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What to say when people say, "You're so LUCKY you can be a SAHM!" - Page 2

post #21 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom View Post
What does that have to do with it??
What it has to do with it is that not all of us own our homes, have paid off college loans, make a lot of money, or can afford nice clothes and having fancy things. Some SAH parents might have that situation, but for many of us, we have foregone the second car, nice first car, fancy clothes, manicures, pedicures, and fancy salon-done hair to be able to stay at home with our children. That doesn't mean we resent the sacrifice at all, but that we are keenly aware of how LITTLE luck had to do with it. The only part of my ability to stay at home that I can attribute to luck is having a husband who agreed with me from the time we were dating that we felt it was better for our family to have one or the other parent staying at home at any given time. Beyond that, we've busted our arses and given up the fancy stuff to make that happen.
post #22 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by christyc View Post
What it has to do with it is that not all of us own our homes, have paid off college loans, make a lot of money, or can afford nice clothes and having fancy things. Some SAH parents might have that situation, but for many of us, we have foregone the second car, nice first car, fancy clothes, manicures, pedicures, and fancy salon-done hair to be able to stay at home with our children. That doesn't mean we resent the sacrifice at all, but that we are keenly aware of how LITTLE luck had to do with it. The only part of my ability to stay at home that I can attribute to luck is having a husband who agreed with me from the time we were dating that we felt it was better for our family to have one or the other parent staying at home at any given time. Beyond that, we've busted our arses and given up the fancy stuff to make that happen.

Interesting you tell all that just by what the person is wearing.
post #23 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
I don't see how it's dissing single parents or being rude and mean to say that having a parent at home is a priority for her family.

3boysmom said, "it is a well thought out and worked-for arrangement that works best for our family."
It's the condescending tone. Not every mother has a husband who has a job that can support a family. Not every husband/father is supportive of a SAHM. It's not just about choices and hard work, there is a lot of privilege that goes with stay at home parenting. Not everyone has the resources nor education to make the decision in the first place.
post #24 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom View Post
Interesting you tell all that just by what the person is wearing.
I can't tell all of that by what the person is wearing!! I can tell it because I only wrote about my own situation in my post, and I can tell it because it's MY story! ;-)

I wasn't the one who originally wrote the comment about hearing things from folks dressed nicer or from the nicer side of town or whatever, but I can understand the thinking that hearing someone from a super-fancy neighborhood declare you "lucky" that you can stay at home (as if they're somehow UNLUCKY, can't stay at home, but can afford a home that costs ten times more than anything I could ever afford) gets old after a while.

Edited to add:

As a side note about clothing... I shop consignment, so a lot of my clothes are nice, name brand, fashionable stuff-- shirts I paid $5 for and pants I've paid $7 for. But nobody would know I bought them consignment unless I told them. My father, who makes 4-6 times more than my DH, buys all his clothes at Wal-Mart and couldn't give a hoot if he was fashionable or not. So, clothes don't always tell the whole story. I get it, trust me!
post #25 of 164
It annoys me too.

I/We didn't have any of those "lucky" things that allow me to stay home.

Neither of us have college degrees (but I am going to have an associate degree in just a few more weeks!!!)

We don't own a home

I was a single mom for more then two years and even then I was SAHM, just really poor (homeless for a while, ate at my parents most nights, ect).


Being home with my kids is something I work very hard at being able to do.
We are very frugal and don't have lots of things some other families do. But I don't think we feel like our life is lacking (unless you ask dh about cable tv )

My husband makes much less then his brother and my brother (both similar ages with families) and they are always broke and their wives work. It is easy to see that thier choices make it hard for them to get along (dhs brother's family because they have the nice clothes and name brand convinence foods and expensive hair and makeup, my brothers family because alcohol and drugs eat up a big part of thier income.)

