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Rude comments about being a SAHM mom or about lifestyle choices to make staying at home possible?

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 

I just had to vent something that DH's cousin said to me during a recent visit. I don't know if it's because I'm 30 weeks pregnant and hormonal, but it just really gets to me. First, we make sacrifices so that I can be home with our 16 month old DS and new baby due in August. Two of those sacrifices are that we have 1 family car and we live in a 1 bedroom apartment for the time being. We don't have a lot of stuff, cosleep and don't really need lots of space at this point in our lives. DH and I made the decision that we would rather make do in a small space that allows me to be home with the kids during their early years than to have me go to work to pay for a larger space. I'm used to getting asked repeatedly by well meaning people when we plan to move. DH's cousin recently started this line of questioning during her visit. I responded that while I'd like to live just outside the city and in a 2 bedroom home, right now we're making sacrifices so that I can be home with the children. Honestly, I'm fine being here for another year. Her next question was if we plan to have more children (I've told her in the past that we plan to have 3, so that would be 1 more after this one I'm expecting now), but that we weren't exactly sure when we'd have the 3rd child, as I'd like to go back to school for my Master's degree in a program that would have me staying on campus (away from my family) 10 days a time 2 times a year. I started to say that I just don't want to be away from them for that period of time when they're so small. But I only got, "I just don't want..." out of my mouth before DH's cousin finished my sentence with "you just don't want to work." I was a bit dumbfounded and responded that I've worked full time since I was 17, including throughout my entire Bachelor's degree, and that I'm no stranger to hard work. I completed my original sentence, that I just didn't want to be away from my children when they're so small for 10 entire days. But it really gets on my nerves that her opinion of me is that I just don't want to work, as if I'm staying home with my children because I'm lazy or something.

 

I just had to get that out. I'm not close enough to her to have a conversation with her about this, but I'm really irked. I did talk to my husband about it and he said that it was kind of presumptuous, but then he had no more to say. I just don't care to be in this person's presence, anymore. Maybe that's wrong. I don't get that she was trying to offend me, but that she just isn't aware enough to realize she was being offensive. And this isn't the first time she's asked the same series of questions.

 

I'd like to come up with some phrases that will keep people from asking the same questions over and over, like when we plan to move or get a second vehicle or for me to go back to work... My family is fine with our current choices and when people constantly question, it really grates on my nerves. And to know there are people in the family who consider me to be lazy and not wanting to work really ticks me off. I know it doesn't matter what other people think, but I do wish they'd keep their opinions to themselves. I'm just wondering if anyone else has dealt with similar comments from people.

 

Thanks.


Edited by PoetryLover - 6/6/11 at 6:53am
post #2 of 67
Ughhh yes... from my own family, especially. They think I'm incredibly lazy and 'freeloading' or something because I want to be a SAHM (I'm currently a WAHM). These are the same people that roll their eyes at DH doing the laundry or cooking -- apparently I'm supposed to WOH and do all the housework and take care of DS by myself?!???! eyesroll.gif

Honestly, I just don't pay much attention to it, and try not to let it get to me. Try not to engage, just give generic, non-committal answers... or even make it into a joke, "Yeah, I don't want to work, I want to stay home and watch Oprah while eating bon-bons!" Hopefully they'll get the message...
post #3 of 67

I'm sorry you had to deal with that. It sucks that your dh's cousin is so judgemental. I've honestly never  had someone make a comment to my face about being lazy because I stay at home. Most people tell me how lucky I am that I can do that and people like my MIL and our grandparents think it's so great that I'm staying home with dd. If anyone is judging me, they're doing it behind my back and that's just fine with me. What bugs me more is the people who say, "You're so lucky that you can do that" and I just want to say, "You can do it too! You just have to make some changes!" Dh has a good job and makes decent money, but he works entirely on commission and sometimes his paychecks are smaller and we have to get by with a little less. We don't have cable, we only use Netflix, we used cloth diapers and I EBF. We cook at home and don't eat out, I make all our cleaning products including laundry detergent and I plan on starting to make things like toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo once we run out of what we have. Most people just don't want to make the sacrifices necessary to stay at home. I do feel like we're lucky to be able to stay at home, but I also feel like more people could do it if they were willing to make some lifestyle changes. I think if anyone ever tried to make me feel like I was being lazy, I would simply point out how beneficial it's been for my daughter and our family as a whole. Not every family can do it and not every woman wants to do it, but I don't judge women who choose to go back to work.

post #4 of 67

ooh i have a handful of relatives who make those comments. some people are just so nosy. to people, who i really cant stand, i just do a general, "well good thing dh has a good job, im such a freeloader. " or a quick, "Yep, im lazy." because nothing else, especially the truth, will shut them up. its like they WANT to hear that.

