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Article: Regrets of a SAHM. Thoughts?

post #1 of 242
Thread Starter 

http://www.salon.com/life/pinched/2011/01/05/wish_i_hadnt_opted_out/index.html

 

I read this and actually cried and became very stressed out thinking about it.  I think it stressed me so much because I don't think she is wrong. I still want to SAH though.

post #2 of 242

Thanks for sharing.  It was definitely an interesting read.

post #3 of 242

Sad.

 

But it doesn't dissuade me from staying home with my kids.  I view life, lifestyle, value, and parenting very differently from her.  I'm not home because someone told me to be home.  If something dreadful happens, we will move on, adjust, and acclimatize, and I will have no regrets.

post #4 of 242
I see this as a societal problem. And fwiw, it's hard finding jobs at all right now. She even states she worked part time, too, 3 days a week. No offense against her or anything, as we only have our own experiences, but working part time and entering back is hardly the same as being out for years. But it's sort of a doom and gloom article. The outlook always changes. Who knows what the future holds? My mom was a SAHM for years and makes more money than my college professor dh now with no further education. I agree that it's unfair for women entering the workforce to be treated second class and paid peanuts just because they're a mother, but that's no reason to throw your kids in daycare and run begging back to the workforce right now because some people are having trouble getting back into their old jobs. It also depends on your field. Even taking a couple of months off could be the end of the road for a lot of jobs out there-like mine (I was an andrologist). But there's no guarantee for good wages or a place out there for you right now, anyway. Around here all of the educated jobs are going or gone along with the economy. I know so many recent college graduates in good fields like healthcare and education who can't find a job without experience (or at all), and you can't get experience without someone giving you a chance, so it's lose-lose many times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

Sad.

 

But it doesn't dissuade me from staying home with my kids.  I view life, lifestyle, value, and parenting very differently from her.  I'm not home because someone told me to be home.  If something dreadful happens, we will move on, adjust, and acclimatize, and I will have no regrets.


Exactly.
post #5 of 242
Thread Starter 


I think I am just having a very hard time adjusting to the idea of my loss of personal financial control. I love my husband, I know he loves me, but I don't think anyone is immune to bad things happening, like divorce. Neither of us wants it, no one knows what will happen 15 years from now. I don't.


I bet she never thought she and her husband would divorce.

 

And she was working part time! She was trying to keep her skills up. Journalism has suffered immensely with the advent of internet news coverage. Print is dying. So I get that it would be harder for her, but I think that it's much more than what career you choose. When you take yourself out of the market, you take away your own retirement savings, your own social security income etc. etc. You cut yourself off of financial independence and this unnerves me.

 

We are essentially communists in the home. We mix our monies and I have never been one to even give one thought to retirement etc as being separate when *I* was the one earning the money. It was a matter of course that my money was his money. It was money to take care of the family.  But now that I am not the one to earn it, I am ... scared. I don't want to be vulnerable.

 

I am considering a post-nup. My husband offered it up. I might take him up on it. He said he understood I am hobbling my career, ability to earn and ability to have my own retirement set up and wants to assure me that he would never leave me out in the cold. But it has happened so often to so many good people who loved each other deeply, you know?

 

Have other SAHM's gone through this sort of fear when they first started SAH?

post #6 of 242

Okay, I've been home 15 years and I'm looking for a job. No bites. Like she said, I'm long on education and short on experience in the workplace. I'm sure something will come along, though. I do have kids that will be at college tuition age soon. But, my hubby still makes a good salary. And we are still married. Would I go back and undo all that time? Maybe a tiny bit of it... but we sure had fun.

post #7 of 242

pathetic.

 

She almost sounds like she regrets having kids at all, and I just can't relate to her on any level. I always knew I wanted to SAHM, years before I ever had kids. I clearly have very different values than that author, and she doesn't seem like someone who is capable of being in touch with her own values and dreams. So she gave up her full time lauded career to work part time because the parenting books said so. whatever. That is about the nicest thing I can say here, I'll save my unedited feelings about the article for my husband.

post #8 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post

pathetic.

 

She almost sounds like she regrets having kids at all, and I just can't relate to her on any level. I always knew I wanted to SAHM, years before I ever had kids. I clearly have very different values than that author, and she doesn't seem like someone who is capable of being in touch with her own values and dreams. So she gave up her full time lauded career to work part time because the parenting books said so. whatever. That is about the nicest thing I can say here, I'll save my unedited feelings about the article for my husband.


Her feelings are no more pathetic than yours, whatever they might be.

