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The neverending SAHM battle - Page 2

post #21 of 41
hey LaLa,
I don't know if anyone has suggested it (I haven't had the time to read all the replies on this thread carefully, sorry) but have you thought about volunteering? I volunteer as a board member for the domestic violence agency where I used to work. I helps keep me in the loop with all my work friends and I still feel like I am making a contribution. When DS is a bit older I am planning on becoming a literacy volunteer. My friend volunteers one night a week at a "soup kitchen." She really loves it and it is helping her focus on what her career will be when she is no longer choosing to be a SAHM. Another friend does some work at the public library. I can guarantee that somewhere there is a poorly funded human service agency that will be willing to work with you to find a volunteer position that can fit into your life.
Volunteering is also a great way to try out different jobs or roles. My friend who is doing the soup kitchen thing want to get her MSW someday (to be a therapist) She wanted to do hotline work but it just doesn't work for her while her dd is tiny. She is doing this now and will do a domestic violence hotline when DD is older. That way she is getting to see if she has any interest in the work at all.
I know that you do crafts... maybe you could go into a shelter once a month and do crafts with the kids that are there. Maybe the library has a story time and would love someone to do crafts with the kids when the stories are done. My town has a nature center that is always looking for volunteers to do crafts/nature stuff with kids AND adults. One thing to add... some places have training requirements before anyone can volunteer. It can seem a bit daunting but they have to do it because of the nature of the work... usually places that deal with sensitive issues
good luck
post #22 of 41
LaLa, I was thinking along those same lines just yesterday. I was looking at all the dirty dishes stacked precariously on the edge of the sink thinking if they fall I shall start screaming and never stop. I'm such a zombie any more. I often wonder...is this it? Is this all it will ever be for me? I'm 38. My one and only is 22 months. I wanted her desperately and love her with all my heart and soul. I lie awake at night just listening to her breathing and sometimes I feel content with that simple act. But, I think my main problem is more of an identity crisis. There is a huge difference in how I defined myself as a person before becoming a family. I was Susan, traveler, self-reliant, tons of friends. Then I met him...the one. And suddenly my friends were gone. We moved and baby made 3. Now, I'm a sahm, no friends, no history here. I have nothing to define myself other than the pile of dirty dishes or the clothes that I can't seem to get clean. I've been reduced to titles......wife, dil, mommy (that one I like!), housekeeper, daycare provider, laundress, cook. What happened to the other me? As my dd says, "Where did she go?" Such an innocent question.
Do you think seasonal affected disorder may be creeping in a little early? Christmas usually does make me a wee bit weepy. Sorry so long.
post #23 of 41
Thread Starter 
Lapingale, It is so hard when you're new to an area! I know how you feel. It has really helped me to take dd to playgroups in the city we live in. In fact, if we didn't do that, I'd probably be crying daily! LOL

She loves the interaction, and I've met a great mommy with a babe teh same age as our little bean.

post #24 of 41
Lala, I have no doubt that by your posing these questions, the universe is set in motion for you and you're on your way toward the answer. I haven't "arrived" myself either, but I have learned that there's no "there" there, lol. I kind of feel that the irony of human existence is that we never really "feel" self-actualized, even though we probably are, for each particular stage in our life. I think our culture creates unrealistic expectations that make it impossible to truly find satisfaction in the daily sacred, because somehow those things aren't "glamorous" or "stimulating" enough.

I remember my grandmother waking up, eating breakfast, washing the clothes, hanging them to dry, feeding the men lunch and dinner, canning and tending the garden, and it seems like she was always satisfied with her life. I know when I have tangible completion in my life, or am certain to acknowledge that completion, I feel fulfilled.

I always am mindful of my creativity, and if I'm living each moment creatively.

I focus on the quality of my relationships, as those bring me more satisfaction than my "doings."

Interesting question, and such an important one.

~lee
post #25 of 41
there have been so many interesting replies to the origianal post.
Although I stated that part time work was the answer for me what I find most fulfilling about work is that it connects me to my passion as well as to other adults. There are many ways we can do this work being only one.

I believe that most of us "Mothering" types find much fulfillment in our children and our desire to nurture other parts of our lives should not be seen as something that takes us away from that most important part of our lives.

There have been so many good suggestions here. It is just good to hear other women speak honestly about mothering and the difficult times.
post #26 of 41
LaLa,
I could have written your post. I adore my ds and love being with him, yet something is missing. I'm not willing to work full time, yet there are not many part time positions in my field. I dream often of becoming a doula and a childbirth instructor. I guess what is stopping me is that there is little financial pay off but the training is expensive upfront.
Sorry, I'm no help to you, but I understand what you are going through. Keep searching.
post #27 of 41

sahm battle

Hi LaLa,

Hey how about taking one class at a community college that might appeal to you, for some adult interaction and some mental gymnastics?

