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Why do you work? - Page 3

post #41 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang
Q for the group - I know many SAHMs (at least ones I have met IRL) believe strongly that being a SAHM is the best way to raise kids. I have never found a WM who flat out stated that working while raising kids was the best way to raise kids. They may say it is best for their family, but other than Linda Hirshman (see http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?...rticleId=10659) - no one seems to say they think it is better for kids or moms in general.

I am NOT trying to start a debate about which is better or best, but rather get at the fact that either we feel inhibited to state our true opinions OR most WMs feel that there isn't one best way.

I personally fall into the latter camp - I think there isn't any one best way to raise kids.

I do NOT think that the ideal is one parent at home. I think the ideal is high quality childcare (delivered by a parent, grandparent or other relative, or a third party) and a loving family environment.

Thoughts?

Siobhan
IMO children are happy when their parents are happy. And if my working makes my family happy as a unit then that is what I need to do. Marah Jade isn't the only member of this family I have to think of her father and my needs as well. There were times when working was hard on me, still is, but in general she loves her parents and we love her. There are times when I have conflict over another person caring for her when I am away but she loves her daycare and the people in it. She will ask to go there when we are on vacation.
post #42 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by lyttlewon
IMO children are happy when their parents are happy. And if my working makes my family happy as a unit then that is what I need to do.
:

Honestly the only reason why we are working on letting dh stay home is because he HATES his job and the hours required. He may eventually go back to school or find his niche and I will support him 100%. All that matters are that we are happy.
post #43 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang
Q for the group - I know many SAHMs (at least ones I have met IRL) believe strongly that being a SAHM is the best way to raise kids. I have never found a WM who flat out stated that working while raising kids was the best way to raise kids. They may say it is best for their family, but other than Linda Hirshman (see http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?...rticleId=10659) - no one seems to say they think it is better for kids or moms in general.

I am NOT trying to start a debate about which is better or best, but rather get at the fact that either we feel inhibited to state our true opinions OR most WMs feel that there isn't one best way.

I personally fall into the latter camp - I think there isn't any one best way to raise kids.

I do NOT think that the ideal is one parent at home. I think the ideal is high quality childcare (delivered by a parent, grandparent or other relative, or a third party) and a loving family environment.

Thoughts?

Siobhan
I would never say that "working ouside the home is the best way to raise kids" because it might not be for another mom. Its the best way for us, not everyone. There is no best way to do anything other that how you are doing it. If staying at home is the best way you know to raise your family then its the best way. For you. If going to work is the best way you know to raise a family, then its the best way. For you.

I would never say that what I am doing is the best way to do it, because while it is for us, it most certainly isnt for everyone and that would be terribly unfair of me to say it is.
post #44 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetbaby3

I would never say that what I am doing is the best way to do it, because while it is for us, it most certainly isnt for everyone and that would be terribly unfair of me to say it is.
I agree.

Let me put it another way. A WM friend of mine said recently that she feels her kids have benefited from her working beyond the financial benefits - but that she feels inhibited to actually say that to anyone other than another working mom.

Siobhan
post #45 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetbaby3
The Bold is my input to this very important point. This is true for us as well, yet no one is questioning my husband either.

I absolutely love what I do and it never occured to me that I couldnt do both I do not find it difficult. I am home 4 days a week. I am very much present in our home. I am working tonight, but made sure I had tomorrow off, so I could do the ice cream social at school. I took my son to his high school orientation. We swam several times a week, went to the denver museum to see Body Worlds, went to the movies, went for hikes, had a great summer. Ans while I am eternally grateful for the time and effort and all the sacrifices my husband has made to make this life possible, I am also pleased that *I* have made a contribution to make this happen as well. The only thing is, I'm doing both

We also married young, in our very early 20's and like many who did things that way, we had little in the way of life experience, work experience, or much else for that matter, so now that our oldest is 19 and in college, we had little savings. Now, in the last 4 years its is different, but we managed to pay off alot of debt, refinance our house and do a few upgrades (windows and new carpet, an a new fence because the old one was falling down and our very old neighbors are too ill to bother, and we are fine with taking on that responsibility). So with our daughter in school, we are paying cash for her tuition and books. We pay for her car insurance. Our middle son goes to college in two years (he is a junior in high school), and we plan on paying for his education cash as well (as long as it isnt an Ivy league school!). So while some people are confused as to why I work, and equate my love for my children in terms of materialistic things, my reality is quite different. And my kids are awesome, all three, and think I am the bomb. I get text messages saying I love you from my daughter, my middle boy has walked home in the middle of the day because he got an unexpected break in classes because of testing and hung out with me on the playground at the elementary school that my youngest goes to and I volunteer at. My daughter also brings me baked spaghetti from Fazollis where she works on the nights that I work, because she knows I love it. My husband on the way home from racing his car at the track will stop and pick up coffees for all the nurses in the ICU. He takes me to dinner so I dont have to cook, I wake up to all the wash done and the dishwasher unloaded. Coffee is brewing when I get up and I get coffee in bed.