 

They are very relevant to the world we are living in.
 

post #9 of 242

just read it. It hit home in some ways for me... but I did not have a career before kids, just a fresh degree, that now has a decade of dust. I DO feel that if you can find GREAT childcare for your kids, and work a job you enjoy and pays well, I say work. If I was to consider trying to find a career like job, I would have to MOVE out of this area, which means I might as well divorce my dh right now.... I HATE feeling dependent on dh for support, and I am not a naive in thinking that there is NO chance we will ever divorce, but I have to have hope that we won't....

post #10 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post

pathetic.

 

She almost sounds like she regrets having kids at all, and I just can't relate to her on any level. I always knew I wanted to SAHM, years before I ever had kids. I clearly have very different values than that author, and she doesn't seem like someone who is capable of being in touch with her own values and dreams. So she gave up her full time lauded career to work part time because the parenting books said so. whatever. That is about the nicest thing I can say here, I'll save my unedited feelings about the article for my husband.


That is pretty harsh. Do you feel the same towards any SAHP who would rather be working? I don't think that wanting a career and wanting/loving your kids are mutually exclusive.

And of course that being said I never wanted to be a SAHP. But here I am, stuck for the time being, because we had to move for DH's job when I was 7 months pregnant. Good luck landing a job with that kind of pregnant belly (and besides, my field hires in April for the following Sept. We moved in May). I am a teacher and in California they are simply not hiring teachers. I'll try again this year, but my anger at being trapped in this situation is growing. And, yes one reason the article resonates with me is that she is right that women bear the societal brunt of parenthood. I love my son more than life but I don't think he is receiving that much benefit from being stuck with me all day. I'm bored and so is he. And having watched my mother ruin her credit and develop an acute anxiety disorder after she and my father divorced, being unemployed scares the begeezes out of me too.

ETA: When Obama stated last night during the State of the Union that he wanted to prepare like 100,000 newly minted teachers I wanted to drop kick the radio in frustration! Geez louise give the unemployed teachers a job first please!
post #11 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

Sad.

 

But it doesn't dissuade me from staying home with my kids.  I view life, lifestyle, value, and parenting very differently from her.  I'm not home because someone told me to be home.  If something dreadful happens, we will move on, adjust, and acclimatize, and I will have no regrets.



I totally agree with this.

post #12 of 242

Sad but I'll second that she "just" wasn't a SAHM, she did try to keep her foot in the door but her industry tanked. She may not have a job currently even if she had remained a WOH parent all those years. I guess am doing the same thing she is doing, I work very part time attempting to keep some chance of a full time future job should I need it. 

 

I agree with all the lost earnings that mothers do experience even if they do work. The answer IMO is something the majority of this country has no interest in, higher taxes, paid long maternity leaves, reasonable daycare, and less work hours, and a family friendly society similar to what some european countries do. Making it more possible for women to not opt out fully if that is not what they want. 

post #13 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post

pathetic.

 

She almost sounds like she regrets having kids at all, and I just can't relate to her on any level. I always knew I wanted to SAHM, years before I ever had kids. I clearly have very different values than that author, and she doesn't seem like someone who is capable of being in touch with her own values and dreams. So she gave up her full time lauded career to work part time because the parenting books said so. whatever. That is about the nicest thing I can say here, I'll save my unedited feelings about the article for my husband.


 

I like this except maybe the pathetic part. I don't think she is pathetic. I feel bad for her and I don't like that it is yet another thing seemingly against being a SAHM. Yes, a lot of people get divorced and sure you never know if it will happen to you...but I think that is part of the reason so many people get divorced, it is just so normal now. I have very strong beliefs and divorce is essentially not an option. Unless there is abuse going on DH and I are prepared to do what we have to to make it work. I feel like religion can play a pert in things as well...but we don't need to get into faith and what not here.

 

What ills me is that I am ridiculed for being a SAHM. I am the anomaly. No one understands that I WANT this for my life. I don't want or need a career. Maybe when I the last child I will have is in school, if I choose not to home school, maybe I will get a part time job then.

 

Maybe this is not typical of the author's or your generation, but it sure is of mine.

 

Every single person I talk to is like "What do you mean you are  SAHM? Is it just b/c you can't get a job? Kids NEED daycare!"

Women do not tend to "give up careers for their families" anymore. Heck in NY some women schedule elective  c-sections as to not interfere too greatly with their job. I think it is unnatural and I don't personally feel that day care is good for kids. It is hard for me to express that ever b/c OMG everyone's kids are in day care and I am sure someone will even flame me here. I am sorry, it is an opinion. I just think they are better off at home with their family. Trust me we are low income and have sacrificed quite a bit to keep  me at home with DD, but my heart and what we value says that's what we need to do.

 

I mean seriously no offense but I know a lot of people who's kids are in daycare 9+hrs a day 5 days a week...is that not daycare doing the majority of the parenting once sleep is factored in? Especially if the kid has a 12 hr day (& 12 hrs sleeping).