I don't feel like luck had anything to do with it. I work hard to stay solvent on our just at poverty level income.
post #26 of 164
I think the comment about it being a priority is a great one. I know there are people who DO want to be home and can't be - my mom is one of them. She HAS to work. Period, end of story. But me saying that staying home is a priority for us doesn't mean that I think it's NOT a priority for her. Food in her kid's stomachs and a roof over their head is a bigger priority. As it should be. I don't see saying that as putting her down - she just has bigger (more important) priorities. And I know for a fact that she doesn't feel put down when someone else talks about being home - she's glad for them.

Plus, not every parent who works outside the home wants to be with their children all day. For some people it totally is not a priority. Many parents will tell you that, "I would go crazy at home all day", "I work for me", etc, etc. Luck has nothing to do with it and they full well know it. It is a choice. So if the priority comment hurts their feelings, oh well! If they are making a conscience choice to work then they can't feel all huffy about it NOT being a priority - because they themselves have admitted it's not!

Now having said all that, I don't get my panties in a twist when someone I don't know makes an offhand comment about my being lucky to stay home. I don't sit there and dwell on the deeper meaning of their comment - I take it as an attempt at polite conversation and leave it at that. And really, I don't let it bother me when a close friend or family member whines about how lucky I am. I've come to realize that the way things look on the outside is not always how they really are. They may truly be able to stay home if they wanted...they may not. Whatever. I really don't care. It's none of my business! If it's truly doable and they want it bad enough they'll figure out how to swing it!

Other possible replies: "Yeah, it's worth the sacrifices"
"It's something we've always wanted for our family"
"My DH/partner and I both felt like it was the right thing for our family"

Or something along those lines - something that lets them know that sah is a conscience decision on your part - not just something you fell into!
post #27 of 164
MITB ~ Why is it condescending to ask for acknowledgement that, in our case, it is not luck or priviledge that allows me to stay at home with our kids? It is choices and hard work. I never made a single comment about anyone but myself.
post #28 of 164
i get this A LOT

-- tot helping type --

i say some like

"we are blessed that all our hard works and the choices we've made have allowed this"

depending on how B&^%HY I feel I add

"otherwise we would not have been able to have a family"

Yes, we are blessed.

but

dh woed 15 years with the Gov to get into a job that supports us like his does

we waited till he was alomst 40 and I was 33 to have kids (we did not get pg at 21 or 18 or even 23).

we make choices that allow me to stay home -- we do not have new cars, or vacation on teh beach, or go to concerts, etc

so I get really mad when people act like me staying home dropped out of the sky on us -- like we put no effort into it.

AND -- it annoys me that these smae people think stayig hme is cool cuz "no demands" "no stress" "picking and chooseing what you want to do all day" -------- dh admits my boss is 100% more demanding than his and my job is a lot hader, physically, emotionally and mentally.

AImee
post #29 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies View Post
It's the condescending tone. Not every mother has a husband who has a job that can support a family. Not every husband/father is supportive of a SAHM. It's not just about choices and hard work, there is a lot of privilege that goes with stay at home parenting. Not everyone has the resources nor education to make the decision in the first place.
I didn't read any condescending tone her post, she wrote about her personal situation. I agree it takes a lot of hard work and sacrifices, which are all worth it in the end.

I think quite a few families make the decision to wait to have children until they are financially in the position to support their kids in the way they feel is right. Some choose to stay home and some choose not too.

I am a stay-at-home mom and full-time student. My husband works really hard to make that an option as we both feel it is crucial to our family that one parent is home with the kids. That was a choice we made. We don't have a lot of extras and live paycheck to paycheck, but it is worth it for our family.

When I graduate and get a job, my husband will be staying home with the kids. That is what we have chosen for our family.

The single parent aspect is a bit different in my opinion, because these men and women have to work in order to support their family. They have no choice.
post #30 of 164
Quote:
-

- get good jobs after graduating, enabling us to pay off all college debt

- make enough money to save for a big enough down payment so that we could buy a house one income could pay for.

- get into the housing market at a time a house like that was even available here (it sure ain't these days).

- that dh found a job in his field (not one with a lot of good jobs), with a salary that could support a family.