 

to people who actually want to hear what i have to say, i go into how frugal we are, the CDs, making detergent, using vinegar for everything.

 

one person in particular ALWAYS asks if we are going to have more kids, when, what are their names (our future non-existent children,) exactly what age did my boys meet whatever milestones, etc. she gets very sarcastic answers. Ex: "Well, he wants to crawl but he is just too fat."

post #5 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caitlin0919 View Post

 What bugs me more is the people who say, "You're so lucky that you can do that" and I just want to say, "You can do it too! You just have to make some changes!" .



I get this alot. Especially from DH's co-workers. It drives me nuts. We don't have cable,  use coupons, drive older used cars, live in a small house and so on. It is a sacrifice for us, but I wouldn't change it for anything.

 

OP- sorry your cousin is so thoughtless. Makes me wonder if she has any kids of her own? It seems like many thoughtless comments about raising kids are from people w/o kids. (It makes me cringe when I recall some of my own thoughtless comments.)

 

post #6 of 67

I'm guessing this cousin doesn't have children, right? That would bug me. If your kids were in daycare, wouldn't those caregivers be "working"? And getting paid!

 

I haven't gotten any lazy comments, I get the opposite. Once I had a school friend of DS mom come over for a playdate and she went on.and.on. about how she tried to SAHM but could only do it for a couple of weeks because it was soooo boring and sooooo mindless and she just had to use her brain and work, she could never ever ever be a SAHM and oh yeah, it was sooooo boring, horrible and mindless. That really chapped me. That's what I get a lot--"I could NEVER stay at home!"

 

Anyway, your cousin sounds like someone to avoid until she has children of her own, lol. Or for the questions, how about a really quizzical, serious look and then, "Why do you want to know that?" or "Why are you interested in that?" and let them answer some questions. Of course I never think of those kinds of things until long after the fact. When that mom went on and on pretty much telling me that I was a mindless fool I didn't do anything but think how rude she was and wish she'd shut up.

post #7 of 67
Thread Starter 

Actually, she does have a child of her own, a 10 year old daughter. She's also a single mom and hates her job, so that could be part of it, that staying at home isn't an option for her.

 

I tend to just answer people's questions, but I think I'm going to start saying something like, "When things change for us, I'll let you know" or "I thought I answered that question in the past." But I'm going to stop answering these pressing questions because, really, it's none of anyone's business. "We'll continue to live here for the duration of time it continues to work for our family." "We'll invest in a second car when we decide it will be a wise move." "We'll continue to grow our family as it feels right for us to do so." Or maybe I should be more direct and ask why the concern about the decisions we make as a family or even ask the person to repeat the offensive statement. "Would you please repeat that?" "I see. So you think that I stay home with my children because I just don't want to work?"

 

newbymom05, that would drive me crazy. Apparently this woman wasn't intelligent enough to realize she was insulting your intelligence. Of course, DH's cousin was clueless that she offended me.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NZJMama View Post





I get this alot. Especially from DH's co-workers. It drives me nuts. We don't have cable,  use coupons, drive older used cars, live in a small house and so on. It is a sacrifice for us, but I wouldn't change it for anything.

 

OP- sorry your cousin is so thoughtless. Makes me wonder if she has any kids of her own? It seems like many thoughtless comments about raising kids are from people w/o kids. (It makes me cringe when I recall some of my own thoughtless comments.)

 



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by newbymom05 View Post

I'm guessing this cousin doesn't have children, right? That would bug me. If your kids were in daycare, wouldn't those caregivers be "working"? And getting paid!

 

I haven't gotten any lazy comments, I get the opposite. Once I had a school friend of DS mom come over for a playdate and she went on.and.on. about how she tried to SAHM but could only do it for a couple of weeks because it was soooo boring and sooooo mindless and she just had to use her brain and work, she could never ever ever be a SAHM and oh yeah, it was sooooo boring, horrible and mindless. That really chapped me. That's what I get a lot--"I could NEVER stay at home!"

 

Anyway, your cousin sounds like someone to avoid until she has children of her own, lol. Or for the questions, how about a really quizzical, serious look and then, "Why do you want to know that?" or "Why are you interested in that?" and let them answer some questions. Of course I never think of those kinds of things until long after the fact. When that mom went on and on pretty much telling me that I was a mindless fool I didn't do anything but think how rude she was and wish she'd shut up.