I am loved and appreciated (most days anyway!). Respected and adored.
What a lovely post, sweetbaby! Sounds like you have a wonderful family, and you sound like one terriffic mama.
post #46 of 134
Thread Starter 
Siobhan, I'll bite: I do think it's better for lots of families that mothers as well as fathers work, and share both the grunt work and fun times of childrearing. Staying home for long periods of time just seems very risky to me, and since it's mostly women that still do it, I think it's something to be concerned about from a feminist perspective. That's based on my life experiences, though, and I'm not so arrogant to think that everyone should agree with me. I figure I never really know the details of any one particular family's needs, so I don't judge them on it. But as far as the big picture, yeah, I think it's better that mamas and daddies share the responsibilities inside and outside the home.

Edited to add: I mean, just change all those "it's ideal if mothers stay home" into "fathers" and it's clear why this is troubling. No one ever says it's ideal that all fathers stay home with their children. Do "working fathers" love their children as much as SAHDs?
post #47 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber
Edited to add: I mean, just change all those "it's ideal if mothers stay home" into "fathers" and it's clear why this is troubling. No one ever says it's ideal that all fathers stay home with their children. Do "working fathers" love their children as much as SAHDs?
Funny you mention that. People always tell Steve what an amazing person he was for being a SAHD and he always shrugs and says "I was just being a dad". There is not the stigma at all in fact he is superdad for SAH. He is really close with Marah Jade, moreso than most of our male friends are with their kids. I think part of that is personality but I always wonder if part of that is because he SAH with her.
post #48 of 134
I would love a decent job with decent pay that took into account that I'm a human not a wage slave. I wouldn't want to be away from my kids when they were babies and toddlers and I did parttime outdoor work then where I had them with me. I love getting out of the house even to do the menial lowpaid job I do now. As a single-mom we now have 2nd hand furniture, toys,enough food etc and a roof over our heads.We still get cold in winter as I can't afford to heat our home . I have lived rough with my kids in tents in rubbish weather, got our food out of skips etc etc we live in the uk. Now we rent an old cottage in a beautiful remote area(peace and safety) and while everyone else around us drives suv's, own their own houses, have holidays and money to buy what they want I don't see this as the default. By rights we should be living in a scheme and I should probably haver a serious drug problem as that is where a lot of people are at in this life. I know very few sahm's here, apart from wealthier women, mostly single-moms on welfare cos it is so hard to get everything to work to allow them to go to work, disintegration of community meaning no support from families, gov.policies to ensure poverty for women and kids. Childcare costs about twice what a family will live on for a week incl. bills so sahm's here isn't really an option unless you are financially secure or have a hubby/partner who is full-time working, lots of unemployment not helping matters here tho the gov insists there are jobs. I did college for a year recently and it was fantastic to get out and have some me time, I was all ready to get fulltime work tho was nervous as to how I would manage it all ie no way are me and my kids gonna be ships passing in the night but now I am homeschooling my son so have to find partimers here and there and just duck and dive. I reckon women need more out of life than home-maker, a woman I know with good job, nice house asked me whether I would prefer to be sahm or out working,she was adamant she would chose out to work, I would prefer both but I guess thats not workable. I don't think she could hold her job without the indespensible support of her hubby who is a sahd earning a really good wage( architect) and he does all the childcare too when she is working. Nice if you can get it. I say good on sahm's and also moms working, whatever works for you. Sahd's are becoming far more common here now too as the economic status shifts in favour of women also being able to earn a wage outwith the home.
post #49 of 134
I am so happy to read this thread. I am about to be 1st time mom and I quit my job to transfer across the country with my husband. Dh and I decided I would be a SAHM since we could afford it but I quickly realized how much I identified myself with my career and how much I missed the independence and stimulation of working. Whenever I mentioned this to other women (many who claim to be feminists) I was made to feel guilty for "abandoning my child" for a career. I have been so distressed and depressed by this. I have finally come to realize that a career has always been important to be and that by feeling successful outside of the home I will be a better mother. I encourage other women not to criticize women for their choices b/c and support women who choose to work outside the home.
post #50 of 134
Quote:
I would love a decent job with decent pay that took into account that I'm a human not a wage slave.
I think this is the kicker, isn't it? I think often when women look at their situations (work, not work), the typesof work and the treatment those women receive is a huge aspect. I've worked crappy crappy jobs - I'd never want to leave my kids all day for those unless I absolutely had to.

But I am very lucky - my education and experience and network allow me access to better work on my own terms.