M
post #28 of 41
One way I found to get "me" time is joining a book club. This gaurantees me out of the house alone at least once a month, a chance to talk to non-mom friends and forces me to read something other than parenting books and magazines!
post #29 of 41
damn, i so think that is the hardest part of stayin home with the babe. what am i? and i do activism, volunteering, ceramics, other stuff to some degree or other...but i miss something that is a deep ache...for adventure or passion (not romance) or truth or perhaps connection.

being a stay at home mama is a lonely and unvalued place and it's sometimes hard to bring spirit and vigor to it's routineness and quietness. if we lived in a society that valued wimmin and children, where we could bring our babes anywhere and participate in a wide range of activities perhaps it would be different. sometimes i am too tired to forge a way to make that happen even for myself.

i don't feel like i want to get away from my small one, but i want us to be able to do so much more than our culture allows, it makes it hard to stretch and grow. and it makes me feel sad and limited.

sara
post #30 of 41
Hi Lala, this is funny, never visited this forum before, came today and found exactly my feeling... I have been all this time without really wanting to do anything else than being in adoration, exploration, investigation, comunication, with my boy,( who by the way turns 2 years tomorrow! )and now I feel the need to share a creative process with adults, I like painting and do it here at home but my real love is pottery and to do that, I need to find me a workshop close by ( used to go to one that is 1 hour away!) and leave ds for at least 2 hours, and would only feel confortable leaving him with dh when he is here on the weekends and he says is ok but .. I also love so much the weekends with my guys! So ... what! Theres some guilt about accepting that I have other intereses than my ds and I'll feel guilty of leaving him to persue my ME part but Its better to give it a try, guilt and all.
Feels weird though! I thought I wasnt going to have ME urges for at least.....15 years?
post #31 of 41
Hi LaLa, I feel the exact same way too! I am a SAHM with a two yr old. I have older children 16,18, 20. When they were small I had to work full time and I was miserable. I would cry every morning and think it was so unfair to myself and my children that I had to go to work. I held it against my dh and it caused much grief. I started to suffer from panic attacks and my doctor said I was exhausted. I dreamt of one day being financially stable and having another child and staying home to raise it and do all the things I missed out on with my older children. Well 14 years later that time came. All my wishes have come true and guess what? I began having panic attacks again! and like yourself I just feel like something is missing. Sometimes I feel I need more mental stimulation. I feel like I need a challenge ( as though raising a two yr old isn't challenging enough.). Sometimes I think it is just a matter of my own lack of self acceptance! Sometimes I feel like everything I do now is so unimportant. I know its very important, but we tend to define ourselves by our accomplishments and picking up after a two year old doesn't do much for the ego in that respect. I think the most important thing is to remind yourself of how important this time is with your child and to live in the moment. When I just sit and think of the here and now I feel better. It does seem to be an age old dilemna though. My grandmother once cried to me years ago that she spent her whole life raising kids and cleaning house! I was so angry at her for saying this! I was working full time and raising my children alone. I felt she could not have asked for more- Financial stability, a great husband, great children and never having to go to work. Now that I am home I understand a little better. Sometimes I also think it is the lack of adult social stimulations. I don't know, but I know the feeling is common.
post #32 of 41
Hi everyone -

I sat at the auto repair shop this morning reading the book "The Price of Motherhood" by Ann Crittenden. I am actually re-reading the book and Crittenden does a wonderful job exploring alot of our issues as mothers of small (and older) children from an economic and social/ historical perspective. The US has the largest number of college educated women who leave paid employment for unpaid parenting. Yes, parenting/mothering is the most important job, but still the least valued. Women and children are the most at risk for poverty and it is directly tied to our lack of social supports. The contributions of mothers is not included in economic indictators and much of our "work" goes unrecognized.

I really think that our culture tends to make issues seem PERSONAL, when the issues are really SOCIAL issues. Moms with small kids who "feel that something is missing" tend to be made to feel wrong. In fact, most women with small children are still isolated and it's a social problem - not just a personal problem.

Crittenden calls for economic and social reform and the book has alot of merit. I just wanted to remind everyone that what we sometimes see as a PERSONAL problem is often much larger in scope...

Kathleen
post #33 of 41
Hi, I have been thinking about this a bit more and I realized that what I would really like is to be able to go to say for example my pottery workshop BUT with ds! Why do we have to separate? It would be so great to have a place where I could do my pottery and he would be accepted along with other children and adults. That I would Love! The same goes for other activities where society forces you to not bring the kids! I think what Im really missing is a community or something like a real tribe where people could gather and continue their activities and share the space with your family...
post #34 of 41

Absolutely!