 

post #8 of 67
Thread Starter 


This is how I think some of DH's family (such as his cousin) think of me, that I'm freeloading while he works so very hard to support me, never mind all that I do to support him...

Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

Ughhh yes... from my own family, especially. They think I'm incredibly lazy and 'freeloading' or something because I want to be a SAHM (I'm currently a WAHM). These are the same people that roll their eyes at DH doing the laundry or cooking -- apparently I'm supposed to WOH and do all the housework and take care of DS by myself?!???! eyesroll.gif

Honestly, I just don't pay much attention to it, and try not to let it get to me. Try not to engage, just give generic, non-committal answers... or even make it into a joke, "Yeah, I don't want to work, I want to stay home and watch Oprah while eating bon-bons!" Hopefully they'll get the message...


We also don't have cable, only use Netflix, cloth diaper and EBF. We cook from scratch as often as possible, rarely eat out, utilize the library for passes to do things recreationally, clean mostly with baking soda and vinegar, etc. We buy used whenever possible. We drive an older vehicle that we own outright. I know that people think if I were to work, we could afford a bigger place and a better quality of life, but there's so much more to life than things. And that's my point. That's why I'm home with my children--because I'm improving their quality of life. My 16 month old DS doesn't care how big our apartment is. He cares about the time I am able to spend with him.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caitlin0919 View Post

We don't have cable, we only use Netflix, we used cloth diapers and I EBF. We cook at home and don't eat out, I make all our cleaning products including laundry detergent and I plan on starting to make things like toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo once we run out of what we have. Most people just don't want to make the sacrifices necessary to stay at home. I do feel like we're lucky to be able to stay at home, but I also feel like more people could do it if they were willing to make some lifestyle changes. I think if anyone ever tried to make me feel like I was being lazy, I would simply point out how beneficial it's been for my daughter and our family as a whole. Not every family can do it and not every woman wants to do it, but I don't judge women who choose to go back to work.


 

When I go into how frugal we are and the sacrifices we make, people assume we can't "afford" for me to be home. They don't see it as choices. It's very strange. They don't see that my being home is something both my DH and I want for our children, that it's not me pushing my will onto him.



Quote:
Originally Posted by CherryBombMama View Post

to people who actually want to hear what i have to say, i go into how frugal we are, the CDs, making detergent, using vinegar for everything.

 

one person in particular ALWAYS asks if we are going to have more kids, when, what are their names (our future non-existent children,) exactly what age did my boys meet whatever milestones, etc. she gets very sarcastic answers. Ex: "Well, he wants to crawl but he is just too fat."



 

post #9 of 67
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for your responses. I just needed to vent and to work out how I'm going to respond to these comments in the future. And commisseration. I just needed to know I'm not alone.

 

I think that if it weren't necessary to make sacrifices in order for me to stay home, people would see it as something we could "afford" to do and maybe they would view it differently or less harshly.

post #10 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caitlin0919 View Post

I'm sorry you had to deal with that. It sucks that your dh's cousin is so judgemental. I've honestly never  had someone make a comment to my face about being lazy because I stay at home. Most people tell me how lucky I am that I can do that and people like my MIL and our grandparents think it's so great that I'm staying home with dd. If anyone is judging me, they're doing it behind my back and that's just fine with me. What bugs me more is the people who say, "You're so lucky that you can do that" and I just want to say, "You can do it too! You just have to make some changes!" Dh has a good job and makes decent money, but he works entirely on commission and sometimes his paychecks are smaller and we have to get by with a little less. We don't have cable, we only use Netflix, we used cloth diapers and I EBF. We cook at home and don't eat out, I make all our cleaning products including laundry detergent and I plan on starting to make things like toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo once we run out of what we have. Most people just don't want to make the sacrifices necessary to stay at home. I do feel like we're lucky to be able to stay at home, but I also feel like more people could do it if they were willing to make some lifestyle changes. I think if anyone ever tried to make me feel like I was being lazy, I would simply point out how beneficial it's been for my daughter and our family as a whole. Not every family can do it and not every woman wants to do it, but I don't judge women who choose to go back to work.


I have a friend who talks about how nice it must be that I can be a SAHM.  Her DH makes at least double what mine does, and we have one more kid than they do... plus one on the way.  However... they eat out multiple times a week, she drives a brand new Volvo, and he drives a brand new Audi.  They only put their children in name brand clothing, and are total "label snobs".  It makes me laugh... because she could EASILY stay home, if she actually wanted to.  They would just have to give up some of their precious "stuff"... and I don't think they're willing.  