Also, to the point about fathers. DH has told me that he gets a tremendous amount of pressure when he needs to watch the kids during the day because I have to work (our au pair was taking a class during the summer two days a week - I tried to not work during those hours, but of course clients always seem to schedule meetings for those times...).

Once, when he told his boss he'd be in late, the boss (who is a new father, btw) replied "wait, where is your wife? Why are YOU looking after the kids?"

Siobhan
post #51 of 134
Siobhan, thats very common attitude to sahd's, that sucks as surely 2 parents working together as a team is a good situation, it's a pretty sexist attitude to assume men should not take care of kids and very sad. I think sahd's are great and taking more responsability on a family level plus assisting their wives to get out and fulfil their ambitions so I just laugh at the people (mostly men I've found) who think it odd that dads would do this. It seems like women are at a kinda dilemma crossroads when it comes to childcare and work, imo most of that stems from the commonly percieved traditional attitude that women should stay at home and man goes work/hunt.Do we still get to forage?lol.But times are changing and for reasons.Most women I know enjoy getting out to work and make extra effort/arrangements to make sure family life does not suffer as a result. Depends on ages of kids as well, there is no way I would leave my babies in childcare or with anyone really but that's me. Luckily my work is 2mins from our home, am pretty well stuck for getting work further.And I work all the time at home gardening and stuff anyway, so the kids know I'm somewhere plodding away! I was kicked out of my foster home at 15 and moved to my 'home' town 70 miles away from all my friends, at 16 I was regularly found in pools of vomit etc through alcohol abuse. My art school dream,homelife and basically future down the drain. Opportunities must be grasped imo. Yesterday my eldest dd thanked me! for quietly encouraging her to study appropriately and achieve her ambitions/dreams/hopes which funnily enough includes attending art school,totally her own choice, even if I mucked up I will do everything in my power to make sure my dc have a good chance.Now where did I throw that bill..
post #52 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang
I agree.

Let me put it another way. A WM friend of mine said recently that she feels her kids have benefited from her working beyond the financial benefits - but that she feels inhibited to actually say that to anyone other than another working mom.

Siobhan
I think that by working, and breast feeding (pumping) and being a mom and taking time off to be with my kid and occaisionally bringing her into work when it's an emergency (DH does the same thing) that not only is my child benefiting, but I think I'm helping to change society! We wouldn't have SAHD if mothers didn't join the work force. We wouldn't have "pumping stations" or health rooms anywhere if mothers didn't go to work.

My mother was a social worker in the late 60s when she was pregnant with me. She went to court with a client and remembers the judge peering over the bench with a look of disgusts at her huge belly and saying "You're the social worker?" It was quite unseemly for pregnant women to be seen in public in any official capacity back then. Teachers were supposed to quit as soon as they started showing. But mom did it - she was quite the pioneer. At the time, pumping BM was unthinkable, so I got 6 weeks and that was it.

My mother helped make change for ME! I did enquire about clean, lockable facilities for my breast pump at all three buildings I worked at and conferences when I travelled. I feel like I'm doing my part to normalize Breast Feeding just like she did her part to normalize pregnancy. And my daughter just might be able to bring her newborn to her office job or enjoy a few more weeks of paid leave.

DH isn't in a position to stay home right now, but he did take 8 weeks FMLA after I took mine. That was a first for his company, wasn't paid, but it might be some day.

So - no, this isn't the best choice for everyone but it's been fabulous for my family and I think it's good for society to have some people be pioneers and make it just a little better for those who come later. I'm willing to serve as that pioneer.
post #53 of 134
Cool story!

I know I keep saying it, but quiting my job was the best thing I ever did for my career.

Basically, I voted with my feet. My company was unwilling to offer me the flexibility I wanted with kids, so I left and started my own company.

Wow, that sounds grand, but in fact, I quit, got hired by my old boss as a contractor until he found a replacement, and since then I have managed to find additional clients through networking. And now that I have so much work, I am seriously considering hiring people to help me.

But I NEVER would have even thought I was the entrepreneurial sort - I never had the dream to own or run a company. I just did what I had to do to create the work/family environment I needed.

And now one of my clients is following my lead. She also quit and got hired back as a contractor, and she works primarily from home.

Of course, key to both our strategies are husbands who a. earn steady paychecks and b. have health insurance. But I know another woman in my neighborhood who started her own company with her husband doing internet security to the government, just so she and her husband could work from home.

You are right - in many ways, we are forcing the changes we want to see.

