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What to say when people say, "You're so LUCKY you can be a SAHM!" - Page 3

post #41 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by TripMom View Post
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.]

[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 . . . . .



I could have written this post, because it describes my situation exactly. Except, in my case, my dp has the medical condition. And we, as a same-sex couple, are ineligible for family benefits @ each others' jobs. I make more $ & could probably-- w/tremendous sacrifice & home downsizing-- support our family of 3 while dp sah. Since I cannot sah w/dp's salary, this would be the best alternative. BUT, we couldn't obtain our own insurance w/her pre-existing condition. And even if my co. offered domestic partner coverage, it would be taxed differently than a legally married couple's. So we couldn't afford it either way.

But, I think many posters here ARE lucky/fortunate to sah (totally recognizing the frugality & sacrifices often involved) when so many of us would love to but really, truly CAN'T.
post #42 of 164
Great thread.

Sometimes it doesn't even make sense financially for both parents to work. I have always wanted to be a sahm so it wasn't an issue for me-- but if I were to return to work the costs of childcare, sposies, convenience meals, extra car mileage and so on and so forth would not be worth it. We might have a little more money each paycheck but it is so so important to us that I be home. DH is the breadwinner of the family anyway although my salary was not bad.

Instead we choose to live frugally and I will be able to stay home with our little one. I'd rather have the extra time with our kids and be able to save $$ cooking good, cheap meals at home (we eat a lot of beans LOL), CDing, and cutting corners in other areas. When I was working I was spending the money on all the extras--nice handbags, impulse buys, salon trips, etc.

I also agree that it usually takes some planning. We made sure to pay off our debts and get in the habit of being really frugal months ago.
post #43 of 164
As a pp said, most often these comments are from people we don't know well. It is "small talk". And, of course, lucky means fortunate--and hopefully we all feel fortunate to be home with our kiddos. When people say I am lucky, I agree with them. I am lucky to have a life that I love.

If the "lucky" word is too much to swallow, why not just say "We've sacrificed a lot to make it work, but I agree I am very blessed."
post #44 of 164
"Thank you, I think so too"
post #45 of 164
As my worldview expands, I realize that it is a combination of "luck" or "fortune" and planning that makes me being able to SAH happen. I was born into a society that allows me to make that choice, I was born into a family with material comforts that allowed me to think about choices beyond the basics of simply surviving, I was supported by extended family and friends in my choices as I grew and taught values that I believe helped me grow into a mature, responsible woman.

However, I also made conscious choices that were very difficult in order to be able to be a SAH. I deliberately chose a partner that had similar beliefs, that one of us would stay home, I consciously selected a man that I believed would be a co-parent and not simply another person living in the same house, we are extremely budget-conscious and work hard to make sure we are able to afford the things we buy and sacrifice those we can't, DH worked an extra job on the weekends to ensure that his family had medical coverage, thus resulting in an extra workload for both of us, we chose to move from AZ to TX to be closer to family in order to increase our support system and make it possible for me to continue to SAH during up and down times financially and emotionally. I also WAH for a few years, and that was a very difficult decision, both to do it, and to give it up.

So many complex factors go into the decision to SAH or WOH, and I know or myself, boiling it down either to luck OR choices is too simplistic and unfair to both SAH and WOH mamas, as well as the often-sidelined WAHMs. So, when I find myself on the receiving end of the statement, "You're so lucky to stay home with your kids!" I realize how truly blessed I am to have what is, for me, the most incredible, amazing, wonderful job in the world and I respond accordingly, "Yes, I am truly blessed, I couldn't ask for a better job."

It's not my job to reframe that person's view of my life, whether s/he sees it as luck, fortune, sacrifice, a choice, whatever. My job is to live MY life and do the best I can and hope that's enough.

And I also try to remember that I can never judge another person based on that one sentence, s/he may have any number of emotions about the issue of SAH, perhaps she WOH herself and is thrilled to do so, and thinks it's great I choose to SAH, and it's her way of affirming my choice, and she means, "Isn't it wonderful that we can have two different experiences in life and yet still communicate as adults and respect each other's choices?" Perhaps she WOH and wants to stay home, and really means, "Wow, I wish I could do that, I would feel so lucky to be able to be with my kids during the day. It breaks my heart to WOH." Perhaps she really does view it as luck and has no underlying dialogue in her head...whatever the truth, what purpose would my response serve? If it's a WOH mom who is thrilled with her life, then my correction of lucky vs. choosing would only drive a wedge in our communication and if it's a WOH mom that *wanted* to stay home and didn't, then my correction would only serve to induce guilt and imply that her choices were inferior to mine.

So...I choose to assume the best about people when they are communicating something to me that has the potential to offend. I've adopted the following quote from Plato: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." It helps me to remember that I have no idea the other person's motives or life struggles, and so I assume the best.
post #46 of 164
Why not say something like "Yes, I do feel lucky, but it did take quite a bit of planning on our part." I don't see how anyone could take offense to that, and you are subtly saying there's a lot more than luck involved.
post #47 of 164
In a perfect world and a perfect conversation between you and this stranger, what would she have said to you in response to the words "I am a stay at home mom."?
As someone who uses the "You're lucky" comment as something nice and positive to say in response to hearing another womans situation I would be interested to know.
Suzy
post #48 of 164
Quote:
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.
ita
post #49 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by daniedb View Post
So...I choose to assume the best about people when they are communicating something to me that has the potential to offend. I've adopted the following quote from Plato: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." It helps me to remember that I have no idea the other person's motives or life struggles, and so I assume the best.