- that in the worst-case-scenario, we have a really strong safety net: family who won't leave us high and dry.
ONLY ONE of the things you sited (birth) was LUCK -- the rest are thigns you adn DH WORKED for and put a great great deal of EFFORT and PLANNING into -- thus not luck (happen-stance, chance).

I am glad to be home, I am blessed to be home -- but I do not think there is anything WRONG with admitting that it takes effort, planning and hard wrok -- it does not just happen............
post #31 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aimee21972 View Post
ONLY ONE of the things you sited (birth) was LUCK -- the rest are thigns you adn DH WORKED for and put a great great deal of EFFORT and PLANNING into -- thus not luck (happen-stance, chance).

I am glad to be home, I am blessed to be home -- but I do not think there is anything WRONG with admitting that it takes effort, planning and hard wrok -- it does not just happen............
ITA! In that instance there was much more hard work and smarts than "luck."

I also don't think I'm lucky to stay home. I'm blessed.
post #32 of 164

You are lucky

Many factors go in to why someone has to WOH or is able to SAH - not merely lifestyle. I'll give you 1 example - benefits. One spouse may have the income that supports the family while the other spouse has the benefits - thus requiring the spouse works. This is our situation - and it is further compounded by the fact that I have pre-existing medical conditions and am uninsurable outside of "group coverage" - so buying med insurance on our own has not been an option. Furthermore - my medical conditions require monthly medication that is astronomically expensive without good medical benefits.

Now - if you met me and had the same convo you did with this lady - I might have said the same thing. I probably would have said the same thing. You might have looked at me and thought that but for our "extravengant" lifestyle - well, I too could make the sacrifices and SAH. Not so. I do have to work. And - because I am a lawyer - when I work - I make a large salary. So we can afford things that may look like "extravagences" to you that if we simply gave them up . . .well then, I could SAH

So - however you may feel about the sacrifices you make to stay at home - please know that there are those of us that would love to make the same sacrifices but - for many many reasons - can't. I am glad that you and others can -- but please don't consider the rest of us negatively - you never know what a family's situation may be . . . . .
post #33 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildmonkeys View Post
Plus, somebody who may seem to be making the choice for a big home or big car may not be in a position to sah ft if they downsized because they don't have health insurance or have large student loan payments or something that isn't visible to the outside world, but when working make an excellent salary which allows them to have more "stuff" than we/you have.
oops - this pretty much says it all. Should have read the whole thread before posting!
post #34 of 164
I got pregnant at 19... (geeze, there seems to be somthing to annoy everyone on this thread!) For the first few years into my first sons life( and into my second sons life!) we made about 1000$ Can a month. We still thought that it was very important for us to keep one parent home. We have done it! We have also worked very very hard to make it happen. Just to say that it can still be done whether or not you wait until you are 40!
I do feel very lucky though, to have found a partner to weather this with! I could not have done this without a partner, or with a different partner for that matter. We are in it together, and I am lucky because it makes things so much easier.
But yes... sometimes it sucks when the thrift store clothing is too expensive! When literally every last cent goes to feeding your family nutritious food( with alots of allergies at that! gluten free diet)There have been countless times over the years when we had to ask around for penny rollers to roll our change.... we couldnt afford the rollers even! My hubby even crazy glued his crown back in once when he worked in the hospitality industry. We couldnt afford to go to the dentist, nor could he afford to miss work. It would be much easier for us to both work(if it actually paid off!), but it just didnt feel right for our family. Weve had to ask for help where nessisary, use food banks, accept charity..... but we have been a happy healthy family through all of this. I cant help but stall a bit when people tell me that I am lucky.... but really, I am!
post #35 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by He'sAlive View Post
Very good points. I too wish more people would see that they really do have a choice. Dare I say I wish more people would make the choice and sacrifices to have a parent SAH. I believe it is what is best for a child and a family. Do I ever express that to wohm parents? Never, it's not my place. But boy I think this world would be a different place if more parents would make decisions to keep a parent home w/their children. Just my very humble opinion and I'm not trying to judge anyone, I just know if we can do it just about anyone can do it.
: . . . .narrow viewpoint
post #36 of 164
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by christyc View Post
What it has to do with it is that not all of us own our homes, have paid off college loans, make a lot of money, or can afford nice clothes and having fancy things. Some SAH parents might have that situation, but for many of us, we have foregone the second car, nice first car, fancy clothes, manicures, pedicures, and fancy salon-done hair to be able to stay at home with our children. That doesn't mean we resent the sacrifice at all, but that we are keenly aware of how LITTLE luck had to do with it. The only part of my ability to stay at home that I can attribute to luck is having a husband who agreed with me from the time we were dating that we felt it was better for our family to have one or the other parent staying at home at any given time. Beyond that, we've busted our arses and given up the fancy stuff to make that happen.
Exactly. I *do* feel blessed and happy to be able to stay home and raise my son myself. But the situation I was describing in the OP was one that's come up a few times, and some of them have involved people whose situations I'm familiar enough with to KNOW that they could have a parent stay at home if they chose to plan for it. The thing that irritates me is when people act as though the only possible way a person could stay at home is if her partner is filthy rich. That's the implication I've gotten from people, including the woman at the party I mentioned. To me, it's not a question of how much money you make. It's what you decide you want to spend your family resources on. We've opted to forgo a lot of stuff so that I can be the primary caregiver for our son. To me, describing it as luck belittles the work we put into it.