 

I am a married 23 y/o SAHM, and I wouldn't change that for the world.

 

post #14 of 242


 

Quote:

Originally Posted by geekgolightly View Post

 

Journalism has suffered immensely with the advent of internet news coverage. Print is dying. So I get that it would be harder for her, but I think that it's much more than what career you choose. When you take yourself out of the market, you take away your own retirement savings, your own social security income etc. etc. You cut yourself off of financial independence and this unnerves me.


I was completely a SAHM for 14 years, and I am now working part time as a yoga teacher.

 

As I read the article, I was struck with the thought that writer got caught up in a perfect storm -- the economy, the shift in how information is delivered (people are more likely to read blogs than read things someone got paid to write), and the demise of her marriage. I hope the tone of the article reflects her darkest hour, and that she manages to emerge and re-create herself. I don't feel any judgment for her. She's struggling. I don't see it as a "values" question -- she did value time with her kids, but now she values buying food and keeping the lights on, and helping them get educations so they have futures. We ALL value those things! She's feeling like it was a choice between more time with them when they were little and a bit of stability now, and she questions if she made the right choice.  I get it.

 

BUT, it's a bit like someone building carriages for horses, taking a career break, coming back after cars were all the rage, and complaining that their career break is to blame for them not getting a job building carriages. A lot can change in 14 years.

 

I'm still figuring out who I am NOW as opposed to who I was 14 years ago, and what I want to do that makes sense in THIS age, THIS economy. Neither the world nor myself is the same as it was 15 years ago when I got pregnant.

 

The difference for me is that my relationship with my husband has never been stronger and he makes a very, very nice living. He now makes more than twice what the two of us together did when I quit my job 14 years ago, and part of that is because I was willing to move and support his career so he could advance. Now it's his turn to be supportive of me while I find my way. It's the very sacrifices that I made during those years that make it possible for me to have tremendous freedom now.

 

She and I made the same gamble. She lost and I won. But I can easily see how I would feel in her shoes.

 

post #15 of 242

Hmm... I find it interesting that those who agree with this artical, are also afraid of getting divorced. I am a wahm. I do daycare. I see mothers going off to work everday. I do not envy them in the least. I am increadably blessed and happy to be where I am. I do not worry about getting a divorce because I love my hubby and he loves me. We would never do anything to end that.

post #16 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post

I have very strong beliefs and divorce is essentially not an option. Unless there is abuse going on DH and I are prepared to do what we have to to make it work. I feel like religion can play a pert in things as well..

 


I'm the same generation as the author, and since I'm in my mid 40's, I've watched lots of couples divorce. None of them though it would happen to them. Many attend church together. Many couples grow apart, and then one has an affair. I, personally, don't believe that affairs are what end marriages, but rather it's the growing apart that does it. The affair just makes it obvious that's it over.

 

If you want my advice -- nurture your friendship with your spouse. And rather than seeing it as "work," see it as "play."  If you and your spouse enjoy connecting with each other and laugh a lot together, you're solid. If not, there's not much god can do to help.

post #17 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by HannahW View Post

Hmm... I find it interesting that those who agree with this artical, are also afraid of getting divorced. I am a wahm. I do daycare. I see mothers going off to work everday. I do not envy them in the least. I am increadably blessed and happy to be where I am. I do not worry about getting a divorce because I love my hubby and he loves me. We would never do anything to end that.


I don't see the issue here so much as being afraid of divorce as being afraid of becoming socially irrelevant and unemployable if forced to take care of the kids alone. Your DH may never divorce you but he may loose his job or his life and leave you alone. Then what are you going to do with no job skills and a family to take care of? I think the point of the article is that being a SAHM when you are young is often a path to poverty when you are older. You have no safety net.

Again, I saw this happen to my own mother. She SAH until I was five or six and then was the primary caregiving parent until I left home. She never went to college and quit a stable job with tremendous potential to move because of my father's job. She moved 3000 miles away from her family and support network to be near his family. All it got her in the end was a divorce when I was 13. She got screwed out of the family house, didn't get any child support after I was 16, and we ended up living off of her credit cards. A large part of the issue was that her job skills only qualified her to work at low paying clerical positions (my dad made twice what she did but somehow was always too "poor" to help out). Today she has no retirement plan, no savings or property or anything. She lives paycheck to paycheck. And I know that because of all this someday she will be living with me. I don't see how else things can turn out. I see all this as a direct result of her unwavering commitment to her child (me) and it makes me sooo sad/mad/bitter that these are the rewards for putting family over career. So I think that my career is important, if for no other reason than to spare my child the burden of having to worry about me when I am older. Its not fair to him for him to be the back up plan.
post #18 of 242
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


 

Quote:

Originally Posted by geekgolightly View Post

 

Journalism has suffered immensely with the advent of internet news coverage. Print is dying. So I get that it would be harder for her, but I think that it's much more than what career you choose. When you take yourself out of the market, you take away your own retirement savings, your own social security income etc. etc. You cut yourself off of financial independence and this unnerves me.