: I also try not to overthink what I think other people's intentions and hidden meanings are. This causes me angst every time when most often, there really aren't any hidden meanings. So, when someone gives me a compliment (and I see being told I am lucky to be a sahm as a compliment), I just say thank you.
post #50 of 164
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thatsuzygirl View Post
In a perfect world and a perfect conversation between you and this stranger, what would she have said to you in response to the words "I am a stay at home mom."?
As someone who uses the "You're lucky" comment as something nice and positive to say in response to hearing another womans situation I would be interested to know.
Suzy
"That's great! How's it going so far?"

Something like that might foster a real conversation. "You're so lucky" said in a pitiful sad sort of way implies "you have something I wish I could have but don't," which is awkward and creates distance between the two people.

I'm sure you mean well, but to me anyway, that's how it comes across.
post #51 of 164
"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."

Quote:
Originally Posted by TripMom View Post
: . . . .narrow viewpoint
You may choose to judge her viewpoint but she is still entitled to her opinion.
post #52 of 164
daniedb,

Thank you!!! I really enjoyed your post
post #53 of 164
.......and a friendly mod reminder about our Forum Guidelines
Quote:
We welcome all mothers to take part in the discussions in this forum, but keep in mind that the focus is on the SAHM lifestyle and all posts to this forum should be issues that are specific to SAHMs. We will ask that the focus be kept on learning and understanding, not debate between SAHM and nonSAH.
post #54 of 164
"But I wish more people realized that they do have the opportunity if they are willing to do what it takes to make it happen"

If the frustration you guys experience from this type of comment is the above, then why not say something like
"You know we weren't sure we could swing it financially but after a lot of planning and cutting back on non-essentials we found we could do just fine.
It takes some extra work but is really worth it!"

That way you could actually start this type of conversation with someone who really thinks it isn't an option, and that way you might help the woman start thinking about whether it is possible or not in her life.
And, on the other hand, you will be making it clear that it is a choice that some families could make if they were willing to let go of some more extravagant expenditures.
Just my $0.02
post #55 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by InstinctiveMama View Post
"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."



You may choose to judge her viewpoint but she is still entitled to her opinion.
Fair enough. I'll be more clear. I should have said her viewpoint was narrow because it fails to see the many and varied reasons that SAH is NOT an option. The posters comment "I too wish more people would see that they really do have a choice" fails to recognize that actually many people DON'T have a choice. It may be simply about money and lifestyle for some - for others there are a lot more issues to consider - many of which have already been explored on this thread so need to repeat here.
post #56 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katielady View Post

Nothing wrong with making different choices, but don't try to make me feel guilty about my choice, you know? Anyone else get this? And what do you say? I'm starting to feel like I want to have some response, but I don't want to start a rumble at every social occasion either.
I'm not understanding the people trying to make you feel guilty comment. If you really don't want to start a debate then the thing to say is "Oh yes I am."

This kind of thread reminds me of a post another mama made here once. Her DP had gone to charity fundraiser for hunger (I think it was hunger?). Anyway it gave a fair representation of what people in the world have.

People spent $50 on tickets for dinner. When they came to the event there was a lottery.

2% of the guests ate an amazing gourmet meal
8% ate a decent meal
90% ate rice

If you are able to log on the internet and post on this site, you are lucky. If you are able to feed your children, you are lucky. Sure you may work hard at it, sure you may give up a few luxuries, but those 90% in the world who are lucky to get rice, probably work harder than you and your DP combined and still their kids go to bed hungry.

Knowing things like that makes me not give a rats ass if Susy Jones down the street doesn't get it that her car and mortgage payments alone are more $$ than what DP and I live on for the whole month. Those are her choices and these are mine, and we are both lucky women.
post #57 of 164
***
post #58 of 164
artgoddess
post #59 of 164
I smile and say
*Thanks, I feel lucky*

Its easy to think of it as a personal attack, and rarely it is, but its best to just smile and nod in situations like these. I know that I can be WAAAAY too sensitive/read into when people start discussing how lucky being a SAHM is. I always want to scream at them. I am on call 24/7! NO BREAKS! I am responsible for everything!!! Blah blah blah.

So, best to just say

*Thanks*
post #60 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by artgoddess View Post
I'm not understanding the people trying to make you feel guilty comment. If you really don't want to start a debate then the thing to say is "Oh yes I am."

This kind of thread reminds me of a post another mama made here once. Her DP had gone to charity fundraiser for hunger (I think it was hanger?). Anyway it gave a fair representation of what people in the world have.

People spent $50 on tickets for dinner. When they came to the event there was a lottery.

2% of the guests ate an amazing gourmet meal
8% ate a decent meal
90% ate rice

If you are able to log on the internet and post on this site, you are lucky. If you are able to feed your children, you are lucky. Sure you may work hard at it, sure you may give up a few luxuries, but those 90% in the world who are lucky to get rice, probably work harder than you and your DP combined and still their kids go to bed hungry.

Knowing things like that makes me not give a rats ass if Susy Jones down the street doesn't get it that her car and mortgage payments alone are more $$ than what DP and I live on for the whole month. Those are her choices and these are mine, and we are both lucky women.
awesome post!!
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