I'm trying to think of an equivalent example. I think the marathon example someone gave above is a good one. If I trained for a marathon and got a good time and someone said, "How lucky that you got such a good time!" I'd feel like they weren't acknowledging the work I put into achieving that goal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by He'sAlive
Very good points. I too wish more people would see that they really do have a choice. Dare I say I wish more people would make the choice and sacrifices to have a parent SAH. I believe it is what is best for a child and a family. Do I ever express that to wohm parents? Never, it's not my place. But boy I think this world would be a different place if more parents would make decisions to keep a parent home w/their children. Just my very humble opinion and I'm not trying to judge anyone, I just know if we can do it just about anyone can do it.
I feel the same way. I'm very much aware that being a SAHM (or dad, or partner, etc.) truly is not an option for everyone. But I also feel like it's an option for a lot more people than do it, and that a lot of people for whom it IS a genuine option act as though it's an impossibility. For these families, it's not that they're unable to have mom stay home (or that they're not "lucky" enough), it's that they're unwilling to give up the second car, the luxury vacation, the huge house and yard, etc. And I do think that children and our society as a whole suffer as a result. Consumerism is an ugly thing, and I think it takes people away from their families. I think it would be better if working parents worked less too, taking paycuts in order to be with their families more. I live in the NYC area and there's such a culture of workaholism here. People work their tails off and use the money they earn to buy all kinds of crazy unnecessary crap, and then complain that they have no time to be with their loved ones.

If you have to work to put food on your table, by all means you've got my support and then some. But it seems to me that in a lot of cases it's not as simple as that.

Bottom line, I feel that staying home with one's kids is not a luxury, it's something important and worthwhile that people strive for and make sacrifices for. I do think I'll say something the next time someone makes a snarky comment about me being lucky.
post #37 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by christyc View Post
What it has to do with it is that not all of us own our homes, have paid off college loans, make a lot of money, or can afford nice clothes and having fancy things. Some SAH parents might have that situation, but for many of us, we have foregone the second car, nice first car, fancy clothes, manicures, pedicures, and fancy salon-done hair to be able to stay at home with our children. That doesn't mean we resent the sacrifice at all, but that we are keenly aware of how LITTLE luck had to do with it. The only part of my ability to stay at home that I can attribute to luck is having a husband who agreed with me from the time we were dating that we felt it was better for our family to have one or the other parent staying at home at any given time. Beyond that, we've busted our arses and given up the fancy stuff to make that happen.
Here is another dimension. Some have forgone a lot - including the ability to support themselves. So thank god for those that have not "forgone" all life's extravagences in the name of SAH - so there is something out there for people who need the help of others. And I am not singling out anyone on this thread. I have struggled with this issue before. I had a BIL and SIL who lived off the grid and were keen on the supremacy of their lifestyle over ours. However - they were NOT independent. When my dn's needed medical care - thank god for medicaid or else they wouldn't have had any. When they ran low on $$ - thank god for WIC or there wouldn't have been food. Who funds WIC? Who funds Medicaid? Its not the toothfairy.

