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We all make our own choices - Page 2

post #21 of 55
Quote:

 

I know staying at home is not for everyone, nor would I suggest it is the best route.  But I'll tell you for *me*, it is vastly easier and I am miles happier.  It is impossible to describe the stress involved when a child is sick and you and your DH are having a fight at 5 in the morning over who has to be the one to stay home, when all your heart wants to do is take care of your sick child but there are pressing work obligations.  For years I juggled the craziness of trying to be there for every play, and every school concert, and leaving the office at noon to race home and retrieve a homemade ice cream cake from the freezer to bring into DD's school on her birthday, and then race back to the office.  Running out to grocery shop at 9:30 at night after the kids are asleep (with DH home, o' course).  Cleaning my house at 10:30 PM and making lunches at 11 PM for the next day.  Extracting myself from my DD's arms as she cried "don't leave me!" to go to work.  Thinking about my kids all day at work.  Dreading the occasional business trip.  Having weekend and evening commitments so that I missed out on soccer games, bedtimes, and so on.  Coming home and needing to focus on your kids, but simultaneously needing to put dinner on the table.  Oftentimes working late at night after everything is clean and kids are in bed, to make up for all the work left undone when I raced out of the office at 5 PM.  I just found it really, really difficult and painful.  Things are much easier and happier now for me, and I'm really grateful to be out of the rat race.  It feels like such a luxury to only have one area of focus, instead of being torn and always feeling like a bad mother and bad employee.

 


Great post - you really paint a great picture of the hard part of WOH with kids. This is exactly why I quit my job. 

 

post #22 of 55

I am new here, but I know I need a community of people who kind of understand the life I live.  I am an Army wife, a stay home mom, a homeschooling mom, AND a WAHM.  I must be crazy....but it works well for us.  When my husband and I first married, I tried to do it all.  I had been a single parent for 9 years, so I was kind of ready to be a wife and mother.  But I still wanted to work - because I thought that's what HE wanted me to do.  That whole communication thing was a doozy to start, but I finally gained the courage to share with him that I feel family is the most important thing for us - especially with the way he deploys every year.

 

I could not wait to get a job when we first married in 2006.  We lived overseas then, and finding work in the UK was dead easy.  In fact, I had work before I even moved there.  Then, the drive was too far for daily family and wife responsibilities...something I could not have known until I got into the day to day schedule.  I left that company for another.  The hours were too strenuous.  Then another job....and I stayed there a year until the economy fell apart worldwide in 2008.  They asked me to stay - for no salary but a higher commission.  NOT!  lol

 

My husband and I talked and he believed in me enough to let me try to work from home.  I started a search consultancy business.  It went well until we returned to the US...and I spent the next 2 years trying to find a way to make working from home work for me.  During all that time, even though we had more than enough income from his salary, he put pressure on me to make a lot of money.  Simultaneously, our daughter's academic life was disintegrating.  Her schools here in the US were horrible.  We even put her in private school and were dissatisfied.  Ultimately, we decided to homeschool and he told me to find a business I like and do that...which I did.

 

I didn't really try to "work work" until recently, though I have had my company for a year now.  All my focus has been on our DD who is 14 years old.  DH is deployed to Afghanistan.  The best decision I ever made was to homeschool.  It's not the smoothest schedule, but our daughter has peace and she is learning more in 5-6 weeks than she did all year previously.  The curriculum is challenging beyond words and I am grateful that I stay home with her.  Working gets fuzzy sometimes when the most important thing of the day is a science project or a research paper, but we make it work.

 

The only thing I am worried about is how well it will work when hubby gets back home from war.  We are ready for him to get here, but we have a schedule and a "flow" that works from day to day.  I just wonder how he will adjust to the new me.  By the time he returns, he will have been gone a bit over a year....

 

Great thread...I needed that!  whew!

post #23 of 55
To answer your question, OP, I knew it was for me because I wanted to do it AND I had the education and career experience to go back to work if I wanted. I didn't think I'd want to (and I'm still very happy sah) but it would have been unthinkable for me to do it without the option of supporting myself should I want or need to.
post #24 of 55

I knew it was for me because it felt right in my heart. Corny, but true. I'm a music teacher though, and I've kept working very part time throughout, teaching various classes and piano lessons.

