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Are you a professional mom who opted out? - Page 5

post #81 of 94
hello!

Well, I opted out *again.* Today was my last day. I was hoping to hold on until the kids got out of school, but just couldn't do it anymore. Once I make my mind up I find it hard to continue along. I'm kind of in that weird zone at the moment; the kids have school for another 6 weeks, so I have plenty of time to catch up on things that have gone by the way side.

DH is supportive, my parents are supportive. The dc's don't know yet. Even though I opted out when ds was 1.5 years old, this time it feels different to me. I'm not sure quite how I feel about all of this. I didn't feel especially successful as a SAHM, and now I know that I wasn't all that great as a WOHM. I always seem to have problems with balance no matter what way I go.
post #82 of 94
I guess I'm not sure I count as "professional" as I technically didn't "work" before deciding to be SAHM, but I have a master's degree under my belt and I still get that "maybe I should be 'contributing'" thing going on. The worst is from my FIL who apparently believes personal worth comes with dollar signs - i.e. the amount you bring in. Apparently I'm some sort of leach for not "contributing to society", although I'll argue that I contribute at least as much by raising my children. I'm confused why it contributes more to be a nanny than to raise your children yourself, but I digress.

Now, we're strongly leaning toward homeschooling, so I guess I'll probably be at home for a much longer time than initially expected, but I go back and forth on how I feel about that.
post #83 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraLoo View Post
hello!

Well, I opted out *again.* Today was my last day. I was hoping to hold on until the kids got out of school, but just couldn't do it anymore. Once I make my mind up I find it hard to continue along. I'm kind of in that weird zone at the moment; the kids have school for another 6 weeks, so I have plenty of time to catch up on things that have gone by the way side.

DH is supportive, my parents are supportive. The dc's don't know yet. Even though I opted out when ds was 1.5 years old, this time it feels different to me. I'm not sure quite how I feel about all of this. I didn't feel especially successful as a SAHM, and now I know that I wasn't all that great as a WOHM. I always seem to have problems with balance no matter what way I go.


I remember you from page 1. Oh, I know I have problems with balance. I know if I were to go back to work, I'd be in the same boat. So, I really understand how weird you feel.

What did you do for work? I have to go back through this post and see if you said what you did.

I can say for sure that it is hard to serve two masters (work and family). Something is always going to be in conflict.

Our society has gotten ourselves into quite a quandary: we've created the need for dual incomes because of our need to consume. And despite what studies show that daycare kids don't have adjustment problems if it's a quality daycare, to find that quality daycare, it's difficult, and you are going to be paying a huge price if you do find it (from $4000-$10,000 a year). I'd rather spend that kind of money on their college educations.

Then, there is the price of gas these days yesterday it was $3.70. I can't even imagine having to fill up frequently at those prices. Yikes!

Is there anything you can do from home? Even consulting work? That would seem to be a good thing to do if you can swing it. My neighbor has got a good thing - she's got an accounting degree, so she can easily do that from home. It's not like I can set up a lab at home and do it out of my basement.

Whatever job I next get, I have to find out that I don't have to go to the major city I live near for. There is no way I can be gone for 11 hours again.
Unfortunately, this will mean I'm probably going to have to go back to school to do something else.

As far as your situation, I feel for you, I truly do. I know how self-doubt can creep in. I think you are particularly susceptible right now, especially since it kind of sounds like you are disappointed in yourself. Before you went back to work, you probably had an expectation that you could handle both, but now reality has come around to show you that it wasn't quite going to work out that way.

Big hugs, mama. At least you have the support of your family. Imagine if they really made it miserable for you too.
post #84 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
I guess I'm not sure I count as "professional" as I technically didn't "work" before deciding to be SAHM, but I have a master's degree under my belt and I still get that "maybe I should be 'contributing'" thing going on. The worst is from my FIL who apparently believes personal worth comes with dollar signs - i.e. the amount you bring in. Apparently I'm some sort of leach for not "contributing to society", although I'll argue that I contribute at least as much by raising my children. I'm confused why it contributes more to be a nanny than to raise your children yourself, but I digress.

