myself, too. My mom, who was a SAHM, drummed into me for so long that working was the worst thing a mother could do, which made the guilt even worse. I think it's the quality of the time with our babies that counts, not the quantity.
post #59 of 62
You are absolutely not a bad mother. I've spent a lot of time over the last 5 years feeling so guilty about working and daycare. I always thought that the guilt would end once school started. But here we are with DS aged 5 and at the beginning of this year, I felt worse than ever, because for the first time I was mostly running into SAHMs, whereas of course at daycare and work everyone was a WOHM. It took a few months for everything to click and I realised that:
- DS had been happy at daycare, loved his friends, loved some of the carers; he learnt exciting stuff about rockets and spiders, did fantastic paintings and handled playground disagreements for himself. He had so much more fun there than he would have had at home. It made the transition to school easier.
- DD really likes daycare. She walks in happily every time she goes. She has the same loving carer that DS had. She comes home and tells us about painting and playdough and lists all her friends.
- I kept DS at daycare when DD was small and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. It gave him 3 days a week of his own baby-free zone, where everyone didn't talk on and on about babies all the time and he could be himself. It really helped him with having a new sibling.
- If I had some miraculous windfall tomorrow, I would still keep DD at daycare 2 or 3 days - she likes it so much.
And after thinking that through, and watching the SAHMs at school with so much time for volunteering, their kids having short days etc, I realised that sure, working might be inconsistent with being a "good mother", but it is completely consistent with being a terrific mother. I am providing for my family and nurturing them too.
post #60 of 62
I stayed at home with my DDfor 2.5 years before going back to school. We are incredibly close and she is now 7. However, not at all as close as my 3 yo DS and I....and I went back to FT school when he was 7 weeks old. Breastfeeding and cosleeping all the way.

I don't think working or not working has anything to do with your bond with your child or how your child turns out. SAHMs and WOHM (and WAHMs) can all screw up their kids as well as raise thriving kids. You are doing what is necessary and needed for you and your family. No guilt or shame there. I work two jobs to support my two loves who are in daycare/school 5 days a week. I choose how to spend my time and spend it wisely. All off hours I devote to them and the house. Work stays at work, but while at work, I focus on that. Two realms, one life and no guilt, mama.
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