But how do we find/ or start these places?

I have had some success in my homeschooling group. I have the people that want to do this, but we have been unable to get a place to help us do it. KWIM?
post #35 of 41
Thread Starter 
Yes, I agree, but even today I was talking to the woman at our local Montessorri school. She asked me to come in for a look around etc, and I asked if dd could come or if she preferred that i left her with someone else. I was VERY surprised to hear that she thought it would be better if dd didn't come. I wasn't expecting that answer!
post #36 of 41
LaLa -

Yes! I want to go places WITH my child, but it seems that we are forced to leave our kids behind if we want to do anything engaging with other adults. Even looking at preschools! Ugh.

K
post #37 of 41

ME TOO! ME TOO! ME TOO! ME TOO! ME TOO!

It really says something about our culture if so many of us feel this way! I just found this thread and all I can say is me too!!!!!!!!! In fact the whole reason I came to this web site in the first place was to find support around these issues. How can we, as a culture, change our attitudes toward parenting and families? This is why I want to be more of an activist (see my thread under Activism) But in the meanwhile how can I carve out a blend of all of the things that I want and need to be me? This is sooooo hard! I know in my heart that it shouldn't have to be this hard for us! The reality is that most public places are not tolerant to children and that is very, very sad. I was thinking about going back to work part time just to have adult contact and do some kind of meaningful work. And I really don't want to! And I am lucky enough to NOT HAVE TO for financial reasons. So where does that leave me? Well I have decided to try and do some volunteer work for an organization that is working for women's, mother's and family's rights. I haven't found it yet but think I am close. I am hoping to be able to do some work that will be stimulating to me on an intellectual level, rewarding to me in a social sense and includes my DS. I don't think this should be only a dream, I feel our culture should have more room for women who are mother's to find creative, spiritual, and intellectual stimulation WHILE they are enjoying parenting. It shouldn't have to be one way or the other! I would love to form a group that would work somehow to push for changes like these but have no idea what or how. I also know that I simply need a place to vent about this and get support so that I don't feel so alone!

I want to be a mother, AND a partner, AND an artist, AND an intellectual, AND someone who works toward goals I believe in!!!!

I want to be motherly, creative, smart, active, involved, nurturing, supportive, spiritual, loving, determined, hard working, and many, many other things ALL AT ONCE!!!!

This is my mantra as of late.

:

BTW-"The Pride of Motherhood" is a great book if you feel like I do!

And I must add (and I know that we have already heard this before) that the policy makers in this country give a lot of lip service to "the family" but don't even come close to actively supporting it!!
post #38 of 41
gilnikche: imagine... that would be a great AP bussiness to start! I bet a lot of us would like to find such a place..
post #39 of 41
The hardest thing for me to cope with was leaving my guys! I hated not spending all of dh's free time with him! But then ds1 started in Head Start and I found a calling--their Policy Council met twice a month and I learned so much about board meetings, government regs for that type of program, even how our city council works, it was a real eye-opener in civic duty, and got me in contact with some really important people in our city. It provided me with leadership skills, and set me on a path to finally finish my degree and figure out what to do with it. I got to go out of town for conferences (free!) and got that "I feel really important for what I can do outside of giving birth and breastfeeding" feeling.

It's so hard when the kids are little, I can so empathize with those of you who are wondering "is this it?" But consider it a vacation from life, think of all the free time you have now that you won't have in a few years, when you have more, when they get into school and you are carpooling all over the place. You actually have time to get sick and take a rest! I get sick, and I have to pool all of my resources just to get the 3ds fed and clothed and off to school and sometimes they don't get there at all if I can't take them! LOL!
And read read read...this is the one thing I miss the most, of course I could be doing that right now, but I just love chatting with you guys and reading your posts for an hour or so every day.

It gets better, just remember, we all learn something from the choices we make and the questions we ask, just be open enough to recognize when someone answers. I am not bold enough to assert I have all the answers, so don't think that's what I mean!
post #40 of 41
I have often thought... If I am ever a store owner (or restaurant owner, or fill in the blank) I am going to have a big sign on my door saying BREASTFEEDING MOTHER'S and FAMILIES welcome. Then I would make a nice comfortable area with couches and soft chairs and tables and toys and crayons and paper and books- and hopefully the mom's and families would end up liking whatever my store had to offer and buy my stuff too. I have no real desire or plans of owning an establishment of any kind, but I dream of it if only to have that sign on the door and the conversations it would bring!!!
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