Now, we're strongly leaning toward homeschooling, so I guess I'll probably be at home for a much longer time than initially expected, but I go back and forth on how I feel about that.
That has got to be so frustrating. There is obviously problems with his priorities in life if worth is measured in dollars and cents. How is your husband's views on the matter? All that should matter is what he thinks.
post #85 of 94
Luckily, my husband thinks that raising our children is an important task and would prefer me be at home as long as that's what I want. He really seems to value it, although every once in a while he says somethign like "but I worked all day..." suggesting that I sat on my butt all day... but we had words over that and he apologized. This was when my daughter was really young so it's been a couple years now w/out issue. He even chewed out his dad for saying that I should be doing *EVERYTHING* in the home because I wasn't "working". He got WAY more angry about it than I did... I guess I'm used to people having that attitude and he's not?
post #86 of 94
I am a professional mom who hasn't opted out. yet. I've only been in my field (Chemist) since I graduated from grad school (2005). I don't think any woman who stays home with her babies is settling for less or any nonsense like that. I would LOVE to stay home with my dd but it's just not practical at the moment. Dh is back in school and I am the major breadwinner for the time being. Evenutally, I want to be a SAHM but it might be a while.
post #87 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inspired007 View Post
I am a professional mom who hasn't opted out. yet. I've only been in my field (Chemist) since I graduated from grad school (2005). I don't think any woman who stays home with her babies is settling for less or any nonsense like that. I would LOVE to stay home with my dd but it's just not practical at the moment. Dh is back in school and I am the major breadwinner for the time being. Evenutally, I want to be a SAHM but it might be a while.
Yeah, I was the major breadwinner for a while (a year) when dh was laid off from his engineering job and couldn't get anything (it was August 2001 and the economy took a dive after 9/11). It was hard leaving my first to have to go to work. But he was a good SAHD and he has a lot of respect for the role of SAHParent. In fact, I think it should be a requirement that every father be a SAHD for a time. They certainly would get perspective pretty darn quick.

Just totally nosy, what do you do as a chemist? One of the things I was looking into for a while was getting a master's degree in analytical chemistry. I took a few courses (in 1993-1994!) before I got hired into a job I had to relocate for (I took Analytical Biochem, then half of a Physical Chemistry class before I had to drop out because I decided to take the job transfer). I did a small stint in one of my jobs in the chemistry section (just wet chemistry) for nutritional labeling (fats, soluble/insoluble fiber, protein, etc) because I was being trained as a QA assistant for the corporate HQ.

Sometimes I don't like looking back at the things I've done though, because I miss it from time to time.

It's hard to think about at times. I mean, I DID some really COOL stuff. And now, well, aside from doing things with the kids, which is valuable don't get me wrong. I don't get to play in the lab anymore. Most days I'm glad, but then occasionally, I'll read something that makes me think of the the past and I get to thinking - wow, I was on a very interesting path for a while.

And quite frankly, it really just pi$$es me off that there isn't a job that would allow me to do everything I want - work part time in a lab, still be able to advance, and have my family.

It's hard for an achievement-oriented person to not achieve. And it's sad to admit that you have a part of you that misses achievement and the external proof of such achievement. With parenting, you have to wait 18-20 years to find out if you did a good job or not.
post #88 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Information View Post
And quite frankly, it really just pi$$es me off that there isn't a job that would allow me to do everything I want - work part time in a lab, still be able to advance, and have my family.

It's hard for an achievement-oriented person to not achieve. And it's sad to admit that you have a part of you that misses achievement and the external proof of such achievement. With parenting, you have to wait 18-20 years to find out if you did a good job or not.
In so many ways when I read this I thought of lack of flexibility. Even though I had a fairly flexible job, it wasn't nearly as flexible as I needed when the kids were sick and needed to stay home. And my dc's weren't always flexible with my job when I temporarily needed to put in longer hours for a project - or take a call after hours. For me, it seemed like either my job or my family always needed *more* and I was always caught in the middle trying my best. My best didn't seem to be cutting it anymore, and I was tired of being tired.

Miss I. --- I'm not sure that we need to wait 18 years or so to get strong cues as to the job we are doing with our dc's. I get nudges all the time as to whether I'm on the right track -- or sliding off LOL! But I do think the litmus test comes when the dc's are off on their own and making big decisions. Probably the final exam comes when our dc's are raising their dc's, which would be our grandchildren.
post #89 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraLoo View Post
In so many ways when I read this I thought of lack of flexibility. Even though I had a fairly flexible job, it wasn't nearly as flexible as I needed when the kids were sick and needed to stay home. And my dc's weren't always flexible with my job when I temporarily needed to put in longer hours for a project - or take a call after hours. For me, it seemed like either my job or my family always needed *more* and I was always caught in the middle trying my best. My best didn't seem to be cutting it anymore, and I was tired of being tired.

Miss I. --- I'm not sure that we need to wait 18 years or so to get strong cues as to the job we are doing with our dc's. I get nudges all the time as to whether I'm on the right track -- or sliding off LOL! But I do think the litmus test comes when the dc's are off on their own and making big decisions. Probably the final exam comes when our dc's are raising their dc's, which would be our grandchildren.
Yes, I was being a little melodramatic when I made that statement (the 18-20 year comment). I know I'm getting clues that I must be doing something right. Still, I do kind of miss the days when I'd get performance reviews which were usually pretty excellent and ended up getting me a 3% raise .

Of course, toward the end of my career, the performance reviews were slipping. That bothered me, quite a bit. It was the first indication that the career/family thing was very difficult for me.