I can say the same for my own sisters - both ivy league educated. Neither holding a job with medical benes.
post #38 of 164
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TripMom View Post
Here is another dimension. Some have forgone a lot - including the ability to support themselves. So thank god for those that have not "forgone" all life's extravagences in the name of SAH - so there is something out there for people who need the help of others. And I am not singling out anyone on this thread. I have struggled with this issue before. I had a BIL and SIL who lived off the grid and were keen on the supremacy of their lifestyle over ours. However - they were NOT independent. When my dn's needed medical care - thank god for medicaid or else they wouldn't have had any. When they ran low on $$ - thank god for WIC or there wouldn't have been food. Who funds WIC? Who funds Medicare? Its not the toothfairy.

I can say the same for my own sisters - both ivy league educated. Neither holding a job with medical benes.
Good points. The healthcare system in this country is atrocious- I think it should be free for all and paid for by taxes. That would at least even the playing field a bit. Although I also see your point that people working outside the home end up paying for the stay at home lifestyles of those who don't earn a salary. It's complicated.
post #39 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aimee21972 View Post
ONLY ONE of the things you sited (birth) was LUCK -- the rest are thigns you adn DH WORKED for and put a great great deal of EFFORT and PLANNING into -- thus not luck (happen-stance, chance).

I am glad to be home, I am blessed to be home -- but I do not think there is anything WRONG with admitting that it takes effort, planning and hard wrok -- it does not just happen............
I'm not saying that having one parent sah doesn't take planning and some work. But for me, I do feel like there was an awful lot of luck involved.

It WAS luck that I managed to find a job right out of college in a big city where tons of other recent college grads were also looking for work.

It WAS lucky that we moved here when we did. And we had no idea of what the housing situation was when we came here. We jumped in cluelessly. And we've been fortunate, lucky, or whatever you want to call it, that the house we bought back then has increased in value.

I didn't mention having health benefits, but yeah, in this economy that increasingly does count as lucky.

And family that could help if dh lost his job or died? Super lucky.

I'm not saying that peope without these advantages can't make it in life. Or can't work their tuchas off to be able to have one parent sah. Of course they can, as this discussion shows. But there's a heck of a lot of unearned privilege that goes with being born middle class, white, and with easy access to college. Privilege that I believe helped get me and dh where we are now.
post #40 of 164
I think it's clearly true that staying at home is not a reasonable option for everyone. However, I also think ascribing the fact that I can stay at home with my kids to "luck" ignores the very large impact that my own effort and choices have had on the situation.

There are a great many people who had approximately the same "luck" in their lives (such as being born into a middle-class family which valued education) who have made different choices in their lives, such that they either cannot or choose not to stay home with their children. Nothing wrong with that -- but calling it "luck" that I am able to stay home with my children trivializes the effort and planning involved.

It wasn't "lucky" that I married an emotionally stable man with good career prospects and values compatible with a strong family life.

It wasn't "lucky" that I didn't become pregnant until we both agreed that it was the right time for us to have kids -- a time when we'd already achieved a certain degree of financial stability, including an adequate emergency fund.

It wasn't "lucky" that we bought a house we could afford on one income, even though we were both working at the time. If we hadn't been able to do that, we would have continued renting.

It isn't "lucky" that my husband has excellent job security and terrific benefits -- that's the kind of job he's chosen, even though he could make considerably more money at a different kind of employer.

Yes, luck has something to do with why I'm able to be a stay-at-home-mom -- but I haven't had particularly more "luck" than most of the people likely to be telling me how "lucky" I am in my day-to-day-life.
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