 

My children are both in school now, and I'm thinking that I want to keep staying home. I may increase my classes a bit, but I think that unless the ideal full time school job comes along for me, I'll stay put.

post #25 of 55

I just want to add that the involvement of your partner and how you split up the work can make a huge difference in how either a SAHM or WOHM situation works out.

 

I think it is incredibly hard for women who are expected to "do it all" without a partner who is an equal participant in parenting, housekeeping, etc.

 

I work full-time outside the home, and my partner works almost full-time from a home office. We both work very hard, and we share in the work of parenting & keeping our house in order (well, some semblance of order). I love my work & find my job very fulfilling, and I wouldn't have it any other way. DP isn't as enamoured of her work, but the work-from-home situation is very doable and it is so helpful that there is one of us who doesn't need to commute. And because we work together on everything, neither of us feels overburdened. We are constantly on the go, and there is little down time, but we carve out together time and family time that feels genuine. It's not just a grind.

 

So, I just want to point out that it's not just whether or not to work, but to look at the whole support system that's in place either way. It seems like the key to happiness is not necessarily about working or not working, but about having support to keep your life in balance no matter which path you take.

 

 

post #26 of 55
[quote name="porcelina" url="bejeweled -- what kind of doctorate? You don't have to be too detailed if you don't want, just curious as to what kind of part-time work you might be able to pick up.

Hi Porcelina, I'm really enjoying this thread. I'm a clinical psychologist. I have no idea what kind of part time work I'm going to do. Right now I'm focusing on passing my state licensure exam, which I take October 1. Then I'll move on to step 2. One step at a time... smile.gif (This is my mantra).
post #27 of 55

Great point Cl Mama---I think your partner and outside support system make all the difference in whether you enjoy your job ( in or outside the home) or whether you just feel exhausted and overwhelmed. 

 

I think this gets to the very root of the OP--we mamas often have a rough road because most of us don't have a strong support system and our partners generally are equally overwhelmed by work/parenting responsibilities.  In my opinion, our society of nuclear families makes it really difficult to parent without stress. Ideally, we would have extensive, multi-generational support systems that would allow us to share the responsibilities of raising our kiddos with other trusted adults. This scenario is almost unheard of in our "developed" country and as a result, it's often hard to find balance between mothering and pursuing other interests. I'm all about the village raising the child---although I'm still looking for that proverbial village in our life! 

post #28 of 55

I agree with others who say that the right choice is highly dependent on your personality, your desires, your financial situation, and your personal one. Since I am having my kids later than most others in my extended family, I've had a chance to observe what people did and how it worked for them.

 

Both my sisters are SAHM who left successful careers to parent their children. One was a chemical engineer, and the other was a CPA, both making about equal to their husbands at the time. I think neither of them liked their jobs. they had only gotten into their fields because they were good at the subjects, and the jobs were sufficiently prestigious. So having children was a good reason to leave work for them. Both started eBay shops. For a lot of reasons, I think the early years were rough on them and took its toll. I think switching from somewhat high-powered careers to being at home full time left their minds a bit fallow and unchallenged, and their competitive drive unfulfilled. At least, that's how I explain the energy that got redirected into a rather obsessive, consumer-oriented lifestyle justified by the idea that they were also shopping for their eBay store as well as the serious oneupmanship that they engaged in with each other when the kids were young. I remember hearing both sides of a big blowout about sippy cups that left one sister in tears and the other on a weeklong rant. Another big fight involved whose diapers belonged to which child.

 

My SIL has, for the most part, become a SAHM as well. She used to work part time at a hospital as a respiratory therapist, but she doesn't really take any hours anymore. Her child is now 12. She has said that all she wants to be is a SAHM, but I think she's not happy in her life in part because she is one. It makes her focus on the additional children that she's having trouble conceiving. It also makes her highly dependent on her husband, with whom she does not have the strongest relationship. But because she is so financially dependent on him, her choices are limited and she's intensely unhappy.

 

Anyway, these are my outsider perspectives on their situations. I'm sure if you talked to them, they'd have different things to say, like how fulfilling it is and what a big sacrifice it was. Honestly, I'm not really sure it was a total sacrifice as they portray. the children and the family overall benefitted, but so did they. And I think there were a lot of unforeseen consequences that they either don't acknowledge or aren't aware of.