 

post #11 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by xzaviers_mama View Post


I have a friend who talks about how nice it must be that I can be a SAHM.  Her DH makes at least double what mine does, and we have one more kid than they do... plus one on the way.  However... they eat out multiple times a week, she drives a brand new Volvo, and he drives a brand new Audi.  They only put their children in name brand clothing, and are total "label snobs".  It makes me laugh... because she could EASILY stay home, if she actually wanted to.  They would just have to give up some of their precious "stuff"... and I don't think they're willing. 

 


Yes to this.  In first world countries there are so many things that most people view as necessities that are actually extras.  I find the mental disconnect between "wishing" that you could stay home with your children and continuing to prioritize accumulation maddening.  I have found that sometimes saying "our life is the result of the choices DH and I have made we are very happy" or something to that affect very useful.

 

post #12 of 67

Oh yeah, I've hearda bit of it.  Like when my uncle was talking about his daughter who is a hairdresser and how she went back to work when her baby was a couple months old because she didn't want to be "just a stay at home mom".  Or my other uncle asked me what a typical day is for me since I don't work.  Seriously?  We hang out in our jammies and watch tv and I spend hours on the computer...WTF does it matter?  I didn't ask him what a typical day of forced early retirement for being a drunk is like.

 

And I didn't have a SAHP when I was growing up.  We still had nothing and sometimes lived in tiny houses with few bedrooms.  It didn't matter to me one bit.

post #13 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magali View Post

 I didn't ask him what a typical day of forced early retirement for being a drunk is like.

 

 


Wow, maybe you should have!

 

I like the PP response of "our life is because of the choices Dh and I made and we are very happy".  That pretty much sums it up.

 

I've had many, many people get jealous of my lifestyle in the past.  I've been a sahm for 12 years.  People just don't get how we do it, and always assume that my dh makes a fortune or something, when in fact, it's just because of our choices.  I choose to use hand me downs for the kids, or buy used most times (ThredUP rocks!), and um, well, you should see my wardrobe.  Yeah, anyway....We spend time "flipping" things we find and making $ that way.  My dh does a/c as a sidejob.  We keep bees as a sidejob (hello, bee stings HURT, so I'm not just doing it for the fun of it), we rake poop out of the barn so our rabbits can be comfy and breed and make us $ and food, etc. etc.  The list really goes on w/all we do to keep me home w/the kids.  So, people get jealous because they think they can't have what we have.  Maybe they can't. Maybe they don't have a fantastic relationship w/their dh and their kids.  Maybe they don't have some of the skills we have learned over the years to make it work.  I guess my point is that they could learn those skills too (or plenty of others) just like we did.  It takes time and lots of people don't want to spend time, they just want to spend $.

 

post #14 of 67

I really want to be a SAHM and actually we can afford it, but DH and I agreed that I should pay off some of my student loans (myself) since I was the one who decided to go back to school.  I think that this is fair.  However, I think that we may decide that my working won't really be worth it after #2 arrives.  I'm not sure I really make enough money to pay child care, my student loans and to justify the sacrifices.  I do on-call work, which pays really well for the amount of hours I actually work, but I may have to leave at anytime (including the middle of the night).  It would be worth it if I wanted to work or wanted that time for myself or whatever--I have friends and co-workers who prefer to work or work some.  I also have a good friend who does not enjoy being home full-time with her kids and prefers to pay for day care so she can work full-time and this works great for them--she doesn't judge me for not wanting to work and I don't judge her for wanting to work, we just accept that that is what we each prefer/need.  

 

I don't get a lot of comments about being lazy or anything like that (or didn't when I was a SAHM), or maybe I did, but didn't care or listen.  Because I enjoyed it so much and it worked really well for our family.  Also, being a SAHM is A LOT of work, regardless of the age of the child/children--and it's good work.  For me it is the only "job" I have ever had that I looked forward to doing every day!

post #15 of 67

What is it about cousins?! Mine told me to "Get over it!" and asked me if I felt guilty that I am going to collect an old age pension that I never contributed to. I do after school care, and claim that income on my taxes, but apparently that doesn't count. She thinks I'm a BIG loser! My solution has been to not get her point, and ask her to clarify... why would I feel guilty about collecting a pension? I didn't contribute? So? A lot of the woman collecting their pension now never worked out of the home. It's a different world now? Not at my house! I still don't know what I'm supposed to "Get over"... and I'm not inclined to ask!

post #16 of 67

I guess I'm on the other side of the SAHM situation. I can't afford to go to work. I have 4 children, one on the way, and with my education level and skill set there is NO WAY I could make enough to cover day care.