I was completely a SAHM for 14 years, and I am now working part time as a yoga teacher.

 

As I read the article, I was struck with the thought that writer got caught up in a perfect storm -- the economy, the shift in how information is delivered (people are more likely to read blogs than read things someone got paid to write), and the demise of her marriage. I hope the tone of the article reflects her darkest hour, and that she manages to emerge and re-create herself. I don't feel any judgment for her. She's struggling. I don't see it as a "values" question -- she did value time with her kids, but now she values buying food and keeping the lights on, and helping them get educations so they have futures. We ALL value those things! She's feeling like it was a choice between more time with them when they were little and a bit of stability now, and she questions if she made the right choice.  I get it.

 

BUT, it's a bit like someone building carriages for horses, taking a career break, coming back after cars were all the rage, and complaining that their career break is to blame for them not getting a job building carriages. A lot can change in 14 years.

 

I'm still figuring out who I am NOW as opposed to who I was 14 years ago, and what I want to do that makes sense in THIS age, THIS economy. Neither the world nor myself is the same as it was 15 years ago when I got pregnant.

 

The difference for me is that my relationship with my husband has never been stronger and he makes a very, very nice living. He now makes more than twice what the two of us together did when I quit my job 14 years ago, and part of that is because I was willing to move and support his career so he could advance. Now it's his turn to be supportive of me while I find my way. It's the very sacrifices that I made during those years that make it possible for me to have tremendous freedom now.

 

She and I made the same gamble. She lost and I won. But I can easily see how I would feel in her shoes.

 


It *is* a gamble. And I am not a gambler by any means. I am a planner. I think it's really lovely and romantic that people can say, "Well, d-i-v-o-r-c-e will *never* happen to me!" but I just can't do that. Because despite the unlikeliness of it actually happening to me (as we met later in life and were both well aware of who we are and what we want) it could happen and the devastation is so huge if it does happen. Also, of course, if he dies. As soon as he begins working as a pharmacist, we will set up life insurance etc, which will help to augment that situation, but what is to help this one? There has to be a plan in place, and I think the post-nup is it, for me. Despite how unappealing it is to me, it's better than the alternative, which is living hand to mouth, or worse yet, relying on my child to assist me out of obligation. 

post #19 of 242

I have so many thoughts I keep starting sentences then deleting them.

 

I dislike how she says she followed advice from experts in books, rather than her own instincts. She doesn`t believe in her ability to take control of her situation now either. She`s broke in middle class terms. Perhaps it is becuase I am working class poor, that I have a different perspective on what broke is.

 

While the status of women has been raised in the workplace, women`s work is still unpaid. Developed countries and feminsts need to focus on that. Childcare is the most time consuming and important job (who do people think is going to keep the country going when all the current yuppies retire? those babies no one wants to pay for). It is sad that employers "punish" people with families who rush out the door at 6 PM and put them on the "mommy track". How offensive is that there is even a "mommy track"? When will the average middle class worker start demanding a life outside work?

 

The writer hits the nail on the head when she says "a good mom doesn`t want money". The problem with the way the world works.

 

I hate that she would tell a young woman not to stay home. I hate that she wouldn`t advise them to get all the details, look at the long term, to point out all the things that she didn`t look at before deciding.

 

The article seemed like a vent she needed to get off her chest. Hopefully, she can roll up her sleeves and find a way out. She`s creative, there are ways to get by even in a jobless economy.

post #20 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by kay4 View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

Sad.

 

But it doesn't dissuade me from staying home with my kids.  I view life, lifestyle, value, and parenting very differently from her.  I'm not home because someone told me to be home.  If something dreadful happens, we will move on, adjust, and acclimatize, and I will have no regrets.



I totally agree with this.


I have to say that is really easy to say when you are living well, have food to eat, and a roof over your head.  When you are in the authors position (which I'll be in pretty soon), its a lot harder to say that you'll just adjust and deal.  Having no money, a kid, and no job is SCARY.  Child support only goes so far.  It would be great if we didn't live in a capitalist society, but we do.  I don't want to be a SAHM, and I won't be (b/c I'm single if nothing else....) and this is part of why - I need to be able to support myself always.  I need to be able to support my child and future children.  Being a SAHM doesn't make money, doesn't put money into the retirement account, and doesn't pay the bills.

 

For people who choose to be SAHM's, I have a lot of respect for that, b/c its a huge financial risk.

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