 

Now that I'm pregnant myself, I find myself deciding to do what I had for so long been skeptical about--be a SAHM myself. I'm hoping that with the benefit of seeing other people's experiences, I can make it work better for me. And where I didn't understand their rationale for being a SAHM before, I do now. I think the kids do benefit from having the steady support of a parent, and having one in the home full time makes that more possible (though also possible with working moms too). I don't think the transition will be too bad for me because I had worked part-time for 6 years, and I really enjoy the domestic arts. And I feel good about my decision because I have a strong relationship with my partner and know that I won't be "stuck." I also love the things I can do with my degree and can likely find part-time work in it after the baby is born. Still, there was a period where I really struggled with my decision and all the changes it would bring.

 

Actually, now that I think about it, the most successful SAH situation I've seen was one where the dad stayed at home and worked full time as well by telecommuting to his computer job. the mom commuted daily downtown. they have two boys together. I think it helps in their situation that he still has a job and that he has a lot of other hobbies that don't involve the children necessarily, so he doesn't feel like his life has narrowed. He also hasn't become overly invested in his children as his sole means of identity. I'm thinking the transition into being a SAHM is easier when you retain parts of your non-parent self and have an outlet for your creative and competitive urges.

 

I didn't really mean to write so much, but I hope my rambling might help somebody figure out what works for them.

post #29 of 55

I think the point about partner support is an excellent one, and the lack thereof may have been a major contributor to my burnout and to the intense difficulty I experienced trying to "do it all."  DH and I had a very equal partnership before we had kids.  After our 1st child was born things shifted radically.  Although he continued to do all the things he did before, as everyone with kids knows, there is suddenly 1000% more to do after the arrival of kids.  I would say conservatively that I do 70% of the parenting to DH's 30%.  Some of this was exacerbated at the outset by the fact that I was nursing, so I did *all* the nighttime parenting, but then that turned into the kids having a strong preference for me over DH.  The list of things I do relating to the kids - from making sure they have a present and have made a card for the b-day party they are attending tomorrow, to overseeing homework, from making lunches to knowing which food item I have to bring to the school harvest party, from organizing all the clothes and hand-me-downs to knowing who needs new shoes and when - - is just endless, and DH literally does NONE of it. (The resentment I have over this is a whole other issue . . and I won't hijack this thread to discuss it . . )  When I was working it was incredibly hard to juggle all of this.  Now that I am at home I still juggle it, but I have all day to fit it in and things are easier.

 

I think the one caveat I would throw out there in the whole to SAHM or not to SAHM question, is the big downside in the gendered nature of the division of labor that can occur if you SAHM.  I know I am not alone in this - I have many, many friends who have the same experience of things having been equal until after the arrival of the kids.  I know my DH is happy to let me do whatever I want, as long as the kids are with me.  It's another story when I want to do stuff for myself - exercise, see a friend, whatever (even take a shower!).  Sometimes it is easier to let this imbalance happen and just suck it up for the sake of family harmony, since the alternative (for me) is engaging in a constant battle to even out the imbalance. 

 

[I have to say, I notice that now that I am at home, my DH leaves his plate on the table and walks away about 50% of the time.  It used to happen about 10% of the time - so it makes me wonder if this shift is occurring in his mind where I am now in charge of all things domestic.]

 

I sincerely did not mean this to turn into a rant (OK, well, maybe a little) or a thread hijack, but more to suggest that you carefully approach the issue of gender roles, responsibilities, expectations and free time *before* you make the decision to SAHM.

post #30 of 55
bigeyes.gif Wow. The behavior/attitude that you describe here would be totally unacceptable in this household (not "letting" me do things alone, walking away and leaving his plate for me to clean). DH wouldn't have a wife to come home to if he treated me like this. I couldn't suck it up for the sake of family harmony. No wonder you were burned out!


[quote name="PennyRoo" I would throw out there in the whole to SAHM or not to SAHM question, is the big downside in the gendered nature of the division of labor that can occur if you SAHM.  I know I am not alone in this - I have many, many friends who have the same experience of things having been equal until after the arrival of the kids.  I know my DH is happy to let me do whatever I want, as long as the kids are with me.  It's another story when I want to do stuff for myself - exercise, see a friend, whatever (even take a shower!).  Sometimes it is easier to let this imbalance happen and just suck it up for the sake of family harmony, since the alternative (for me) is engaging in a constant battle to even out the imbalance. 