 

I get the "Oh, you're just lazy" and "How does your partner feel about being the only person who does any work?" (as if parenting isn't work) all the time.

 

I tried explaining that I just couldn't afford to work, but people who have strong opinions just don't want to hear it. So I;ve begun simply saying "Yup! I'm lazy. I sit on my butt, watch TV and eat bon bons ALL DAY and you are just being a selfish twit."

 

Shuts them up pretty fast.

 

Chin up, mama. Some people just don't know how to think before they speak.

post #17 of 67

You know, I never really felt like being a SAHM was justifiable until I had a multitude of kiddos- I always felt so guilty for being so happy.  My ILs would ask me constantly, "So what did you do today?", as if I had to have a list ready to justify my position.  It really got to me. 

I love all off your responses, esp:

 

I know that people think if I were to work, we could afford a bigger place and a better quality of life, but there's so much more to life than things. And that's my point. That's why I'm home with my children--because I'm improving their quality of life. My 16 month old DS doesn't care how big our apartment is. He cares about the time I am able to spend with him.

 

I think this is so overlooked in our world in general- the value of people over things. 

Sometimes it is so nice watching a British film like Jane Austin's where people sit around all day and gossip about silly things, have dinner together, have balls, and drink tea- and don't work and just enjoy life.  It's a nice difference from the expectations all around us where we are valued based on how much we produce or accomplish.  (Not that I think it is wise to be lazy- it's just nice to relax and enjoy what you do.)

post #18 of 67

I'm a sahm mom with a two year old and a six month old.  We currently use government assistance (ebt, wic, medicaid for the kids) to make ends meet.  People can be downright viscious about sahps that recieve any aid.  I make similar sacrifices mentioned by other pps-one car, almost everything secondhand, making due with what we have as much as possible, having only netflix for tv and free/next to free entertainment all the time.  I don't have a reliable person to watch my children, my husband is gone up to twelve hours a day when he's at work so working opposite shifts isn't possible, and if I was to find a job in my area, in our local economy, it wouldn't even cover daycare and other expenses.  But of course I'm a deadbeat because there HAS to be a way to work, and if you aren't bringing in money you are worthless. 

post #19 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoetryLover View Post

Thanks everyone for your responses. I just needed to vent and to work out how I'm going to respond to these comments in the future. And commisseration. I just needed to know I'm not alone.

I think that if it weren't necessary to make sacrifices in order for me to stay home, people would see it as something we could "afford" to do and maybe they would view it differently or less harshly.


We don't have to make any sacrifices for me to stay home. We have plenty of money and if I did work, it would not change our standard of living one bit. But I still get people, generally members of dh's family, suggesting I'm sponging off dh, and lazy. People are opinionated, and moms get judged like crazy for every choice they make. WOHMs get it too, but in reverse - why aren't they willing to make sacrifices to stay home, when that might not even be an option for any of a number of reasons. I think all you can do is stand up for yourself when someone mouths off, and try to let it roll off your back as much as possible. I do know it's hard. Hugs!
post #20 of 67

Yes, I've dealt with some comments, too. My FILs wife (not my DHs mom) has a son of her own and his wife is pregnant with their second child. She works full time right now but is debating quitting to SAH. FILs wife and I were talking about this decision she is making and she said "Oh, I can't imagine she'd be happy as a stay at home mom, she is just such a creative person with so much to give...I imagine she'll have to have an outlet for that." I just remember thinking "Oh yeah, because I don't have much to give so I just settled for staying at home!" But I kept my mouth shut. 

 

I have a neighbor "friend" who works part time and seems to think that because I SAH I must spend my days gazing in my children's eyes. She tells me ALL THE TIME how lucky I am and how envious she is because her life is just so hard I wouldn't understand the pressures and the stress of her life. I have kind of a chip on my shoulder about her, though, because she also thinks because I SAH I must be available to babysit anytime she needs it. She calls every other week or so and asks for several hrs of babysitting for various reasons (a haircut, a desire to go grocery shopping alone, etc). Ugh. I stopped agreeing after the first few requests (because I realized this wasn't going to be a reciprocal relationship) but she hasn't caught the hint.

 

Anyway, I mostly shrug that stuff off now, though. I figure working moms get it all the time too from the guilt police so we really can't win. 

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