I too, was very tired of being tired trying to keep everyone satisfied. In the end, no one was, but least of all me.
post #90 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Information View Post
Still, I do kind of miss the days when I'd get performance reviews which were usually pretty excellent and ended up getting me a 3% raise .
Yeah.....I'm going to miss that again, too. It's nice to have tangible, reachable goals where you can track your own progress. Kids just don't seem to comply on any sort of timeline.

Here's the funny thing.....now that I'm home again, mentally I haven't switched over to thinking that I'm a SAHM again, but know I'm not a WOHM. Maybe that will change when the kids are home for summer break. And I'm also now coming to the realization that I may *never* WOH, where before it was always an easy option that I kept in my back pocket. I think I have to recreate my life all over again.
post #91 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraLoo View Post
I think I have to recreate my life all over again.
Yes, we both do.
post #92 of 94
Quote:
i've been thinking about this a lot lately, as i'm contemplating all the requirements (and cost $$$) in keeping my law license active while i'm home, with zero desire/plans to go back to work in the near future.

How do you feel about "opting out" even for the short term?
i don't know if i "opted out" so much as ran away screaming i *hated* what i was doing and was happy to resign and give up the partner track/60 to 80 hour weeks/old boys club mentality to stay home. but now that i've been home for over 2 years and have another little one, i'm noticing that i'd like to have *parts* of the "old" career life back -- especially the attention span i know that eventually i'll have to go back to work in some capacity (i'm not cut out to homeschool) and i'm dreading/kind of scared of it.
i know i don't want to go back to what i was doing -- i don't want to join a firm and have to try to compete against recent grads who dont have families. i dont know if i'm a "traitor to the cause" so to speak (and as one of my law school colleagues said ) for not trying to do both. maybe if i had liked my most recent job i would have tried harder to balance a career and work instead of going all-or-nothing :
so (clearly) i'm torn. i feel like i *should* go back, especially since law school was SO expensive and SO much work -- i feel like i shouldn't "waste" that. but i love being home with my girls and i'd like to be available to do things like lead girl scouts or coach soccer in the future

Are you glad that you did?
see the novel above

Do you feel longings to go back yet kinda depressed that you derailed your own career?
yes! i think this is the crux of it.

Do you feel out of place with the "all I ever wanted to be was a stay at home mom" women, yet out of place with the working moms too?
yep.


Do you feel overall screwed as a mom - screwed if you go to work and leave your kids in the care of another while you pursue your own ambitions, and screwed if you choose to stay at home, because you derailed your own career? (I can't possibly think I'm the only one who feels this way). And then doubly screwed because you know someone's going to have an opinion (and sometimes a nasty one) on the choices you made?
yep. my mom and stepdad have told me repeatedly how "disappointed" they are that i'm "just" a SAHM and am "wasting" my education and that seems to be the most common reaction among others (like the other moms at dd1's preschool) -- like i'm not living up to potential or am doing something so 'exotic' as staying at home. and then there's the person who commented that i must not have been a very good lawyer if i was so willing so stay at home

Has anyone else feel remotely this way before? What have you done/are you doing about it?
i'm looking at different ways to use my legal education in the future -- i'd like to do something part time in a few years (namely when i dont have a baby on the boob 24/7) to keep my mind active. so i'm keeping my credentials active and trying to look for opportunities to write or teach or things like that.


Sophiecat - another ex-lawyer here. I could have written your post word for word, especially the first part. WHY am I still paying active bar fees in a state I don't even live in??? Well, I guess so I can waive in here if I want (we have reciprocity)...but I really don't see myself going back into law. The only area I *loved* was litigation and I don't see myself realistically ever working those kind of hours again. Even when the kids are in school (eventually) I don't think I'd see them.
post #93 of 94
Thread Starter 
Ugh - and what do you suppose came in the mail this week? My 20 year reunion. And of course, they ask on their stupid form for the memory book what you've been up to lately, what your occupation and employer are.

I'm going to bald face lie and put my last job information on it. My occupation is still what I consider myself to be. If any one asks, I can say I'm just on hiatus, or in early retirement .
post #94 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Information View Post
Ugh - and what do you suppose came in the mail this week? My 20 year reunion. And of course, they ask on their stupid form for the memory book what you've been up to lately, what your occupation and employer are.

I'm going to bald face lie and put my last job information on it. My occupation is still what I consider myself to be. If any one asks, I can say I'm just on hiatus, or in early retirement .
I went to my 20th about 3 years ago, so I was a SAHM at that time with no plans to re-enter the workforce. So many people were surprised that I was staying at home, let alone had children! One of my friends, who was a successful executive and the primary bread-winner pulled me aside and asked me how it was going to be at home full time. Then she told me she was hoping for a time when she could extract herself from her job, that she felt that she was missing out on so much with her 3 dc's. I was probably more surprised that she would even *consider* opting out than anyone was that I had. I don't know if she's been able to do it yet; guess I'll have to wait for our 25th to know for sure.

I personally felt very validated at that time that another professional, successful, woman envied my decision. The grass is greener, kind of thing. Maybe it comes down to how we define what success really is.
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