 

[I have to say, I notice that now that I am at home, my DH leaves his plate on the table and walks away about 50% of the time.  It used to happen about 10% of the time - so it makes me wonder if this shift is occurring in his mind where I am now in charge of all things domestic.

post #31 of 55
I completely agree that it is really important to get your gender roll issues in check before making this decision. DH and I had a big conversation about that before I chose to SAH and we still question our activities, expectations, and obligations towards one another. I feel like its really important to have an open dialouge about your job, and what the expectations are. If DH left his plate on the table, I would ask him "Are you leaving this here for me to clean up because you think it's my job or because Im the woman?" Maybe not everytime, but I would point it out for sure.
post #32 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by PennyRoo View Post

I think the one caveat I would throw out there in the whole to SAHM or not to SAHM question, is the big downside in the gendered nature of the division of labor that can occur if you SAHM.  I know I am not alone in this - I have many, many friends who have the same experience of things having been equal until after the arrival of the kids.  



I agree that it can be really easy to fall into traditional gender roles as you described, if you're not careful. My husband grew up in a very traditional Latin American family with super conservative ideas about what a woman's role is. I've found that I have to be very clear with him about my intentions behind SAH and my expectations of him as an active partner/father, or else I can end up feeling really resentful, overwhelmed, and under-appreciated. It's definitely a challenge sometimes!

post #33 of 55

I would agree with the above posters who've mentioned how important your spouse's support is in the decision to be a SAHM.  For Dh and I, having a SAH-parent was a non-negotiable.  It made more sense at first because I was the one giving birth/Bfing... we then moved into a situation where we were both working part-time and sharing DD1's care  (which was totally awesome and ideal, and probably an option that most people will never have -- too bad!)

 

Even though Dh grew up in a household with very traditional gender-roles/division of labor, he is 100% amazing at doing his share of the housework (or more!).  It helps that he is a "neat-nick" and I am the "messy one" in our relationship, he is more motivated to clean since it bothers him when the house is messy. LOL  I still do more parenting, but that is because I am the one who is more actively thinking about discipline, learning, etc -- I do view those things as primarily "my job".  Doesn't mean that Dh is hands-off as a parent, just that he follows my lead.

 

I would also say that I have really grown to enjoy my role as a SAHM more as the years go by.  Honestly, despite being rather domestically-inclined, I was really unprepared to run a household, it didn't occur to me for a long time what I needed to do to make things work smoothly, reduce my stress level and feel a sense of accomplishment.  I felt for quite awhile that all my years of education were a waste because they had actually prepared me to work outside the home, but what I desperately needed was training for being a housewife.  It does actually take some skill and learning to do the job well!

post #34 of 55

I agree that all paths have their hard parts--parenting is tough! Currently, I work about 20 hours/week.  I feel really lucky that I'm self-employed (I'm a therapist) and can set my own hours and that DH has flexible work to be home when I am not.  DD is 4 and I've worked anywhere between 0 and 25 hours/week during her life.  For me, the sweet spot is about 15-20 hours/week.  In addition, I am happiest when she's in preschool or another activity for 3 or 4 hours/day so I can do some of my work and also take care of my own needs--go to the gym, get a haircut, catch up on errands, whatever.  Summer did not go well here---I was home with her almost all the time and I found my sanity slipping. Now that she's back in school for the mornings, I find myself enjoying the afternoons I have with her much more. Best of luck in finding the balance that works for you!

post #35 of 55

I've never understood why anyone would want to have children, but not want to actually raise them.  I always knew from the first moment that I got pregnant that I would raise my own children.  I even managed to do it when I was young, single and had zero help from my DS's father.  I wouldn't have it any other way, period.  I love being a mom, it's what I've always wanted to do first.  I suspect that in my later years I will return to college and pursue a passion, but for now this is my passion.