Siobhan
post #54 of 134
Thread Starter 
Another thing this has me thinking about is the assumption that well-paying, career-type jobs aren't compatible with motherhood, which leads a lot of women, probably subconsciously in many cases, to pursue less demanding work because they figure they can't balance those responsibilities with motherhood as well. So they take jobs that aren't as satisfying, don't pay as well, etc. The classic "mommy track." Instead, my experience as been that the further up the hierarchy you go, and the more valued your skill set, the more leverage you have to set your terms. I.e., you have more control over your work hours as a mid-level software engineer than the receptionist at the same company. Yet, the receptionist job would seem, superficially IMO, as the "family-friendly" job. My partner's line of work (engineer, with a defense contractor) is EXTREMELY compatible with family life and pays an excellent wage. Yet, he meets few mothers in the fields.

Agree? Disagree?
post #55 of 134
There are a lot of ways to raise kids that work fine, I think. I can't say there's one true formula (that naturally involves the woman giving up her adult interests and economic security to stay home ...) that's THE BEST.

But I do know that I have a full-time job, and I don't feel guilty about it, and my daughter is thriving. And my mother worked (still does!), and I think that yes, it was the best way for me to grow up. I got to see an adult woman who was smart and passionately engaged in important, satisfying work, and she was much happier than she had been staying home. My brother and I saw her return to college and finish her BA, get her Master's and doctorate, and land a prestigious college professorship. Our family dinner-table conversation was about what she was studying, and then later teaching, and we learned a lot. It was a very stimulating, inspiring way to grow up. She had been really unhappy and frustrated as a housewife, things were better for everyone when she went back to school and work.
post #56 of 134
I work for several reasons.

Currently i work because we need the income and because I enjoy my job.

I'm working on my bachelor's (English Ed) and will work as a teacher once I graduate. DH is doing his student teaching this semester and hopefully, if all goes well, will have a teaching position beginning next year.

Why will I work once DH has a teaching position? For the shear joy of it! Growing, learning, and hopefully to make a difference in children's lives (including my own).

I couldn't give a rat's behind whether others considered my reasons valid enough. Who in the heck are they?
post #57 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber
Another thing this has me thinking about is the assumption that well-paying, career-type jobs aren't compatible with motherhood, which leads a lot of women, probably subconsciously in many cases, to pursue less demanding work because they figure they can't balance those responsibilities with motherhood as well. So they take jobs that aren't as satisfying, don't pay as well, etc. The classic "mommy track."
I agree 100%. There are several factors at play.

First off, if you have kids young, you are not able to work the stupid long hours that most professional positions require of young employees. The older I get, the more I realize those positions are "cannon fodder" in many companies (non-profits and for profits, btw). I was able to travel for a month at a time, work until 8 or 9 pm at the drop of a hat, etc, because I had no other responsibilities. And I didn't get paid very well, either.

But it allowed me to earn my stripes, as it were. I sometimes get asked by other women how to get into consulting, and frankly, you need about 10 years at mid-professional level work to do it (and a graduate degree). You also need to know people who know you.

Secondly, I think the lack of female mentors does harm women in general. Many women in senior positions who have kids either went two extremes -either were at home for most of their kids' youths, or they went back to work at 6 weeks. I had a colleague in her late 50s scold me for taking the full 16 week FMLA I had coming to me for my first child because "they won't take you seriously if you take that amount of time off".

But another friend of mine was treated so well during her pregnancy by her boss (a woman who'd had kids too) - she treated her so well, letting her work from home, very lax about arrivals, etc. (she even bought my friend a pillow so she could sleep in her office!). My friend felt so supported that she knew going back to work for this boss would not destroy her life.

Just some thoughts - off to make dinner!

Siobhan
post #58 of 134
Now that is an employer and a half!!
post #59 of 134
Thread Starter 
My employer is also awesome. When one of the moms was having supply issues, and pumping just wasn't doing the trick, they just let her work exclusively from home. The kid was 18 months old, and they didn't even bug her about "just weaning."
post #60 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber
Another thing this has me thinking about is the assumption that well-paying, career-type jobs aren't compatible with motherhood, which leads a lot of women, probably subconsciously in many cases, to pursue less demanding work because they figure they can't balance those responsibilities with motherhood as well. So they take jobs that aren't as satisfying, don't pay as well, etc. The classic "mommy track." Instead, my experience as been that the further up the hierarchy you go, and the more valued your skill set, the more leverage you have to set your terms. I.e., you have more control over your work hours as a mid-level software engineer than the receptionist at the same company. Yet, the receptionist job would seem, superficially IMO, as the "family-friendly" job. My partner's line of work (engineer, with a defense contractor) is EXTREMELY compatible with family life and pays an excellent wage. Yet, he meets few mothers in the fields.

Agree? Disagree?
That has been my experience also. I think you raise a good point. Having worked at my job for several years and proven myself as a valuable mid-level employee, I had the power to negotiate with my supervisor for the hours I wanted. He allows me to start late. He allows me to do some of the work at home. I have a flexible schedule. I don't think I could have asked for such hours done had I been in a less demanding position.
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