 

Yes, being a sahm parent is hard.  Now, can you imagine paying someone less than min. wage to do that very hard job for you?  I have friends that nanny and get paid roughly $3 a hour.  Also, it's not just about YOUR needs, it's about the needs of your baby.  To me, love and attonement are just as important as the need for food, water and clean clothes.  To see children spending 50+ hours a week with a care provider that doesn't love them is heart-breaking to me.  I worked for several years as a care provider (and have several friends who are nannies) and that time just further cemented my belief that children should be raised by a loving parent.

 

My DH and I had a good understanding of what our roles would be when we got married.  I already had one child, so I knew that I needed to have things sorted out BEFORE we even moved in together.  For us, the traditional female/male gender roles work very well.  I'm happy to do all of the house-work stuff while he earns an income.  He's a very productive person, gets a ton of stuff done, but does almost zero household chores (kitchen, cleaning, laundry, etc).  Our whole arrangement is perfect for us.  It is very important to figure these things out in advance.  I think most people tend to overlook this sort of thing until it's caused an argument.

 

 

You can always go back to work, but you can only raise your baby once.  Best wishes in your decision. 

post #36 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraisme View Post

I've never understood why anyone would want to have children, but not want to actually raise them.  I always knew from the first moment that I got pregnant that I would raise my own children.



Can officially opened.
post #37 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraisme View Post

I've never understood why anyone would want to have children, but not want to actually raise them. 


So I cease to raise my son when he starts full time school next year?  Man that mothering thing was short lived.  

 

post #38 of 55

I giggled, over not wanting to raise them.  Also someone else mentioned fighting over who had to stay home with a sick kid.  If DH and I were at work (military same compound)  and I got the call for the Daycare provider it was a fight to the car!  We would so fight over who got to go get them and stay home.  We started being sneaky and telling our Daycare provider only to call me or him.  He was worse, I remember calling him once to say I was going to get them and that he didn't need to worry about picking them up that afternoon I had already cleared my schedule... somehow he made it there first.  Not sure how he did it, but as I pulled in he was pulling out with a smug look on his face.  GOOBER! 

 

 

Sometimes you can have the best of both worlds.  I realize it's rare, but it can be done.  My schedule has us split parenting.  The days I work it's all him, the days I'm off it's all me.  We both love it this way.  Both of us are very protective of our time.  And we feel so lucky.  We didn't feel like we gave up anything for this.  And if we did, it wasn't that important anyway. 

post #39 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraisme View Post

I've never understood why anyone would want to have children, but not want to actually raise them.


So...all the loving fathers who support their families by working outside the home - not only don't they raise their kids (or want to), but you don't understand why they wanted children in the first place?

Or did you only mean to bash wohms by your statement? A dad with a paycheck is off your hook of judgment?
post #40 of 55
Is there a thumbs down button? I need a thumbs down button for this post! nono.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraisme View Post

I've never understood why anyone would want to have children, but not want to actually raise them.  I always knew from the first moment that I got pregnant that I would raise my own children.  I even managed to do it when I was young, single and had zero help from my DS's father.  I wouldn't have it any other way, period.  I love being a mom, it's what I've always wanted to do first.  I suspect that in my later years I will return to college and pursue a passion, but for now this is my passion.

 

Yes, being a sahm parent is hard.  Now, can you imagine paying someone less than min. wage to do that very hard job for you?  I have friends that nanny and get paid roughly $3 a hour.  Also, it's not just about YOUR needs, it's about the needs of your baby.  To me, love and attonement are just as important as the need for food, water and clean clothes.  To see children spending 50+ hours a week with a care provider that doesn't love them is heart-breaking to me.  I worked for several years as a care provider (and have several friends who are nannies) and that time just further cemented my belief that children should be raised by a loving parent.

 

My DH and I had a good understanding of what our roles would be when we got married.  I already had one child, so I knew that I needed to have things sorted out BEFORE we even moved in together.  For us, the traditional female/male gender roles work very well.  I'm happy to do all of the house-work stuff while he earns an income.  He's a very productive person, gets a ton of stuff done, but does almost zero household chores (kitchen, cleaning, laundry, etc).  Our whole arrangement is perfect for us.  It is very important to figure these things out in advance.  I think most people tend to overlook this sort of thing until it's caused an argument.

 

 

You can always go back to work, but you can only raise your baby once.  Best wishes in your decision. 

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